Halloween is a fun time of the year as people get creative and transform themselves into creatures of all shapes and sizes. Dressing up is fun but what about dressing you drone for Halloween? Check out how we made our spider drone halloween prop.
If you have a old dusty drone sitting around, this may be the time to pull it out. The perfect platform for our drone spider build was a old DJI Phantom 1 we have had sitting in storage for some time. We needed a small drone but with enough power to lift the final drone costume. There are a few challenges to consider, of course. #1 Keeping the weight down. After the battery and prop guards, the max payload of the phantom 1 is really only about 350grams. We needed to retain the propeller guards as it provided a point of attachment for our costume as well as keeping loose materials away from the propellers. #2 Balancing the drone is important. With the added weight it’s critical to keep the quadcopter as balanced as possible. Unbalancing the Phantom could render it too unstable to fly. Materials for this build we readily sourced from our local dollar store as well as a few items from the home depot. Although the project looks straight forward it was a little more involved than we expected. After dabbling with a few different concepts we found a flying spider would be perfect as it’s symmetrical shape would keep the drone balanced and the legs would cover the body. The legs worked well as we could hang them over the propeller guards and keep them rigid as to not impede on the spinning propellers. Using this tutorial as a guide, you can also turn your drone into a creepy halloween prop that will be sure to draw attention form your neighbours and trick-or-treaters alike. Here are the steps we took to build our spider drone.
- Drone ( Phantom sized is fine)
- Hot Glue
- Black spray paint
- Plastic cup
- 2 party balloons (One big and small)
- Stick on jewels for the eyes
- Light weight bendable wire (for legs)
- Large pipe cleaner (for legs)
- Black feathers
STEP 1 – Selecting the best halloween drone
We started out with a version 1 Phantom we had sitting in storage. The phantom has prop guards which will serve as a point of attachment for the legs. We will be painting the quadcopter so the cheaper the drone the better. As long as it has a 300+ gram payload capability any drone this size will work well.
STEP 2 – Lets get it painted
We are going to paint our spider drone black. We will be attaching our costume to the top portion but the under side will still be visible. Before spraying we need to mask all the components we don’t want painted. On the phantom 1 we need to mask off the navigation lights, Naza LED dome and motors.
All masked up set up outside for a quick spray. Any cheep spray paint will work. We recommend Krylon Plastic paint. It is best for bonding to plastics. We went cheep and used a generic spray paint. We got the best results using lots of light coats. There are many crevices and different angles. Make sure you don’t miss any spots. The plastic cup, balloons and props will need to be painted at this time too.
STEP 4 – Start building the spider drone costume
After letting the paint dry we will start attaching all our components that will ultimately become the spider drone. First off we need to create a body stand off. This will give us the height and base for our legs and balloons. Most everything will be attached using a hot melt glue gun. The plastic cup needed to be modified to contour to the Phantoms top shell as seen below.
This will be the foundation in which all the materials will attach. The hot glue works well but we need to use just enough as the weight quickly adds up. At this point we can start planning on attaching the spider legs. We want to ensure the legs stay clear of the propellers. Using hot glue we start to attach our legs to the top of the cup. You can see as pictured we attached 4 legs to the prop guards and the middle 2 will just hang. This will give the legs movement in flight.
There are no rules, you can make it your own. Whatever works and looks good. This is the spider drone with legs attached. We added an additional pice of cardboard centred on the cup. This will be our point of attachment for the black balloons. The small balloon attaches to the larger balloon. The large ballon than gets attached to the top of the cup. We also used hot glue for this but first applied masking tape to the balloon to prevent it from popping. After the balloons are secured we can finish our halloween drone off with feathers, eyes, and fangs. This is where you can get creative and customize your spider quadcopter.
Here is our final spider drone. If initial test flights go well you can further accessorize your costume. Your drone costume will be sure to attract a crowd this halloween and halloweens to come. Let us know what you turned your drone into this halloween in the comments below.