Top 7 DIY Drone Kit of 2020

best diy drone kit

There are several reasons a drone enthusiast or a professional drone pilot would decide to go for a DIY drone kit. A DIY drone kit offers you the comfort and convenience of creating an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as per your unique needs. Now it is possible for both newbie and professional drone pilots to order and assemble a racing drone at their own crib.

Further, I’d also like to call your attention to the fact that operating a first-person view (FPV) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is not as easy as it may appear. It is normal for you to take a while to learn the fundamentals of piloting. Also, you should expect to encounter some drone crashes and collisions in the way. This post is intended to help you find the best DIY drone kit. 

Best 7 DIY Drone Kit of 2020

1. LHI 280 

Best Overall

This racing drone from LHI comes with a 250mm wheelbase. It is a high-powered drone kit that can be used for both personal and professional purposes. The frame is made from carbon fiber, which is usually lightweight and sturdy. The MT2204 2300KV brushless motors offer an adequate lift for this device to fly even in severe weather conditions. 

This device is also enabled with 12A Simonk Brushless ESC and F3 6DOF Flight Controller. The MT2204 motor is known for its high performance. This quadcopter comes with four of these motors. Together, they are capable of beating all other high-powered motors like QAV250 and MT1806. Also, you can expect fast acceleration (within 3-4 seconds). 

Besides, each motor weighs just 28 grams, and the diameter is as small as 27.9mm. A racing drone has to be compact and lightweight. Furthermore, the video and images you capture from the sky can be easily transferred to a computer. The CC3D board used in this device easily gets paired with the Ground Control Station (GCS) software. 

Before heading out to explore the territory, you can plan the entire mission. Whether you wish to traverse a particular region once or take multiple paths, this drone is suitable for all kinds of operations. 

LHI 280 is Suitable For – 

Drone assembly can also be a very immersive experience. For some, it becomes a hobby. If you have a background in electrical engineering or a similar field, you will find this drone quite easy to assemble. On the other hand, people with no knowledge of tech have an opportunity to learn and do something new

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble. 
  • 100 percent authentic carbon fiber body.
  • Comes with a diagram to guide you through the installation process.
  • One of the best drone kits for DIY enthusiasts. 

Cons:

  • The connecting wires are a bit longer than needed. Need to be trimmed manually.
  • Need additional investment in zip ties or nylon standoffs.

2. Robolink CoDrone Pro

Best Overall Runner-Up

Not all DIY drone kits are as basic and raw as LHI 280. Robolink CoDrone Pro is easy to set up even for those with no tech background. The drone is so compact and well-designed that it fits right in your palms. The process of taking this device out of the box and getting it ready for its first take-off takes about 10 minutes. Nothing compared to other DIY drone kits.

Furthermore, for those who are into embedded systems, Robolink CoDrone has made it possible to program this device using the Arduino Computing platform. Whether you are learning how to code or want to test your coding skills in real-world applications, this device will get you started immediately. 

You can either use Python Script or Core Assembly Language to program this device. And don’t worry if you lose or break any of the parts during experimentation. All parts and peripherals are 100 percent replaceable. For a few bucks, you can purchase them from the Robolink website.

Robolink CoDrone Pro is Suitable For – 

This programmable quadcopter kit is for those who wish to learn to code while also having a ton of fun. Kids and older adults can make the best of this carbon fiber drone by getting their friends and peers to purchase as well. 

Social learning is the most effective and fun way to learn. For tutorials and free coding lessons, head over the Robolink site by clicking here.

Pros:

  • Perfect for first-time drone users.
  • One of the best drone kits for students learning embedded systems.
  • Propeller blade protectors included.
  • On its website, Robolink has made all the tutorials available for free.

Cons:

  • No physical instruction manual included in the package, although you can refer to the website for diagrams.
  • Not meant for people with no background and tech. Only for programmers.

