Frame Material:

3/4" x 3x4" fir stick for the arms  (8 feet is enough)

Plywood for the center plate (~ 6"x18*)

Machine screws & bolts

6 Wiffle balls

Lots of cable binders


26" Motor to motor (can fit 10", 11" and 12" props)

6" Hexagon as the center plate (3 times)

Finished weight is about 5.5 lbs. (With my quad and the same build method and motors I was able to lift 8 lbs payload using 4S).

Build time for entire copter: 4 hours



9x with FrSky module and receiver

2x 4000mAh 3S, one powering 3 ESCs each (in a triangle, I'm hoping it could fly with only 3 motors in emergency)

6x 40A Turnigy Plush

6x NTM 35 1100 KV

10"x4.5" Props

Center plate pattern, drawn with Visio:

Pattern is super-glued on plywood and used to cut plates and glue arms in correct position.

Arms with center plate sandwich:

Power distribution level, will be covered with a third center plate:

Finished Hexacopter, maiden flight in the basement was successful. Will need some PID tuning. The noise is quite something ;)


Print hexagon pattern with arm orientation
Glue pattern on plywood
Use miter-saw to cut hexagons
Cut arms, one 28.5", four 13.5"
Super glue arms on one plywood plate matching arm pattern
Super glue second hexagon plate
Drill holes for machine screw and fasten
Drill holes for motors, 2 holes for each motor make sure distance to center is equal
Build power distribution with spider method (strip cables in middle, pull one cable through the other and solder. This yield a 4-end distribution, perfect for the hexa, 3 for ESCs and one for the battery, build 2 each)
Cover power distribution layer with another center plate
Attach motors, ESCs
Insert APM, receiver and batteries

Views: 8022

Comment by simonl on May 6, 2012 at 4:56am
Nice one. That's real DIY drone :)

Comment by John Arne Birkeland on May 6, 2012 at 7:11am

Keep it simple. Usually turns out to be the best approach :) I did an earlier quad build with pretty much exactly the same construction you have here. Only difference is that I used CF parts from HobbyKing instead of wood. Very ridged and flew well.

Just make sure you do some tests for EMF while running current trough the motors (you can use a normal compass or look at the APM sensors logs afterwards). Having the power cables crisscrossed like that with open space between the plus and minus cables can make a lot of EMF. And with the APM mounted on top with hardly any separation, this could be problematic.

Comment by Muthanna A. Attyah on May 6, 2012 at 8:17am

Hello, have look at what I have done earlier on this Link


Comment by Ellison Chan on May 6, 2012 at 9:22am

Nice build, but believe it or not, I find it harder to work wood than just cutting TREX tail booms with a plumbers pipe cutter.  No saw dust.

Comment by Andreas on May 6, 2012 at 12:04pm

Can a Hexacopter fly with 5 motors? I built this Hexacopter because I hoped to gain some redundancy compared to my quad. Today I tried to fly with 5 motors by disconnecting one ESC. However it's impossible to take off. From a pure performance perspective I know that 3 of these motors can lift the weight of the Hexacopter. However so far it's a no-go with the APM2 in stabilized mode.

Any other experiences / advice / tips?

Comment by Andreas on May 10, 2012 at 9:42am

@John Arne Birkeland  You bring up an important point. I moved the power distribution below the batteries and lifted the APM2 by another inch. I now have roughly 3 inches between the power distribution layer and the APM.

When plotting the "magnetic field" graph, there is a change (from 300 to ~350) when throtteling up. We then also repeated the test on a smaller quad with a different build method. The same change in magnetic field happened there. 

How much of this is normal/expected?  Better ways to shield the APM from power system induced magnetism?

PS: Am I becoming senile? I thought DIY drones had threaded comments, now I can't see any way to reply to a comment.

Comment by Ellison Chan on May 10, 2012 at 9:44am

No threading in blogs.  Only threading in discussions.

Comment by Steve Jones on February 28, 2013 at 7:30pm

This looks great..  Inexpensive, and not intimidating to build..  Now,..  Several months later - Are there any other lessons learned that you'd like to share?  I'm pretty new to this, but having built a Bumblebee quad frame with an Ardupilot 2, I would like to try a CHEAP, home-made hex or octo to try to get some more reliablilty, and/or maybe just a bigger quad with two motors on each leg, for more lifting strength.. 


Do you think a wooden frame like this would be scalable to put 2x 10" props on each arm?  Should I consider some other way?


Comment by Andreas on February 28, 2013 at 9:05pm

Hi @Steve

The frame is very sturdy. I don't think there would be any issues with a coaxial configuration. In a crash I broke a fence, but the quad was unharmed.

How to build a quad in 51 minutes:

Comment by Steve Jones on March 1, 2013 at 6:00am

Perfect!  That's exactly what I had hoped to hear!!  That's definitely the way I'm going to go then..  Time to order some motors - I had always wanted this to be more of a DIY hobby than just buying a kit anyway..  I'll give the Bumblebee to my Son as soon as my new motors and ESCs come in!!!

Thanks for the great info and video!!



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