Build Workshop / Build Party

We will have another build party and drone tech workshop!

This event is for:

• Newbies who would like to learn how to build their own drone from an inexpensive yet flexible DC Drone User Group Curated Kit! (Available http://store.dcdrone.org/

• Current users who would like technical support or to connect with other users

• Experts who would like to volunteer and help others and network.

This build workshop will be at Nova Labs due to popular demand! 

Stuff to bring for participants (and volunteers)

Please bring $20 to donate to Nova Labs. Water, sodas, and drinks are included in the $20, and your contribution online (e.g. if you have donated through the group buy) does count towards the $20!  If you want, you can drop your $20 donation in the lobby safe at Nova Labs; make sure to include a note that it is for the "Drone Build Workshop[masked]". Nova Labs has been very generous to host events, allow us to use their facilities and tools, and integrate the drone community with the maker community. 

• Tools: Bring any hobby tools you can, particularly a soldering iron, 2mm hex screwdriver, 8mm hex socket driver (or wrench). Almost all the drone stuff uses metric, so consider getting a driver and socket set if you don't have one already.

• Batteries - 8x AA batteries for your transmitter if you purchased a DEVO or FrSky. I recommend rechargeable NIMH batteries like Sanyo Eneloop (my favorite brand of AA rechargables) or Tenergy (cheap but reliable AA's you can get from Amazon). If you use NIMH batteries you can charge the transmitter through the charging port on the side. If you want better battery life, you can swap those AA's out for a LiPo; but you will need to charge LiPos with a real lipo charger. 

• Laptop running Windows or Mac (Linux might be supported too). It's gotta have USB ports. It will be used to flash firmware on your drone, configure it, and also for looking up instructions and stuff. Very important.

• MicroUSB cable (A male to Micro B, like the kind you'd use to charge and sync most smartphones these days.)

• (optional) Storage containers for carrying your stuff. I suggest a large $5 Sterlite or Rubbermaid bin for drone parts, and a small organizer case for screws, or you can also find fancier tool cases and stuff at Home Depot in the $15-20 range which are more rugged, have handles, and lots of compartments.

• (optional) Prop balancer. You can find them at hobby stores, and also online at HobbyKing, Amazon.com, etc.

• (optional) Snacks and drinks to share. You don't have to, but the event lasts all day, so you might get hungry or thirsty.

NOTE: DO NOT PARK IN FRONT OF NOVA LABS if you can help it, try to park across the street at the Park & Ride. It's cold outside, but there is limited parking in front of Nova Labs so please be courteous.

Join or login to comment.

  • Oh10Mike

    Awesome! My opportunity to meet the folks of DC Drone. First class folks!

    January 26, 2014

  • Andrew S. S.

    Had a blast. Great conversation and idea sharing. Left with no unanswered questions.

    January 26, 2014

  • Christopher V.

    A few notes: I've added to the list of things to bring, you need to bring AA batteries for your transmitter. Also please don't park in front of Nova Labs, even though it's cold outside, there's limited parking so be courteous to others if you can. Here's some web sites for you to look at: 1. copter.ardupilot.com - please read the getting started guides, it will give you a taste for how the copter is laid out electronically and how the configuration process is

    2. http://vimeo.com/39061641 - this is a video tutorial for the DJI F550 kit. Our copters are very similar.

    3. http://wiki.dcdrone.org/GuidedKitBuildInstructions - A (incomplete) guide to building the DC DUG guided kit.

    January 24, 2014

  • Franck

    Did everything come in ok? How late do you plan on being there? As usual something has come up but I still want to make it there at some point.

    January 24, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      Yes, I may be short on a few smaller items like bullet connectors and APM cases, which should be in by next week. All the major stuff is in already.

      January 24, 2014

  • Ben

    In case anyone is interested. I already got mine for Christmas, but hey a hundred bucks is a hundred bucks.

    Save $100 on GoPro Hero 3+.

    To redeem your discount, visit gopro.com and enter the promo code below during checkout. Offer valid thru January 27th only. Promo Code: CES14-BBGA

    1 · January 20, 2014

    • Franck

      I would shoot them an e-mail with that code and see what is going on.

      January 23, 2014

    • Ben

      It might be a one time use thing. Someone could have beat you to it, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

      January 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    New to drone building.

    January 21, 2014

  • Christopher V.

