First Origami Quadcopter for less then 20 Cent

by TommyGunn | September 20, 2013 | (44 Ratings) Posted in Projects


The Paper quadcopter by Tommy Gunn



I was sitting at my desk and had an urge to make something new something I had never made before I don't know if you ever got a rush of a feeling to be creative and inventive I get that feeling a lot...Sometimes it's just a false alarm and I just have to go to the bathroom.

I  was thinking about the flitetest planes, and foam boards and how could I make a quadcopter with foam board I tried a bunch of ideas in my head doing A/style B/style folds in to triangle arms but in my mind it still would not hold up I wanted something really strong and I was kind of hungry. I got it! I decided to make bread something I had never made before nothing like food to get your ideas going!  so I invited my little co-pilot to help me with that project soon enough we were making bread I told him how to mix,, fold and knead the dough as he was rolling the dough...



I kept thinking of something he kept rolling the dough it gave me an idea! we pop the bread in the oven and I started to build in my head then I got it! I got the bread out of the oven!


I let it cool down for a bit and then gave the sliced bread a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil...OMG! It was soo amazing!


Now I could go back to work on the project! while watching Jesse rolled the dough it reminded me of origami when I was a kid we used to make paper weapons like darts and throwing stars and they held up to abuse.


His rolling motion gave me the idea to roll paper in to a tube, the tighter the roll the stiffer and stronger it would be! So I took out some printer paper and started rolling... Rolling all that paper reminded me of my teenage years...


I rolled a really tight tube with 2 sheets I was so happy that I figured out how to make an arm out of paper that was very very strong I was chasing everyone around the house hitting and stabbing them with this hard as nails paper tube see it does not break!  Ow! stop! So after the police came I stopped...ok so I had figured out how to make the arms but not the body.


You can print one sheet with you logo on the end so on the final roll your logo will appear perfect

also you may want to fill the end of the arm with hot glue for reinforcement so that the motor does not crush the paper tube.


I thought about crossing them but then it would not be even. so at this point I could not make a + copter ..Wait a minute why does it have to be crossed? No reason at all! as long as the motors are a certain distance from each other that is what matters so then I came up with a sled or h copter concept and that would work using the idea from a raft I would be able to make about 5-6 tubes made out of paper and glue them together for the body and then put 1 long tube across the front for the motor arms and the same in the back for the rear motors! Then cover that with a sheet of matte printer paper. That idea worked! 100% all paper quadcopter frame! Time for another sandwich! This time I add added ham to it!

Me being lazy I later switch the raft method to a simpler method which would be a foam board in the center with rails on both sides for a couple of reasons. Stiffer, lighter,stronger faster to make.

So to make the rails you will roll 2 sheets on the 8.5 side of the paper and for the arm you will roll 3 sheets  on the 1 inch side of the paper it all in the video above.

Ok now I decide to reinforce the rails and arms by adding popsicle stick and zip ties, even tho the hot glue should be enough I just want to add reinforcement with the zip ties.


Ok she is all done! Super strong! Super light! The frame weights btween 59-63 grams for the frame alone.


Wait! Wait! How am I going to put the motors on? I Can’t hot glue it motor mount is metal wont stick… Can’t use zip ties too slippery, electrical Tape it’s flexible! Was a great idea for a sec but would be hard to adjust and too final. Got it! Rubber bands!! They are grippy you can make it tight, if a motor gets knocked it will move saving your motor shaft, and easy to remove if needed!


The electronics I got from an old quadcopter Jesse had made which broke pretty quickly due to a weak link in design in the arm it was one of those white micro quadcopter from hk'


which has a weight of 185g mine is avg 61 grams depending how much hot glue you use I use a lot like 3 mini sticks.

And so that is how the Gunn-kraft papyrus was born… Now renamed to:
Fly Paper.


Now if anyone here who is reading this knows of someone else who made a working paper quadcopter before me please let me know.

I do know of a Card board quadcopter but much more complicated that mine his instructions starts out like this..

this a quote from their site:


“First off, you’ll need some tools:

  • CNC laser cutter. In theory, you could cut these parts out with an x-acto knife, which is madness. You’ll want to borrow a laser cutter. Honestly, you should just buy one. They’re the absolute best thing in the world, and the prices are dropping very fast. “


Here is the link to the site

Btw mike does great stuff he works designing cnc machines so don’t judge him on that quad check out his other stuff.

 with mine you don't even need scissors.

Ok I have put this article in a hurry.. I do have a part 2 video on the electronics I am not sure you guys really need to see all of that I may just show how to mount the motors and the top and legs

Let me ask you first do you need to see the entire electronic? it’s about 15 minute video if so I will post it over the weekend I am headed to the maker faire and will post after that.

Also just to let you know this whole project was filled with gremlins!


