Introduction: Blue Buggy

About: Has code in brain, soldering iron in hand, Art Blakey blaring in the background... transforms techno babble into reality and is strangely fond of the ellipsis.

This instructable started many years ago... in the late 1970s to be exact.

My older brothers had these amazing gas powered dune buggies, and I wanted one too. Alas, I was a little to young at the time to be handling such gas-powered awesomeness (sigh).

Fast forward to modern day; I'm older and more responsible. It's dune buggy time!

No such luck... Cox International is still in business, but they don't make the Dune Buggy or Sandblaster any more. Ugh!

Off to eBay then... holy cats! $400 for vintage kit? I think not.

Time to take matters into my own hands - and recreate the dune buggy of my childhood. Attached, are the 3D models ready for printing. Alternatively, they are available on Thingiverse or the editable model can be had on Tinkercad.

Step 1: Assembly

Hardware is pretty basic...

  • M3 X .5 8mm Socket Cap Screws
  • M3 X .5 12mm Socket Cap Screws
  • M3 X .5 Press-fit Expansion Insert ( McMaster : 94510A240 )
  • M3 X .5 Hex Nut
  • M3 Flat Washer
  • 10 X 4 X 3 bearings

Non-printable components.

  • 2 X Continuous Rotation Micro Servos ( Adafruit )
  • 1 X High-torque Micro Servo ( Adafruit )
  • AA Battery Pack ( Adafruit )
  • Grifiti 2" Silicone Bands ( Grifiti )

Tools / Supplies

Step 2: Tires

Silicone is pretty slick stuff... you can improve traction between the band and the PLA wheel by adding a little Permatex Black Silicone Adhesive. Make sure to rough the surface of the wheel before adding the adhesive.

It will take 24 hours for this to cure - don't rush!

Step 3: Steering

Brass press-fit inserts are amazing... and make short work putting the front wheels together. If tolerances are too tight, you may have to warm the insert to get it to seat correctly.

Assemble the wheel bearing stack and screw the lot together. Your font wheels should go round-and-round smoothly.

Remove un-used arms from the servo horn... center the servo using a servo tester or with an RC transmitter/receiver, and screw the servo horn to the rack.

Step 4: Beyond...

Now, the easiest way to drive your Blue Buggy around is to use a standard RC transmitter, receiver, and a 5 volt battery pack. Or, you can add a microcontroller and go semi-atonomous using an IR Sensor similar to what I did with my Red Rover project.

Whatever you decide to do... have fun, and remember to let your little brother / sister have a turn.

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