me trying to understand how to build drones

Author: Sanket Sonavane

Publish Date: 2023-03-22

Last Updated: 2023-03-22

This is a live article i.e. as and when new information is observed or found it will be

  1. appended with time stamps to the end.
  2. corrected in place, if earlier documentation was incorrect.

After exploring the world of custom split mechanical keyboards powered by QMK and FDM 3D printers. How they work at a basic level and how various parts connect with each other at a hardware level and also understanding the software side of things the next thing I wanted to understand was how drones works especially fpv and freestyle drones. I was in for a surprise that there are myriads of possible builds and there is no right way.

While building a split keyboard there are so many good open source projects like sweep, lily58, sofle v2, corne and building them is getting the microcontroller, diodes if need be pcb and switches and keys and you are set. just flash qmk or zmk according to your needs and you have a working keyboard. PS. there is a lot more to it but these are the basics.

Similarly there is exceptional documentation for building FDM 3D printers like Voron, Ender3 series, Prusa's and using Marlin and Klipper as firmwares. There is ton of documentation and community support.

This is not the case while building a drone is the first thing I figured. There is a no specific drone standard like we have with keyboards or 3d printers. There are a ton of permutations and combination of various parts. Also when you like a particular part that you found and you want to use that for your build there might be a chance its out of stock because on the ongoing chip shortage. Yes its March 2023 and there is still a chip shortage. Hoping supply chain improves by end of year and we easy access to some of these amazing computing components and you can build your dream projects with the right components.

what type of drone I wanted to build

After a lot of reading and understanding what type of drones are there this is what I understood.

I want to build a FPV Freestyle Drone with a frame size 5inch

what makes a drone

There are ton of things that make a drone.

NOTE: I am still learning and I am documenting this to the best of my current knowledge.

Here is the list

  • Carbon Fibre Frame (this is the chassis on which everything sits)
  • Stack (combination of FC and ESC) (they also come as individual units)
  • FC Flight Controller
    • Powered by STM32 F405/F722/F745/H7 chips
  • ESC Electronic Speed Controller
  • VTX Video Transmitter
  • FPV Camera
  • DJI Air Unit
  • GPS
  • Brushless Motors (various sizes and various KV)
  • Propellers
  • 6S Battery LiPo
  • Battery chargers
  • Radio
  • FPV Goggles