Drones are one of the products of the technological advancements that we are enjoying in today’s society, they have so many applications in different fields and domains, they’re used in agriculture, photography, mapping, search and rescue, weather forecasting, preventing poaching, and many more, they have almost endless applications.
But what are these drones actually made off, how do they fly and why are they flying, that’s what we are going to figure out in this article.
The Main Components
The first and most important component in the drone and the one that actually does the flying is the propeller. From its name, the job of the propeller is to push or propel the air downwards generating thrust force that lifts the drone up from the ground.
In order for the drone to be able to push the air it needs to spin and that is the job of a motor. A motor is basically a combination of permanent magnets and electromagnets that repulse from each other to generate the spinning of the rotor or the shaft of the motor, there are more details into it of course than what I’ve just explained but this is the basic idea of a motor.
Okay, so now we have one motor that’s spinning one propeller, is that enough, I’ve never seen a one motor drone before actually, the least number of motors for a drone to fly was two as I remember you can see it in the video below.
But the most common number of motors there’s is 4 motors with 4 propellers, that’s the most common number you will find in the consumer drones at Amazon at least.
In order for the motors to spin they need a voltage that activates the magnets of the motor in order for them to spin the rotor of the motor. The element that supplies the voltage to the motors is called the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), there’s a lot that goes into the ESC that we can’t cover in this article but its basic function is to feed voltage into the motors at the desired speed. For more information about the ESC check out the video below.
After the ESC comes the power distribution board which feeds every element with the power it needs to operate, after the power distribution board comes the battery which is the main power source in the system which feeds every element with power through the power distribution board, the batteries are in most cases going to be lithium batteries because they are light, small, and contain lots of power which is really suitable for the application of drones.
After the batteries and the power distribution board comes the Flight Controller which is the main commander in the system that tells each motor what to do through sending signals and setting the desired speed for the ESC to reach, this is the part where all the research and science is actively participating nowadays with new control algorithms coming out from different places in the world for driving the drones and giving drones abilities such as avoiding objects and returning home and a lot of interesting stuff going on.
And the last one is the frame that everything will be mounted on which will be the body of the drone, it will usually be made of carbon fiber which is really light and really strong which makes it a very suitable choice because the lighter the body of the drone is the faster and longer it flies and the stronger the body is the more crashes it can take before you have to buy new parts
Those where the essential elements to build up a basic drone from scratch, with these components you will build up a drone that flies autonomously, autonomous flying is a big topic that we will cover in detail in a different article but for now you should now that it’s the area of research and development these days and every day there are new announces and achievements in this area.
To be able to operate a drone and give it commands while flying you will need to add a transmitter and a receiver that will also connect to the power distribution board and will be connected to the flight controller. And in order for the drone to have a purpose or for it being able to do something you may add a camera that records and transmits what it sees through WiFi