Introduction: Moving Scale Car

Simple techniques and easy to find components are what make something fun to create. This car is designed to be made with both of these in mind, although if you want you can always choose different methods. Although, not to hard to make, it can travel in forward and reverse with directional lighting.

This project was inspired by both the lack of designs like this, which allow for people of any skill level to make something, which goes a step further than just a wooden toy car.

Please vote for this instructable, if you like it - even if you don't make! (With the voting button on the side)

It is in the:

  • Move it Contest (For having wheels and a servo)
  • Hot Glue Contest (For using hot glue)

Step 1: Getting the Parts

This car can be made using a wide range of materials, however below is a list of parts and tools I used:

  • Hot Glue Gun (Tape works okay if you don't have access to one - or just buy one really cheaply)
  • Drill (Could just use a nail and hammer)
  • Vacuum Former (Hardest piece of equipment to get hands on - was only used for exterior, but can simply make an exterior out of a milk carton or similar)
  • Soldering Iron (Most essential, unless you just wrap the wires around)
  • Saw
  • Strip Heater (For Bending Base)

It will most likely be hard to find the exact same parts, but most of these things you should be able to buy from your local hardware shop, craft shop or hobby shop or you may just find some of them lying around the house. For most of these things however, you may be able to make your own, such as using an old CD for wheels.

  1. Small Continuous Rotation Servo
  2. 2xAA Battery Holder and Batteries
  3. Switch
  4. Plastic (Type 1: PETE or PET for vacuum forming and PVC for base)
  5. Aluminium Rod (16 cm should be enough)
  6. Zip Ties
  7. Small Plastic Tubing (Just enough clearance for rod to fit inside
  8. Pulley to fit over rod
  9. Pulley to fit on continuous rotation servo
  10. Wire
  11. Solder
  12. Wheels
  13. Belt and (rubber band or similar)
  14. Screws
  15. Small LEDS (or similar)

Step 2: Moulding the Plastic

For this design the base plastic is heated with a strip heater, before being bent, so as to hold the vacuum formed shape. This is as you don't want the electronics to get crushed. These angles don't matter to much or how far along the vehicle they are. You just need to make sure that for wherever you put to components, such as the wheels, that they aren't rubbing against the vacuum formed plastic. This is why I drew where my parts were going to be on the plastic.

If you don't wish to use a strip heater to bend the plastic, you could simply use playdoh or similar and build it up at the front or the back. You may not even need to do this, if you use a milk carton or own homemade design for the outer shell. You could easily get some cardboard and get a child to decorate it, before using that as a shell.

The outer shell was vacuum formed from a design which was first made in CAD and then in wood. This process in itself takes an extremely long time and effort, so I don't recommend it. If you do happen to have access to a vacuum former you could easily just shape a piece of wood with a nice, smooth design and vacuum form that. As stated above for the outer shell, you could really use anything you can find around the house, such as cardboard or a container.

Step 3: Combining the Parts

First I laid out all my parts and marked where they would go. Then I cut out where the switch would go with a saw and hot glued on the motor, battery holder and tubing. You could put the tubing on the top or bottom of the plastic - I first had it on top, but then I decided to put it on the bottom, so it would look as if the car had high suspension.

You need to make sure the tubing is no wider than the width of the car and you may even want to saw (or file) off a bit of width in between where the belt goes between the pulleys.

I drilled holes so I could secure my switch with screws, but this mainly depends on the type of switch and how you would like it to be held in place.

I then put on the wheels, pulleys and belt, which all just slid on.

Step 4: Wiring It Up

There are many ways you can do this! I made it so that the car could travel forwards and backwards, with the front lights on as it goes forwards and the back lights on as it reverses. This meant having a switch with on (forwards) - off - on (reverse); thus having the continuous rotation servo hooked twice, but each with opposite polarities, so it spins different ways. This is easy to solder but complicated to explain, however, you could simply have a switch which when turns on move the car.

Be sure to check which way the car will go before soldering everything together.

Step 5: Ta - Da

Finally, I drilled holes in the shell and pushed the lights through, before gluing them.

I simply let the outer shell rest on the base, so it can easily be modified or have the batteries replaced.

Step 6: Making It Awesomer!

I like this car as it is, however...

There are many different ways you can modify it.

These include

  • Making graphics with a vinyl cutter (or just using stickers)
  • 3D printing hub caps
  • 3D printing the frame or shell
  • Painting it
  • Adding more lights
  • Adding a controller (possibly even wireless)
  • And many more

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