3. Readytosky

Best Value

Readytosky is a drone company based in Shenzhen, China. The Chinese firm has come up with some innovative and affordable quadcopters and its accessories over the past ten years. Just like Robolink’s CoDrone Pro, this product, too, has an open-source design. Meaning, anyone–irrespective of their location–can program the drone as per their needs. 

Since this is just a frame kit, you won’t find parts and components like a flight controller, high-speed motors, and remote control with it. Readytosy does provide other basic elements like a 250mm quadcopter frame kit, lipo battery strap, and 5045 3-blades propellers. You don’t have to go hunting for essential parts that fit well with this particular frame kit.

Carbon fiber is the primary material used in making the DIY frame kit. All four arms are 4mm thick (far thicker than arms of other budget-friendly drone kits). Further, there is amply space provided to fit the HD camera. Also, care has been taken to keep the cables from interfering with the camera view. This FPV quadcopter from Readytosky is one of the best in the price range.

Readytosky is Suitable For –

The low price of this product allows even a school student to learn the fundamentals of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). A low-cost drone kit also makes sure you don’t have any fear of failure while learning–all parts are replaceable for cheap. 

Older adults can use this drone either for recreational or professional purposes. Needless to say, you will have to invest in an HD camera to use this drone for supervision or video recording. 

Pros:

  • 4mm frame arms. A lot thicker than even what the best drone kits have to offer.
  • Durable and lightweight carbon fiber frame.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Ample space reserved for the flight controller. 
  • The spacers are made from lightweight and reliable aluminum alloy material.

Cons:

  • No camera mount provided. 
  • It is difficult to find spare arms with 4mm thickness.

4. QWinOut F550

Best Value Runner-Up

As you can see from the above image, QWinOut F550 is a hexacopter. Meaning, it comes with a total of six arms, each arm supported by propeller blades. Thanks to DJI, the quadcopter is the most popular multirotor configuration among drone enthusiasts. On the other hand, the two additional arms in a hexacopter make it possible for it to carry heavy payloads.

Do you intend to shoot high-definition crystal clear videos from the sky? Well, an HD camera is usually heavier than a regular camera and, as a result, needs more lifting power. This hexacopter from QWinOut offers greater efficiency, strength, and stability, especially when carrying heavier payloads. QWinOut F550 is an aerial photographer’s dream.

The package comes with an F550 Hexa-rotor airframe kit, flight controller V5.5, 30A brushless ESC, 3300mah lipo battery, A2212 1000KV 13T brushless outrunner motor, and a few other necessary accessories. The KKmulticopter 2012 flight controller comes with permanent software programmed into a read-only memory. This is not a programmable DIY drone kit.

QWinOut F550 is Suitable For –

The manufacturer has made it quite clear in the instruction manual that QWinOut F550 is not a toy drone. It is not supposed to be handled by children under age 14. Older adults with no prior drone piloting experience should seek external consultation. You don’t want to hurt yourself, someone else, or public property during the flight. 

Pros:

  • More efficient, robust, and reliable than an average quadcopter kit.
  • Comes with the popular KKmulticopter 2012 flight controller.
  • Aerodynamically designed frame. 
  • There are tons of tutorials on Youtube that will help you assemble this DIY kit.

Cons:

  • The basic version does not come with a battery and remote control.
  • No instruction manual provided. 

5. Gilobaby Stem

Best Budget

Gilobaby Stem is one of the most affordable DIY drone kits in the market. Compared to other expensive drone kits like Propel Ocula HD and my Hubsan H501S, this product has a lot of offer. Indeed, you cannot compare the quality of this drone kit with some of the premium ones, but it compensates for the apparent weaknesses with high performance.

On flying this drone for the first time, you will realize how stable, fast, and responsive this machine is. This is what makes it the best quadcopter kit for STEM students. They get to learn and experiment without encountering unnecessary hurdles. Like every other DIY drone kit, this one comes without a camera, although they have provided a sturdy camera base.

