Make your own racing drone

Racing DRone

Companies that drone racing They are becoming more and more popular, in fact, there are more and more official competitions for this type of device. That has encouraged amateur runners to grow in number. However, getting a good racing drone could be expensive if we want a Pro, but with DIY, we can build a racing drone ourselves at a fairly affordable price.

For this there are many possibilities already on the net, some tutorials that teach us how to assemble our own drone, others that show us comparisons of the best drones for racing, etc. The truth is that the possibilities are quite wide, you could even buy a good drone and prepare it yourself for the competition, which is where we are going to focus in this article to make it something more genuine.

What I need?

dji fpv goggles

Well for have a good racing drone You should mainly focus on three fields:

  • Have the best control system possible. Being able to handle the drone properly can make the difference between winning or losing a race.
    • Some transmission systems do not have a long-range, so when the drone moves away we could go blind, others do not have great performance and can transmit us images in real time that are cut or have delays, which will end with bad piloting. Therefore, I recommend choosing a good control system. If possible with FPV goggles to see as if you were inside the drone instead of using the controls for smartphones or screen controls ...
    • El response time of the control system must be as low as possible, to have a much more immediate response when we are controlling it. A delay could end with a drone out of control for a few moments ...
    • La video refresh rate for FPV it should be as high as possible. If the frames on the screen are not updated frequently enough, even if everything else is very fast, you will always get a somewhat outdated image.
    • In addition to the scope, it is recommended that WiFi connection technology more advanced and if possible in a less saturated 5 Ghz band than 2.4 Ghz. The 2.4 Ghz can go further when there are obstacles in between, since the level of absorption of this type of frequencies is lower than in the higher frequencies, but outdoors where there are usually no obstacles and the video must be transmitted instantly, better to use IEEE 802.11ac standards with higher speed and bandwidth (minimum 802.11n). I would also add the issue of integrated antennas, the more the better the coverage ...
  • The engines They are also very important, since if we do not have powerful motors that propel the drone quickly, it will be of little use to have the best control system, the others will end up winning us by speed. Although brushless motors are normal, you should not buy another type of motor that is not of this type.
  • Finally, the other critical factor is the weight and aerodynamics. If we have a drone with a high weight or a bad aerodynamics that generates great drag or resistance to advance, the powerful engines will not be able to help. For this reason, maybe you should rethink to lighten the drone to the maximum and dispense with large cameras, external supports (better to integrate the camera inside the fairing), and use materials that are as light as possible, such as carbon fiber.

Now let's see how can we create the drone...

Options to create the racing drone:

I have already commented that you can proceed in different ways. According to your possibilities or what you really need, you can do it in many ways.

Buy:

Racing drone kit

One of the most comfortable possibilities, but also less fun for makers, is buy your racing drone. But within this we can also differentiate between:

  • Buy a ready-made racing drone. This option would only be valid for those who already know how to fly a normal drone and have enough agility. I do not recommend a beginner to buy a racing drone or they will end up crashing it at the first change due to the high speed they achieve. Again it leaves us two possibilities:
    • RTF (Ready To Fly): a drone already prepared to fly, that is, totally complete and functional so that you can take it out of the box, calibrate it and start to pilot it without further ado.
    • ARF (Almost Ready to Fly): almost ready to fly, they are chassis that come with almost everything and only need a certain assembly to customize some details to suit the pilot. This is best for the more experienced or handyman. Some good sets of this type could be:
      • XCSource Combo Kit
      • EMAX Nighthawk 280.
  • Buy a normal drone and prepare it: we can buy a normal drone, such as those from Parrot, DJI, etc., and modify it ourselves to make it lighter and better for racing, although this would fall within the following section ...

DIY:

DJI Phantom

Do it yourself buying the parts separately or modifying an existing drone with upgrades to prepare it for a race. In this case you can do the following:

  • Make the drone from scratch or with the help of an ARF kit:
  • Modify a drone To transform it into a racing drone is quite another thing than making it from scratch or almost from scratch. Perhaps this is the most critical part, because we must be very sure of what we do so as not to turn a functional drone into a useless junk. Some of the advice that I would give you taking into account the three points that I mentioned above are (we will remember):
    • Control system: if we have an expensive drone, we will not have too much problem in this sense other than looking for some FPV goggles. But if the drone is not very there in this regard, perhaps we should look for something better controls or systems to replace it. The problem in this sense is the compatibility of the drone's own circuitry if it is not modular, since it would not be compatible with a third-party system. That is why it is important to choose a good base, a good drone on which to build our racing drone.
    • Engines: Maybe the engines that the drone has are already good, and possibly we should move on to the next point to achieve more speed and agility, but in the event that they are not powerful engines, I recommend that you think about buying competition engines that they must have a low weight, reliability, efficiency (measured in g / W, that is, the relation between the weight of the motor and the power generated), motor torque and high RPM, as well as a brushless system instead of brushed ones. In order, the best engines would be:
    • Weight and aerodynamics: You should think of the drone almost like a motorsport car, like an F1:
      • Lighten the drone removing everything that is not essential, such as supports (cameras, support, ..), ornaments, etc. You can also replace the outer plastic and even the internal chassis with one made of a lighter material such as carbon fiber that you can find in stores like Amazon. The motors, if they are heavy and provide little power, you should also eliminate them and replace some like the ones we have mentioned in the previous list.
      • Aerodynamics. I would remove any non-fairing obstacles such as cameras and external mounts like those on the DJI Phantoms, among others, and opt to insert a small, lightweight camera centered inside the lightweight carbon fiber fairing. The arms that go to the quadcopters' motors are another big problem, since they are usually thick and have a lot of resistance, the body of the drone is too. So you might think about adjusting the new fairing further so that it has a low profile with little resistance to help the engines get faster. Adding streamlined shapes will help, or could be inspired by nature, by the shapes of the beaks and wings of the fastest birds. Remember that nature is wise. In F1 these types of tricks are usually used ...
      • Vehicle dynamics: something that I have not mentioned and that is also very important is that all the weights are well distributed on the drone. The circuitry and camera should be placed in an area as central as possible and low, that way you lower the gravity point of the drone and the weight distribution will be better. If you have some parts on one side and others on the other, the differences in weight could cause the drone to list more to one side than the other, which dynamites the handling.

I hope I have guided you and that this article can be helpful for this hobby ...


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