How to Make RC Tanks

How to Make RC Tanks

There are many ways one can build a remote-controlled tank. For example, you can purchase a kit, or if you’re more advanced with prior experience assembling models, there’s the option of building an RC tank entirely from scratch. The first critical step is to understand what kind of RC tank driver you are, and the level of commitment you’re willing to put into the project. There are many choices to consider when it’s time to construct your own tank, each with varying degrees of difficulty and price points. Weigh the alternatives, and decide on next steps.

If you’re a novice and just kicking off your hobby, building a tank before becoming familiar with the intricacies of using the device may not be the best route. It may make more sense at this juncture to just buy an RC tank to understand how the tank works and the complexities of using a remote control. However, as you continue to engage with your RC tank, you’ll develop a greater appreciation for the tank’s capabilities and potential. You won’t stay satisfied with the base model performance, and you’ll look to improve the tank and even move on to more sophisticated versions to fit your driving style. The components of the tank will be vital, especially when considering the type of terrain you’d like to drive it in.

When buying an RC tank, many models are sold as kits, so the user has to build it. It’s a reasonably straightforward process because instructions are included in the set. The technical components are typically pre-assembled, like the transmitter. When it comes to constructing an RC tank from scratch without any pre-fabricated pieces, some basic knowledge in electronics and wiring will be advantageous. You’re not just building a model tank; you’re making your model tank remote-controlled. How do you go about making an RC tank from scratch?

After deciding on the objective of your RC tank, choose the best type of material suited to that purpose. If you’re going to minimize the potential for damage to the tank, then cardboard could be a great option. Otherwise, if you plan to use the tank heavily, exposing it to the rougher ground, metal would probably be a better option for you. The tools needed during the building process will depend on your choice of material, which is also a consideration when investing in this hobby. Are they already in your toolbox, or do you need to purchase additional tools to build the tank? Also, you’ll need a two-channel transmitter and receiver to get your tank moving. Batteries, tracks, driving wheels, bearing wheels, wiring, screws, and reducer motors round out the list of required equipment. Several of these components are available for different materials, so the base of the tank will determine the make-up of the components. For example, a metal tank will need more substantial tracks and wheels than a cardboard tank. The Internet offers tutorials with step-by-step instructions to assemble the tank and advice regarding each component.

The size and positioning of the wheels that propel the track system determine the layout of the tank. Once the body of the tank has been measured onto the material, cut out, and assembled, the wheels are attached on the outside, and the reducer motors are attached to each of the top wheel cogs from the inside of the tank. Then, the tracks are fit around the wheels. The tank is now functional, but only from a manual perspective. To add the remote control capability, solder wires between the reducer motors and the receiver. Then, affix the receiver under the tank near the reducer motors. Finally, connect a battery to the receiver, attaching the battery to the tank near the receiver. The last step is to turn on the transmitter to connect with the RC tank. You should now be able to command the tank.

The difficulty related to building an RC tank is contingent upon on the materials you choose and your background with assembly and tools. Metal tanks require power tools to shape your vehicle and connect the components. Cardboard may be a simpler and less expensive option for an initial attempt at constructing an RC tank. Certainly, prior experience will give you an advantage from the start, but building multiple versions will improve the quality of your RC tanks over time, maximizing the enjoyment of your hobby.

How to Make RC Cars Faster

How to Make RC Cars Faster

There are a few ways to make your RC car go faster. Some require more work, expertise, and money, and some are simple tweaks that can make a small difference. In this article, we’ll be talking about electric RC cars, not nitro RC cars. Nitro RC cars are powered by fuel. An electric motor and battery pack power electric RC cars.

We’ll also be focusing on hobby-grade RC cars, and not toy-grade RC cars. Hobby-grade cars are more expensive, but you can change, upgrade, and customize the parts. Upgrading and changing parts can get expensive. Here are a few easy and inexpensive tweaks that may make a small difference in your speed.

Lubrication

Maintenance and lubrication are essential. A lot of hobbyists try to avoid getting certain parts of the car wet and take great care in finding the right grease or lubricant. Others believe that instead of using grease, lighter oil like WD-40 might actually help things run faster.

Along with lubrication, just cleaning all of the working parts and making sure gears and parts move properly can help keep things from slowing down unnecessarily. Another trick you can try is to shape and mold the brushes to the armature by connecting the electric motor to a 3-volt battery, and letting it run for a couple of hours. This can help change the shape of the brushes and reduce friction.

