Introduction: 3D Printed Arduino RC Airboat With Controller

This is a project that combines the knowledge of 3D printing and Arduino. It is a good beginners project for anyone interested in making their own RC boat or just interested in using 3D printing and Arduino for their own creations.


Look at step 1 for Supplies

Step 1: Supplies

Electronic components needed for the Airboat:

Electronic components needed for the controller:

For the physical part of this project like the hull of the boat, case of the controller and propeller...etc. You will need a 3D printer or access to 3D printer to print these part.(The photo only include some of the components)

Step 2: Print the Parts

Number of prints:

  • 1x Controller Case
  • 1x Controller Cover
  • 1x Boat Hull
  • 1x Mast
  • 1x Fin
  • 2x Propeller Hub
  • 3x Propeller with n4415(clockwise)
  • 3x Propeller with n4415(counterclockwise)

Please print them separately except the propeller parts you can print them all in one go. Also, remember printing orientation matter find the best orientation for your 3D printer to print on.

Step 3: Wiring

Now you can definitely do step 3 while you are doing step 2 because printing takes time. Wiring diagrams are provided with a couple things to keep in mind. You will have to solder the wires to the toggle switch(on/off switch) for the controller, while the rest of the wiring can be done through jumper wires. This is possible due to the mini breadboard. The airboat's wiring is connect by jumper wires as well, but there is no on/off switch like the controller. So the circuit will be live when you finish the wiring. It is better to disconnect one of the connection going from the battery to the L298N motor driver. You will close the circuit when the code is uploaded, so you can test the circuit.

Step 4: Upload the Arduino Codes

Once you done the wiring then you can upload the codes. The Arduino codes are provided just simply download the codes and upload them individually to their Arduino boards. For example, the FanboatCode needs to be uploaded to the airboat's Arduino nano board. the Controller_Code needs to be uploaded to the controller's Arduino nano board. You will be using Arduino IDE to upload the codes. If you don't have the Arduino IDE software you can download it from their website for free.

After, you uploaded the codes you should test the circuit by closing the circuits and move the right joystick to see if the servo motor respond or not. Also, you should turn the left potentiometer to see if the two DC motors spin or not. If it didn't do anything then you should troubleshoot for the wiring.

Step 5: Assembly

The assembly for the controller should be pretty straightforward with the provided pictures. One thing to think about is how to organize the wires. Once you have the battery pack, joysticks, and nano...etc in place you will have to organize the wires in a way that you can put the controller cover over the controller case. The tension from the wires might push up against the cover and making hard to close. You can just use some tape to solve that issue.

There are two parts for assembly of the airboat. First part is the assembly of the 3D printed parts. The propeller blades snaps on tight to the propeller hub. Also, the mast should be able to fit on to the boat hull by a interference fit. After, the 3D printed parts are assembled. The electronics will be the second part. Tape the two LiPo battery on the inner-side of the hull. Mount the servo motor to the boat hull. Next, place the Arduino nano and the motor driver into the hull. Then, place NRF24L01 module to the front of the hull. Put the two DC motors into the mast and put the propellers on to the motor's shafts. Finally make sure all the wires are tuck into the hull of the boat. Keep in mind the circuit should disconnected when you are assembling the electronics.

P.S. Look at the all photos before assembling it

Step 6: Play

After, doing everything from above put it in the water and give it a test ride. Feel free to make improvements or give me feedback on the project. The controller have potential to be a lot of device's controller. For example, a controller for a RC car or even a RC plane your imagination is the limit.