For a long time I have wanted to build an RC car completely from scratch, but never quite had access to all of the tools required to do it by hand or been able to justify the cost of using rapid prototyping methods. After taking part in the Intel IOT Invitational and the Mediatek Linkit One challenge I found myself with a whole bunch of Amazon and Shapeways vouchers, so I decided it was time to make the dream a reality.

The goal of this instructable is twofold, for anyone who wants to replicate my project exactly, I will provide all of the files (including editable models) and instructions to do it, but more interestingly, I will try and explain my choices and processes so that anyone can take what I have learned and use it to build their very own one-of-a-kind RC car, based on mine, or straight out of their own imagination.

Design Choices

The first step when starting a project like this is to determine your goals and your limitations, these were mine, yours may be different.

Design Goals

  • Build as much as possible myself
  • Design something unique
  • Use lots of metal in the design (I like how realistically heavy RC's drive)
  • Solid rear axle hot-rod
  • Resiliant enough to actually drive (not a shelf queen!)

Design Limitations

Cost: I wanted to spend as little as possible (some further notes on that below)

Time: I wanted to get it done in 80 days for the 3D printing competition, this was a great motivation to keep working hard on it. The 3D modelling was by far the most time consuming.

Available Tools: No metal working facilities, hence why I chose laser cutting and carefully designed around having to do anything other than drilling and tapping afterwards.

Available Software: I am familiar with Solid Works, but now that Autodesk Fusion 360 is available free to hobbiests I used this as a project to learn on. I can't recommend it enough!

Potential Cost Reductions

I was fortunate enough to be able to fund almost the whole project with vouchers I won from various Instructables competitions, but this means that my choices would not universally be the cheapest options, here are some ideas if cash is tight.

  • Design around a readily available body
  • Build the body by hand out of Styrene or Wood
  • Print the body in pieces on a hobby 3D printer
  • Use cheap motor/esc/servos/wheels from an old RC car
  • Print the profiles on paper and cut Aluminium parts by hand on a bandsaw/scrollsaw

Step 1: Parts List

These are the parts that I used. Almost all of them were bought from Asiatees, with a handful from Aliexpress and my local hobby shop.

The vast majority of the parts can be swapped out with alternatives that you probably already have if you are into RC.

PartLink to SupplierSupplierCost (USD)
Front AxleAluminum 1:14 Tractor Axle Asiatees21.5
Rear AxleBoom Racing SCX10 Axle Asiatees98
DriveshaftHardened Steel Adjustable Shaft Asiatees20.9
GearboxAlloy SCX10 Case
GearsBoom Racing Heavy Duty Gears
Wheels (Front)75mm Wheel and Tyre


