DRONES ACCESSORIES

Best Quadcopter Frames: Building The Drone from Scratch

Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Quadcopters have proven to be a rather exciting device for enthusiasts. They have a lot of applications in today’s world, to a way to practice your flying skills, to satisfying your passion for aerial photography. There are even many applications beyond the consumer area, into the military and business realm. Quadcopters can be used for surveillance purposes, rescue operations, delivery, and much more. They are truly one of the most versatile machines out there!

In this article, we will show you how to create and customize a quadcopter of your own, using a quadcopter frame! Quadcopter frames are perhaps the most important part of the drone, and a solid frame will put you right on the path to building one of your own. Building a drone out of a quadcopter frame is a difficult and time consuming job, but it gives you the satisfaction of having a drone made by you from scratch.

Quad frame

You can customize your quad according to your requirements, keeping the features you like. This process requires you buying the frame and a number of other components. These components are then mounted on the frame; including the motors, the propellers, the ESCs, the flight controller and the likes.

Are you a passionate with a knack for tech stuff? Let’s gets started then! First, let’s discover some of the most exciting and best quadcopter frames available on the market:

Top 5 Exciting Quad Frames

YKS Mini C250 Quadcopter Frame Kit

When we talk about the best quadcopter frames, the first one to grab our attention is this exciting product from the house of YKS. First of all, it is an extremely lightweight structure. This can be attributed to the fact that it is completely made from carbon fiber. This material also gives it the required strength and intensity.

This product comes with a lot of space that allows you to easily fit in the FPV and keep your wires covered to give it the best possible appearance. This quad frame is also very good with shocks because of its rubber damper.

YKS Mini C250 Quadcopter Frame Kit

When it comes to flight performance, this frame will give you one of the smoothest flights ever. The combination of the 1.5mm carbon fiber fuselage and the 3mm machine arms works towards giving you a stable flight by reducing the vibrations during the flight mid-air.

The device, in itself, is very compact and small. It is easy to assemble and there are a number of components designed for the specific needs of the user. That is why this copter frame is ideal for use not only for pros and experienced flyers, but also for amateurs and beginners.

According to the users, several crashes during flights have not been able to break the frame. So this indeed has a very sturdy build. Smartly designed, this is a great frame to start off with as a beginner.

Like this amazing product? Then you can check its price on Amazon.

LHI QAV Quadcopter Frame Kit

The LHI QAV is the next frame on our list. The LHI QAV has been known for its lightweight structure and efficient flight performance.

Firstly, let us talk about what the entire frame kit actually consists of. It comes with a CC3D flight controller, MT2204 2300 KV motor, Simonk 12 K ESC, and a 5030 propeller. This frame is suitable for a mini quadcopter that can be used to fly outdoors as well as indoors.

Since it has a wheelbase measuring only 250 mm, this is mainly used as a toy to gain some flying experience. However, this comes packed with a high performance power system that gives it the required power during the midair flights and also a flight controller that is easy to use.

LHI QAV Quadcopter Frame Kit

Being made from carbon fiber, this frame comes with two specific advantages. Firstly, it is a light device that can easily be carried outdoors safely. Secondly, it is strong and is capable of flying even in slightly windy conditions. Besides, this frame can be later upgraded to FPV class, all thanks to the carbon fiber build that is light and durable.

The kit provided is actually ready for use. All that you will need to add is a 3S LiPo battery which is 1300 mAh or more, a radio, and a receiver. As per most of the frames in this article, this device is packed with power and this will lead to a stable flight.

Like this great product? Then you can check its price here.

Docooler New HJ MWC Multicopter Quadcopter Frame Kit

Next up is Docooler, bringing out an exciting quadcopter frame kit. This framekit is perfect for many flying enthusiasts’ needs.

There are two standout features of this product. It is light, weighing only about 500 grams. It is also very easy to find replacement arms in case of accidents. Having said that, let us now see what this frame is actually made of. Firstly, it comes with a center lower plate with 1-4 pieces of 45 mm x 45 mm which makes up the flight control board. The ESC, be it the parallel board or the 4–in–1 ESC, can be installed on the board itself.

Docooler New HJ MWC Multicopter Quadcopter Frame Kit

This frame is really smart! It comes equipped with facilities for mounting the transmitter and the likes. There are specific holes for attaching the wireless transmitter, CCD, or a GPS antenna for easy tracking and navigation. There is also a system to install the NAZA flight control, which will help with smoother flights up in the air.

This kit also includes the center upper plate, which has specific holes for attaching the NAZA GPS and an opening for the FPV camera. A 2200 mAh battery is required to run this quadcopter, and this battery is fitted at the end of the lower plate. On the other hand, the end of the upper plate has the transmitter and other such components.

