3D Printing & Imaging Drones Drones & Vehicles Robotics
Turn Everyday Objects into Drones

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/68841788 w=620&h=348]

Interaction designer Jasper van Loenen created a kit for turning everyday objects into drones. He 3D printed clamping mounts for four motors and an enclosure for all the electronics (4 ESCs, a receiver, bluetooth module, and OpenPilot CC3D control board). By clamping the kit to, say, a bike wheel, you can turn it into a drone!


Jasper submitted the project to Instructables for their 3D printing contest, and attached CAD files for each component so you can print them yourself. I asked him a few questions about his DIY kit:
What was your inspiration for creating this kit?
When I was building a regular quadcopter, I noticed how many people refer to any flying machine without a pilot inside as a “drone.” Because the most well-known drones are those you see in the news, a lot of these people see them all as dangerous devices.

I believe technology isn’t good or bad; it depends on what you do with it. So with my kit, you decide what kind of machine it is. The kit itself does nothing but provide the means needed to make something fly.

How well do the clamps cope with vibration during flying?
They actually work pretty well. I was afraid they might slip off, but if you connect them to something where they have enough grip (or put a small piece of rubber in between), they’re plenty secure. The vibration doesn’t seem to do too much short-term damage, but I can’t really say how long they will be able to withstand the vibration. You can also insert a small piece of folded paper into the clamp when sliding in the motor parts to make sure they fit snuggly and can’t vibrate too much.

What are the limitations to what you can fly with? Do you have to calibrate each new “body” before you fly it for the first time?
I do level the flight controller each time. There is a bluetooth module inside the box so you can connect to it without having to open it up. I’m now looking into changing the firmware so it will just level when you connect the battery — this is also why I wanted to use an open project like OpenPilot, so you can make these kinds of adjustments yourself.

Can you think of any particularly neat things to Drone-ify? Are you interested in seeing this become a kit? Let us know with a comment below.

Project Page
Instructables Tutorial


Eric is a Mechanical Engineer with interests in machining, mass manufacturing, product design and kinetic art. While not building things, he enjoys skiing, cycling, and juggling.

View more articles by Eric Weinhoffer