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

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  • It's great that you're interested in getting into the drone scene and building one for your film projects. Here are some steps and resources to help you get started:

    Research and Learning:
    Start with some basic research on drone components and their functions. Understanding the key parts like frames, motors, controllers, and cameras will be crucial. Websites like DIY Drones, FliteTest, and Oscar Liang's blog have valuable information for beginners.

    Choose the Right Frame:
    Look for a frame that can support the payload of a GoPro and provides stability. Carbon fiber frames are popular for their lightweight and durable characteristics. Examples include the F450 or F550 frames.

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    Select Motors and Propellers:
    Match the motors and propellers based on the weight of your drone. Generally, brushless motors are preferred for their efficiency. Websites like RotorBuilds and RCGroups can help you find suitable combinations.

    Flight Controller and ESCs:
    Invest in a reliable flight controller and Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs). Popular flight controllers include Betaflight and Cleanflight. Make sure they are compatible with your chosen frame and motors.
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  • 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.

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