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Multicopter Basics #5 -Build your own vs off the Shelf

Written by Thomas

These days, the market is saturated with a range of Ready to Fly (RTF) solutions. DJI seems to have captured the global market with their affordable and reliable multicopter range when it comes to recording events with video and still photographs at a relatively low price.

Rewind 4 years ago and arguably you had a clean cut decision which was simply to build your own multicopter because it’s cheaper, more reliable and has more features.

The industry has come a long way today and because of this, the market is starting to mature and evolve with more solutions, more features and best of all, lower costs!

There are some key questions you need to ask yourself which will help to determine if you’re ready to build something or buy something off the shelf:

Do you have enough time to build your own multicopter?

Building your own multicopter is time consuming and requires a great deal of time learning. You’re more focused on the technical side initially rather than getting out and flying sooner.

Do you have some basic experience and knowledge in the RC hobby?

It’s quite a steep learning curve if you have no prior experience building an RC model. It certainly can be done but it requires considerably more time and the purchase of some specialty tools (covered later in this series of articles).

How much are you willing to spend in the short term and long term?

Do the math and really consider your purchase. It may appear cheap at first but in the long run, you’re going to crash – it’s a part of the hobby. You either have to get someone to fix your multicopter for you or do it yourself.

What is your end goal?

Is this hobby something that you’re most likely going to stick with long term or simply achieve your objective and move on? If you think you will be in this for the long term, you’re going to need to know how to perform your own repairs. The best way to learn is to build a multicopter!

Do you have some existing RC parts you can use?

This can reduce the entry cost substantially if you have things such as a charger, transmitter, batteries and so on.

Building Your Own Multicopter

There are many things to consider when building your own multicopter - not all of them are provided below but these are the main things you should be taking in to consideration:

Buying a Multicopter off the Shelf (RTF)

Buying a multicopter Ready to Fly (RTF) will get you in the air quickly. However, some basic things need to be taken in to consideration for the short and long term:

As you can see above, there are many things to take into consideration. There is no right path. However, there may be a much more simple path you can take depending on your objectives.

Regardless of which path you take, you can rest assured that there will be highly rewarding challenges!

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