Build your own quadrotor airframe from hardware store parts, then trick it out with stabilized onboard video and autonomous flight.

Written and photographed by Chad Kapper

Time Required: A Weekend Cost: Airframe: $30–$60 Avionics: $500–$800

There are essentially two configurations for a quadcopter: the “+” frame and the “X” frame. Here we’ve chosen to build an X frame so your onboard camera can have a clear forward view. We’ll take you all the way from building the airframe to adding autonomous flight capability with ArduPilot. Once you’ve got it working, you could program this drone, for instance, to automatically visit a ...

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