Upgrading Your Battery

Upgrading your battery can give your motor a boost. Li-Po batteries will provide you with more power than the older Ni-Mh or Ni-Cad batteries. Be sure you don’t overdo it. Also, make sure you run and charge the batteries correctly. A motor upgrade with an ESC system will allow you to run the most powerful batteries.

Changing the Gear Ratio

Your RC car will have a small and large gear. By changing the size of one or both of the gears, you’ll change the gear ratio. The small gear is called a pinion gear; the larger plastic gear is the spur gear. Getting a larger pinion gear and a smaller spur gear can give you faster top speed. You’ll also get slower acceleration.

Your motor could also run hotter. Before you make any changes, it’s important to think about what your main objective is, because there are give and takes with most modifications. If quicker acceleration is your goal, make your pinion gear smaller, and increase the size of the spur gear. Remember, there are give and takes. This may be the perfect solution for a short race, but not a long one. This is a modification you can experiment with and adjust your speed for your car.

Upgrading Those Tires

Get some high-quality tires designed for the type of racing you do. Large tires with grip can go faster, but they also add weight. Changing the gearing may be a better option than getting giant tires. But then, getting good tires with the right amount of grip for your car and racing surface makes a lot of sense.

Lightening the Weight

Look for lightweight parts made from aluminum or graphite. Change out whatever weighs down the chassis. Carbon components are also lightweight. Remember the battery upgrade? It turns out that faster Li-Po batteries also weigh less. Less weight can mean less traction. It’s a good idea to consider which performance-enhancing upgrades will apply best to your situation.

Upgrading Your Motor

The faster the motor, the faster the car. Brushless motors are faster than the brushed motors. They are more expensive, too, but you can get the quicker brushless motor and ESC system, along with a more powerful Li-Po battery for a considerable speed boost. The brushless motors also run longer and are more efficient.

The electronic speed controller (ESC) will also need to be changed, but this will help you accommodate those new faster batteries. You can use the older Ni-Mh or Ni-Cad batteries with your new motor, but it defeats the purpose of all of the trouble and expense. The Li-Po batteries are what give your new system that needed boost.

Not all of these solutions make sense for every car. It could be easier and cheaper to just upgrade the car. However, hopefully, these suggestions can help you make your car as fast as it needs to be.

How to Fly RC Helicopters for Beginners

How to Fly RC Helicopters for Beginners

Drones have become increasingly popular over the past few years as technological enhancements have made them more accessible from a cost standpoint, and the quality of the photography has improved exponentially. Flying these quadcopters is relatively simple for beginners to grasp, with minimal experience and preparation required. However, that’s not always the case with the traditional helicopter models. Controlling a model aircraft with two propellers, rather than four, can be much more challenging initially.

It’s not atypical to have the first several attempts to fly an RC helicopter result in a crash within seconds of leaving the ground. While crashes are ideally avoided, they may be critical to the learning process. As with any foray into a new hobby, it’s advisable to start small. Purchasing a less expensive, more durable model to become familiar with the intricacies of flight and the radio transmitter can allow users the freedom to dabble in the art of flying RC helicopters, without breaking the bank or their machines. The following steps can help prepare beginners for smoother flights.

Check knowbeforeyoufly.org

It’s just as important to follow the rules as it is to follow the instructions that come with the RC helicopter. knowbeforeyoufly.org is a useful website for anyone who plans to operate a remote-controlled device in public airspace to determine whether the aircraft needs to be registered or to clarify any regulatory concerns that may be ambiguous in the manual. There are specific locations where these devices can’t be flown as well, so it’s important to be aware of the restrictions. Although many starter RC helicopters are very small with a limited flight range, it makes sense to review the site. If the hobby progresses to bigger, more sophisticated RC helicopters, the regulations will eventually become applicable, and the registration fee is nominal.

Charge the power source.

Beginner model RC helicopters are usually battery-powered. There are enough challenges that come with learning to fly, so it’s crucial to ensure the power source is fully charged. This will allow the most extended time frame possible to practice the early maneuvers needed to get familiar with the helicopter, and avoid unnecessary crashes by running out of power prematurely.

Maintaining the power source can be a complex process. Most batteries can be damaged if not recharged properly. Trying to charge a battery too long won’t extend the flight time, but instead, burn out the battery or reduce the amount of power available for future flights, so it’s important to follow the recharging instructions.

Get familiar with the transmitter.

Before flying the device, it’s a good idea to master the RC helicopter transmitter and the purpose of each component. This is the opportunity to understand where the controls are located and their function until it almost becomes second nature. The primary control is the throttle which is typically on the left side. It will move the helicopter up and down and is key for take-off. On the opposite side should be the rudder to move the aircraft forward and back. What adds to the RC helicopter’s complexity is a third component called the trim, which controls the lateral movement. When flying the RC helicopter, the operators should be able to focus their full attention on the aircraft rather than the transmitter, so it’s essential that they establish a high degree of proficiency with the controls.

