DIY ESP32 drone costs about $12 to make

The team at Circuit Digest has designed a low-cost DIY drone controlled by an ESP32 module, based on a custom PCB and off-the-shelf parts that costs around 1000 Rupees to make, or $12 at today’s exchange rate.

The DIY ESP32 drone was designed as a low-cost alternative to more expensive DIY drones that typically cost close to $70. The result is a WiFi drone that fits in the palm and controlled over WiFi using a smartphone. Interestingly it does not include any 3D printed parts as the PCB forms the chassis of the device.

DIY ESP32 Drone

DIY ESP32 drone key features and components

  • Wireless module – ESP32-WROOM-32 for WiFi control using a smartphone.
  • Storage – MicroSD card slot
  • Sensors – MPU6050 IMU for stability control.
  • Propulsion
    • 4x 720 coreless motors
    • 2x 55mm propeller type A(CW)
    • 2x 55mm propeller type B(CCW)
  • USB – 1x USB-C port for charging and programming (via CP2102N)
  • Power Management
    • 1300mAh Li-Ion battery
    • TP4056 Li-ion charger IC
  • Custom “all-in-one” PCB that doesn’t require any 3D-printed parts
  • Dimensions – It’s complicated (see photo below).
low-cost ESP32 drone PCB
Bare PCB – Some parts are cut out before utilization and serve as feet for the drone.

The hardware design files (PDF schematics + BoM + Gerber files) and the firmware’s code based on Espressif’s ESP-Drone implementation can be found on GitHub. The drone is designed to be controlled by a smartphone running the open-source Android or iOS app developed by Espressif and based on forks of the mobile apps for the Crazyflie open-source nanocopter.

More details can be found in the announcement, and you can watch the drone in action in the video embedded below, and learn more about the schematics and challenges encountered during the project.


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3 months ago

This is really excellent! I like it when people come up with smart ideas like this where a PCB and a bunch of components end up as a flying device 🙂

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
3 months ago

Fr4 is a fantastic material that can be used very versatile and unconventional. Here it holds a panel in a window for a cat flap instead of the original glazing. Not very innovative but perfect for the purpose

Norbert Kett
Norbert Kett
3 months ago

on aliexpress it’s around 60 USD plus shipping:

Khadas VIM4 SBC