For many years, people have draped white sheets over their heads to pass off as ghosts for Halloween.
Most of the time, it works.
But technology has caught up with the traditional ghost look, and now, zombie drones and ghost helicopters are taking Halloween by storm!
What’s more, they are scarier – and a LOT more fun!
Always one to go with the times, I decided to get into my “laboratory” and build a Halloween ghost helicopter for myself.
To make it more unique and to ease flight control, I decided to make the ghost drone out of a multi-rotor UAV.
So, while doing the research for my new project, I chanced upon the KKMulticopter firmware which I instantly liked, as I wanted to design my own flight controller.
KKMulticopter is specifically designed for remote control (RC) multi-copters with between 2 and six rotors.
In this case, I figured it would go down well with the two-prop tilt-rotor design that I had in mind for my ghost helicopter. I wanted to increase the flight time of the drone at the same.
I also wanted to code the software for my zombie drone, but luckily, KKMulticopter released the software I needed even before I have started coding it.
The only thing left was to build a zombie drone and scare people with it.
After some time working on my project, I came up with Mr. T whose spine is a rather simple aluminum frame.
In addition, I used some old servos (which are ideal for RCs) to control the movement (forwards and backward) of the counter-rotating propellers.
Two Turnigy motors drive the counter-rotating propellers while two Turnigy Plush 18 amp speed controllers power the motors.
For the KKMulticontroller, I manually soldered the components onto the printed circuit board and programmed the microcontroller using SparkFun USBtiny.
There is a 6-channel Futaba receiver located at the back of the KKMulticontroller.
Balance is an important factor to consider when making a ghost drone. After all, it is the balance that determines how straight the drone flies.
In this case, I enhanced the balance by positioning the KKMulticontroller in-between the props and positioning the battery in a hanging position below.
The part of the aluminum frame hanging down is not centered below the controller, so as to counterbalance the battery and give the drone more stability in the air.
The wire at the top is meant to give the ghost drone a head-shape.
I also fixed a cabinet hinge with zip-ties through the motor-servo assemblies to keep them from swaying while in mid-air.
Although I could have designed this particular part in a much more advanced manner, I chose to keep it simple due to time.
I bolted motors right through each of the motor servo assemblies. This way, the servo moves the hinge using solid wire while a spring keeps it tight.
To complete Mr. T’s look, I took a white bed sheet and strewed it over the top to form Mr. T’s head.
The motors help to hold the sheet in place while shredding the bottom of the sheets completes the weird look and allows it to billow in the wind.
With that, I was ready to begin my Halloween mission – it wasn’t long before I got the ideal candidates to prank with my ghost helicopter, children.