Ever since I bought my son his own RC, then handed my daughter the remote to my beloved rc18... they have been begging me to build a track. now my wife's not to keen on me tearing up the yard and building ramps and jumps... i think she just envisions a huge mud pit in the middle of the yard (shes probably right). thankfully she's allowed me to run the, mower down to the lowest setting for a thrash area... but that is only exciting for a few minutes, and running around on my small driveway also looses its charm pretty quickly. especially when you have "Monster Trucks!" (according to my son). of course i mentioned this on one of my favorite hobby sites, within hours i was inundated with ramps and jump how two's ranging form full on skateboard style to stacked 2x4's with a sheet of plywood, lots of complicated theory and some even had complicated folding mechanisms . now all of it is all well and good, though it never ceases to amaze me how complicated even the simplest idea can be made.. (at the risk of having my man card questioned... yeah I've been guilty of over-complicating things myself.)
i had a few requirements in mind.
#1 quick to build
#2 easily adjusted
#3 fold up for easy storage
to be honest I already had the perfect ramps in mind. I've only been building these since i was knee high to a grass hopper. they are quick to build, simple in construction, and with a few easy adjustments... well i've launched everything from a tenth scale all the way up to a teenage me with a mountain bike off them. trust me with a little supervision my 5 year old could build these.
... wait when did my 5 year old learn how to grunt like Tim Taylor???
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies and Tools!
Supplies are few, tools are few. I'm willing to bet if you dont already have what you need in your workshop, you local hardware bill will still be pretty cheap. Seriously almost everything you need is in that picture.
- Plywood at least a half an inch thick (we'll talk about cut dimensions in the next step)
- Piano Hinge
- screws for the hinge if they are not included
- 2 Eye bolts (per jump)
- 2 Hooks (per jump)
- Hobby chain
- just need something thin and durable what i got from the local store was labeled hobby chain
- be sure its something you are capable of cutting at your home. if not you will want to have the store cut you 2 lengths of chain at least the length of your longest ramp board (per jump)
Optional supplies -
- a hook and eye bolt door set to keep the boards closed while in storage
- paint or exterior carpet to finish.
- Drill / Driver
- Pair of pliers
- something to cut your chain
- tape measure or ruler
ok I guess you could add a could refreshment to that list.
Step 2: Grab Your Helpers It's Time to Get Building.
Before we begin, You will need to measure your RC's to know how to cut your plywood. I like to have my ramps at least one and a half times the length of my RC and at least three times as wide as the RC. for these little trucks 18"x24" is an adequate size. I was feeling a little lazy this afternoon so I had the hardware store cut my plywood while I was waiting for them to get some other products down from the top shelf. I started off with two sheets of 2'x4' x .45" exterior grade plywood. after three 18" cuts I am able to make a standard jump and a ski jump, with about 12" of scrap for future projects. it is important to get straight square cuts here or your jumps will end up lopsided and may not close properly.
Pick the cleanest face of the plywood and lay it down, this will be the jumping surface.
align two pieces so that they are the same orientation and slide them together until they almost touch.
Place your piano hinge with the hinge down in the gap between both boards.
center up the hinge, it doesn't have to be perfect, close is just fine here.
push the boards all the way to the hinge till they are tight against it.
once you are satisfied everything is tight together and the two boards are square run the four corner screws into the hinge.
remove the screws and flip the hinge over. using the four screw holes to line it up.
drive in all of the remaining screws for the hinge.
test that its tight and properly square by folding one of the sides over on the other.
Step 3: Chain It UP!
I know you're probably itching to catch some sick air with your RC by now, but we still have a little work to do before we can.
start by setting the ramp so you can work on the side. make a mark about halfway down one of the boards and copy it onto the other board and sides.
flatten your ramp and measure between the two marks, cut your chain to meet this measurement. I was able to cut the chain I purchased with a set of lobster claws. but if you picked up something a bit beefier a cut off wheel on a dremel works well, or most hardware stores will cut chain at the time of purchase.
on one mark run in your eye bolt.
- PRO TIP! there is a tool called a gator grip, it looks like a regular socket with a bunch of pins in it. these pins are spring loaded, and supposedly it'll work on almost any bolt or nut. anyways if you chuck one up in your drill driver you can use it to drive in the hooks and eye-bolts easier.
on the same side run your hook into the other mark.
flip your ramp around so you are on the opposite side, and run your eye bolt into the same board that you have the hook on.
and finally run in your last hook.
onto the chain. the hobby chain i used I was able to open up using a large flat blade screw driver, and close it with a set of channel locks. if your chain is a little beefier, you may need a screw and nut maybe a washer or two, to secure it to the eye bolt.
Step 4: The RC's Are Coming the RC's Are Coming!
That's it, time to stand up and enjoy some high flying fun!
setup is simple, place the ramp where you want it and unfold till you have the desired jump angle. secure both chains and let the RC's fly!
- for best results set the jump up then place your RC in front of it. adjust the ramp angle so that the wheels strike the ramp surface first. if the bumper or chassis strikes first it'll cause unpredictable jumps and possibly break parts.
- the steeper the angle / the heavier the RC, the more the ramp will want to move on you
- verify the angle (step 1)
- lower the jump angle.
- use a brick or some thick ground stakes on the inside of the jump face to help keep it from walking
- use a scrap of plywood or a 1"x2" instead of chain for your anti collapse support.
- just remember your RC's approach angles (Step 1), usually a longer ramp means a longer jump not always taller!
after a couple test jumps the brass hooks i bought are just a bit too weak. i'll head to the hardware store to pick up another set of eye bolts and a couple "S" hooks other than that, they work great. now get out there build something, and enjoy your RC's!