Newbie looking for DIY help

First post...

I'm a photographer looking to get into flying a hexa/octocopter for aerial filming purposes. I have about a year of experience with video, working on commercial spots all over the midwest. 

My only flying experience is with a small Blade copter. While I know there will be a big leap from that to a multi rotor copter, I figure I just need to dive in. 

So my question is, where can I go to put together a solid list of parts to build one. I don't have the funds to drop $10,000 on a RTF product. I want to learn how everything works. I think building my own will greatly benefit me. 

I know I can google "building an octocopter". But I need to know what parts are better than others. What I can sacrifice as far as the BEST and MOST EXPENSIVE  parts. Where I will be fine with getting an off-brand part. And where is the best place to purchase the parts. 

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. 


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  • We want you to succeed but the path to success is built incrementally in this game.

    If you really want to see a DIY Octo, you should look over Robert L's build. He is very experienced and still had problems with his...mostly motors, props. It makes very good, if long, reading.


    • Anyone have any input on the "Mystery" brand of copters?

      I did an eBay search for the Flamewheel F450, and there were some listings that popped up that had the band name of Mystery. Basically looked like a generic version of the flamewheel.

      And since I don't know much about all the electronics, I'm not sure if this would be worth looking into (because of its price), or if I should avoid it. 


  • Thank you all for your recommendations. I really appreciate it.

    • Hi Michael,

      Just found your thread and wanted to see if you've made any progress. I'm in the exact same boat you were a month ago. Itching to get started but just haven't clicked "buy" yet. I was going to take the above advice and buy the F450 kit ( What did you end up doing?

      Any advice for me?

      Thanks a million!


      • Samuel - 

        I, like you, have yet to press "buy". I'm still debating… I do think the 450 is the way to go. 

        It's a hard choice!

        • It is a hard choice! 

          The APM 2.6 is so expensive too. I think I'll go with the KK2 but it looks scary. I'm not so confident that I can put this thing together properly.

          Would love to see a complete DIY basic setup list.

  • Because it may be very gone, or destroyed quickly.   Good luck.  Start slow and low cost.  There is so many factors and learning curves that go into these things.  There is a reason a good camera ship costs a pile of money and may still end up in a pile.

  • In fact, there is excellent support on this site for that product (and its little brother).


  • Hello Michael!

    An octo for your *first* platform is probably not a good idea...especially if you want to DIY and build it.

    I recommend starting with a DJI F450 kit and a 6 channel RC Tx you can afford.

    We kinda like APM here (if you don't know) for the control electronics but for a starter quad, even a KK2 or the like will work

    With that hardware, if you decide this is not your cup of tea, you can sell it easily -- as long as not totally wrecked.

    With a F450 size, you can loft many small cameras and get a feel for the craft.

    Then if you are really feeling confident, start collecting stuff for the octo. You will be able to use the RC TX (transmitter) on both.

    Taking pictures from the air really involves two crafts - flying and the other part you already know. That is why you often see, in other countries, a pilot and a cameraman.

    Let's see what others recommend and welcome!


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Shivchand Jaysaval liked Shivchand Jaysaval's profile
Aug 25