$40 Quadcopter Frame DIY

I spent $42 at Lowes and RadioShack.  It took about 3 hours to build.


                                                22'' motor to motor

                                                4.75'' Tall

                                               360 Grams3689400985?profile=original

Parts List:                                                                     

Qty.           LOWES

1       1/16 thick ( 3/4 x 3/4x 48'')  AL  square tube                                                                          $16.68

1      Aluminum Fire Exstinguisher Sign 4''x16''       $3.96

2      1/16 thick 1/2 x 36'' flat stock                        $5.36

1      50count 5/32 AL rivets                                  $2.90

14    8-32 x 1 1/2 Nylon Machscrews                     $4.50

24    8-32 Nylon Nuts                                            $4.50


1       6x8'' Prepunched PerFBoard                        $4.00

                                                        Total         $41.90

I used silicon to help dampen Vibrations.                              Fisished Quad Chassi      



 ARM & IMU fit nice and snug.


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  • @ Russel - thanks for the follow up.  I just finished my "towel bar" quad.  Was fairly easy to build and seems very rigid, but I'm also worried about the weight.  I saw in one of your photos that you drilled holes in the towel bars.  Was that to lighten the bars?  If so, did it help much?  I'm wondering if I should try that, or if I should just move to Carbon Fiber arms like you did.  Did you fly your "Foam Quad" yet?  Do you have any weight info (eg, weight of frame without holes, weight of frame with holes, weight of Foam Quad frame)?  Also, how did you attach the four arrows to each other in the center?

  • @ darrin  It was good.... just not as light as I wanted.  I have now moved on to Foam and CF arrow shafts

    Foam Quad

  • Russell- Thanks for the info.  Did you ever finish this project and fly it?  I'm curious of the final outcome.

    I crashed my Arducopter on its 2nd flight and I'm having difficulty with replacement parts.  DIYdrones store is out of stock on arms, doesn't carry motor mounts, etc. and the JDrones store takes too long to get items to me and the shipping is expensive.  I'm also expecting there to be future crashes, so I want to find quick/local/inexpensive options without having to order online, etc.  So I've been thinking of trying to replace parts using Home Depot, Lowes, Radio Shack, etc.  That's why I'm curious if this design worked for you.  I bought 24" x 5/8" square tube towel rods from Home Depot yesterday for the arms, but they seem a little light weight compared to the original Arducopter arms.  I was also considering either mounting the motors directly onto the arms or cutting some rectangular pieces from Home Depot plexiglass for the motor mounts.


    Anyway, I'd appreciate an update on the status of your Lowes/RadioShack project when you get a chance :-)

  • Hmmm. Silicone... Nice idea, might try that with regular screws.
    Perhaps even motor mounts.
  • @ Ante, weight, Rivets becuse they're strong and light.  I use a small dab of silicone @ each rivet joint to prevent vibration.  Rivets are removable with a drill bit,  Large Aircraft are 100% rivets and Aluminum. 

    GhettoCopter haha I like it. :)  I'll post more pics later of the Chassi Rev. 1.1 later this afternoon.

  • Ghettocopter!
    I like it :)

    Why rivets instead of something removable and less vibration prone?
  • Moderator
    That's right, Russell. I know they're heavier, but try the aluminum towel rods from Lowes or Home Depot- they can still be riveted, like you have done, and will have zero torsion compared to the angle stock.
  • Vibration is a killer,  I agree with the square tubing idea, it's  less virabtion because it's more ridged and it's easier to work with.  I'might change it up before I consider it to be air worthy.  I'm also going to use small dab's of silicon to mount the electronic's to the prefBoard.  I will also use a small dab of silicone under the Magnetometer to help protect it from vibration and crash landings in the tumble weeds.  LOL

  • Is that angle aluminum?  You might want to look into using square tubing.  There is a couple old posts on here that shows the differences in vibration.  The angle is considerably more and affects the APM.  Thanks for the perf board idea.  I am going to use that on a APM plane project I am about to start.
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