3D Robotics

BlimpDuino home page


BlimpDuino is a very low cost open source autonomous blimp. It consists of an Arduino-based blimp controller board with on-board infrared and ultrasonic sensors and an interface for an optional RC mode, a simple gondola with two vectoring (tilting) differential thrusters, and ground-based infrared beacon.

It is available as a commercial kit from the Maker Shed or the DIY Drones store for $89.

[UPDATE: The current Blimpduino kit has been discontinued. Stay tuned for a new design in 2012]

  • What else you'll need
  • Instructions for making the kit are here.
  • Instructions for loading the code are here
  • Correct LED/servo/motor behavior modes are here
  • Instructions for using Blimpduino are here
  • The parts list is here
  • The discussion forum for teams using Blimpduino in the FIRST Robotics aerial robotics demonstration is here
  • If you want to build your own board from scratch, the necessary files and component lists are here
  • If you want to print out a cool DIY Drones sticker like the blimp above has, here's a pdf.



The Blimpduino board is the core of the kit. Features:

* 17 grams, with ultrasonic and IR sensors.
* Controls two motors and one vectoring servo.
* Built-in RC compatibility (can read two RC channels--throttle and steering)
* Designed for a 7.4v LiPo battery; has an automatic power cut-off at low voltage to protect the battery.

Here's the board with the ultrasonic sensor removed, so you can see the Atmega168 processor underneath it:


Here is a video of BlimpDuino in flight, using a breadboard version of the controller board:

At the moment, we're using Pololu IR beacons as the ground beacon, but we'll eventually release our own, open source, versions of them, too.

Here's the board on the gondola with vectoring thrusters and the optional RC receiver:


The commercial kit consists of the following:

--BlimpDuino board, with all SMD parts already soldered on
--Other through-hole components, to be soldered by user (easy)
--A very simple laser-cut plastic platform for the board, battery, optional RC receiver, and motor components
--A servo, gears and motor shaft for the vectoring (thrust tilting) function
--Two motors and props
--One IR ground beacon
--52" mylar envelope

The following is a chronological list of posts describing the development of the project. This is mostly for those who want to follow along and learn about Arduino-based robotics. If you're interested in autonomous blimp development and want to know more about BlimpDuino features, they will give you some insight into the evolution of this project.

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  • It seems like the Blimpduino is no longer available. So to get the board, you need to make it on your own.

    You can find another open source airship with largely available components here:

    1. i want to know about the blimp source , i mean where i can buy 2M blimp and is it possible to buy whole blimpduino ? where ? i need one :(  I am from Bangladesh and the the items are not available here. if possible please give me a source where i can buy blimpduino, Thank u  
  • 3D Robotics

    Any plans to make it autonomous?

  • We´ve just started the silent_runner DIY Kit for crowdfunding, have a look here: https://www.startnext.com/silent-runner

    It´s pretty different from the BlimpDuino but a good and robust airship platform to start with.

    Ein knappes Jahrhundert ist es nun her das Giganten der Lüfte den Himmel eroberten und unvergängliche Pionierleistungen in der Luftfahrt vollbrachten…
  • Gah, I knew I should have bought one before they were discontinued. SUCH a cool idea. Alright, time to make my own. Also, Pixhawk is a thing of beauty. Sooo easy to work with.

  • Dear Chris Anderson.can you give me information about blimp . what is the material of above blimp . I mean that  what it made from and how it constructed . thank you .  

  • After blimpduino died, you can have a look at the http://www.silent-runner.net/ project. It´s not yet autonomous, but pretty fast and it also features a flexible arduino for advanced controlling. We try to start from the very beginning and also included some tutorial how to build your envelope. It is still work in progress, but probably the most comprehensive RC Airship guide.

  • Developer
    Thanks Chris,

    I'd really like to help out and I have this really good design in mind, but to get a blimp envelope in India is akin to impossible. If I somehow managed to get one, I'd help out. Perhaps someone here can help me.

  • 3D Robotics

    Blimpduino is no more. But we still love blimps and are working on a really advanced 32-bit SLAM design, which might be in beta by the end of the year. No promises--it's hard--but definitely still on the roadmap. 

  • Developer

    Is this project officially dead/legacy?

This reply was deleted.