Inexpensive platform for drone experimentation

I wanted to try an inexpensive platform for drone experimentation with APM 2.5, and I found that a plywood frame was suitable for my purposes.

Here is the part list:


Hobbyking Quadcopter Frame 680mm - $9.95


Turnigy Multistar 4822-490Kv 22Pole Multi-Rotor Outrunner - $30.99


Slow Fly Electric Prop 11X4.7SF (4 pc) - $3.64

Speed controllers:

Turnigy dlux 20A SBEC Brushless Speed Controller w/Data Logging (2s...

Total weight: about 1.5 Kg with 3000mAh 4S1P

I have a lot of free space on the frame and I can use it for video link devices and so on.

The quadcopter is pretty stable also in auto mode, and the motors-propellers system is quite efficient.

Battery life:

with 3000mAh 4S1P: 16 min
with 3000mAh 3S1P: 12 min
with 2200mAh 3S1P: 9 min

Please tell me your thoughts.

Views: 3178

Comment by MHefny on March 3, 2013 at 3:08pm

if u are looking for a very strong frame ... try this one

I made many crashes and it has never got broken ... 

Comment by Massimo V. on March 3, 2013 at 3:31pm

Thank you for your comment! It's a good idea. I used plywood because I am an air modeller and I like to play with wood. As any other fragile air model I hope to never crash it for the whole life service! :-)

Comment by MHefny on March 4, 2013 at 7:42am

i hope I can work with palsa one day ..... I want to build a spitfire .... but my skills is not good enough ....

if u have a useful tips or video I appreciate ur help.

Comment by Massimo V. on March 4, 2013 at 12:33pm

If you want to start you can buy a laser pre-cut kit (this frame is also a laser pre-cut kit) and follow the instructions. It's easy. If you have any doubt you can look for some videos on youtube, maybe specific for your kit. Good luck, it's very easy, you have simply to start! ;-)

Comment by MHefny on March 4, 2013 at 2:19pm

I will .... I just get a spitfire diagram and will start to work on it.... thanks :)

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on March 4, 2013 at 4:40pm

I love using plywood for hobby aircraft.

My 2nd build is a 'fat chassis' to reduce the length of the aluminum arms. The AC 'C' body plate is shown for reference.


The motor-to-motor distance will be the same as AC 'A' and 'B'. The lower section is for dual batteries.


Plywood is very inexpensive as compared to fiberglass or carbon fiber. Considering the life span of most of these aircraft, cheaper is better until my flying skills become optimum.

Build On!


Comment by Massimo V. on March 5, 2013 at 1:46pm

Thank you for sharing your pictures! Your quadcopter is a clear example of the "flexibility" of plywood: you can assemble whichever form you like in an easier way (compared to fiberglass or other "modern" materials). Imho it's the true spirit of DIY. And plywood is easier to repair and to reinforce where needed. 

For example under the motors I placed little pieces of aluminum:

I don't want to underextimate the benefits of fiberglass and carbon fiber. I like full size gliders and the advent of fiberglass was a revolution 40 years ago. But now in 2013 I love to fly on gliders made of plywood more than 50 years ago and they are still perfect after half century. And easier to repair after hard landings! The big part of the aircraft history is made by plywood and even now (and I think for the next years) plywood will play an important role in sport aviation. :-)


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