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Building Your Own Drones: A Beginners' Guide to Drones, UAVs, and ROVs

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Building Your Own Drones: A Beginners' Guide to Drones, UAVs, and ROVs

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  • Copyright 2016
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-400013-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-400013-8

Absolutely no experience needed!
Build your drone, step-by-step, with this full-color, hands-on guide!

You’ve heard about drones. You’ve seen drones. Now, build your own—it’s a lot easier than you think!

Drones are the newest frontier for the DIY/maker community, and you don’t need to be a technical expert to build one. John Baichtal, the #1 author of hardware hacking books for beginners, will teach you all the skills you need.

First, Baichtal shows you the amazing drones others have built. Then, he walks you through several complete projects: quadcopters, UAVs, ROVs, and more. Not ready to start from scratch? No problem: Baichtal helps you choose from today’s best new kits.

Hundreds of full-color step-by-step photos teach you every step, every skill. When you’re ready for more advanced concepts, Baichtal explains them in plain English.

  • Discover what drones are and why they’re so exciting
  • Explore today’s most imaginative projects, from 3D-printed mini quadcopters to floating robot armies
  • Compare kits, from $200 up: Parallax ELEV-8, DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, OpenROV, Actobotics Nomad, Brooklyn Aerodrome Flack, and more
  • Create your own practical Drone Builder’s Workbench
  • Build complete rocket, blimp, waterborne, and automotive drones
  • Construct both fully autonomous and radio-controlled drones
  • Choose and assemble your chassis (airframe), motor, props, flight control, power system, accessories, and software
  • Integrate Arduino to make radio-controlled drones operate autonomously
  • Teach a drone to navigate via RFID tags
  • Learn all the basic electronics and programming you’ll need

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Introduction     xiii
Who This Book Is For     xiii
How This Book Is Organized     xiii

Chapter 1 A History of Drones     1
What Is a Drone?     2
    Three Terrrains     3
    Anatomy of a Drone     5
Summary     7

Chapter 2 Showcase of Cool DIY Drones     9
Bicycle Rim Quadcopter     9
3D-Printed Mini Quadcopter     9
Clothesline Racer     11
Vessels     11
Radio-Controlled Blimp     12
FPV Quadcopter     12
Open RC Trike     14
Foldable Quadcopter     14
Mini-Quadcopter     15
3D-Printed RC Boat     16
Tricopter     17
Mecanum Wheel Rover     18
Summary     19

Chapter 3 Overview of Commercial Drones and Kits     21
Parallax ELEV-8 Quadcopter     21
DJI Phantom 2 Vision+     24
OpenROV     26
Actobotics Nomad     29
Brooklyn Aerodrome Flack     31
Summary     34

Chapter 4 Building a Quadcopter I: Choosing an Airframe     35
Which Airframe?     35
    Choosing Between Commercial Options     37
    Making Your Own Airframe     38
Project #1: MakerBeam Airframe     41
    MakerBeam     41
    Parts     43
    Steps     44
Summary     50

Chapter 5 Rocket Drone Project     51
Amateur Model Rocketry     51
Quick-and-Dirty Arduino Guide     54
Project #2: Data-Gathering Rocket     60
    Parts for Building the Data-Gathering Rocket     60
    Steps for Building the Data-Gathering Rocket     61
    Programming the Payload     65
Summary     67

Chapter 6 Building a Quadcopter II: Motors and Props     69
Choose Your Motors     70
    Outrunner Versus Inrunner     70
    Brushed Versus Brushless     71
    AC Versus DC     72
Choose Your Propellers     73
    Prop Adapters     74
Project #3: Attach the Props and Motors     75
    Parts     76
    Steps for Attaching the Props and Motors     77
Summary     80

Chapter 7 Blimp Drone Project     81
Radio Control     81
    Transmitters     82
    Receivers     83
ESC (Electronic Speed Controller)     83
Project #4: Blimp Drone     84
    Parts     85
    Arduino Parts     86
    Steps     86
Autonomous Control with an Arduino     99
    Code     100
Summary     102

Chapter 8 Building a Quadcopter III: Flight Control     103
Know Your ESCs     103
    Common ESCs     105
    Programming ESCs     106
Receiver     109
Flight Controller     110
    Flight Controller Examples     111
Installing the Flight Electronics     114
    Parts     114
    Installing the ESCs     114
    Installing the Flight Controller     114
    Installing the Receiver     116
Summary     116

Chapter 9 Drone Builder’s Workbench     117
Design It     117
Drive It     118
Measure It     120
Cut It     120
Wire It     121
Attach It     123
CNC It     124
Summary     126

Chapter 10 Building a Quadcopter IV: Power Systems     127
Choosing a Battery     128
    Battery Types     128
Adding Bullet Connectors     130
    Why Bullet Connectors?     130
    Parts List     130
    Steps for Adding Bullet Connectors     131
Assembling the Wiring Harness     137
    Parts     138
    Steps for Assembling the Wiring Harness     138
Wiring the Flight Controller and Receiver     143
Summary     145

Chapter 11 Waterborne Drone Project     147
Realities of Waterborne Electronics     148
    Disadvantages of Waterborne Electronics     148
    Advantages of Waterborne Electronics     148
Waterproofing Your Electronics     149
    Sandwich Container     150
    Pelican 1000-Series     151
    Sealing a Tube     152
XBee Mesh Networking     153
Project: Soda Bottle Boat     154
    Parts     155
    Building the Drone     156
    Building the Controller    166
    Programming the Soda Bottle Boat     170
Summary     172

Chapter 12 Building a Quadcopter V: Accessories     173
Add Accessories to Your Quadcopter     174
    Camera     174
    First-Person Video (FPV)     175
    Landing Gear     176
    Parachute     176
    Protective Plate or Dome     177
    Prop Guards     178
Project: Adding Accessories to the Quadcopter     179
    Install the Camera Mount     180
    Install the Landing Gear     184
    Install the Top Plate     186
Summary     189

Chapter 13 Making a Rover     191
Advantages and Disadvantages of Rovers     192
    Advantages of Rovers     192
    Disadvantages of Rovers     192
Chassis Options     193
    3D Printed     193
    Tamiya     194
    mBot     194
    Arduino Robot     195
    Actobotics Bogie     196
Navigating with Radio Frequency Identification Tags     197
Project: RFID-Navigating Rover     199
    Parts     200
    Steps     200
    Programming the RFID-Navigating Rover     217
Summary     220

Chapter 14 Building a Quadcopter VI: Software     221
Flight Control Software     222
    OpenPilot     222
    MultiWii     223
    APM Planner 2.0     223
    eMotion     224
    AR.Freeflight     224
    3DR Solo App     226
Configuring the MultiWii     226
Examining the MultiWii Control Sketch     228
Pre-Flight Checklist     229
Summary     230

Glossary     231

Index     237


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