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Guided Kit Build

Is this your first time building a drone? Then consider coming to our guided kit build at Nova Labs. Robot expert Christopher Vo will provide a presentation on how to build a drone from a kit as well as mentorship as you work on your first drone build with other members of our community. At our kit build pre-session, Christopher led a discussion on which kits to buy, what tools you will need, and things to think about before you start.

The slides from that session are here:
http://files.meetup.com/4691362/guided-kit-build-slides.pdf

For information about how to get involved with our group buying (ending December 28th), see this link --- completely optional but it's a great way to save on shipping cost and make sure that you have everything required for the kit:
http://iron.irixmedia.com/~vo/store/

Please note that there will also be a concurrent drone build party going on at Nova Labs. That will be a less structured event for those with more experience who want to build with other members of our community but don't need as much guidance. Please do not sign up for both events as it will confuse our planning. Regardless of which event you sign up for, I look forward to seeing you at Nova Labs for our January event.

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  • Jens

    Hi Christopher, would you have room for another? I was not able to get my unit calibrated. My Devo Tx was not communicating with the Rx. Thanks again for your hard work and endurance Sat night. It was a great time and I really learned a lot. Please also be sure to let us know the final accounting and what residual amounts are still due.

    1 · January 14, 2013

    • Gustavo Z.

      I agree with Jens regarding the accounting.
      Chistopher, please let us know the final numbers, we should pay for the difference; you already put a lot of time and effort teaching us a how to build the copters; the least thing we should do is pay the due amount.

      January 14, 2013

    • Christopher V.

      I've put up another event on the meetup group for follow-up. It's short but if you can make it we can take a look at how to configure the DEVOs. I am not that well versed yet with the DEVO system but so far it looks pretty awesome.

      January 14, 2013

  • Robert

    Had a blast and learned a lot. Thanks guys !!

    1 · January 13, 2013

    • Gustavo Z.

      From learning to solder to charging lipos and balance propellers! we really learned a lot!
      Now I understand why Chris Anderson left Wired to run his Drones company... this stuff is really exciting!

      January 14, 2013

  • Christopher V.

    hey guys, i am glad we were able to run this event successfully. however, we ended up with a few missing LED strips, one missing Rx (Travis), and two defective APM2s. i can hold a small follow up meeting next week to see if we can resolve these issues on Wednesday Jan 16 at 4pm at the GMU Robotics Lab (4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, Engineering Building Room 2005). I may add it to the actual meetup page later. The defective APM2s are the most critical item to tackle, for the one that won't power through the output side, i can help set up the workaround. for the one that has a missing connector (Eric Mitchell) I can solder a new connector on.

    January 13, 2013

    • Brian P.

      Wednesday at your lab works for me, is there anything I should bring besides my drone?

      January 14, 2013

  • Robert

    Should we bring a laptop to this build for using the 3dr radios and configurations?

    January 2, 2013

  • Christopher V.

    Don't forget to bring your laptop if you have one, and if you have them, any of your own tools that you think you'll need (e.g. soldering iron, screwdrivers, etc). About 90% of the screws are 2mm hex, with some #0 phillips head screws. All kits come with a tiny 2mm l-shaped hex wrench, but it sucks. Other handy tools: Small locking pliers, Hobby Knife (or anything razor-sharp like a box-cutter), heat gun, wire cutters.

    For those of you who bought Walkera DEVO 10 Tx/Rx, make sure to bring a pack of 8 AA batteries (or a lipo pack that will fit in the DEVO). Rechargeable AAs are perfectly fine.

    January 4, 2013

  • Ken

    Chris, I would be happy to help out. Just let me know where and when. I have a Chevy Avalanche, should be enough room.

    January 4, 2013

    • Christopher V.

      Cool. The pickup will be at George Mason University. The Engineering Building has a little cul-de-sac: [http://goo.gl/maps/Uu...­]. I'll try to have all the stuff ready to load right there. The pickup time should be in the morning of the build party, I will coordinate with you for the exact time.

      January 4, 2013

  • Christopher V.

    We've received the parts!
    http://i.imgur.com/1slgp.jpg

    So far it's 90% of the kits. Still missing a few Walkera DEVO 10 Tx/Rx bundles, one of the hexacopter kits, APM cases, some GPS mounting hardware, and the cameras for those people who decided to buy them. Everything else is in.

    January 4, 2013

    • Christopher V.

      I've already separated them into kits and performed soldering for those who requested soldering. I will need help (and someone with enough room in their car/truck/SUV) on the 12th to bring all this stuff down to Nova Labs for the event.

      January 4, 2013

  • Richard S.

    Too late for the group build? Can I audit the build to begin learning?

    December 29, 2012

    • Timothy R.

      Richard, I expanded the limit to allow you to come to the event. Feel free to drop by and audit if you are free.

      December 29, 2012

    • Richard S.

      Looks like I will be limited to simply following along with the build. Thanks for the help and info. See you on the 12th.

      December 30, 2012

  • Christopher V.

