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Old Sep 23, 2012, 05:28 AM
bobepine is offline
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Quad Building Tutorial for Beginners with Videos

Alright so a few people have asked if I could put together some instructional videos on how to build a quad. I thought "why not." So here it is... Below I will post some relevant information with a series of videos that will show you, step by step, how to build your own quad. The instructions are based on using a KK2 flight controller as I believe it is the easiest flight controller to setup for beginners.


First, let's make a list of what you will need to build your own quad.

1- Frame: There are many frames to choose from that are easy to assemble. Prices, sizes, and quality varies. The motors are ESCs you will choose for your build will depend on what frame you choose to use. And of course, you can build your own frame, too! This will be discussed in the first video shown below.

2- Flight controller: In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to setup the KK2 board. Much of the information shown in the videos are standard and apply to most flight controllers, but you will find specific instructions pertaining to the KK2 flight controller in this thread and in the videos shown below.

3- Brushless Motors: There are tons of motors to choose from out there. They start as cheap as 6$ per motor all the way to over 100$ per motor. The cheap ones work well. You can get decent Turnigy motors from or equivalent low priced RCX motors from and the price is more or less 10$ per motor. Note that you need to choose motors that have the right specifications to fit a purchased frame. The motors also need to have specification suitable for the weight of your frame and the size of battery you wish to use. If unsure, post your questions in this thread and myself or someone else will chime in to point you in the right direction.

4- Electronic speed controllers (ESCs): The ESCs you choose have to be a good match for the size quad you are building. In other words, they have to be the right ones to run your motors. Not all ESCs are suitable for quadcopters. I recommend using HobbyWing Skywalkers ESCs or HobbyWing Flyfub ESCs as they work really well and you won't need to flash a firmware on them to have nice flying characteristics. You may read the terms "SimonK" ESCs quite often when reading about ESCs used on quadcopters. These are basically ESCs that have been flashed with a modified firmware to optimize the performance. They are the best ESCs you can use for a quadcopter and they are now sold by several online hobby stores. That said, the difference between the SimonK ESCs and the HobbyWing ESCs is minimal. Again, if you are unsure what ESCs to buy, post your questions in this thread and we will try to point you in the right directions. And of course, other users are free to post their recommendations.

5- Propellers: Sizes vary. If unsure, tell us what you plan to build and we can offer suggestions. As a beginner, do stay away from expensive or from carbon fiber props, though. These are too hard and you'll end up bending motor shafts.

6- Propellers adapters: Most brushless motors that are suitable for quadcopters come with props adapters. They can also be purchased separately.

7- Bullet connectors: 3.5mm bullet connectors are most commonly used on quads that are between 250 to 600mm from motor to motor. If you are planning to build a very small quad with12 amps ESCs or less, then 2mm bullet connectors will be a better choice.

8- Heatshrink tubing: You will need to use heatshing tubing to insulate the bullet connectors and also to insulate other connections on your power grid. This will be briefly discussed in the videos below. Stay away from using electrical tape as the stuff tends to come apart when you least need it to. Heatshring is inexpensive so get some and do this right.

9- Connectors: These will be used on a power harness (optional) and you will also need one on your power grid to connect your batteries to the quad. Choosing connectors will depend on the size of your quad and personal preferences. You'll also need connectors to connect your receiver to the flight controller. This is shown in the videos below. Post your questions if you're unsure.

10- Batteries: Most quads use Lipo batteries. Choosing the right batteries for your setup is important if you want to have decent performance and flight time. Post your questions if you're unsure.

11- Battery strap (Velcro). Sizes vary. This is self explanatory.

12- Plastic ties: These are often used to secure the ESCs to the quadcopter's arms and to secure wires where needed.

13- Charger: Most hobby grade quads use batteries with multiple cells so using a proper balanced charger is highly recommended.

14- Soldering equipment: You'll need a good solder gun or better, a decent soldering station. This is discussed in the videos below.

15- Receiver (RX/TX): You need a receiver that is compatible with your radio. Erm... And yes, you need a radio, too.

16- Silicone wires: Size will vary depending on what you're building. Post your questions if you are unsure.

17- If I forgot anything, please let me know, guys, and I will update this list.


Ok... So now that you know what you need, you can go ahead and watch the videos below.

Have fun building your quad (and flying it!) and I hope this is helpful to you.

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Last edited by bobepine; Sep 23, 2012 at 09:21 AM.
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