Three years ago I started following the open source drone community, I was fascinated by the willingness of developers to release their work for free solely to benefit the community. After 12 months of following the technology I decided I wanted to get onboard. This required a lot of research to understand the technology with the aim to contribute to the community not just to be a consumer and purchase a DJI Phantom Drone. I began by purchasing a $50 micro quad online to learn to fly proficiently which was invaluable experience because flying full sized drone is dangerous. You are piloting an aircraft weighing typically in excess of 1 Kg at speeds of up to 50Km/h with 10″ propellers spinning a thousands of RPMs which can badly injure people.
I spent 6 months researching everything in relation to unmanned aerial vehicles from frame materials, propeller types, brushless motors, electronic speed controllers (ESCs) , flight controllers and first person vision FPV.
I ended up buying a second hand drone called the Idealfly Ifly-4 which featured a folding high impact plastic frame and 2212 sized brushless motors. It ended up having a fried flight controller and proprietary ESCs. So I set out to modify the drone with open source components.
I bought a CC3D flight controller which is a open source project that has a very active developer community and a new set of 20 amp ESCs with open source firmware. I spent the next few weeks modifying the wiring loom to take the new components which took a lot of trial and error but I eventually got it working. The aim was to turn the drone into an aerial photography drone.
The project was put on the backburner as I began building my other other drone project, the FPV mini drone.
About 6 months ago I got back into the photography drone project where I added a landing gear and brushless gimbal. With the intention to take the drone with me on my trips around Australia. The video below is one of the first videos I took.
I have since repurposed the aerial photography drone to become an autonomous drone which is an current project of mine.