This product is made from fiber reinforced plastic which makes it a durable build. Once fully assembled, this frame will not fail to please you with its flying capabilities.

If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can check its price here.

IACTIVE DIY 3K Carbon Fiber Mini 270 Quadcopter Frame Kit

This is a great quadcopter frame for anyone from beginners to professional DIYers.  This is a small frame, and it is also very light and built to last. It has a very sleek, compact design. However, the fuselage is actually quite spacious, and is designed to have plenty of space to put all of your wires and components.

This frame is made of 3K carbon fiber, an excellent material for a lightweight frame, but is also quite durable. The fuselage and the arms are fully carbon fiber, which helps to ensure a strong and resilient drone. Carbon fiber is also an excellent material for reducing vibrations, which leads to a stable flight.

This drone has a rubber damper and an AV shockproof ball. This makes it an excellent drone for shock absorption, as it reduces movement and vibration, which leads to a smooth flight overall.

The recommended parts and components to be used with this frame kit are; an 1806 to 2206 motor, a 5-6-inch propeller, a 3 to 4S 1500 mah battery, and a CC3D remote control. However, it is also compatible with many other components, such as numerous receivers, cameras, or video transmitters. This drone is an excellent choice if you want something that you can customize to suit all of your needs.

This product represents many of the best features of modern frame design. It is an excellent choice for beginner DIYers to professional drone flyers. It is highly customizable and you can get out of this frame as much as you are willing to put in.

For more information, check it out here.

X525 V3 QuadCopter Folding Frame

This frame is an ideal choice for every flying enthusiast who is looking for a good quadcopter frame to fly outdoors.

It has a wheelbase of 600 mm which is pretty impressive for a quadcopter frame. There were a number of tests actually carried out before the optimum value of the wheelbase was decided on. This particular size gives the copter the required strength and leads to a steady flight.

X525 V3 QuadCopter Folding Frame completed

The design of this frame is ideal for two important reasons:

  • Firstly, newbies and amateur flyers can gain experience from the steady flights. Secondly, if a camera is fit on to the quadcopter, the photos will benefit from some of the steadiest shots. Speaking of steady copter pictures, the designs for the different flight modes allow all kinds of flyers to try their hand at flying and taking some high quality pictures.
  • Another aspect that brings steadiness to the photographs taken is the wind resistance. This can be attributed to the fact that this folding frame has the ideal rotor efficiency and rotor load.

These factors allow the copter to remain still even in the face of light winds. Made from fiber glass, this frame kit is lightweight and thus easy to take out for a spin. This is actually a sturdy material made from the combination of fiber cloth and glue.

Even though the installation and assembly instructions are not provided with the kit, these can be easily obtained online.

Like this amazing product? Then you can check its price here.

HOCKUS 260 V1 G10 Mini Quadcopter Frame Kit

The last product on our list of the best quadcopter frames comes from the house of Hockus. The first striking feature of this device is the material or make. This frame is built from polyamide nylon which is a high quality material and gives the frame the required durability.

The frame size of 55mm x 55mm is more than enough to take care of the flight controller. Next, what can you mount on this copter frame? On this frame, you can easily mount a 2 servo pan, a video camera for capturing all the footage from your flights, a video transmitter, and more.

HOCKUS 260 V1 G10 MINI QUADCOPTER FRAME KIT

 

Next up is the battery. It is possible to run this motor on 1300 mAh batteries, 3300 mAh batteries, as well as 5000 mAh batteries. But the important thing to note here is that if you use a battery that is too large or too heavy, it will adversely affect the agility of the device and make it less smooth during its flight.

All users seemed to agree that this frame leads to a very stable flight. However, there are no mounting holes, and one has to drill them in order to go ahead with the setup. On the plus side, this frame has been observed in a number of collisions, and it generally survived them. It is very much a tough and resilient frame.

This frame is quite solid and very strong.  When it is fully assembled, this quadcopter frame can give you some of the best photos from a height, and its stability only improves the quality of these photos.

Like this product? Then you can buy it on Amazon.

Quadcopter frame buying guide

Having a good quadcopter frame is just as important as having the right motor, the appropriate ESC, the best camera, and the likes. This is because the frame is the platform which is going to carry all the other components you place on it. It has to be lightweight and sturdy. Think of the frame like the base for your effective DIY drone. If you choose the right frame for your needs, then all the following decisions will be easier.

There are many different kinds of frames available on the market today. They are classified according to shape, materials, and dimensions. How do you know which one is the best fit for you? Here are some factors that you can consider before purchasing an ideal frame for yourself and building yourself the best drone.

