The Ultimate DIY Spy Drone: Start Building Your Own UAV for Under $800
Over the next few months, I'll be focusing on building a fully functional, long range UAV. This series will consist of several in-depth articles on my progress and the steps involved, so you can follow along and build your own unmanned aerial vehicle!
The budget is $800 and will use Arduino as its primary computing electronics. There are several very helpful, user-friendly tools that allow even total beginners to construct and fly their own spy drone. Ideally, the drone should be able to fly up to 6 miles (10km) or up to 5 hours of flight on autopilot. The most difficult task is battery power, because a flying vehicle can only carry so much weight. Of course, the bigger the plane, the further it can travel. However, 6 miles is quite enough for this project.
In this article, I'll be covering plane size and shape, and which plane structures are most applicable to a spy drone. I'm going to be using the classic "drone look" (first photo below).
Though the electronics will stay relatively similar, the actual physical structure of the plane can vary. Its up to you how you'd like your plane to look! Ideally, its a good idea to have the propeller facing backwards so that the FPV (first person view) camera is not obstructed. But there are ways around this, such as facing it downward. I've included some popular drone-structures below:
- Of course, the classic "drone look" (one of the best structures):
- A delta wing drone (also very good):
- Another couple delta wing variations:
- A larger tilted wing drone:
- A glider:
Obviously, there are many variations. The ideal choice, depending on your electronics (range, batteries, cameras, etc.), would be the classic "drone look". However, they all work great! Stay tuned for the next article on choosing your features!
- Using a spy drone may be illegal in your country, check FCC rules and regulations before proceeding!
- Some (most) frequencies are restricted and cannot be used without a license!
- Do not misuse a spy drone; they are for educational purposes only, not a tool for invading privacy!