Beginner drone options?

I am trying to get into the whole drone scene and just want to see if anybody here has any suggestions for a good place to star.I want to build a drone that can hold a gopro or something similar mostly for taking nice stable shots, I dont mean anything super great but it would be nice to maybe use it for my high school film class and make some of my own stuff on the side so 720p or 1080p. Does anyone have any good links on where I can learn more about the whole idea of building one?  I have watched a few videos already but I am not really sure about how to make sure everything will work together, like a frame and its motors and what type of controller to get. I guess what I need is to be pointed in the right direction if you could. Thanks

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones

Email me when people reply –


  • Why not buying 3DR IRIS+ or buy X8 quad kit parts (Legs, Body, Landing) and set it up with Pixhawk by ardupilot wiki and load parameters?

    I am happy that I bought RTF IRIS+ so that I could get into drones in no time and then decide which build is best for me. But buying IRIS+ is the way of knowing things from practice. When you buy parts, you only know the theory and through a lot of time and nerves building yourself. 

    My goals where the same, but know it changed to building only FPV racing drones, not bigger ;) 

  • Donovan,

    You might do better to buy a SOLO and have an RTF quad stable enough and techy enough to do what you want.  3DR make great stuff and my Hex is based around the Pixhawk as is the SOLO, however, DIY might not be the way to go if you are looking at this platform.  It looks like you might not be able to buy genuine 3DR DIY parts for much longer.  Please take a look at this thread

    You can buy a plethora of imitation 3DR parts, some will work OOB, some will work with a lot of tinkering and some will just not work at all.  If you go DIY, pick a platform that you can get genuine parts for.  Your wallet will thank you in the long run.



  • 100KM


    The easiest way to get a do it yourself autopiloted drone into the air is with the Bixler 3 foamy.    The bixler will easily carry a gopro.  I do it all the time.  Once you get the autopilot tuned up on the bixler you can put the gopro on it and be very confident that it will come back.

    Bixler 3 Trainer/FPV Foamy Almost Ready Fly  $ 65.34

    The Bixler is a fixed wing aircraft and a little harder to get the shots you want, but much more reliable than a quadcopter.   There are some tools like Microsoft's Hyperlapse that can make the unstabilized Gopro footage quite spectacular

  • My local hobby shop is very knowledgeable about building drones, they seem to like chatting about them too.  

    They're discontinuing them, if they haven't already, but the Iris + is both ready to fly & you need to tinker with it enough to learn about the parts.  It's kind of a hybrid drone, I can fix it.  I have a DJI Phantom 3 pro I'd have to send in. 

  • Donovan i got into drones by way of the 3DR Iris which is an all ready to go platform designed to work with gopro hero3+ and gimbal. I modified mine for mapping because as a photographer I've always wanted to capture the complex textures and shadows of land from above.

    I have to warn you that u should clearly define whether your interest is 1) learning how drones work 2) using drone for aerial cinema

    The reason I say this is because I learned quickly how the drone worked simply by taking the time to read about the components as well as one major crash that required rebuild. That's when I realized I was glad that I started with something ready to fly bc my soldering skills were not at all developed.

    Looking back on it, the best decision I made was to practice flying early by keeping things simple. If your serious about this, take the time now to buy a mini/micro drone, something that won't hurt you badly if something goes wrong and easily flies inside your garage or living room. The one I linked to is what I started on. I logged at least a handful of hours on that before I bought my Iris.

    Ultimately the more u know the greater at peace you will be w/ whatever you do in the air. That will always pay off for when your in a risky situation.

  • I agree, DIY is definitely going to cost you more but you will have the opportunity to make this your own. 3DR quadcopter is a basic start up for beginners. I would check that out of you have enough money. Good luck!

  • MR60

    Hi Donovan,

    According to my own experience, where I also started from scratch with about zero knowledge about drones, I started with a 3DR quadcopter kit to assemble. With the help of this community I learned to build it and make it fly (I should say take off , because I could not fly that thing really).

    I bought that kit two years ago for about 500$ ; I do not know if 3DR still sells them. I hope they do because they were excellent kits and easy to build.

  • Sounds like you are really interested in a flying camera.

    The videography aspect is one part, keeping a machine in the air is another part.

    Do you have any building experience or any RC aircraft experience? If none, you should locate local flyers/builders to help you. You will find them usually very happy to assist.

    What  is your budget?


    • I don't really have a set budget, I am open to upgrading in the future and I can always save or buy parts as I get the money. I want to build something that is good or has the ability to upgrade without having to completely start from scratch later.

  • Hi, building a drone by yourself is exciting, here are a few links to a resource with some DIY stuff:

    I hope these can help you. Here you can also read about how to forge aluminum parts instead of buying them. Good luck!

    ZMR 250 quadcopter. For novices from a novice.
    Now I'm about to assemble my first frame. This topic is quite new and popular. Instead of retelling what you can read online, I’m going to tell you a…
This reply was deleted.


Mike Whitney liked Mike Whitney's profile
Jul 19
DIY Robocars via Twitter
Jul 2
DIY Robocars via Twitter
Jun 26
Abdulatif Tlaib liked Ryan's profile
Jun 24
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @SmallpixelCar: First time at @wsraceways. After tuning @HokuyoUsa lidar signal and camera sensor on @NVIDIAEmbedded, my car was able to…
Jun 20
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @breadcentric: The handy bit about racing with self-driving cars is that one can type while the car is racing. Report from #AWSDeepRacer…
Jun 18
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @chr1sa: Our Bay Area @DIYRobocars meetup is now at 2,700 members. Next in-person events (in Oakland) are training day on July 17 and…
Jun 18
DIY Robocars via Twitter
Videos from the ICRA autonomous racing workshop are now available:
Jun 10
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @SmallpixelCar: Prepared race track for Warm Spring Raceways @wsraceways and looking forward to test my new car at RAMS RC @ramsaicar fa…
Jun 6
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @f1tenth: Trying out some nasty blocking maneuvers 🏎️🤖 #f1tenth #autonomousracing
Jun 5
DIY Robocars via Twitter
May 27
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @araffin2: I will talk this Saturday from 18:00 to 19:00 Paris time for the @diyrobocars community about learning to race in hours using…
May 27
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @a1k0n: Luckily the infeasible hairpin problem was easily reproducible in simulation and I could test the fix before bringing the car ba…
May 26
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @a1k0n: Another problem was that I was over-constraining the car's allowed accelerations, so it didn't think it could turn as tight as i…
May 26
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @a1k0n: Breaking the map up into two halves worked, but I had to be more careful about separating the inner track from outer. There's se…
May 26
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @a1k0n: Here's a datalog for my fastest lap of the day. Lap timer is tiny window lower-left.
May 26