MAKE 37: Drones


MAKE Volume 37 takes a look at the evolving technologies that allow makers to do amazing things with both traditional R/C and self-piloting drones. Get a handle on terminology with a drone anatomy diagram, check out how to get amazing photos and videos using quadcopters, and get tips on using first-person video to put yourself in the pilot seat. Then build your own quadrotor airframe from hardware store parts and trick it out with stabilized onboard video and autonomous flight.

Beyond drones, you’ll learn to easily integrate GPS into electronics projects, light up your style with the full-color LED sneakers that react to your moves, use an Arduino and the closed-caption feed on your TV to silence culture personalities, and annoy your neighbors with the surprisingly loud CNC Air Raid Siren. All this and more in MAKE Volume 37!

Table of Contents



Page 06

Reader Input

Page 08

All Art is Made by Makers

Page 10


Page 11

Made on Earth

Page 12


Shifting Gears

A student-built, world-class race car.Page 20

Radically Cheap

Building machine tools from car parts to save the world.Page 24

Inkjet Maniac

Hacking printers for the sake of art.Page 28


Flight of the Drones

The multicopter revolution is coming. Are you ready?Page 32

Anatomy of a Drone

Find your way around a modern multirotor UAV.Page 34

Aerial Videography

Make fantastic videos from your multicopter or drone.Page 36

World of Drones

Drones are already hard at work, from the pyramids to the polar ice.Page 40

Quadcopter Photogrammetry

R/C aircraft helping restore historic buildings in Cuba.Page 42

HandyCopter UAV

Build a cheap quadrotor airframe with video and autonomous flight.Page 44

Drone Buyer's Guide

Take a peek at the new wave of drones available to buy now.Page 49

FPV Fundamentals

Pilot your drone by seeing what it sees, with first person view.Page 50

Custom-Crafted Multicopters

Homegrown drones — you can build your own!Page 52

No Man's Land

The legal gray area facing drones and their pilots.Page 53

Quad Squad

These expert drone pilots are making quadcopters even cooler.Page 54



Luminous Lowtops

Snazzy sneakers with full-color LEDs that respond to your moves.Page 66

Library Box

A mobile, anonymous wi-fi file server from off-the-shelf hardware.Page 74

Zombie Flashlight

Revive a dead battery to make this powerful pocket flashlight.Page 75

License Plate Guitar

A “resonator” guitar with a hand-wound electromagnetic pickup.Page 76

Remaking History

Build the simple plane that defined modern aircraft.Page 80

The Amateur Scientist

Track heat islands with data loggers and DIY sensors.Page 84

Chameleon Bag

An interactive messenger bag that reacts to your RFID-tagged objects.Page 86

Enough Already

Use an Arduino to mute annoying celebrities on your TV automatically.Page 90

Bass Bump

Build this circuit to boost low frequencies and make your MP3s go boom.Page 92

Mini Blind Minder

Train your blinds to automatically open when it's cold and close when it's hot.Page 95


Build a nifty ripcord rotor copter with an emery board propeller.Page 99

Homebrew: Pinball Machine

One man's journey to build a pinball machine from the ground up.Page 112


Tool Reviews

MAKE's recommendations for useful maker tools and materials.Page 100


Text tools for your bench or bedside table.Page 104

New Maker Tech

On the horizon for 3D printing, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi.Page 106