Important thing #1 – stiffness

The first factor to consider while choosing a quadcopter frame is the stiffness. There have been many opinions about how stiff or how loose a frame should be. If the frame in question is stiff, it will be allowed to have a smoother flight because of minimal bending and warping. That means the frame will also result in good aerial photographs because of the stability in flight.

Frame buying guide

However, if the structure turns out to be very brittle, your frame will be prone to damage during those long flight sessions where some crashes are inevitable. Ideally, the frame you purchase should be strong and stiff, but capable enough to go through some resistance mid-air.

The trade-off here is key. A stiffer drone is generally more stable, but too stiff and it could break! So it is important to consider how you will be using your drone, and what kind of drone pilot you will be, before you decide on how stiff you want your frame.

Important thing #2 – material

The material of the quadcopter is important to gauge its stability. One of the most common materials you will come across for quadcopter frames is carbon fiber. The reason why this is popular as a frame material is because it has physical characteristics suited for flight in the higher altitudes.

Carbon fiber is a light weight structure, making the quadcopter a lot more agile. However, carbon fiber tends to send radio signals up in the air which might not be one of the best situations for a flyer.

Frame for quadcopter

Frames can also be built in balsa sheet or aluminum depending on the strength required. Another material we come across as the make for quadcopter frames is fiber glass which is a rather sturdy material.

Important thing #3 – arms

Next, we come to the arms of the quadcopter. These are usually made with hard plastic tubing or aluminum. More often than not, the quadcopter frames come with built-in arms. This is an advantage because if you happen to damage or lose one of the arms, there are always replacements available that can get your device back to work again.

Also, in the event of a crash or an accident, the arms are often the first ones to get impacted and/or broken. This ensures that the rest of the components, including the motor, remain less effected by the impact.

Arms

Also, the stiffness of the arms will determine how stable the flight is. If the arms flex too easily, then the quadcopter frame will be more prone to the vibration. This is especially bad if you are looking to get some good aerial photos. In general, the arms should have the perfect combination of brittleness and flexibility.

Purpose

Before you purchase the first frame for yourself, you should be clear about what you are actually going to use it for. This is because different frames have different purposes and work well in that specific niche. As with any sort of drone buying, you should know what you want before you get started, and what you want is heavily dependent on how you are going to be using your drone.

Aerial photography

If the aim here is to get a few aerial shots from mid-air, then you have to get a frame that is stable and has a smooth flight. This will hold the camera still in its position. Also, the frame should be solid and big enough to lift the heavy camera without losing its agility.

Drone for aerial photography

Also, another important aspect for this purpose is the tall landing gear which is required to keep the camera safe during its take off and landings. But most importantly, the frame should be lightweight in structure because, with the camera attached, the system will become quite bulky.

As an aerial photographer, you need to know how to get the best possible angle for that perfect shot, and you can learn a few tricks by reading our article about aerial photography and tips to improve your skills.

Sports

If the idea behind purchasing your next quadcopter frame is for use in sports (such as drone racing), then you need the lightest model available in the market. You do not need to attach a camera or any heavy device here.

Drone racing

All you need here is stability and good responsive control. So the frame here should be light and crisp, so that it will go unperturbed in the air while coordinating with the user from the base level. Carbon fiber or light materials will work perfectly in these situations. For more information on drones used for sports, we suggest checking out our article about drone racing.

Sports FPV

This is a combination of sports frames and camera frames. The frames in question here are required to be extremely solid. This is because it will have to lift itself up with a lot of extra electronic devices and it will need an action camera for the best results. So there should be a lot of mounting space which can hold the components.

Sports FPV

Also, it should be strong enough to take off with all that extra weight, as it has a camera on board. It also needs to have a stable flight, which is the most important aspect for taking high-quality photos from the air.

Mini quadcopters

Mini quadcopters form the best option if you want to fly your device both indoors and outdoors. These are the easiest to fly because of their low weight and they are virtually indestructible. They can be made to fly around obstacles and have an unperturbed flight because of their small structure.

Flying a miniature drone

However, their range might be limited and you will always have to be careful to keep them within your line of sight. These frames are light by virtue of their size and there is not much that is on board; which also leads to a stable flight. With minimalistic requirements, these frames are the easiest to work with.

Mini FPV

While a mini quadcopter might be one of the easiest to fly, the mini FPV can turn out to be one of the most difficult devices to build. This is because this is a small quadcopter frame in which you will have to incorporate a number of devices, electronics, and sometimes even an action camera.

Mini FPV frame

So, there should be a lot of space on the frame in order to mount all those electronics. Also, the frame will be light, owing to its size. However, it should be solid enough to carry all of that weight on its small structure. All these factors are essential for a good flight experience, which is why this can be such a complicated drone to build.