    For those of you looking for a camera to put on your drone, if there's interest, I can add a camera to the group buy: $150 for a 1080p H.264 camera with integrated IR LED illuminators, integrated laser pointer, waterproof case, NTSC output (which can be hooked up to an FPV transmitter for real-time feed), integrated 850mAh battery, and it weights 75g according to the site. I don't have one in my hands, but from the specs and pics, it looks like the case can be stripped off to save weight and the buttons can be wired up to the APM2 and programmed to give you control of the laser pointer, photo shutter, and other things from either a switch on your Tx, or a sensor reading, or as part of a programmed mission, etc. Here's an eBay page for the camera (ignore the price, if we group buy we can get a huge discount) http://www.ebay.com/itm/RD32B-Full-HD-1080P-Waterproof-Mini-DV-Sport-Camera-2-IR-LED-Night-Vision-Light-/180993312393

    December 24, 2012

    • Christopher V.

      I'll send another e-mail out to confirm, and we'll go from there.

      December 25, 2012

    • Christopher V.

      I sent the e-mail. I have been checking into reviews and stuff for this camera and the example photos and video are quite good, actually they seem on par with my GoPro HERO 3. OF course, the GoPro HERO 3 has the nice wifi control feature, and a better battery life, but for about $80 cheaper, it's thin cylindrical shape (instead of the rectangle shape of the GoPro) and the fact that it includes all the AV cables needed for FPV make it seem like a reasonable choice for a drone camera. it also looks like you can tear this thing apart and hack it more easily than a GoPro.

      December 26, 2012

  • Jens

    I didn't see Legos on Christopher's order form. But apparently that's possible now!
    http://www.suasnews.com/2012/12/20276/drone-made-of-lego-takes-flight/

    1 · December 22, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Today only on Woot! is Swann SWVID-SPORTL Freestyle 1080p HD Waterproof Wearable Sports Video Camera with wireless remote and display. For $120 this seems an excellent accessory for try video.

    http://www.woot.com/offers/swann-freestyle-1080p-action-cam-13

    December 22, 2012

  • Gregory P.

    I need drones. Flying.

    December 19, 2012

  • Eric M.

    Is there a recommended Lipo charger that could be added to the kit (or as an option). I also noticed the recommended Tx/Rx bundle was recently changed/upgraded. Is the 10 channel DEVO considered a nicer unit than the earlier recommendation? It's all new to me, so I want to learn all I can. What kind of range will this TX/RX allow? - Thanks!

    December 18, 2012

    • Eric M.

      also, would the Turnigy Accucel-6 be used to charge the DEVO battery as well?

      December 19, 2012

    • Christopher V.

      the DEVO does not come with a battery, but I think it also takes 8 AA batteries. I think you can also put in a lipo or li-ion or nimh battery pack with the JST connector they have on board. i can make a power cable for you to plug your Accucel-6 to the PSU... i believe it's 4mm banana plug on the PSU to 12V DC jack on the Accucel-6 if i'm not mistaken. The Accucel-6 can charge all kinds of batteries, including NiMh, NiCad, LiPo, and Pb. I have used it on my LiIon's too even though there's not a inbuilt program for them. So if you use a battery pack for the DEVO 10 the Accucel-6 will work to charge it.

      You do not need to use the HobbyKing PSU necessarily, but it's cheap ($40 isn't bad!). I myself actually use a hacked 400W ATX power supply left over from a scrapped PC to power the Accucel-6. Just solder the green wire on the ATX connector to GND and it will stay on and provide stable power on the 12V rail.

      December 19, 2012

  • Christopher V.

    Some more detail photos of the guided kit quadcopter:
    http://i.imgur.com/FEIya.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/y9ZGQ.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/R0Pa6.jpg

    I put the new ArduPilot 2.5 case from DIYDrones on. (The gray plastic cover for the APM2 control board). I will add the case to the group buy store as well if you're interested. The nice thing about the case is that it protects the APM2 from the elements and provides cover for the barometer. Earlier you might have seen that I taped dentist's gauze over the board which is a bit unsightly...

    December 18, 2012

  • Mary D.

    Is it possible to participate if I cannot make the January 12 meeting?

    December 16, 2012

    • Christopher V.

      Yes, of course. I will be leading the discussion for the guided kit build. To lessen the cost of shipping and handling and unify some of the parts we are doing a group purchase that you can optionally join in on - I have made an online shopping cart for you to put in your intent to participate in the group buy --- http://iron.irixmedia...­ --- the deadline to participate in the group buy is December 28th. Another option is to just buy parts yourself. The online shopping cart can give you some hints on what parts to buy, or you can do your own thing altogether. I will mostly be focusing on the guided kit that I designed, but I could help you build another kit if you have one. Let me know whatever you decide and I can tell you what I can do to help!

      December 16, 2012

  • Timothy R.

    One of the things we discussed at last night's pre-session was doing a group buy of kits and parts. Christopher has thrown together a site where you can choose what you want to order and see recommendations from him as to what you should get. This can be found at http://iron.irixmedia.com/~vo/s... . There is no obligation to get anything through this mechanism, but we are hoping it will make life easier, and perhaps cheaper, to do the ordering together.

    Also important to note, your order and your payment to Christopher must be received by December 28. You can pay him via mailed check, Paypal, or cash. Any orders where payment is not received by that time will be dropped and no additional people will be able to participate in the group buy or any associated discounts after that date.

    Thank you and I look forward to seeing you in January.

    December 13, 2012

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