The Aviation-Engineering Academy at Oxnard High School has started a creative "passion" project that allows any student to work on anything related to aviation and engineering topics. For my project, I am building my own custom built drone for the purpose of photography and film for our own school.
Drones touch both subjects of aviation and engineering, so it is an excellent project to be working on. I have had an interest in building electronics, such as the custom gaming PC I made (and rebuilt) just a year ago. I hope that the drone that I built will be used for the remainder of my high school career (because I totally want it back when I graduate).
How can building a custom drone help the school community through cinematography and photography?
Post No. 1: March 6th, 2017
Alright, so this is the first day of me using Adobe Spark. Hopefully there'll be a lot of good use for this website. I'm pretty sure I'll be using it a lot, even for things out of AEA.
So far, nothing to report. All of my resources are pretty much on the Padlet website. Link below.
Really do hope I get a lot out of this. It's always interesting to look back at my research and see the progress!
Post No. 2: March 16th, 2017
Looking through my Padlet, I've invested more time in finding the basic parts of a drone rather than finding the answer to my essential question. However, I could probably answer it without finding a few resources, because it's pretty simple.
Firstly, recording the building process of the drone and the multiple trials can help my engineering class. It can help with the planning, experimenting, building, and testing process by showing how a person or group can create a complex machine. This would help the students better familiarize themselves with more efficient working.
Secondly, when the drone is finally built, it can have a multitude of uses. One use could be to help newer "drone pilots" fly the drone without the worry of breaking any expensive equipment. You've got to start with a propeller plane before you can fly a fighter jet, right? You've got to start somewhere. Another use could be, if I place a camera system, to use for aerial video and photography. I know yearbook and student news could use more photos for their respective duties, and aerial shots are always appreciated.
In all honesty, a drone doesn't have a lot of redeemable functions that pertain to school related duties, but the things that it can do are pretty cool. Piloting a drone is very fun and using its camera system is always interesting, but for now I think I'll stick to a more simple drone, without the camera. I could then add it later.
Post No. 3: March 17th, 2017
So far, I've compiled a few research sources that will help me determine which parts are the best for a drone:
Frame: It should be "X" framed, with a good amount of chassis space for all the components.
Motors: Recommended motors must be higher than "1806's". I chose the "2205's" to be safe.
Speed Controller: The "20A's" are overall recommended. These control how the motors work.
Nothing else to report for now.
Post No. 4: April 22nd, 2017
I think my best bet to creating my own drone would be to start with a pre-made drone and deconstruct it. If I reverse engineer a pre-made drone, then I could better understand the mechanisms of making it.
Things I'm looking for when doing so would be to find the main components of each drone and organize them into their respective sections. Things like the battery, chassis, and other things would be separated.
I'm planning to go to Fry's this weekend and get myself a pre-made drone and deconstruct it. By the 29th, I'll have pictures and I'll try to post them on Spark.
Overall, pretty much all of my information is organized and I planned out. All I have to do now is to actually build it. However, deconstructing a drone would be of good help to making my own. After all, I can only build it once.
Post No. 5: May 5th, 2017
Alright, so far everything has been going pretty smoothly. My research has given me enough knowledge on how to create a drone and how some of the electronics work. What I'm still trying to figure out is how to attach a camera to the gimble. However, the basic drone concept should work.
Right now my main goal for this project is to build a drone that could possible help in the cinematography careers. However, I'm still having trouble how to connect the camera to the system, so I'm pretty sure my goal hasn't been reached yet.
I learned how to create a drone in the process, which was honestly the most fun part. I always love building and destroying things to see how they tick. I'm sure if I make the drone, I can just have it fly around for a bit and have myself talk about how I built it through some pictures on a powerpoint.
Nothing else so far.
Post No. 6: May 17th, 2017
So, I've been looking at photography and cinematography videos on YouTube and realized how complex how drone shots are.
In all honesty, I'm more of a handheld camera person. However, these videos of Hawaii that I saw on this channel were all taken by a drone. They were vivid landscape shots, which I think is the main focus of drone photography.
So far, the way I would use my drone is basic cinematography. There really isn't much you can do without a stabilizing gimble or a very expensive (and professionally built) drone.
However, the use of drones does fulfill my intention, which I unsurprisingly expected.
Post No. 7: May 22nd, 2017
I believe the hardest part of my experience was finding a way to assemble the drone without accidentally breaking it. It was like building a computer, but with a lot more moving parts.
I wouldn't say I "overcame" this challenge, but rather found an alternative way of creating the drone. Albeit, I did crash it into a bird and it's broken now. However, before it broke I managed to assemble the pieces like how I would assemble a computer.
I took the chassis, put the motherboard on, connected the speed controllers and the motors together, then added the propellers. I then fiddled with the hardware to connect it to my controller.