This is my newly completed Solar RC Car. I built this car to spark interest in competing in a Solar Race in Summer 2009 in the U.S. This project used many off the shelf hobby parts and could be built by a R/C hobbyist with experience in kit building and soldering.
Click Here to Donate to the Project!
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Click here to email me]
This car was designed to take an Associated Style Pan Car and expand the size to accomendate a solar panel. I did this for a few reasons. Cheaper than buying new parts. Critical parts already engineered to tight tolerances. Finally, very easy to adapt for my application. My donor car was an Associated RC10L3 oval car.
The first step is planning and gathering materials for the car. Nearly everything I used in this car was bought from a local hobby shop or source off E-bay.
Associated RC10L or RC12L style car for donor parts
Motor: Just make sure you can mount it into the Motor pod and use the right pinions.
FOAM or other material for Chassis
1/8" Birch plywood for model airplanes
1/16" Piano wire and Wheel Collars
Your choice of Radio System with Servo
FOAM SAFE GLUE Polyurethane Glue ( Elemers or Gorilla )
Wire. (6 ft each of Solid and stranded of wire near 18ga size)
Motor Controller: You need at least a 8Amp rated controller.
And various nuts/bolts/screws and hobby parts. Your needs will vary.
Total cost would be around $400 if going all out like I did. I bought fairly high end motor and controller, solar cells and radio gear.
Planning the Car, I drew everything out onto poster board to make sure it all fit and worked in the space I wanted.
More Videos in later steps
Solar R/C Sites
Step 1: Building the Chassis
My foam sheets were too small I had glue together two sheets to make a larger sheet. I used the glued seam up the middle for reference to keeping cutouts aligned. A simple line drawn up the middle of the sheet could also be used for reference.
The car needs 4 critical cutouts in the foam. The first two cutouts are for the wheel wells. I made 3"x3" to accommodate a 2.4" wheels from the RC10L donor. It is very important two have these cutouts squared and spaced equally on the foam The second cutout is the Servo cutout. This size will vary with the servo and may need to be slightly offset to center the servo horn in the middle of car. The final cutout is for hollow for the T-Plate. The hollow needs to be long enough for the t-plate and shock mount.
If you want to route the servo wire through the inside of the car, now is the time to create a tunnel or slot for the wire. Get a long enough extension to reach from the RX to inside the servo cavity.
Now to make plywood pieces for mounting the RC10L parts on. You will need two pieces for the front A-arm suspension mounts. One larger piece for mounting the T-Plate and shock, and finally once more piece to mount the servo onto. Make the gluing surface large so that the plywood is not ripped from the foam under stress. To make sure the mounting holes for the RC10L parts were correct, I double sticked taped the plywood pieces to the graphite chassis. Using a pencil transfered the mounting holes into the plywood.
Test fit all the RC10L parts and servo to the plywood pieces then test fit the pieces into the cutout cavities. I drew reference lines on the plywood that were squared or in-line to the mounting holes. I used these reference lines and a square to keep all items true to the center line of the car.
If the pieces fit and can be lined up with the center reference line then you can proceed to glue them in place. Remove the RC10L parts, apply glue and position correctly. I used a carpenters Square to align the center line and the suspension mounts. Apply some weight to keep the polyurethane glue from expanding and shifting the location of the piece. It may be better to only glue one piece at a time as glue sets slowly. This step could be done over a few hours or days to ensure everything remains true in placement.