U Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute – Typical mapping drones cost anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 to buy. Casey Duncan and David Wheatley, geology grad students at the U, and Sam Chesebrough, a grad student in mechanical engineering, wanted to make one for a fraction of the cost. And they succeeded. The three made one for only $600. Their DIY drone was made using off-the-shelf materials, meaning ordinary materials anyone can buy. It’s so cheap because of this, coupled with the fact that part of what you’re paying for with a store-bought drone is the cost of labor.