El Cheapo eBay Quadcopter Build

December 1, 2015

For a long time now I’ve been wanting to build a quadcopter. I’ve never really had the money to blow on it so I just kept putting it off. Finally I decided I’m going to do it but I’m going to order one part at a time and slowly accumulate everything I need. Eventually I realized I should be logging this build so even though this is my first post on the subject it’s been about a month and a half since I started this project and I already have some of the parts.

Since everything had to be shipped individually low shipping costs were key, adding $5-15 shipping to every part would have added way too much to the cost. That limited me to places like eBay or Deal Extreme for parts. Thus far everything has been ordered from eBay. I’m a firm believer in the “you get what you pay for” mantra but in this case I expect to smash the crap out of this thing the first time I fly it. Cheap parts are a priority for me. Once I get the hang of it I can build a better rig.

I decided early on I was going to build a 450 quad as I eventually want to add a camera and maybe even FPV. The 450s also seemed to have a lot of cheap and standard parts that I could order online.

For motors I went with some A2212 clones that included not only the motor but the ESC, two props and the mounting kit for $14.91 shipped. That’s per motor and thus far I have ordered two, with only one having arrived thus far. I will keep ordering one each pay check until I have 5 of these, with the final being a spare. I’m probably the most concerned about these as they if a motor or ESC is faulty it could cause havoc.

There was a ton of DJI Phantom clone parts out there with a dozen different sellers offering the same frame. I decided to go with the black and white model which cost me $18.69 CAD including shipping. I also ordered some landing legs which were $4.39 shipped. Unfortunately I could not find one in the right colour that included the legs. I may also order some replacement arms as they are only a few dollars and I expect that I may break an arm or two.

The flight controller has also been ordered. I put that order in on Friday when I got paid, I went with a CC3D that included a case and cables for $15.13.

Next up is the battery and charger. That involves more research. I know enough to know not to cheap out here, I don’t want a battery blowing up on me. I was thinking the same for a transmitter and receiver but I feel like I could go more mid range there. I also want something I can use on this quad or any future quad I build, as I wouldn’t mind making a 250 eventually.

At this point I have spent $70 Canadian on parts, with two more motors I will be at $100. From here it’s going to take probably another $250 before I can go out and fly this thing. Hopefully I have it all together by spring.


Part Price Date Ordered Date Received Ordered From
A2212 Brushless Motor and ESC $14.91 11/4/2015 11/24/2015 eBay
A2212 Brushless Motor and ESC $15.61 11/20/2015 eBay
F450 Frame $18.69 11/28/2015 eBay
F450 Frame Legs $4.39 11/28/2015 eBay
CC3D $15.13 11/28/2015 eBay
Total $68.73

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