Tips for building a quadcopter from scratch #2

I should point out that while I am generally talking about building your own aircraft, most of the topics below are pertinent for those who simply BUY a ready-built machine.  There are lots of options.  Hopefully, the information presented in these posts will help you decide whether to build your own aircraft or buy a RTF (Ready-To-Fly) model, and if you decide to buy a RTF, WHICH model is the most appropriate for you.

In the last post, I talked a lot about weights and flight times, but I really should have started with a few more more basic questions -

What do you want to do with your aircraft?  Are you interested in.

  1. Sport Flying?
  2. Nature photography?
  3. Mapping/Surveying?
  4. Surveillance/Spying?
  5. Simply checking out places you can't normally get to?
  6. Inspection of roofs, transmission towers, smokestacks, etc?
  7. Photographing sports events, weddings, crime scenes,disaster areas?
  8. Photography for Real-Estate (properties look better from the air)?
  9. Agricultural uses (crop conditions, finding livestock, etc)?
  10. Impressing your friends?
  11. Utilizing your knowledge to explore a new area of technology?
  12. Advancing the technology or adding to the general knowledge base?
  13. Education?
  14. Using your hobby as a catalyst or "ice-breaker" to meet others interested in science and technology?
  15. Something to occupy your time?

Usually people want some combination of the above. 

I am personally interested in items 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 & 14.   

Regarding item 14:  Every time I fly, I find that people approach me and ask questions. Just as taking a dog to a park is a great way to meet people for dating, flying a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is a great way to meet other technologically-minded people.

When planning your design, you should also consider your level of expertise in building things, and the facilities you have at your disposal.  If you have a complete machine/sheet metal shop, a vacuum-forming machine, a 3D printer, an electronics lab - and know how to operate all your equipment you obviously can tackle a more complex build.