The feature-rich remote control is shaped like a gaming joystick with ergonomically placed buttons. The essential functions like Headless Mode, Front Light Control, and Emergency Stop are placed at the left-hand thumb region. They have also provided a knob switch for Throttle Control. Further, the entire right-hand area is for Directional Control.

Gilobaby Stem is Suitable For –

I won’t call it a toy drone kit, although the manufacturer does state in the instruction manual that this drone is also suitable for kids around age 14. Primarily, this product is marketed for students who dream of making a career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field

Having said that, this drone kit does come with advanced features like Headless Control Mode and Altitude Hold Mode. Also, there are some fancy functions like 3D rolling, which makes it possible for the drone to perform flips and rolls at command.

Pros:

  • The features are comparable with the best drone kits in the market.
  • Ergonomically designed remote controller.
  • Also suitable for those who like to have fun. Can perform 360-degree flips and rolls.
  • Comes with Altitude Hold and Headless Mode.

Cons:

  • Weak battery life.
  • The motors get heated after extended use.

6. Go On 123 DIY Mini RC Toy Quadcopter

Best Budget Runner-Up

This DIY drone kit is from a manufacturer called Go On 123. It’s not one of the most popular drone kits among the drone enthusiasts, but it’s rich-features, durability, and affordability are good enough reasons to include it in this list. Just like any other DIY drone kit, this one too comes with remote control and a quadcopter multirotor configuration.

In the Battle Mode, this drone is capable of taking itself out of the firing land and decides to land on its own. It will land on the default landing spot. During the battle games, two or drones (carrying dummy weapons) shoot at each other, intending to gain points. Remember that the idea here is not to injure or wear the other drone down. On being shot, the Go On 123 DIY Mini RC Toy Quadcopter performs an exciting routine.

On being hit by a bullet, the drone hovers in a circle and gets back to the launching pad. Subsequently, being shot the second time, it hangs around two circles and gets back to the landing spot. The more it gets shot, the more circles it makes. The cycle restarts after the fourth hit. This routine lets the players keep count of the points.

The drone kit can be put together within 30 minutes. Although Go On 123 is a Chinese manufacturer, they made the instruction manual available in English. You will also find detailed images all labeled in English. You should even know that some parts of this quadcopter kit may require soldering, which is quite easy to learn. You can watch this video by ElectronHacks to know more about it.

Go On 123 DIY Mini RC Toy Quadcopter is Suitable For –

Go On 123 DIY Mini RC Toy Quadcopter is designed for those who like to play outdoor battle games. Needless to say, you and friends need to have drones manufactured by the same company. 

Also, as you would already know that as a drone gamer, you must always be backed by the manufacturer. Go On 123 offers prompt customer service. If deemed necessary, they are also willing to replace the entire kit.

Pros:

  • Play multiplayer games with Battle Mode on.
  • Assembly takes less than 30 minutes.
  • One of the rare drone kits that come with a built-in 480p camera.
  • Enabled with multiple necessary functions. 

Cons:

  • The propeller blades are a bit fragile. You need to keep replacements ready in case of a collision.
  • Cannot assemble without a solder gun.

7. Top Race DIY Drone

Best Cheapest

Get started with your journey as a drone pilot today with the DIY drone kit from Top Race. This is a 100 percent toy drone. This product comes with 54 leg-style pieces. These pieces can easily be put together to build a custom drone. You can build the drone as large or as small as you want. The four high-powered motors are capable of lifting the entire structure without any issues. 

Furthermore, just because it’s a toy drone does not mean it doesn’t come with all the advanced features. In fact, you will be surprised by how far this quad can fly from the location of the controller (165 feet). You can switch to Headless Mode or fly in Altitude Hold Mode with a click of a button. Plus, you can also try out fancy functions like 360-degree flips and rolls.

By the way, don’t be under the impression that the lego pieces may fall apart upon a collision or a crash. The pieces fit nice and snug. They are also designed to stay together amid bed weather conditions. The whole idea is to allow users to build their own FPV quadcopter with a frame kit and HD camera. You don’t need to be an electronics engineer to be able to put this thing together.

