Hey guys! I'm new to this forum and I want to build my first drone. I'm good at tinkering with and building stuff whatever it may be. That being said I've got a restricted budget, ranging between 300-500$, what kind of tricopter can I build. 

Most important criteria are the following and in this order:

- Flight "quality" / stability for cinematic purposes (#1 priority)

- Battery life 

- Speed / Agility

- Range

- Crash resistance

- Looks / aesthetics 

I'm primarily looking for someone who owns a tricopter or knows a very good/proven list of parts I need to build a tricopter for my dad and my needs. All suggestions are sooooo appreciated. 

we will add FPV in the future but for now it is too expensive to have (I think) in my price range. A GoPRO Hero 3 will be mounted on and I would like a controller thing to move it up/down... 


Martin PS: a paypal surprise might be given to someone that brings what I'm looking for :)

PG03-Tricopter from Fran.jpg


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  • Those tutorials are really good. I've written one myself as well at http://kameradrohnekaufen.com. When you are first starting out it's vital to watch out for those mentioned.

    Kameradrohne Kaufen – Enjoy best moments of your life
  • I have a pretty good set of video tutorials on my website here: http://bit.ly/13G0iO6
    I've had a lot of people build their first drone using the parts I recommended, so I would see no reason why you wouldn't be able to follow along. Also, if you come across any issue while building, you can let me know on there and I'll make sure I get back to you.

    How to buy, build, and fly your first drone.
    • Thanks! Do you have any footage of the result and filming with it?

      • No, because the frame used isn't designed for carrying a camera, so after I was done, I immediately moved almost all of the electronics over to the frame I fly right now which is the QAV400. You can mount a camera to the SK450 frame, but most cheep frames won't give you good video footage, so I wouldn't recommend mounting a camera unless you just want to see what the video looks like.

        Here's my video of the QAV400 with all of the same electronics, but a better frame: http://bit.ly/1fAiGvW

        I wouldn't get an expensive frame for video or FPV until you learn the basics of flight though.

        QAV400 - Sport Flying | MyFirstDrone
  • I recommend obtaining the back issue of Make Magazine on Drones, Issue 37

    That will give you something to hold while you collect parts, etc for the project.

    If you are looking only for direct control electronics (RC only), you would not need and APM/Pixhawk type controller.  I *recommend* starting with APM/Pixhawk because, as Chris mentioned, it is easier to set up and can handle *any* configuration you could ever want. The Make issue discusses many, many aspects of building.

    Another $CA saving approach is to look in the Buy/Sell section of this site.

    There are several excellent Canadian members on this site - Robert Lefebvre in Ontario comes to mind first.

    If you need low budget (well, not really that low), the boys at FliteTest have their multirotor line of kit parts.

    Oh yeah, 3DR also has some great stuff too! ;)

    This group will help you all we can but, going the quad route is my recommendation.

    You can pick up a Flamewheel type quad airframe very cheaply.

    There is a huge learning curve to conquer and you really need a beater to learn to fly with that is not your primary camera ship. You will be told this multiple times from people that didn't think it so but, we can only suggest, you will learn it your own way.

    Welcome to the group!

    Build on!


  • Fellow DIYDrones member Stephen Dade ran a couple of 'Quadcopter Workshops' not long ago. His build manual and instructions will get you close but I think the total cost was more in the $800 range. But have a look at the info as it will give you an excellent start, if not almost all of what you need to know.

  • 3D Robotics

    Does it have to be a tricopter? Quads are often easier to set up. 

    • chris, shouldn't you be off doing ceo things? :P its cool of you to be helping people.

      martin, i recently built my first quad and walked through why i picked what i did (along with a few followup posts about why i've crashed and replaced parts). you can look at it here: http://wrlab.com/f450-parts/

    • I've been thinking about if I want a quad or tri, I like the fluidity of the tricopters in turning maneuvers. In my mind less parts means less cost and easier build. no? My dad and I won't have trouble making work, either way. 

      What do you recommend? I wanted a quad but the more I learn about tricop's the more they make sense.. 

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