Can you build a drone entirely out of Lego pieces? That was the question the folks at the Brick Experiment Channel on YouTube (subscriber count: 367,000+) wanted to answer. After months of work, the answer seems to be “no, but you can get pretty damn close,” and they’ve got the drone and the footage to prove it.
As reported by Gizmodo, the frame, propellors, and motors on this thing are all official Lego pieces, many from the Technic line. Where these builders had to go third-party was in the computer that would control the motors, a key functionality given that acceleration and steering on a quadcopter are entirely controlled by varying the thurst of the motors individually.
The computerized brick that Lego makes for this task isn’t designed for flight, and it’s way too heavy to work for this project. These builders opted for a Matek F411-mini flight controller, which provides the necessary processing power without weighing the craft down.
Other non-Lego components like a radio transmitter, rechargeable batteries, a radio transmitter, and a motor driver circuit also found their way into the build, which you can see in action below.
According to the video’s caption, the finished product weighs just 410 grams, about the same as a can of soda, and has 470 grams of thrust. It has a flight time of two minutes, a reminder that this thing is more of a proof of concept than something you’d want to use consistently.
But if you do want to give this build a shot, the video includes part lists, including the most important least important part of all. Because while it’s not technically essential, you won’t want to build this thing without the classic space minifigure in a blue suit with blue air tanks, a Lego icon from the days before every other minifgure was a well-known character licensed from non-Lego intellectual property. (He’s also Benny from The Lego Movie and its sequel.)
This particular minifigure was only been manufactured between 1984 and 1988, but plenty are available online. At just four grams, this guy won’t weigh down your drone too much, but you’ll want to be careful flying outside, as a stiff wind could end his aviation career for good. And who would want that?