Welcome, Commercial Drone Pilots!
Join our growing community today!
Sign up

How many DIY flyers in here

Tim Jones

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2018
Reaction score
Frisco Texas
It is tough to beat some of the modern equipment out there. But it is expensive.
How many folks are building their own?
Here is my current build, It is a Pixhawk 2.1 based rig, with a 3dr solo brain. Flying a ZCam e-1 as the payload
Will later be tasked to also carry lighting

nice how much? If you don't mind me asking? Anticipated flight times with batteries and type bat?
flying with 4s 10000 mah cheap batteries right now
should get around 20 minutes.
Will be done in about another month.
All in about 1100 bucks but I found some tremendous deals
I got those motors, normally 75 bucks for 30, and the camera sells for 500 got it for 199.
the gimba sells for 300+ got it for 165
the big issue with DIYs, is what does the future hold for such craft.
It would not be inconceivable that at some point the FAA requires them to be inspected for air worthiness. Not even sure that is not a bad idea.
Currently you can still register them but with the FAA who knows what future regulations hold in store
I like it! looks great and can't wait to hear how it does. Unfortunately I am one of those people who would probably go to the ER using duct tape, let alone actual tools! If the FAA ever does require some kinda inspections it will just be a money grab, imho.
It looks great, congratulations :)

I have the same concerns. In my case with AESA in Spain. Last month the new regulations were approved and it is still not clear what will happen to the drones you are making yourself o_O
  • Like
Reactions: Tim Jones
While any government intervention is likely concerned with grabbing ones money, there is the possibility of an interest in safety, and of course control. Not your control of the drone so much as government control over you.
Nice work, keep us posted to your progress, I have been building my own racing quads for a bit now and have been thinking about something like you are doing for the future. Would love to have an unrestricted photo/video platform.
That's really cool, Tim. I wish I had the knowledge and skills to build DIY. But I will be interested to follow your exploits.
It is my belief that we will all have to have some kind of transponder on our birds. I've read DJI is investing heavily in that direction; maybe why we haven't seen a Phantom 5. Bigger fish to fry.

Overall and even weighing my distrust of the government, I think it is a good idea, especially in crowded urban environments and would be a real boon for S&R.

Imagin your app showing all nearby traffic?!
Looks cool! I haven't ever built my own quad, but I would like to someday. It would be good experience. A raspberry pi would be a great "brain" for a drone because you can add as much hardware as you want.
the big issue with DIYs, is what does the future hold for such craft.
It would not be inconceivable that at some point the FAA requires them to be inspected for air worthiness. Not even sure that is not a bad idea.
Currently you can still register them but with the FAA who knows what future regulations hold in store

Even the "consumer" rigs on the market will experience the same issues with government certifications. To the best of my knowledge DJI is the only consumer market company performing certification work and most all of that is based around tracking technology for them to promote to regulators for incorporation into the regulatory process. Large aerospace companies started sending their new component design to the ASME for certification testing a couple years ago but at our level I don't know of anyone doing so. Perhaps Intel with their Falcon system and a few others at the very high end level but certainly nobody that's importing drones from China for sales in the general drone market.

It may well turn out that a DIY builder might end up ahead of the game. As the ASME (which has already been designated by our FAA as a "Pathfinder" and approved testing agency for certification purposes) completes individual component tests and provides approvals the DIY builder could pick and choose from the certified and approved lists to incorporate those components into their builds. Those mass producing complete systems would have to submit complete systems for certification testing, which most will not do because of the cost involved.

One thing is absolutely certain; as "certifications" become a mandate our costs will rise exponentially, driving most of those currently operating out of the commercial market because they will not be able to afford the equipment, or have the time and personnel to keep up with other requirements. What will happen is those looking to make money operating drones will have to extremely well financed, and heavily staffed in areas of maintenance, training, safety and system improvement before entering the commercial market. I hate to say it again, but as long as we remain divided as a group there is little or nothing we can do about the shape of things to come.
  • Like
Reactions: Tim Jones
Thanks everyone, I am putting together a Youtube channel called Average Joe Drones, where I will be giving introduction type videos on how to build that copter.

Pat I so agree. While the FAA is showing signs of trying to keep up the industry is still changing very fast. And we lack a single trade group to organize under
wow if you handle the politics of it all, then the rest is a piece of cake. :):)
I had a business, government contracting. Harris Corp was one of my projects. It was for Afghanistan assisting our Brother's from IED's, cant get any more specific than that. I had contacts with our Congressman and Senator. It was fun but you have to play their game.
I have contacts at LHM, maybe can get them to assist.
PatR is very keen about the political arena, he can be helpful also, hey PatR?
PatM is very well rehearsed writing articles and very intelligent, If he wants he can explain?
I know I'm putting you two on the line:)
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Tim Jones
I just hope they don't put such restrictions that the DIY craft can never be flown. I personally would have no issues submitting my builds to inspection.
As someone who owns both Ready to Fly and DIY, I would hold mine up to anything they are selling over the counter.
And I know how it is built and how it would fail.
One of the things I love about the X8s is they can suffer a motor loss and not go down. The build I am on now has redundant power, GPS, IMU, and Compass
I have consulted with the person who processes my official papers with AESA, the agency that manages the airspace in my country. Here we have the possibility to make a paper that allows us to "certify" DIY aircraft with similar characteristics to commercial aircrafts. There is a classification on similar weights, speeds, controllers, etc. Last month they issued new regulations and the concern was whether that would change it. In principle it remains the same so you can continue to use DIY drones. It has changed that they now want to make a manufacturer's registration and ask for more paperwork to check the aircraft they manufacture.
As the regulations are being copied from one country to another, I hope that in the US it will be the same or something similar and that no one will have trouble flying with the drones they themselves make.

New Posts

Members online

Forum statistics

Latest member