DIY Drone Summer Camp

We are interested in putting together a technology summer camp for HS (10-12) students where small teams actually build a working drone of some sort using existing designs/components. What low-cost designs would this group suggest? A multicopter would be really cool but I am not sure if we could come up with a truly affordable/survivable solution. Could we build a small AR.Drone sort of craft for $300? Would a rover be best to start with? Has anyone developed any sort of HS curriculum around drones? Is anyone interested in helping with this project?

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  • I think if you buy in quantity, the cheapest quadcopter would be around $410-430 each.  

    from DIY Drones store:
    APM 2.0- $199.95
    deans plugs- $3
    propellers- $12

    Turnigy 9x radio- $39.99
    Turnigy plush25 esc $12X4= $48
    motors $15x4= $60
    3s lipo- $30

    from Home Depot
    enough lexan for one quad- $15
    two 24" or 30" square aluminum towel bars from Home Depot- $8 or $10
    additional hardware (nuts and bolts)- $8

    from Radio Shack
    at least 14guage wire- $6

    This way you've got a quality setup that can be expanded upon by additional sensors and such later.

  • Building something like the EasyStar powered glider and using inexpensive components from places like HobbyKing, $300 for a finished DIY drone might be doable. The airframe could even be cut out of FanFold blue foam and hot glued together. Your local construction supply might even donate a block of FanFold. 

  • Jeb: I am in Atlanta, GA. You are right - $300 is really pushing the limit but is great goal to shoot for from an education perspective! More $$$ is probably likely but begins to limit involvement from a K-12 school perspective. This group is so talented I am counting on some out-of-the-box thinking about how to build a low-cost drone kit for education. Ultimately it may take some sort of sponsorship/subsidy.

  • The simplest option IMO would be to go with an arduplane, although I think you might have trouble building anything for $300.  We've been developing college level classes using arduplane for basic theory, so it's very doable.

    I'd be interested to help out.  Where are you located?

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