Cheap, affordable drones are everywhere these days. Yet as new models come out, old UAVs can often end their lives stashed and forgotten in cupboards and drawers.
Enter entrepreneur Andrew Spaxman, who wanted to give unwanted drones a second life. He founded Drone Junk Yard, an online forum that lets drone enthusiasts connect and trade their unwanted UAV parts.
"Drone Junk Yard's aim is to be like your local car junk yard but for drones," Andrew Spaxman, forum founder and entrepreneur, told me over email.
"Being a drone builder and flyer myself and accumulating a drawer of drone junk, I thought most other enthusiasts would have the same. [...] So I set up Drone Junk Yard and so far it's been a great place to buy, swap, and sell your junk," he said.
The service, established in January 2015, operates under the mantra "one man's trash is another man's treasure," and exists to facilitate drone parts exchange and reuse. Recently Spaxman expanded his services to other regions of the world, including the US, the EU, Canada, and Australia. The website forum branches onto all these other Facebook pages, and at present, the UK platform is already 2,453 members-strong and growing.
Visitors can find everything from entire UAVs to dissected parts and batteries. They can also put up posts asking other users if they have any specific drone parts lying around. In recent months, Spaxman has added a variety of other regions to his drone recycling website in order to expand the user base.
Spaxman said he set up Facebook pages for other countries due to popular demand from drone enthusiasts overseas. He wanted to facilitate transactions by letting people trade within their countries and currencies. In the future, he hopes that more people worldwide will catch on to non-wasteful methods of giving a second life to drone parts.
In terms of challenges, Spaxman said he sometimes had to contend with fake accounts that offer non-existent items for sale in an attempt to defraud people actually looking to exchange or purchase spare drone parts.
"I'm quite vigilant in looking after this side of things. [...] I have a small admin team and other intelligence sources and we really try to keep educating people on the safety of arranging transactions anywhere online or in person," he said. The service recommends that people pay for their goods over PayPal.
On a personal note, Spaxman said he sometimes had to curb his own desire of buying "more drone junk."