What Are RC Tanks?

What Are RC Tanks?

Military enthusiasts with an affinity for remote-controlled devices can merge their passion into a pastime that includes RC tanks. These devices are generally models inspired by the actuals tanks originally used by the Armed Forces. As with any remote-controlled vehicle, the tanks are manipulated by a transmitter which varies in complexity, dictated by the sophistication of the tank model. RC tank models vary in size, ability, and mobility. Depending on the age, skill level, and objective of the user, there are multiple options to choose from. Here are some basic features to take into consideration when looking for a remote-controlled tank.

Traditional vs. Futuristic

This element of selection is reasonably straightforward. Differentiating between a traditional RC tank and a futuristic one is based on outward appearances. A traditional RC tank will display the realistic qualities associated with an actual tank. It’s typically a scale model of a military tank, even with the option to shoot BB’s or simulate attack sounds, that moves using a continuous track system similar to military tanks. A futuristic RC tank bears little to no resemblance to a military tank, but falls into the same RC category because it uses a similar motion system, usually track-driven. The futuristic-looking tanks will often have a much simpler navigation system and the ability to move faster than their traditional counterparts. Like the trend with other popular remote-controlled devices, these tanks also come equipped with cameras.

Design vs. Functionality

When shopping for an RC tank, some questions need to be addressed upfront. Will the tank have the ability to shoot BB’s? Or, is it a simple miniature tank that only navigates through different obstacles preferable? Performance may not always be the RC tank owner’s top priority. The importance of having the device appear as realistic as possible might trump all other criteria. These gadgets can easily become collector items that are rarely used, if ever. An RC tank driver ideally wants the best of both worlds, refusing to sacrifice design elements while searching for the ability to navigate any terrain smoothly with a tank that delivers a battle experience. With the prevalence of clubs gathering multiple RC tanks together in mock battles, functionality and design have converged for the serious hobbyist.

Price Spectrum

Evaluating design and functional capabilities should help prepare the buyer for the cost of the RC tank. Simulated battle scenes that go beyond explosion sound effects require a functioning turret for BB’s and a smoke tank. Now, maintaining and operating the RC tank has gone beyond rechargeable batteries to include BB’s and smoke oil. Also, to navigate through mud or rocky areas, the buyer will have to forego lighter tanks in favor of more sturdy, performance-driven models. The price of an RC tank already falls within a broad range based on varying size, design, ability, and durability. Accessorizing can easily add to the functionality, so it’s important to understand what’s included in each model.

It’s always advisable for beginners just starting out with remote-controlled vehicles to stick to the basics. Smaller devices generally cost less and offer a fairly comprehensive introduction to RC tanks. The user can practice the fundamentals of maneuvering and other skills, without the added pressures of damaging the vehicle or even losing interest after investing in an RC tank. Once the device is mastered, then the operator is in a better position to decide what advanced model to buy next.

Kits vs. Fully Assembled Tanks

The responsibility rests upon the buyer to decide how engaged he or she wants to be when setting up the RC tank. For example, many tanks are models that require assembly, while there’s always the option to purchase the RC tank ready to use right out of the box. Building a model tank is a commitment, but the finished product is often very rewarding. The more complex tanks tend to be models that require the user to build them. Less elaborate RC tanks that are more toy-like in nature will typically not involve assembly.

Another avenue includes homemade RC tanks. When done correctly, this is often the best value. Similar to building a computer, an operator can choose the specs to build a unique RC tank. Specific parts and designs are selected for assembly to suit the builder. This is a more challenging opportunity for those who have experience with RC tanks and engineering. These RC tank builders are enjoying the peak level of their pastime.

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.