Take a stroll through any online repository of 3D printable objects and you’ll find no shortage of drone schematics. Now that 3D printers have basically flung open the doors to creativity and made it possible to manufacture practically any object imaginable, tons of people are using the technology to make their own flying machines.
The great thing about it is that these designs are often made available to the public, so anybody with a printer can download the file and make it on their own machine. The only downside? The vast majority of them are simple schematics made by amateur designers.
But not all of them. Earlier this week, a Thingiverse user and drone enthusiast by the name cdrskull raised the bar, and actually released 3D-printable designs for a nearly identical clone of DJI’s Inspire 1 drone — the company’s flagship quadcopter. The print files are free to download, so as long as you’ve got access to a 3D printer of some kind, you can manufacture all the parts and build the drone yourself.
Of course, you’ll still need to supply all the rotors, motors, batteries, and onboard electronics — but all the hull pieces can be printed in ABS or PLA, and fastened together with normal screws. Once you’ve got all the pieces made, it’d only take a few hundred bucks and a little bit of programming to create fully-functional Inspire 1 knockoff. You don’t even need any coding or electronics experience to do it either — Cdrskull was kind enough to post all the wiring and programming instructions online.
That said, it’s worth mentioning that the doesn’t come with the Inspire’s awesome 4K camera, but what it lacks in filming capabilities, it makes up for in repairability. If you crash this thing and break something on the hull, you could just fire up your printer and make a replacement part right away. Not to mention, if you’ve got a GoPro lying around, there’s no reason you couldn’t just strap it on the underbelly and make yourself a camera drone.
If you’re searching for a cool weekend project, then look no further — just be sure the download the print files before DJI inevitably issues a takedown order and they disappear from the Web.