Micro drones are incredible fun – they’re challenging and rewarding to build, and they’re a blast to fly.
Don’t get me wrong – all fpv multirotors are awesome, but micros are just a class in themselves. The whole micro craze popped up thanks to the FAA’s now defunct regulation that copters above 250 grams in weight had to be registered.
Even though the registration fee was very nominal, people still were not too fond of the idea – so an entire new class of copter rose, which were right at or well below the 250 grams mark.
250 grams meant including the battery! Considering that the battery was the heaviest part of the craft, that did not leave much room for other components!
Micros can be flown anywhere, whether it’s in a small backyard or a tight spot in a park. The legendary Charpu’s latest videos are of him flying a micro around in a park:
Micro drones come in all flavors, from tame builds you can fly in a small yard to absolute beasts that can outrun 5 inch copters and think nothing of it.
Thanks to the amazing innovation in motors and propellers, there are powertrains on either side of the spectrum now available.
Micros are really unique in that sense because it is vital to control how much power they have – whereas for larger 5 inch builds, there is a standard for thrust per motor that pretty much all builds will have – there’s no such thing as far as I know as a tame 5 inch copter.
The same can’t be said for micros: there certainly are tame micros, as there are beastly ones.
Micros can be challenging to build, though. Building a 5” copter is comparatively easy because you have a lot of real estate to work with. Building a micro follows the same principles, but you have less room to work, so all the wires must be cut shorter, and you have to stack everything up very neatly!
Building a 3 inch BEAST
Frame: Le Volcor by Hyphy Multirotors
The Volcor frame by Hyphy Multirotors is a really unique design – it’s shaped like a racecar steering wheel, and for good reason – a well built Volcor is indeed a speed demon!
ESC: The frame is a very interesting design, and it’s best to use a 4-in-1 ESC for this build. There are plenty of 4-in-1 ESCs available, like these superb and economical ones from RacerStar.
Motors: To build a super fast beast, you’re going to need really good motors. 1407 motors are the biggest and baddest you can go up to for a 3 inch build, so those are the ones to get!
There are a few options available, as always:
Tattu 2305 2450KV : A lot of people use these motors and are very happy with them. I’ve had two experiences with Tattu motors going bad on me, and now I am wary of using them – but it’s my word against hundreds of other pilots, so who am I to say anything, right?
T-Motor F20: Another big name in motors is T-Motor. They make some of the baddest, fastest motors around, so when they come out with a motor for 3” builds, you know it’s going to be good and fast. Technically, you can use 1407 motors to spin 4 inch and even 5 inch props, too.
Armattan Oomph 1407: Finally, choice number three is the Armattan Oomph 1407 motors. These motors are named very aptly, as they perform with a lot of oomph and speed. The cool thing about these motors is that the propellers are fixed to the motor using a screw instead of a nut, so props are much easier to put on and remove.
Propellers: As always, there are a ton of different propellers available but to make things simple, I’m just going to list 3 options, starting with tame, wilder, and BEAST.
Tame: RaceKraft 3030 triblade propellers are a great mix of power and control. These will be lots of fun to fly, but won’t eat through your battery as fast.
Wilder: RotorX 3040T propellers are a little bit more powerful than the RaceKraft 3030s, and they hit the sweet spot between power, control, and battery consumption.
BEAST: DAL 3045T propellers are the most aggressive propellers of the lot, and will provide insane amounts of thrust and eat through your battery very fast – but the 2 to 3 minutes your quad is in the air will be exhilarating. If you want to race or show off raw speed, use these propellers.
Flight Controller: I’ve recently fallen in love with the Omnibus F4 flight controller. It’s cheap, powerful, and performs great. It also accommodates almost all of the extra features of BetaFlight(though the OSD is really the only one that’s a huge bonus for mini and micro quadcopters).
FPV Gear: You can use any kind of FPV gear with a 130 size build – they can fit the full size HS1177 cameras as well as tiny all-in-one cameras – just bear in mind that if you use a camera that has an attached video transmitter, you will not be able to use the BetaFlight OSD.
If you want to get HD footage, then definitely use the Runcam Split. It’s a combination FPV camera/HD camera that records 1080p at 60 frames per second. For a more detailed review, check this post out.
Batteries: On this 3 inch build, you can use both 4S lipo batteries and 3S lipo batteries. 3S batteries will be a bit tamer than 4S batteries, so a good way to control speed and power is by using a 3S battery instead of a 4S. Many pilots I know fly 3S on their micro and it’s still very fast and nimble.
The ideal capacity is between 650 mah to 850 mah, though you could get away with 1000 mah as well if you are using a 4S build.
If you’re looking to add to your fleet, or are comfortable with soldering and electronics and want to start flying drones, then definitely consider a micro – it’s a worthwhile investment and they’re a TON of fun.
Author: Shabbir Nooruddin