Top Race DIY Drone is Suitable For –

Top Race DIY Kit is usually used by schools and educational institutes to make the students aware of the endless possibilities with technology. Parents can give this kit to their kids to encourage them to learn more about the STEM field

Besides, as I stated earlier, this drone also comes with all the standard functions required to use it for professional purposes. So, even adults can find it useful.

Pros:

  • Kids can have fun building this DIY drone.
  • Comes with 54 replaceable lego pieces.
  • Bright LED light provided for flying after sundown.
  • Has a flight range of 165 feet. 
  • Free shipping in the United States.

Cons:

  • Does not offer the same level and control and stability when used indoors or in a confined space like a basement.

How Can I Make a Homemade Drone?

So, you have decided to build a custom homemade drone. Considering the price that most ready-to-fly drones come for, there is only one reason you must be feeling the need to build their own drone from scratch. Maybe you have some unique requirements. 

Here is a list of components and parts you will have to purchase. You can get them in a local electronics store or online.

Sr. NoItemQuantityAmount (US Dollars)
1Flight controller112
2High-speed motors440
3Electronic speed control (ESC)460
4Propeller blades412
5GoPro Action camera1150
6Lithium-ion battery 230
7micro SD card130
8Connecting cables8
9Radio control (RC) receiver115
10Frame13
Total19360

Once you have all the essential parts in one place, you can begin the installation process. Note that it’s you who will decide the correct configuration for all the parts, as mentioned earlier. 

How far do you want your drone to fly? Do you wish to record 1080p HD videos or 720p average quality ones? Also, take into account the overall size of the drone–pick the ready-use frame based on that. Besides, there are ways to build the frame from scratch, but I don’t recommend doing it unless you are an artisan or a woodworker.

How to put together the parts and pieces? 

  • Begin with attaching the propeller blades to the respective high-speed motors. The blades come with a mechanism that allows you to screw-tight the blades to the spinning head of the motor. 
  • Next, connect the motors to the individual arms of the frame kit. Ready-to-use frames come with holes. 
  • Further, connect each of the motors to an Electronic speed control (ESC). An Electronic speed control (ESC) is a mediator between the motors and remote control. 
  • Once you affix the ESCs, make some space in the center of the frame for the Flight Controller. A Flight Controller listens to the signals sent by the remote controller and directs the motos accordingly. By the way, flight controllers have easy-to-spot and labeled slots where the ESCs and motors can be connected via connecting cables. 
  • Finally, it’s time to install a software that will allow you to test the entire setup. LibrePilot is one of the best open-source software suites to control and test a quadcopter. You can find the in-depth documentation here.

How Much Does It Cost to Build Your Own Drone?

The total cost of building your own drone entirely depends on the quality of images or videos you desire. GoPro action cameras are known to capture high-quality videos even at high speed. However, the cheapest GoPro action camera comes in the $150 price range. Even less expensive alternatives are available online, but you will have to compromise on content quality. 

In the earlier section, I have mentioned the average price of each part. Parts like flight controllers, motors, propeller blades, etc. are available for cheap. Most of these parts are imported from countries like China and Taiwan, and they all work fine. 

If you seek much higher quality, efficiency, and reliability, you can opt for companies that manufacture parts in the United States itself. They will also offer you better customer support. Needless to say, you will have to pay a higher price. In conclusion, building the best drone at home will cost you around $360.  

Conclusion

The primary purpose of DIYing a drone is to learn the fundamentals of electronics while also having a ton of fun. In addition, those needing a drone tailor-made for their unique needs too can benefit from a DIY drone kit. 

Hence, I would suggest buying a frame kit instead of a conventional drone kit. The one from Readytosky is perfect. It is made from high-quality carbon fiber material. Also, the price is lower than any other frame kits available in the market.

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