Fittings

After you purchase the quadcopter frame, it is essential to ensure that you are able to fit all of those other components, including the motor and the flight controller, on the frame. There are some boards that come packed with a case where you can mount the flight controller with only the help of double sided tape.

Build your own drone kit

However, there are some other frames that will only have mounting holes and you will need to be well versed with the mechanism to complete the assembly. You can also come across boards in which you will need to drill the holes yourself instead of just inserting the screws.

Choosing the most appropriate quadcopter frame isn’t easy. This is why you will need to have a list of your requirements based on these points and choose the one that suits your needs the best.

What do you need to build your quadcopter?

Now that you have decided on your quadcopter frame, you need to get to work and build yourself the best drone, one that is well-suited for your needs. But what are the different types of hardware you will need to build yourself the drone?

Let us take a look here:

  1. Flight controllers: This is a small circuit board that needs to be fixed or mounted on the copter frame. It is capable of controlling the drone in response to the input provided. The command that is issued by the user or the operator from base level determines the behavior of the motors as transmitted by the flight controller.
  2. Arms: Arms are an important aspect of the quadcopter. You need to have the most appropriate set of arms for your drone based on the requirements. These should have the perfect mix of stability, flexibility and brittleness in order to have a safe flight and also protect the device from being damaged. Also, the arms should not send the vibrations on to the inner components during its flight. This will lead to the motor and the other devices getting damaged.
  3. Motors: It is alright to fix the frame and the arms, but the drone is not going to move until you have integrated the best motor. This is the most important component of the copter. Motors are identified by different notations. For instance, the kv rating denotes the motor velocity, as it depicts the number of revolutions per minute when a potential difference of 1 Volt is applied with zero load.
  4. Propellers: The next important component of the drone is the set of propellers. There are propellers specifically designed for quadcopters, depending on the purpose of use. Firstly, the length of the propellers is important for handling the copter. This is usually given in inches. It is said that the higher the kv rating of the motors, the smaller the propellers should be. If you opt for smaller propellers, you will be able to fly the drone with greater speeds, but the efficiency will be compromised. On the other hand, if you choose the longer props, you will be able to fly the copter steadily, as you will be able to lift more weight during its flight and use less power.
  5. Speed controllers and batteries: Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) are important for having a good flight experience. Every motor in the quadcopter frame comes with an ESC that is connected to the flight controller. The current rating of each of the ESCs should exceed that required to draw the motors. In the case of batteries, the lithium ion polymer batteries work the best, as they are lightweight and compact. They also offer high discharge rates for best results.
  6. Cameras and radio gear: If your aim is aerial photography, you can add a camera on the frame to get the best aerial shots. The cameras should be steady during the flight. GoPro is the most common brand name in this regard. A GoPro mount will fit on many types of drone frame. Sometimes, enthusiasts can add two cameras to the frame; the FPV (First person view) camera and the recording camera. The FPV cameras lead to brighter images and can respond quickly to changes in light and brightness.
  7. Control system: The control system is also mounted on the quadcopter frame, and it includes a transmitter and a receiver. These are available in the form of single unit pieces or even as modular pieces.

Which Model Should I Buy?

Quadcopters are used for a number of purposes. They may be used just as a hobby, for trying out flight experiences, or maybe for having a first person view of the world from a height, or even to try your hand at aerial photography. Being one of the most exciting innovations in recent years, more and more people are getting intrigued by the idea of actually building one themselves. For this, you will always need a frame, and this article covered some of the best on the market.

Going by public choice, the YKS quadcopter mini C250 frame is one of the most convenient options available for you. Also, if you are an amateur, and are taking baby steps in the world of flying, the C250 might be a good choice here.

On the other hand, the IActive DIY 3K Carbon Fiber Frame has been giving solid performances to many consumers. This frame has a durable build and has provisions for mounting many different components of the copter. This makes it a very user-friendly device.

If you’re the outdoor type, the X525 V3 is made out of fiber glass and its standout feature is its resistance to winds, leading to a smooth flight. It is a great choice for outdoor flying, but it is not usually used for flying indoors.

PROS AND CONS

Finally, let us have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of quadcopter frames:

Pros:

  • There is a wider range of choices for quadcopter frames since you are not bound by the manufacturer when it comes to the different components.
  • It is easier to find replacements for damaged or missing parts.
  • The quadcopter frame gives you the flexibility to choose the particular features that you want in your drone.
  • You can make changes to the arrangements of the drone in case you want to experiment
  • Quadcopter frames come with greater toughness and stability.

Cons:

  • Assembling these frames might be time consuming.
  • Initially, the whole setup might cost you more than the usual kits.

So what did you decide and which one is your best pick? Have any questions or comments? Let us know in comments!

About the author

Jack Brown

Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.