    Due to this silly thing next week called Chinese New Year (Jan[masked]), there appears to be a hold up with some of our overseas suppliers. Unfortunately that means we may need to push our build party 1 week (to the weekend of Feb 1-2). I will keep you all posted and will know by mid-week whether we will need to reschedule. So far, we have batteries and chargers, tools, wires, and some of the transmitters. We are waiting for frames, motors, and flight controllers.

    January 19, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      Things are looking good so far, all items are shipped through an express channel, we should receive all kits by the end of the week. The DEVO 10 transmitters seem to be the only delayed item, they are expected to arrive Feb 02

      January 20, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      DEVO 10 arrived randomly early today. So far, everything is on track to arrive on time!

      January 20, 2014

  • Sara

    I missed the group buy. If I get one of the kits featured on the group store…is that the right project? This is my first drone so I don't want to get something absurd out of the gate. What's reasonable?

    January 20, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      You are welcome to come to the build workshop and check it out and talk to other members and myself to get recommendations. We will open the group buy again in about 1 week.

      January 20, 2014

  • Hassan M.

    I have a parrot AR 2.0 I bought it new a few weeks ago.
    Its supposed to hover. It lifts off and spins uncontrolled. Can someone help me if I bring it. Its an expensive hobby to not work ever. signed
    Frustrated drone crasher.

    January 20, 2014

    • Hassan M.

      Thanks. Its not operator error- I'll have to send back to Parrot. Thanks guys.

      January 20, 2014

    • Hassan M.

      It runs on wifi- It should just hover. I took it to the park, a parking lot and a gym. I have great footage of it spinning until it hits the ground or wall.

      January 20, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      haha! i guess that's better than wondering where you left your x-acto knife, reaching around into your box of tools and "finding it" the bloody way

      January 16, 2014

  • Christopher V.

    I've posted the location and a note about what to bring, see the event description.

    January 14, 2014

  • Hassan M.

    What would I do with a Turnighy accucell? would I recondition the batteries or can you set thresholds? ANd Does anyone know if I can get an app and or portable hardware for a spectrum analyzer?

    January 13, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      The Turnigy Accucel-6 is capable of balance charging and discharging lithium polymer batteries. A cheap spectrum analyzer is maybe about $60-160 you can find several models available online, most professional models are $2,000+ though. If you only care about 2.4G spectrum, you can have a look at this model: http://rfexplorer.com...­ but I haven't heard any particularly good things about it. Also you want a spectrum analyzer that can handle multiple bands, particularly 900,[masked], 2.4, and 5.8.

      January 13, 2014

  • Serg

    Location proposal:
    I suggesting schedule building party Sunday, January 26, 2014 in HOBBY-PLACE workshop 8559 Zyggy Ln Gaithersburg MD 20877.
    We have modified our train layout (put it on wheels so we can move it out to get more room if needed) 600 square feet room available now. 15-20 people can work.

    January 13, 2014

  • Jamie B.

    I'm not sure I'd be able to make the workshop this month but if I can do I still have time to order the kit? How much advance time should I give to place an order and still make the workshop?

    January 11, 2014

    • Christopher V.

      Sorry, the group buy is open usually a month before the build, and closes about 2 weeks before the build.

      January 12, 2014

    • Jamie B.

      Gotcha. Just wasn't sure if the only way to purchase was through the group build. I'll try for next month. Thanks for the info.

      January 12, 2014

  • Wardell B.

    Attendance dependent on meetup location.

    January 12, 2014

  • Serg

    Is it possible to put drone autopilot on regular RC helicopter model? I mean set it to fly by certain route in autopilot mode?

    January 3, 2014

  • David Thorin S.

    Has anyone in the group successfully used the DroidPlanner app to pilot their quad? Would love to get that working at the build.

    January 3, 2014

    • David S.

      Very true. I did my test from a Samsung Galaxy S4. Gus has done Droidplanner from one of Android based tablets.

      January 4, 2014

    • David S.

      The new Telemetry radio from 3D Robotics actually includes a double ended male USB Micro-B cable. Older radios you need a male USB micro-B <> female USB A.

      January 4, 2014

  • Matt C.

    Chris, I won't be able to make this one, but am looking forward to catching up at the next build party. For the new ones in the group, this is the kind of video you'll be able to take with your new drone: http://homeautomationguru.com/aerial-winter-wonderland/

    1 · January 3, 2014

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