Make Your Own Gadget: From Idea To Reality

Taking the Plunge: Buying Some Parts

When push comes to shove, even the best-laid schemes can hit a dead end when it comes time to purchase the components for the first prototype, especially when you have no previous microcontroller experience, like in William's case, but he was confident and ambitious enough to take the plunge.

As with most prototype designs, component costs are a big deciding factor. William wasn't certain his design would fly, and even if it did fly, there was always the real chance that it could crash. There was no point in purchasing expensive parts without first proving the concept design, so he found the cheapest parts that he could which would require the least amount of modifications to his designs.

The motors are a key aspect of any copter. Ranging from $10 to well over $100 each, motors that are more expensive are generally more efficient and more powerful than their cheaper counterparts are, but in the case of William's prototype, neither power nor efficiency was essential, allowing him to select from the cheaper offerings.

Also integral to copter flight are electronic speed controllers (known as ESCs), which likewise vary significantly in price and quality, but again, there was no need to spend extra money on an unproven design.

Lastly, apart from the Arduino microcontroller and miscellaneous parts like propellers, batteries, etc., William needed gyros, which are used in remote-controlled helicopters with ESCs to enhance stability. Fortunately, they're relatively affordable, ranging from $10 to $50.

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  • s4fun
    How soon before we get manhacks running around everywhere? Darn where did I drop that the crowbar again....
    2
  • mlopinto2k1
    That thing is no joke! Props to that guy!
    2
  • quantumrand
    mlopinto2k1That thing is no joke! Props to that guy!


    Haha, "props" good one ;)
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  • frazik
    DAMN i hope he patents this thing,,, hes just invented something the US air force has been trying to do for years! -- fast , highly mobile helicopters with excellent hovering capabilities.
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  • quantumrand
    frazikDAMN i hope he patents this thing,,, hes just invented something the US air force has been trying to do for years! -- fast , highly mobile helicopters with excellent hovering capabilities.


    He could patent it, but I think he's more interested in the concept of free exchange. You can pretty much find all of the information you'd need, including blueprints and source codes to build your own tri-copter right on his blog.
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  • hardcore_gamer
    *thumbs up* dude =D
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  • martyn
    Real something, not easy part to balance and stabilise whole thing. My hat! I will love to gev it a try my self. Using William's article as starting point...
    A new hobby is born?
    :P)
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  • Anonymous
    Whoa... Cool...
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