T4 MiniDrone 250: Newbie Bill of Materials question

Greetings all.  First off, wanted to introduce myself to everyone.  I'm a 46 yr old dad trying to help my daughter build her first drone.  We decided to 3D print the T4 MiniDrone off of Thingiverse.  Here is the link:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:304237

Well after learning what components in general we need (props, ESC, power supply etc..), we started shopping around and just was overwhelmed with all the different choices.  I've learned the hard way (not by choice) of making mistakes and ordering the wrong things, so I want to try to avoid that error hopefully this time by asking people smarter than I.  Can anyone here recommend a list of components with actual names + links that we can order?  We want to order once and cry once this time.  As this is our first to break into the field of RC drones, we would like to keep it as cheap as possible.  That said, if there are some components like the Radio Controller (or the handheld remote controller) that can be used on other future drones, we could spend a lot more on that so we can ensure it's scaleable for future more advanced builds once we learn the basics off the first one.

Thank you in advance for teaching an old dog new tricks!

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  • Get a cheap but reasonably good transmitter that will last you for years and can be used across multiple models. Personally, I am quite happy with FRSky stuff, both the Taranis X9D and QX7 series have enough functionality to keep you happy for a very long time.

    Give some thought to the flight controller. For a mini drone, you should probably go for something cheap and cheerful like boards worn by the racing drones and running something like betaflight. On the other hand, a board capable of running Ardupilot or PX4, will allow for more functionality but that will probably not really be important for a mini drone. Compromises with small footprint and low price but capable of running at least betaflight and Ardupilot (not sure about PX4) would be the Omnibus-whatever boards from this list (I have not tried betaflight but these boards should do both). For a more expensive but also more capable board with a small footprint you can try the various mRo boards (see here and here), pricier but kind of awesome (less fiddly to install than the Omnibus ones but also somewhat bigger).

    Having said that, you need to think about your use. If you want a drone to use for FPV and racing, no need to go beyond betaflight (you don't even need a GPS). If you want higher level functions (automated GPS missions, long range, larger vehicles, development etc) go for Ardupilot or PX4.

    betaflight.com - Home
    Betaflight is flight controller software (firmware) used to fly multi-rotor craft and fixed wing craft.
  • Tinkering is good, but not with frames. The frames are more critical than they appear. They must be extremely light weight yet also very strong and rigid. You daughter can use her CAD and 3D printing skills to make fixtures for housing the avionics including flight controller, telemetry radio, RC Radio, GPS, and many other components. If the frame oscillates or fails, the copter could come apart and cause injury. Check our our web page for more information: www.KashmirWorldFoundation.org

  • Ronald, My daughter loves to tinker when it comes to fabricating stuff.  She'll eventually move to the carbon frames for Version 2 but wanted to give this a go.  With that said, I did find some people on thingiverse that had components listed out but most of those had been discontinued.  It does give me a start with specs to look up when shopping around.  

  • Hi Kayaken. Printing your frame is often a bad start, unless you have an SLS printer. Start with an inexpensive carbon or glass filled nylon frame such as an F450. There are some good kits available that include everything you might need. 

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