Should you build or buy your first drone?

If you have been surfing through the internet and an electronic dragonfly (drone) made you pause your scrolling and coaxed you in fantasising of your flying experience then it is unlikely that you will further delay in buying it but what if you want to customise each component of the drone? Not only that, you can also go for the specific features of all and sundry while having a completely unique drone that you can show off to your friends.  If you are pondering whether you should buy or build your drone, here is how you should weigh your options  :-

  1. Do you require the drone immediately in which case you won’t have time to build
  2. Do you have some technical skills, at least a bare minimum to build your (maybe with someone’s help)
  3. What is the purpose of possession, are you reflecting on some research in this field or simply a recreation lover youtuber because if so the popular camera drones can’t be built by default but the other two (broad) categories- toy and racing can be customised to suit your preference. 

The serious part is you do need some technicality to engineer a drone as drone building is not some lollygagging. You would have to select the compatible motors, propellers, frame, ESC and receiver besides accurately soldering it properly. If time is not a factor then you can spend a shedload of the same in comparing the prices, deciding for harmonious elements like the desired weight of frame depending on the weight of other components, amount of power supply and type of battery. Your technical insight will be used up in selecting the better bearing motor, vibration free gimbal, number of propellers, motors that will lead you in deciding for which frame to buy from quadcopters, tri-, octo- and hexacopters. Hey wait! We are not even halfway through the preamble but if you have got a spinning head you better buy a professionally built RTF model. Even so some people start having wet dreams at the sight of screws and bolts and crave to build everything from scratch for the sake of experience. Always remember that you won’t be made an outcast if you choose either of the options, we have an equilibrium here and building or buying is completely our readers’ selection. We are explaining a possible course of options for the twain. 

With an advantage to modify every fraction and replacing it with your vote of product building drones is a new DIY trend but buying one won’t cast you as a non technical person. In fact you may buy first till you gain some experience and knowledge to be able to build the same. Talking of buying I would like to specify that thinking like simply going for an off the shelf drone will solve all your problems is no less than walking on thin ice for you do have to vote for one of the lakhs of varied products but indeed will save some time and brain work out. 

No, while buying your flying machine the thing you need to engage with is what kind of flight controller to use for agile or stable flight operation. Other factors are choice for large SD card, type of goggles (taking you buy FPV), with controller comes transmitter with varied antenna and digital or analog communication system. The RTF drones don’t need any assembly, Bind and Fly (BNF) models come without controllers and Almost ready to fly (ARF) lack transmitter/receiver and sometimes demand assembly. 

Pros of DIY Drones
  • Customised drone and a Proud Possession: from speed to communication and from weight to frame anything can be personally fashioned and only will be the haughty owner not to mention the heart warming and rewarding experience.
  •  Refurbishing: any time you can bring your drone or some part of it up to the code and since its handcrafted it will be far easier to revamp it than sprucing up a store bought one. 
  • Experience is the best teacher: if nothing holds you back then this is the best window of opportunity to learn about the latest tech than waiting to join some boring online class, in which you will doze off sooner or later.
Cons of DIY Drones
  • Cost: uncharacteristic of DIY bearings building your own drone can prove to be costly probably because the individual modules come costlier and you won’t compromise anywhere to make your drone durable.
  • Test of time and composure: you are required to be even tempered if you wanna build something as Rome was not built in a day. 
  • No customer service: although a drone is a five finger exercise as compared to an air condition yet you get home service by technicians for any glitch arriving in your AC which is not possible if you damage some part or your drone does not work. Having someone who has the technical know-how in close proximity will be rewarding.
  • No dimwits allowed: a technical background is a must even though a lot of YouTube videos are there to bottle feed you.

Let’s not leave shelf ready drones:

  • Cheaper: as already mentioned a ready made drone comes cheap and all modules assembled.
  • Ready to fly: can take to skies the moment you unpack them
  • Customer Care: till the warranty period all breakage is dealt with the manufacturers and can also get personal advice to solve some snags and glitches.
  • No technical background necessary: a well furnished drone will be at your command irrespective of your level of tech savvies. 
  • Cannot be refurbished: if some part attains a glitch the whole module will have to be replaced.
  • Forced to manage: with the given features of drones like its speed, communication and antenna above all.

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Happy Flying!

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