As of late, I have been developing an unhealthy interest in DIY drones. What? You didn’t know there was such a thing? Neither did I. But I do now.
Technology has reached a point where it’s possible for hobbyists to build their own autonomous aircraft, capable of flying a pre-programmed course of, say, 20 miles under electric power, and return to its launch point. Or it could be flown via what’s called First Person View (FPV) by wearing virtual reality goggles and observing the flight live from a video camera in the plane’s cockpit. It leaves ordinary regular radio controlled aircraft in the dust as a hobby. Expensive?
Not terribly, and less so than many hobbies. Well, yes, but it depends on how often you crash.
In terms of obsessions, this could be a perfect storm for me. It combines flying, radio, data links, video, electronics, coding, mapping and building weird and strange shit. It would provide the ability to image remote and obscure places I might have an interest in (And for the record, I have no interest in snooping at THAT one!).
Here are some of the things I’ve been up to. This is a very new hobby, and it’s at a point where it has yet to be fully commercialized with everyone trying out new things. If you want some of these things, you have to make them yourself. Build, crash, open checkbook, rebuild. Oh yeah, and lots of soldering. I’ve tried to include enough detail so someone who has a clue as to what they’re doing might find some ideas here. I’ve certainly stole my share of ideas from others.
- First experiments in archaeological site imaging. OK, a lot of money has been spent. I need some sort of justification. This will do.
- MultiplexEasy Star fixed wing trainer aircraft. Aircraft abuse is NOT a crime. It is, in fact, encouraged.
- Delrin Tricopter. Be very afraid. Three blades of whirling death under the control of a moron.
- How to make cheap, butt-ugly, energy absorbing landing struts for multirotors. Yeah, energy absorbing….That’s the ticket!
- A Composite H-Quad. Where I think I know enough to design one of these things. Turns out I do!
- Building a portable 5.8 GHz ground station. Because just owning FPV goggles isn’t dweebish enough.
- The Bixler 1.1. An Easy Star without training wheels. (currently underway)
- The Techpod. Big. White. Foam. Overcast. Capable of lofting large kittens or small badgers. But that would be wrong…or would it? (currently underway)
Links I find useful and/or entertaining:
DIY Drones: Everything about setting up your own fully autonomous aircraft
FPVLab: Building, flying and crashing aircraft using FPV