Let’s get down to the important stuff: the exact parts to buy for your own quadcopter build. This post assumes you are starting from nothing (like me), you haven’t been doing RC stuff for years, and you don’t have spare radios lying around, etc. This is the parts list I came up with (and what I subsequently purchased) to build my first quadcopter.
My goals were to:
- keep the build cheap,
- learn a lot,
- spend as little as possible, and
- give myself some space to grow.
I also didn’t want to buy stuff that was so cheap that it killed my enthusiasm dealing with crappy parts. With those four goals in mind for my first quadcopter build, I set my budget at $350.
If you haven’t, check out some of my previous posts such as this basic overview of the main quadcopter parts and this overview of how to buy parts for your first quadcopter to get additional background.
Parts list for my first quadcopter:
From China (banggood.com):
- $33.36 : H250 ZMR250 250mm Carbon Fiber Quadcopter Frame
- $15.99 : OpenPilot CC3D Flight Controller Straight Pin STM32
- $89.55 : FlySky Upgraded 2.4G 9CH RC Helicopter Transmitter FS-TH9XB Mode 2 and Receiver
- $7.92 : 4 Packs of Gemfan 5×3 Inch Plastic 5030 Propeller CW/CCW
- $1.49 : Nylon Velcro Lipo Battery 2cm*30cm Ribbon Fastener
- $29.60 : SkyRC IMAX B6 Digital RC AC Lipo Li-polymer Battery Balance Charger
- $5.00 : Carbon Fiber Spare Arms For 250mm FPV Quadcopter
- $3.50 :CC3D Flight Controller Anti-vibration Damper Set
- $3.80 : Red and Blue LED Decoration Board Strip 3S
- $2.19 : 7.4V -11.1V RC Lipo Battery low voltage Alarm
- $6.85 : 280pcs Assortment Ratio 2:1 Heat Shrink Tubing *
From BuddyRC.com (US based)
- $23.98 : 4 x Velotech Magic Multirotor 12A ESC with 1A BEC (half off special)
- $71.80: 4 x SunnySky X2204S KV2300 Brushless Motor
- $47.85 : 3 Glacier 30C 1550mAh 11.1V 3 Cell Lipo Battery
- $4.80 : 3 meters Red and Black 12 AWG Silicon wire
- $2.95 : T Plugs (4 Pairs, Deans Compatible)
Miscellaneous from Amazon.com:
- $5.36 : Nylon 6/6 Hex Nut, Black, M3-0.5 Thread Size, 5.5 mm Width Across Flats, 2.4 mm Thick (Pack of 100)*
- $5.28 : Nylon 6/6 Pan Head Machine Screw, Black, #1 Phillips Drive, M3-0.5 Thread Size, 16 mm Length, Fully Threaded, USA Made (Pack of 100) *
- $12.83 : 120Pcs M3 Nylon Hex Spacers Screw Nut Stand-off Plastic Accessories Assortment White *
Shipping from all sources: $0.
* optional parts that I bought in case of crashes, because I thought they would be cool, etc. You do not need to buy them.
Also, while banggood has warehouses in the US, I ordered all of my stuff from China because it was slightly cheaper.
Grand total for all the parts including the optional stuff? $374.10 – a little over budget.
If I take out the optional stuff it brings it down to $329.29 – below budget.
If I want to save even more, I could take out 2 of the 3 batteries, since you really only have to have one battery, bringing the cost down to $297.39! Would this be a good decision? Probably not – but if you have to cut costs, this would be the way to do it.
A few other things – you’ll need some basic tools like a soldering iron, solder, wire cutters, and knife. I did not include those in the list above. The soldering iron can cost anywhere from $15 to more than $200. I would highly recommend buying a nicer model that you can control the temperature with. I started with a cheap $15 soldering iron many years ago – it gets the job done – but it is extremely frustrating. A year ago I bought a Weller WESD51 Digital Soldering Station and I absolutely love it. I paid around $120 or so on Amazon – so not cheap – but worth every penny.
There you have it. I bought all of the above for $374.10 which was a little above my budget, but not significantly. Take out the optional stuff and you’ll be below $350.
Use this as your starting point for building your own beginner quadcopter parts list, or order exactly what I have and you’ll be on your way to flying in no time!
Did I miss any must have purchases? What things did you initially buy that made life a ton easier?