Introduction: How to Modify Standard Hot Wheels to R/C Hot Wheels
Since I was a little kid, I love Hot Wheels Cars. It gave me inspiration for design fantasy vehicles. This time they outdid themselves with the Star War Hot Wheels, C-3PO. However, I want more than just pushing or traveling on a track, I decided, “Let’s R/C this".
I will walk you through on choices that you might have to make when you decide to modify your favorite Hot Wheels. I cannot work on the detail too much since each car design would be different to work with.
Step 1: Choose the R/C Platform
Able to control a Hot Wheels car has always been my dream since my very first Hot Wheels and I believe that not just me. The technology ten years ago really makes it feel like this is an impossible task. Many things had changed since then, with better batteries and brushless motors make that dream doesn’t seem so farfetched.
Amazon and Banggood both provide a great source for these 1:58 micro scale R/C or street name “The Coke Can Car”. These micro R/C cars are fairly cheap, they are ranging from 5 dollars to 15 dollars and especially with all the thing that it comes with. A standard transmitter with a linear antenna, the transmitter can act as a field charger and also a stand for the vehicle.
There is a short clip that I made using a 1:32 scale Buggy do some stunt jumping over the 2 R/C cars that I use to modify the Hot Wheels in this article. Check it out :D.
Step 2: Choose the Right Hot Wheels
I have been collecting Hot Wheels for quite a while now, enough to know that there are thousands of designs with different theme out there. Ranging from 3 dollars in a local bookstore to hundreds of dollars online.
I got most of mine from the local Banner and Nobel, sometimes they have a good deal for a pack of cars. I would start from there, one of the first things we are looking for is the size of the Hot Wheels. Especially the space inside the Hot Wheels inside since we need to fit the R/C electronic under.
The two Hot Wheels cars in the picture are too small for an R/C modify. You want to choose a unit design but yet fit the R/C platform so that your R/C Hot Wheels look as stock as possible. Too big of a frame compared to the R/C platform could cause the vehicle from traveling. Because inside these little R/C platform is a tiny brushless motor, they could spin at high speed, however, provide very little torque at their initial startup.
Step 3: How to Take a Hot Wheel Apart
For this step, you would need to use a decent power tool and couple drill bits. I used a drill bit, some of the Hot Wheels comes with bigger screws.
A Hot Wheels car usually make up with 4 main parts. The bottom where the wheels attach to, the interior of the vehicle, the windshield and side mirror and finally the frame.
To take them apart is as simple as drill the two screws under the vehicle. Make sure you do this slowly, be patient so that you don't destroy the frame.
Step 4: Put It Together
I used a gel super glue to glue the frame down to the R/C platform. It seems to work just fine, however, before gluing down the vehicle you want to make sure the frame has a nice fit to the R/C platform. Both of the frames that I used in this article require some sort of frame expanding.
Step 5: Final Improvement. Signal
I also fly R/C airplane and FPV, if you do FPV this is not something unfamiliar. We call this the cover leaf antenna. This design of antenna would cover a larger area and also help the signal flow continuously. This add-on will dramatically improve the car driving experience, the car will much more responsive to the signal and less likely to be disconnected from the transmitter.
To make an add-on cover leaf antenna for the transmitter, simply strip down an unused wire completely, make 3 triangles that all touch at one corner. Then solder the intercept of all the triangle just like the picture and also leave a lead at the end for attaching to the antenna.
For the add-on cover leave antenna for the car, I would recommend using a much smaller wire and follow through the same like the one for the transmitter.