Seeing the AR Parrot drone sparked interest for me in the field of POV flying and even UAV drones, and so searching around a bit, I found this site.

I have two questions, one, having viewed the SenseFly Swinglet (What appears to be a minimalist wing with a single motor), I have to ask if a similar project could be accomplished for less than the retail value of 9,000 dollars, which seemed ludicrous.

The other question, is what parts/expertise would I need, and what cost time/money would I need to build a project with the following functions:

Self Stabilizing,

Fixed Wing(Or Quadrocopter, whichever undertaking is cheapest)

Multi-Waypoint Auto Pilot
-and-
POV live video feed Flying as an option (What would the range and or latency be on a live video feed?)

Radio Controlled capability as a backup. Also, if possible, and preferably, controlled via laptop.

I am completely new to the hobby, and would like to know what modern technologies exist, and or do not exist, to accommodate the above features, and a Ballpark estimate as to how much I should expect to sink in to this hobby over the short and long term.

Many Thanks to the DIY Members, I enjoy reading the articles and such!



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Hi Aaron,

Under $9K. No problem. More like $1K with all of your requirements met, if you are thrifty. Radio control via laptop is a bit of work and additional expense. POV video can be done and the latency is maybe close to zero. Range of a couple miles will still fit in the $1K budget.

How much to sink into the hobby in the long run? How much do you have - LOL!
The 9K was more a response to the ludicrous price of the Swinglet.

Would it be possible to develop a UAV similar to the Swinglet? It appears that given the material that it's made from that It should be relatively inexpensive to replicate.

And If the swinglet is something speacial that no one can duplicate or make something similar to it and its capabilities, then yes, constructing a Quadrocopter would be probably my next move of interest.

You mentioned $1K, for something simliar to what I'm asking for. Would something like that be able to fly in the Winter cold? I'm in NC, near Charlotte, so they aren't that bad, but say I wanted to fly around and just get some snow pictures, could it still stabilize?

Also, Would that Copter be able to do waypoint flights with video and or picture capture?

I have no radio controller. All I have is a few K in savings and an itch that needs to be scratched with this hobby!

Oh, one more, seeing as that I've never wired anything before, are there any kits, or 'almost complete' copters and or drone planes around that cost?
EDIT: And by range, I Dont mean how far it can fly, I mean the distance that I would still be able to receive lag free video feed, and also is the general battery life around 30 minutes? From what I'm viewing that seems to be about right.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CajNT7BBdFA

This guy says he has $800 into this rig not including the Radio.

Bill
The Swinglet is not a "hobby drone" it is a commercial tool to be used to make money. A lot of research, time, sweat and tears goes into creating a system like that. While it may appear over priced (and they usually are) a large portion of the price goes to recover the cost of development, testing, research and runnig a business.

Building a "hobby drone" for under 1000 is way different from building a flight dependable, money making system to be sold, supported and entrusted to commercial undertakings.

And no , I am not associated with any commercial builders. I am just now getting materials together to put together my first Easy Star UAV.

Feel free to search the forums and blogs for more information, see here for a really great place to start http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/a-newbies-guide-to-uavs .
If you want to mainly do photography, I would stick to a fixed wing system to start. Really, check out the Easy Star. Your biggest costs will be RX, TX, APM IMU (for stabilization and waypoints). the airframe is kind of secondary and relatively inexpensive at our scale of things.

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