Drone Design – SCOPES Digital Fabrication

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Author

Brandon Prentice
Brandon Prentice
K-12 teacher
Brandon Prentice is a fabrication teacher and instructional coach for the Trinity-Area School District, located in southwestern Pennsylvania.  He is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, earning his BS and MEd in Technology Education. A major part of his… Read More

Summary

Experiment with the science behind drone flight as grades 9-12 students design, fabricate, and build their own indoor drone. This lesson has students using various capabilities inside the fab lab in order to explore the engineering design process when creating a working drone. Final designs are then sent through a series of flight challenges to complete for a final project grade.

The Instructions

Fabricating a Design

Students use their base knowledge with different fabrication machines to choose their own methods in the design and fabrication of their drone's skeleton.

  • This project is intended towards the end of a course focused on fablab processes. Once the class has had exposure to all of the different kind of tools and machines offered in the lab, it is up to the student to decide on which specific route he/she will go and which materials they want to use. Students must only use the following design constraints below due to fitting the motors/bumper snug:

  • The drone being used in this particular example is the Hubsan x4 H107L shown in the above drawing. The letters “A” & “B” represent which propellers are made to spin clockwise (A) and counter-clockwise (B), in relations to the circuit board mounted.

 

Soldering the Electronics

Students must use soldering skills in order to add all of the components that need to come together to make the drone operate.

  • Students use the soldering skills taught to them in previous lessons to carefully attach all of their drone components in the correct orientations using a teacher-made “Drone Station” box:

 

 

  • Make sure that student differentiate all of the positive (+) and negative (-) wires for both the LEDs and motors, which are:
  • LED Positive: Red
  • LED Negative: Brown
  • “A” Motor Positive: Red
  • “A” Motor Negative: Blue
  • “B” Motor Positive: White
  • “B” Motor Negative: Black

When looking at the circuit board, all motors are expressed as M1, M2, M3, & M4, while LEDs are all LED1, LED2, LED3, & LED4.