I wanted to do this article in the beginning of the summer the first thing that had problems was the motors 3 of em Then the esc got fried, then my spectrum radio that controlled my orange rx’s drop and I broke the throttle gimbal. I wrote this article a while ago but it disappeared and it was no longer on my drive so  I just rewrote it (the first one was better) I shot the the entire built video frame and electronic when I went to edited it all the files were corrupted! I had to redo the entire video again, the flying I did at the airshow in the uk where I was demo'ing it for the first time my gopro did not record. only the tiny clip in the beginning is all that i have from that day.

But I was determine to do this and share with you my paper quadcopter I hope you enjoyed it and give it a try.

I promise you have everything you will need to make the frame you can always sub other things for Popsicle sticks if you don't have a hot glue gun... use glue! etc.

as aways please like and subscribe to my youtube channel and my blog inside the mind Of Tommy Gunn

again please excuse any mistakes or typos this was very last minute.

Thank guys!

Tommy Gunn



pramodgupta on October 18, 2013
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TommyGunn on September 23, 2013
Changing the name for this quad from papyrus to "fly paper"
much better suited.
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markvanhaze on September 21, 2013
Great idea and write up!
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TommyGunn on September 23, 2013
Rcm ?
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rodgerthat on September 21, 2013
Nice one!!
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airtour on September 21, 2013
now you got me wanting bread!
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ecoster on September 21, 2013
Nice one, I'm going to build this with my son. Thanks
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EA777 on September 22, 2013
Thanks Tommy will be looking forward to it. Good luck on the bet.
I too like to bake bread.
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Zatoichi on September 21, 2013
Pretty darn slick there Chong!lol That is really very well done and I really dig it!I have been having a ton O fun with some carbon arrows and the guts from a HK microquad.(KK1 tho)
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cutter on September 22, 2013
All the bread makers are outing themselves! lol

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Frosty0_0 on September 21, 2013
Now thats Ingenuity! All thats left is some minwax to make it water proof and yer set!!!!!!! Great article as always Tommy~!
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Good Kebo on September 21, 2013
A kindred sprit. I often bake bread(sour dough), build planes and multicopters at the same time! I thought I was alone in the many more of us are there?
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TommyGunn on September 21, 2013
Thanks everyone! Ok ea777 I will put up the video in a day or two I got to edited It a tiny bit more and do a bit of writing for it plus I was at the "maker show" all day and will be there all day Sunday.
All I can say there is so much to see there I was like a kid in candy store with a pocket full of quarters. But and Jesse were there for 2 things robots and 3d printers. My friend built a 3d printer he said it took him 1 month to get it working right I told him Jesse could do it a lot faster than that.
No way! He said so we now have good bet going on for this Jesse will be filmed in time lapse doing the built I am allowed to do the calibration, wiring I am only allowed to help a little. The final test is to print a perfect cube to win the bet. My friend had a kit we are doing ours by sourcing from different vendors.

Yes kebo I love to cook I think I have to start adding food stories to my blog I want to do sourdough bread next send recipe thanks!

Is it me or do seem to write a lot? Lol!

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TommyGunn on September 21, 2013
Oh a one more thing the Popsicle stick and zip ties are optional just make sure when hot gluing it make sure the scotch tape is on opposite side of the hot glue. so don't hot glue on to the tape it is not a good bond.

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sailorJohn on September 23, 2013
Remember the covers of RCM
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TommyGunn on September 24, 2013
what is RCM?
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TommyGunn on September 22, 2013
The laser cutter has nothing to do with me I was quoting someone's else built

with mine all you need is tape and glue.
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TommyGunn on September 24, 2013
ringo 42: omg i don't think that guys wallet and mine match he idea of cheap is 30w $5995 wow i should run out and buy 2! and this is the one that is on sale.

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ringo42 on September 22, 2013
How about a link to a cheap laser cutter like you mentioned above.

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TommyGunn on September 24, 2013
ringo 42: omg i don't think that guys wallet and mine match he idea of cheap is 30w $5995 wow i should run out and buy 2! and this is the one that is on sale. - See more at:
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EA777 on September 21, 2013
Great write up and build. I would like to see the motor mounting video.
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TommyGunn on September 26, 2013
ok you ask for it you got's up!
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jrbemis on September 26, 2013
Like the build. Fly paper! What a name. Great job on the videos. Now, I have to get into a quad for the winter indoor fly season.
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TommyGunn on September 26, 2013
Thanks Yea I like it better than papyrus fly paper sounds more fun!
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gr1999 on October 11, 2013
Where Would i be able to buy a CNC laser Cutter

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rcrcnitesh on December 16, 2013
What size paper did you use A3 or A4 or A2

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TommyGunn on May 28, 2014
Does not matter just roll it up in a tube and bobs your uncle. i am using 8.5 x 11 in paper.

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dharkless on March 25, 2015
Girls can do engineering. You are the proof of that. Keep that little one challenged. She is our future. (guys can make bread too). From an old guy that thinks girls can do anything.
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TommyGunn on March 25, 2015
I agree girls can do do anything! But jesse is a rocker boy lol!
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dharkless on March 25, 2015
Well, rocker boys can do anything too! The same comments apply. The girl ones just apply to you. Keep the articles coming. We need more girl influence in this hobby (and sciences in general).
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