Introduction: Making a Slot Car With 3D Printing.
Hello, and welcome to my tutorial on how to 3D print your own slot car. Since the project depends heavily on what YOU want to make, I won't get into too much detail where it isn't needed.
So, without further adeu, let's get started!
Step 1: Find a Reference.
Browse the internet for blueprints to base your car off of. You don't need a super complex engineering blueprint, just one with a basic top, front, back, and side view will do fine. This picture of an Audi Quattro is what I used for modeling my car. (See above)
You don't NEED to find a blueprint if you don't want to, but it makes modeling the body way, way easier if you're like me and have trouble with drawing things without reference.
Step 2: Get the Chassis for Your Car.
For the project, I used the Scalectrix Kidder car kit that can be bought here:
Simply assemble the chassis according to the instructions on the kit, and you'll be good to go on modeling the body.
Step 3: Be Somewhat Familiar With Your Modeling Program of Choice.
I haven't exactly used many 3D modeling programs, the only two being Autodesk Maya and Inventor, but you should spend a bit of time familiarizing yourself with how your program of choice works. User-friendliness is usually an afterthought when it comes to using these things.
I used Autodesk Inventor, so I will be basing this guide mostly around it's functions.
Step 4: Insert Scale Your Blueprint and Begin Modeling the Basics.
For the next step, you will need to use your car blueprint that you found earlier. But first, you will need to get a few measurements from your chassis. Take a ruler and measure:
-The radius of the wheels.
-The distance between the front and back axles
-The distance between the front axle and the front end of the chassis.
-The distance between the rear axle and the rear end of the chassis.
-The width of the chassis.
-The total length, width, and height of the space taken up by the spars, motor, and wires sticking out of the chassis on top.
(Hint: Use the picture above to see exactly what parts of the chassis need to be measured.)
Next, in Inventor, create a sketch XY of your chassis from the side. It doesn't have to be super detailed, just include the basic measurements you got from the side view on the picture above.
Now, take that car blueprint and apply it to the same plane as the sketch. Use the scaling tools to adjust the blueprint so it fits the chassis sketch. Most importantly, you need to make sure the wheels of the blueprint and the wheels on the sketch match up as CLOSELY as possible. It will be very, VERY difficult to move the wheel spaces later if you mess up. Trust me, I know.
Now that the blueprint is scaled properly, you can start on creating the actual body. Create a new sketch on the same plane as the blueprint, while keeping the old one for reference. simply create a large rectangular prism that fits the overall dimensions of the entire car. I like to think of inventor as a sculpting program more than a modeling program. What we are going to do, is we are going to "carve" the body of the car out of this block. Sounds simple, right?
Step 5: Modeling the Shape of Your Car.
Now that we have this correctly scaled block, we can begin carving out the real shape of the car. All you have to do is create another sketch on the side of your block, look at your blueprint for reference, and trace a silhouette of the car's body with the line tool until you have a completely closed shape (Cut out holes for the wheels while you're at it, too). Make sure the bottom of the body stays nice and flat so it can sit nicely on your chassis. Use the extrude tool to cut away the excess stuff around the outside, and you now have a vaguely car-shaped block! To further increase the detail of the model, trace more silhouettes of the top and front figures of the car and cut them away as well. Easy, right?
If the model is still too rough for your liking, the Bevel tool is going to be your new best friend. It's perfect for softening edges and adding nice detail to your model. The amount of detail you want to add is totally up to you at this point.
Oh, almost forgot, you need to add some space underneath so there's room for the spars and the motor and stuff. Use those measurements you took earlier to create a sketch and an extrusion that's the right size to fit all the innards of your car.
Step 6: Printing Your Car.
Of course, you're going to need a 3D printer that's big enough to print the whole car, but that's not my problem. Simply export your vehicle in the appropriate compatible file and put it in a USB to put it into your printer software.
A quick hint just before you print: you might want to scale your vehicle up just a tiny bit. Like, by a factor of 1.05 or something, depending on the printer. 3D printers tend to print stuff just a tiny bit smaller than they actually are, so it's smart to compensate for it a little bit.
Depending on your print settings, and the size of your car, this print could take anywhere from 5 to 12 hours, so you've got nothing left to do but wait until then.
Step 7: Finishing Your Car!
Well, it's been half a whole day and your car is finally finished. All that's left to do is cut away the support material on your model, and stick it on your chassis. One last little bit of advice; those chassis aren't exactly the most durable things in the world, so you might want to make sure the body is easily removable just in case you need to fix something. You could use a few small loops of tape to hold it on, or maybe if you're lucky, your body will actually friction-fit to the chassis without needing glue or anything!
Congratulations! Your car is finished! Now you can try it out on your slot car track, or you could add details!
Use permanent marker to colour in the windshields, or cut strips of coloured masking tape into cool shapes to stick on your car as decals! Its all up to you from here on out!
Thanks for reading my first Instructable!
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