Let’s Build a Drone!

Create a drone frame in ten easy steps with NCLab’s 3D Modeling app. The resulting frame can be exported as an STL file to be 3D printed, then used to build a real drone.  You can even customize it with your initials! Complete the activity on your own, or as part of a class.  Teachers are invited to download companion lesson plans.This is a “real world” introduction to 3D Modeling.  3D Modeling is a vital part of engineering, manufacturing, art, science, medicine, and much more.  Think about your favorite animations, or the advances in artificial limb design.  Need a part?  Design and print it on a 3D printer!

As you perform your coding magic, watch the drone frame come to life.  The ten steps of the assembly process all begin with a short tutorial and clear instructions.  Then, simply complete the code and press the play button.  The results will show in the viewer.  You will immediately see if your code is correct, or if you need to adjust it.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Try each step as many times as you like.

You will practice many modeling skills and improve your understanding of geometry. Learn how to:

  • Create simple objects from basic geometric shapes.
  • Move and rotate objects in 2D.
  • Create complex objects from sets of simple objects.
  • Copy objects, and reflect them across lines of symmetry.
  • Extrude 2D objects to 3D

Some basic background knowledge is helpful.  By middle school, most students have learned the properties of angles, basic shapes, the XY coordinate plane, and how to move, rotate and reflect a shape.  Therefore, we recommend 3D Modeling to students in Grades 6-8 and 9-12 (or older!).

Modeling is part of the engineering cycle.  For a few dollars, a 3D model can be printed, tested, and even redesigned.  Once your frame is printed, you can quickly assemble a working drone using our downloadable instructions and suggested parts.  The design is Plug and Play – no soldering or hardware needed!

Fly it for a while, then – jump back into the world of design. Do you want your model to use less materials, fly faster, lift more payload, or look more attractive? Try modifying the code to meet these goals.  That’s the beauty of computer modeling: it is easy to make changes.

Enjoy the drone project, and we hope you catch the 3D modeling bug! If you want to learn more, try our 3D Modeling Course.

Lesson Plans

HOC 3D Lesson Plan in English

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HOC 3D Lesson Plan in Spanish

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Solution Manuals

HOC 3D Solution Manual

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Try NCLab’s 3D Modeling App

Visit NCLab’s Free Apps to view other people’s projects, or create your own. In order to save projects and share them online, you will need to create a free user account in NCLab at nclab.com/sign-up/.

Request a Free Classroom Trial For The Complete 3D Modeling Course

Visit the Schools page to request a trial classroom license today!