Find the optimal location.

Find wide open spaces with few people around. A landscape devoid of buildings, trees, and power lines enables the user to keep the helicopter in view and limit collisions easily. RC helicopters have fast-moving propellers, and there’s always the potential for crashes when starting out, so safety should be the priority. In this type of environment, though, any damage can usually be limited to the helicopter.

Start simple.

Rather than trying to fly the RC helicopter to soaring heights and in multiple directions right away, just concentrate on the basics at first. A good starting point is low-hover training, usually one or two feet above the ground. This gradual introduction allows the user to gauge the reactions of both the transmitter and the RC helicopter in a low-risk scenario. Once the operator is comfortable with fundamental movements at low altitudes, then more complexity and distance can be incorporated in small increments.

Learning to fly an RC helicopter is a process. The best way to minimize crashes and get the most enjoyment from the hobby is to not rush. There’s no preset timeline for the mastery of RC helicopters, so don’t get discouraged.

How to Build RC Cars

How to Build RC Cars

Remote-controlled cars are perfect for makers. In the old days, remote control enthusiasts not only had to build their vehicles, but they even had to build the radio equipment. Things have come a long way, and there are tons of kits and premade vehicles you can buy. Technological advances have also made great strides in the industry.

An RC car is a great way to get started with a remote control hobby. Unlike flying an RC helicopter, most of us have experienced driving a car. Most of us also have the wide open spaces needed to drive an RC car.

If you want to build your own RC car, there’s quite a bit of pre-planning that goes into it. One of the many things you need to decide before you get started is the scale. Your options are 1/12, 1/10, and 1/8. 1/10 is the most popular.

You’ll also need to decide on a brushed motor or a brushless motor. Brushless motors are better, but they are more expensive. Most hobby cars can be customized, but when you build your own, everything is custom. This is part of the fun and part of the challenge.

One of the easiest ways to build your own RC car, without having to agonize over all of the parts, is to purchase a kit. With a kit, you get everything that goes together, and you can still upgrade and make changes down the line. This is an excellent way to dip your toe in the water, and find out what it is that you really like.

Even with the kit, you’ll have a lot of small parts, and it will take time to get everything put together properly. Having your own work area that’s well-lit and has a smooth surface will make your job so much easier. Having containers and holders for small parts is also a perfect idea. Keep in mind that screws that go into metal will loosen over time. If you want the one you build to last, use thread locking-glue on these screws.

To get started, put your axles together first. Secure the gears in the back axle using a non-electric screwdriver. The reason you want to avoid an electric screwdriver is that it may strip the gears. Once you have your axles together, you can move on to the shocks. These will support the chassis and attach to your wheels. The shocks will need to be filled with shock oil. Attach the shocks to the axle with your screwdriver.

Now, it’s time to attach the servos, the battery, and the electric motor. In case you’re wondering what a servo is, it’s the transmitter for the signal that tells your car which way to turn. These will be attached to the front axle. The electric motor goes on the back axle, and is attached to the gears. Meanwhile, the battery sits on top of the chassis and has attached wires.

You’ll clip the body of your car onto the top of the chassis. You can remove the body by removing the clips. This will be necessary for checking the battery, and for routine maintenance like cleaning and lubricating.

If you’re building your remote-controlled car without using a kit, the steps are about the same. You just need to take the time to find compatible components. Choose the scale you want, and start adding all of the best components.

One of the things you’ll need to get is a remote control. You can’t operate your RC car without a controller. Your remote control will come with a receiver. You’ll plug your servos and your motor controllers into this receiver. You can’t plug a servo into your receiver unless you get one. You’ll need a servo for steering your vehicle.

You’ll need a battery pack and charger. Li-Po costs more. But then, it gives you more speed and performance. You’ll also need an electronic speed controller. The ESC passes battery power to your brushless motor. You can get a less expensive brushed motor, and you won’t need an ESC. You really need to weigh the cost versus your desired performance.

You’ll also need an RC gear differential with wheel shafts that connect to your wheels. When you build your own RC car, you also get to completely customize the type, size, and color of your wheels and tires. Your chassis will often include the differential and the wheels. Another fun thing you get to choose is the body. You get to decide on the color, style, and material.

We only touched on building electric RC cars. If you’re interested in fuel-powered RC cars like a nitro, the steps are similar. You’ll just need different components. Building your own car is a great way to really understand this hobby.