“Let’s Build a Drone” Project

It’s a very hot project now. Please kindly share details.

Created on March 7, 2018 in 3D Modeling.
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5 Comment(s)

This is a great project that can be done as a one hour event,  a theme for a class or club project, or as part of a 3D Modeling camp.  Drones are “serious” fun:  they have many applications in industry,  science, and military operations.

Learn how to construct the model on the computer, then export an STL file to a 3D printer and print out the frame for the drone using our design.  Put the drone together with parts that can be ordered online, and you have a real, flying mini-drone.  Explore the world of drones using some of our project ideas in the lesson plans.

Once students have a little more experience with 3D Modeling, they can design their own frames or modify the NCLab prototype.   Engineering design is an important job skill, and it has been integrated into the science standards.

Here are some resources to get you started:

The HOC tutorial:  “Let’s Build a Drone”


Webinar video for instructors


Slide show for local trainings


Lesson plans and solutions


A price list for the parts (these are the parts we used:  you may find others that meet the same specs):



And of course, we aren’t stopping there.  Our next drone will be programmable!  Stay tuned.


Commented on March 8, 2018.
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Are there any plans to make this drone programmable, or another programmable drone in the future?

Commented on March 8, 2018.

Not this particular version.   Technically, you can add a sensor or a camera to the receiver board, but it is tricky.

We are currently working on a programmable drone project with a larger frame that will be available in the fall.

on March 19, 2018.
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I really enjoyed this project. Thank you very much for sharing it with  us. Well done NCLab team!

Commented on March 23, 2018.

Thanks Alex!

on April 26, 2018.
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Advice from a customer review on Amazon:

Protip: The main way that I check if my motor is “bad” and should be replaced is to just spin the prop (usually i flick it with my finger) and then see if it slows down quickly. Normally all 4 motors will spin pretty freely and just slow down. But if one motor is bad you will notice it stops much much sooner than the other motors. This is the sign that the motor is going bad and you should replace it soon.

Commented on March 24, 2018.
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A number of people have requested the STL and PLaSM files for the drone.  The links are in the lesson plans, but for convenience, here they are:

STL File for NCLab Drone Frame

Note: some slicers may ask to repair the file.  Say yes.  STL files sometimes have gaps or overlaps when they render, and these are corrected by the slicer.   (Slicer software prepares the file for 3D printing. )

Here are the instructions for personalizing the drone frame with your initials.  Cut and paste the code into the PLaSM app on your NCLab Desktop and modify the initials as you like.  You can then export the new results as an STL file from the viewer menu.

Personalize Your NCLab Drone Frame

Commented on May 9, 2018.
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