I was mainly wondering if there was something in the drones world, similar to what the ender3 is to the 3d printing community -- that is, a cheap kit massively owned by makers and open source enthusiasts.

I'd like to get a list of components I can, afterwards, highly customize. I can make 3d prints.

For now, what I've found for the features I want, are :

  1. a thingiverse post of the mavic air/pro cloned foldable frame. However I don't know if it's as worth as the "open flat frames" used in plenty of youtube videos for DIY racer drones... In the sense of payload carrying ability and speed limits/agressive maneuvers.
  2. pixhawk as the flight controller board and px4 firmware. I would need at least one extra pin (more is appreciated) for controlling a servomotor for custom experiments. Is there any better solution?
  3. found out that the more blades I get on a propeller the more silent it will be. However I didn't found any foldable propeller with more than 2 blades... You guys did?
  4. some sliding design for swapable battery, such as on the autel evo 2, that I can't afford because it costs 2k$ and I don't even know if it's customizable... Any thingiverse post you guys saved**?**

But my BIGGEST wonderings are for the FPV feature :

  1. All the tutorials I've found use some DJI digital "fpv unit" to cast what the drones sees into operator's goggles. But if I don't want to wear goggles, but instead, still cast onto the remote controller screen, is there any build logs/tutorial for that?
  2. How to get the remote controller screen to be displayed on a smartphone? Is there such famous couple <RC remotes, android app> that not only work with DJI models or specific brands? Or some generic opensource project I could flash on micro controllers and buy appropriate antennas. For now I've found the 300\$ skydroid T12 or the 800$ herelink but they are too expensive for me on a budget.
  3. I heard about betaflight for assigning maneuvers to keys of a custom controller (such as gamestation ones), but these devices aren't radio-enabled (long range + anonymous), nor able to redirect the videostream into a smartphone, isn't it ?
  4. Is there android apps for fully controlling a drone through smartphone (virtual joysticks on screen) over wifi while getting its point-of-view livestream on the phone screen?

By thanking you

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This sort of thing isn't really going to work on this forum, as you're starting multiple conversations, not asking one question where the community can vote on the best answer. Somewhere like reddit.com/r/Multicopter might work better. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2021 at 9:47
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, here is the duplicate reddit.com/r/drones/comments/ljl1vo/… it didn't workout but in case you want to keep eyes on it $\endgroup$
    – user1598
    Feb 17, 2021 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


To answer your main question, I'm afraid there's nothing as widely used the Ender3.

It sounds like you want to build something with more lifting capacity and space than a race quad, with GPS.

There are two main styles of frame that might suit you.

One is based on the old 'DJI Flamewheel', which has plastic arms attached to hub of two flat plates. You can build these with as many arms as you want but the arms are only available in one size.

The other option is the many designs that use carbon fibre tubes. The tubes are very light and strong, and fairly cheap. Commercial designs use injection moulded or CNC aluminium fittings, but these would be perfect for 3d printing. Here's one I found but I'm sure there are others.

Unlike a 3d printer, the mechanical design of a drone really isn't all that important. You could use bits of broom handle and plywood, and it would still fly. That's lead to a wide range of designs and no clear market leader.

I'll have a go at the other questions:

  1. sorry, I don't know much about the options here.

  2. more blades is less efficient, which is probably why you can't find any multi-blade folding props. I'm not sure that more blades are quieter, unless you're comparing it to the same size 2-blade prop spinning faster.

  3. most people use Velcro straps, which are lighter than sliding mechanisms, and work with a wide range of battery sizes. Batteries need replacing every few years, and you can't guarantee getting the same exact size.

  4. the DJI video unit is the only real option for high quality digital video at the moment.

This is different to the video used in quads like the Mavic, that transmit via wifi to a phone.

Racers use much cheaper analogue gear based on old CCTV signals, but the picture quality is limited to old PAL/NTSC TV resolution. It's easy to send an analogue signal to a screen, and you can buy screens with built-in receivers. You can't always see screens in strong sunlight, which is why people use goggles.

  1. Systems that transmit to a phone are generally proprietary and only available as part of a complete drone. They also have a noticeable lag, due to the video compression/decompression required, and other processing on the phone. That's why they're preferred for taking video, but not for high-speed flying. At the moment you can't have both (although the DJI air unit is close).

  2. betaflight is the firmware run on race drones. It's not aimed at autonomous flight like the Pixhawk.

  3. No, because there's no common wifi module for drones.

  • $\begingroup$ 3. found this youtube.com/watch?v=21RTaYFm9qA , is it valuable? 5. would you have some device recommendations for such screens with built in analog video receiver? Preferably a screen built in a remote controller as well. 6. I may go for a commercial drone then and get/code some pop-bubble on the android screen to overlap the proprietary app and control the payload mechanism, do you heard of someone doing so ? I saw a device for mavic air/pro but it's a release mechanism, idk if it's possible to reverse engineer it to command servo(s)/3-axis gimball/etc. $\endgroup$
    – user1598
    Feb 17, 2021 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ 7. what are the options for motherboards compatible with betaflight firmware with entries for ESC regulators etc ? Any that can handle servo(s) / multi axis gimball ? $\endgroup$
    – user1598
    Feb 17, 2021 at 13:00
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    $\begingroup$ The reason those props are quieter is that they're the same diameter, so with 3 times as many blades they turn slower to generate the same lift. You could get the same effect with larger props, but they wouldn't fit on a race drone frame. For comparison, look at WWII fighters, which started with 2 blade props and as engines got more powerful they couldn't fit larger props without hitting the ground, so they had to add more blades but they certainly weren't any quieter. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2021 at 13:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Pretty much any race drone fight controller will run betaflight, and has outputs that can be configured for a servos, and I think betaflight supports gimbals but I've not tried it, and it's not a common configuration. It's hard for me to make recommendations, as stuff changes regularly, but fpvknowitall.com usually has good, up to date recommendations. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2021 at 14:01

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