Wheels (Rear)KRT 108MM Wheel and Tyre
Motor7.5T Brushless Sensored Motor Asiatees57
ESCXERUN-120A-SD V2.1 Asiatees83
Shocks65mm Aluminium Shocks Aliexpress16
Servo1:10th Scale Servo
Hobby King 15
Link Rods
Ball Ends
<p>Can I make one on my university's mark-forged? Its the best markforged2 they got.<br><br>What about just modelling a shelf car? Would it be feasible? I literally just joined indestructible with no experience. I read through everything what you wrote and it inspired me but I fall short of resources.</p>
Hello. I am not familiar with the markforged, but I looked at their website and it seems like a very nice printer, I see no reason why you couldn't do it.<br> The design was made with an SLS printer in mind, so you will have to do some thinking regarding the support material. If you look at my thingiverse http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1785113 you will see that someone made a display model of it using an FDM printer, so it definitely is possible http://www.thingiverse.com/make:258657
<p>Next time you can use Fusion's 360 McMaster plugin: it allows you to import their 3D CAD models directly into Fusions. In other words, all your nuts and bolts are there to be imported.</p>
I just tried it out, that is a brilliant resource, thanks for the tip!
<p>This is really amazing! I've been in the rc hobby for 3 years and know how hard it would be to make something like this.</p>
Thanks a lot. Strangely I think that building an RC car that works well (one might debate whether mine does...) is actually harder in some ways than a plane or boat, but on the upside, when it fails it just sits there instead of sinking or falling out of the sky ;-)
That looks like it, seems like everything you need except bearings (pretty sure I had to buy mine separately too).
<p>Great Job! I love this RC car</p>
<p>I joined Instructables because of this. Awesome.</p>
I'm glad to hear that! Instructables is one of the most pleasant and constructive communities on the web. The competitions are cool too, you'd be surprised what you can win, just by putting a little effort into documenting the projects you are already doing.
<p>I joined Instructables because of this. Awesome.</p>
<p>Nice work bud. On the axle gears double check but I believe the ax10 has the same internal gears and you can use the open diff gears from the front axle, in the rear for an open diff scx10.</p><p>https://www.amainhobbies.com/axial-racing-heavy-duty-overdrive-bevel-gear-set-36-14-axi30401/p34194?gclid=CLzs76jA0M0CFcYlgQodztsM8w</p>
<p>Thanks Brock, that is a handy tip, I will try and get hold of an AX10 open diff and see if it works, I think it would really improve the handling.</p>
<p>This is the most bad a$$ , coolest , and one of the most creative RC cars i have seen in a long time I am going to build this car I have been out the hobby for years I have a real one very similar to your RC car and i was floored Great job </p>
Thanks Fluke! A surprising number of people have expressed interest in building it, so I will soon add a page with some notes on things to watch out for and things I would have done differently.<br><br>Designing cars from the ground up seems fairly rare in the RC circles (unlike planes, boats and multicopters). I guess one will never get the performance of a mass-produced light-weight race car, but those just don't feel real to me. The scale crawler guys have it right, with realistic weight and crazy attention to detail, I definitely want to build one of those next.<br><br>By the way, I'd love to see a pic of your real one! Jealous! ;-)<br>
<p>A few have taken cans or other thin metal and made bodies to get that real body damage look while crawling. I've been into rc crawlers from the beginning but into RC's since well.......... now i'm starting to feel old, LOL.</p>
<p>They make a Plastic model I believe it's 1/8th scale if you want to build a larger version. I believe in 32 and 27 model years and coupee different styles.</p>
<p>Great work! I suggest when it comes to fasteners that you look at the McMaster Carr website. They have an incredible amount of 3D CAD models for fasteners that you can download and use for free. </p>
<p>That is a useful tip, I didn't know about that resource, thanks! I must say though, most of my laziness with regards to fasteners is about inserting and constraining them in the model via joints etc. I find the more little jointed items there are the more hassles I have with rebuilds etc.</p>
<p>Very thorough documentation, nice job! </p>
<p>Very good execution! Voted!</p>
<p>one of the best thing i have ever seen.hope you won</p>
If this doesn't win or place in top, I've lost all faith in humanity.
<p>emejing !!</p><p>amazingg!!!</p><p>in indonesian : juwara... ( juara )</p>
Excellent work...<br>I appreciate your hard work and skill.<br>Thanks for sharing.
Voted :)
<p>Must be one of best documented projects I've ever seen on the site. Awesome setup, I admire your determination &amp; skills and I'm just a fan of this design. You've got my vote!</p>
That's quite the compliment coming from such an accomplished instructabler as yourself! Gotta give credit to ol' Henry and generations of hot rodders for the shape, its just so cool.
<p>Thanx mate :) Most of my projects have one thing in common: lack of patience, and that's just why I'm a fan of this kind of stuff, because it's out of reach of my skills &amp; competences. Success in the contest, to me you're already a winner..</p>
<p>Well Done! The instructable and the car both.</p>
<p>ya weren't kidding! </p><p>good luck in the contest!</p>
Thanks bravo!
<p>Thank you good sir :-D</p>
<p>great job</p>
<p>you should post this on OpenRC google group</p>
<p>Thanks for the heads up, I have posted there. Some interesting stuff in the google+ group too.</p>
<p>Very nice built, congrats!</p>
<p>Glad you liked it!</p>
<p>That looks great. Nice fabrication!</p>
<p>Thank you, was great to see it come together in the real world after all the CAD time.</p>
What scale is it
<p>1:10th, in step 2 I have a pic that shows how I scaled it based on a printout of an old ford.</p>
<p>I'm going to attempt to perform some upgrades to your model and share them here, lets see how it goes!</p>
<p>Have fun! Looking forward to seeing your results.</p>
<p>That looks great. Nice fabrication!</p>
<p>Thank you, that's why I got robots to do it for me ;-) I love designing for CNC.</p>
Killer job.
<p>Thank you!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Electrical Engineer by trade, tinkerer by heart.
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