Tested Builds: Quadcopter Drone, Part 1

The month of building continues, Comic-Con and travel be damned! This week’s project challenges Will and Norm to assemble a quadcopter kit, something neither have done before. To watch and follow along with the build, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here. Post your comments and questions about the build below!

Comments (32)

32 thoughts on “Tested Builds: Quadcopter Drone, Part 1

  1. I`m guessing you maybe will talk about it in a later segment this week. But would love to hear some proscons vs buying this or a ready phantom for example. (I know, I know, the fun of building, but what about price and capabilities)

  2. Great! Excited for this one. I’ve been researching quads having started with a little Hubsan X4(lot of fun!). Was on the fence with going something Ready-To-Fly or a quasi-DIY one. The 3D Robotics one was looking interesting as was some of the DJI offerings where you buy the parts and frame individually.

    What made you guys go with this one?

  3. Can you link up the exact kit they are putting together? It looks like something I might want to tackle.

  4. Great project – can’t wait to see it fly.

    In a similar but crazy vein, there’s an article in today’s Wall St. Journal that details the impact of the FAA’s confusing regulations regarding commercial use of drones and how schools that train people to fly drones can’t actually allow them to fly drones because teaching someone counts as a commercial use of drones. Talk about a Catch-22.

    Here’s a link that should be accessible by non-subscribers for anyone who’s interested:

    There’s No Flying at Drone School

  5. You guys should consider presenting the premium videos in a different manner. They take up a lot of space and if you are not a premium member i imagine it must be frustrating to not be able to access half the things posted on the front page.

    I think it depends on the amount of content that isn’t premium. As long as there’s a consistent steam of things that aren’t premium i’m happy with seeing the cool things premium members get. I like seeing the new things they’re doing and one day i’ll buy in because of it.

  6. You mentioned that FPV kits are now illegal. IIRC, it was just illegal if you are using one to pilot something. What if you’re piloting the drone line of sight while someone else watches on the headset. Could make for a hilarious time 🙂

  7. After getting interested in multicopters after the first video here on tested I eventually ended up getting myself the 3DR diy quad kit too. Its a relatively easy build and with little need to analyze every single piece you’re getting to make sure they will work together. I’ve also slowly been upgrading it, first with telemetry, then with a camera gimbal, eventually I want to try and turn it into a X8. (no off the shelf parts to do that from 3DRs shop unfortunately). Keep up the good work!

  8. Loctite comes in two common grades blue (medium “removable”) and red (high or “permanent”). Use blue on hardware for cases that you do not want to come loose but allows you to remove it if needed (albeit not without effort). Red is used if you do not want to ever remove that part. It can be done (drilling/torch) but chances are you will be replacing a lot more than the part intended.

  9. This build looks awsome… BTW, are you going to do a iin depth review/test on the surface pro 3 at some point as well? Couldn’t stop looking at it all though the video as it hasnt come out where I live yet 🙂

  10. One trick that I have found works most of the time for removing hardware that has the red locktite on it is to touch the head of the bolt with a soldering iron.

    It will heat up the bolt and locktite enough to let you muscle it out and there is less worry about damaging the surrounding part than with using a torch.

  11. This looks like a fun build. A trick I’ve learned with Loctite; I have found the easiest way to deal with it on small parts is to dispense a little onto/into something, (i use a scrap of finished cardboard, or a plastic bottle cap) Loctite has enough surface tension to mound up on a glossy surface and allow you to dip small parts into it to coat the first few threads. (i hold little screws and bolts with tweezers) You have a decent work time with blue Loctite, but only dispense a little at a time, to reduce waste and it is so much easier than constantly messing with the tube. Also, because of aforementioned surface tension, you can transfer about a drop at a time using a toothpick or similar utensil, for parts you are holding in place (like the 3 bolts in the arm).

  12. Another loctite trick — if you ever need cyanoacrylate (loctite, superglue, etc) to bind instantly, drop a tiny bit of baking soda on top (or better yet, dust what you’re working on with baking soda before applying the cyanoacrylate). It’s pretty exothermic and not something you want to huff, but works amazingly well when you need an instant bond. Also helps bond porous materials.

  13. I don’t know why I thought this was going to be a complete build in one video when it took me a couple of days to build… Here are a few tips / suggestions for areas I initially had problems with, hopefully this helps:

    1. Double and triple check that the Motor and ESC cables are connected correctly for the rotation needed. Its really not going to be fun to undo half the quad to get access to the wires.
    2. The channels that your transmitter are sending may not be the ones the pixhawk is looking for, you can veryify this in the “Calibrate radio control” section and change the transmitter settings if needed.
    3. Text instructions for the “all at once” ESC calibration, this is a good time to check that the motors are spinning the right way.
    4. A little piece of tape on the motors will allow you to more easily see that they are spinning in the correct direction.
    5. The propellers washers will not fit onto the shaft until you tighten down the propeller with the nut first. ie add prop to shaft, add the nut and tighten, remove the nut add washer and then tighten fully. The prop bottom should rest on the motors prop mount.
  14. Thanks for the tip! On small items I usually just drill out the screws but I like your idea better.

    Usually only resort to a mapp torch on track cars, we use red on some suspension components and wheel studs.

  15. I’ve said it 5 times, I’ll say it 6. You guys need to come to the Sparkfun Autonomous Vehicle Competition!

    I was a spectator for a couple years and this year competed. It’s a ton of fun!

  16. So I suppose we are being inconsistent with what is and is not premium content now?

    I really enjoyed the printer bot build, it’s even made me consider possibly getting into 3d printing, I was a bit shocked to see the japanese paper craft build as premium and now this.

    If the builds are premium why is the printer bot build not?

  17. I really appreciate all the content you guys are creating. A small suggestion/request, I typically take the “Download the video directly” link, switch it to the 720p version, and open that directly in Chrome. Would you consider making links for the different versions of the videos? It might save you guys some bandwidth, and Chrome seems to handle the videos a little better than your player does (better seek support, and it will scale the 720p video to full screen, rather than just leaving it with a black frame around it).

    Keep up the great work!

  18. this looks like a great project, I recently finished building a quadcopter myself, too bad this project is only available for premium members 🙁

  19. There is nothing “illegal” about anything. The FAA cannot make law. Congress has passed no laws on UAV/Drones at all. The FAA can issue guidance, regulation and memorandums, and can even try to fine in some cases. But, as one may see in recent court decisions, the FAA has no legal ground to stand on because they haven’t done the actual work to turn their ideas into law.

  20. you know not only is flying this fpv in the us banned but so is any rc flight for commercial purposes.. so you guys cant fly this after you build it. or you will be charged by the FAA

  21. and yeah i just paid for the membership and i cant watch the videos very well as they are buffering every few secs… please fix if you can 🙁

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