Introduction: DIY F1 RC Race Car! V.2.0

About: I've been into R/C for a few years now. I love making things, especially 3d printed cars. Love helping people out!

Hi I'm Dogoman, and In this Instructable I will be showing you how to make V.2.0 of my 1/18 F1 race car! With all new features including a rear differential, rear suspension, new higher grip front and rear tires, and a new easy to build body!

Now you may be asking yourself how do these upgrades make V.2.0 any better? Well I'll answer that! Starting with the rear differential, or diff for short. The differential is a very, very important part of any real, or RC car. It allows one tire to move faster than another, so that in a turn one tire won't have to slip. Watch the video included to understand better what exactly a diff does.

Now the rest of the upgrades are kinda self explanatory, the suspension helps smoothen out the ride, the better tires will help achieve higher speeds, and the better body will look much nicer.

Step 1: Tools

The tools you will be needing for this instructable will be:

: 1-2 adjustable wrenches

: files ( preferably small files )

: hack saw, and/or dremel with cutting bit

: dremel with cone grinding bit

: x-acto knife

: metric allen wrenches

: drill and 5/32-3/16-3/8-1/2 drill bits

: hot-glue gun

: pliers : soldering iron and solder ( for soldering battery leads)

: small screw driver :pipe wrench

: ruler ( with mm )

:calipers (optional)

:infrared digital thermometer ( optional, but recommended )

: and finally, the scissors!

Step 2: Electronics

If you don't have any "hobby grade" RC parts, then follow list one, but if you do have the basic parts

( transmitter/receiver, LiPo battery charger etc.) then follow list two.

(Note: if you are in the US be sure to buy from the US warehouse not the international warehouse because large orders can be expensive.)

List 1: The total cost of this project comes out to around $180, depending on the current prices.



: transmitter/receiver

or a better and nicer radio

: battery and charger


and this for safety


3cell battery


2cell battery



:motor and esc

(lower kv = more torque, higher kv = less torque & more speed) If you already have a motor and ESC you can use that too just as long as the motor is around 20-24mm in diameter.

: servo



List 2: The total comes out at $150.

:motor and esc (lower kv = more torque, higher kv = less torque and more speed) If you already have a motor and ESC you can use that too just as long as the motor is around 20-24mm in diameter.

: servo


3cell battery


2cell battery

Or you can use any 2-3s battery around that weight and size if you already have one.

Step 3: Materials, and Accessories, and Hardware

When you go to the store, you may want to take some calipers with you so you can measure the loose hardware so you don't get the wrong stuff.

Home depot AAA*steel washer 3/4 outer x anything smaller than 1/2 ( *AAA* is the model number and will be on the washer itself )

long nylon spacer 1/2 outer x 3/16 inner x 1in long ( home depot)

Large nylon spacer 1in outer x 1/2 inner x 3/8 long (home depot)

3/16in threaded rod. Be sure to get one that is straight and not bent in any way.

3/16in locknuts

3/16 nuts (2)

M4 bolts and nuts

tiny brass washers (2)

1/4 (7mm) in inner diameter washer, and for the outer diameter anything thats not under 11/16 in (17mm)

1/8 plywood

You can buy these at your local hobby shop for cheaper.

1.4 mm music wire

and 1.4 mm linkage stoppers

dollar tree foam board( NOT THE ELMERS STUFF !!!)

spur gear

pinion gear 16turn (16 teeth) 48 pitch

Team Associated RC18 LRP tires (for rear) buy here

Traxxas LaTrax rally tires (for front) buy here

ball bearings 4mm

bearings 1/16

motor heat-sink with fan

Thermal Heat Transfer Compound

cooling fan

xt60 connectors, or your favorite style battery connector

yeeeeah! sticker sheet! because its just not complete with out the stickers!

steering arms

Step 4: Understanding Your Electronics

Understanding your RC control system is very crucial. The more you know about your power system, the easier trouble shooting will be further down the road. If you already have an RC power system and know how it all works, then you can go ahead and skip steps 4-5 and move on, but if you don't, it is very, very, very important that you watch the videos and read this section! Now you will notice that these videos are for understanding RC airplane electronics. Thats ok because there are only some minor differences. The most important differences are the motor and speed controller. The motors used in RC cars (including this one) are in-runner motors. Most RC planes use out-runner motors. Both of these motors are covered in the video. The other difference is the ESC (electronic speed controller). The main thing is the ESC for a RC car can reverse the motor. This allows the car to go in reverse. An RC plane ESC only goes one way . To better understand what I'm talking about, watch the videos. The only other differences are you only have one servo for steering, and the motor is spinning a propellor not wheels.

There are five main components that make up your RC power system: TX/RX (transmitter & receiver), battery, ESC, and servos. The esc motor combo that I recommend comes with a good manual read it! I include a picture of the wiring, note this is not a picture of the same power setup. however it plugs in the same way. All 2.4 GHZ radios work the same, other than the number of channels. and the shape they take. You can use a stick transmitter, but its a lot better to use a pistol grip, but they both do the same thing.

Step 5: Safety

LiPos are the most common battery for RC. LiPos are not your normal everyday batteries. If you don't take care of them they will go bad. You never want to over charge your batteries. If you do, they will heat up and smoke! In some cases they will even burst into flames!! The same goes for draining the voltage too far.

Now that I covered the bare basics on liPo safety, watch the video for more detail on what to do to protect your batteries. To better understand how liPos work, watch the liPo video in the last section. Cutting safety is an important thing to remember when using an X-acto knife or any other sharp tool. Never cut towards your body or any body parts, especially fingers. When using a Dremel or hack saw make sure to keep your fingers clear of the blade. I know you have heard this before, but it never hurts to be extra cautious! As always, use common sense!

Step 6: Cutting Out Your Templates, and Marking the Pieces

Step 1: Cutting out your templates and marking the pieces

The first thing you need to do is print the template. Once you have printed your template, start by carefully cutting the pieces with your x-acto knife and scissors, using the scissors for the straight cuts and the x-acto knife for the rounded cuts. After you have cut the pieces, take the motor mount and bearing holder template and crease it straight down the center on the black line (see pictures). Now you will need to get out your aluminum L bracket and tape your plans to it (on the outside of the bend), making sure that the crease line is on the corner of the L bracket. With the plans taped down, mark the circle and each corner of the rectangles. Then take off the tape and remove the plans, and connect the dots to form the rectangle. Do the same for the other one. Next turn around the bracket and mark your two steering plates, re-enforcing plate, and chassis, using the same techniques you used for the motor mount.

Step 7: Cutting Out the Parts

Step 2: Cutting Out the parts

Once you have marked all the parts, its time to cut them out. Start by cutting the motor mount/axle holders with a nice sharp hack saw, making sure that you keep your arm and hand straight holding it firm but not tight with your forefinger extended to keep the saw pointed straight. Here's a good article and video on how to properly use a handsaw.

The next part you need to cut are the steering plates, and they are small, so you will need to hold them down with either a vise, workbench, or some good old clamps. Once you have clamped you bracket down to a solid surface, you can begin by cutting the top angled cuts. Since Its angled its extra hard to keep the blade right on the line, so what you need to do is grab the hack saw with both hands and slowly give a couple nice long strokes until you have a nice straight kerf going, then you can continue with the back and forth movements. Next cut the straight cut all the way down. Then clamp the piece down again, and cut the two bottom angled cuts. Now just cut the remaining piece of and file down the edges then repeat for the next one:) .

Now get out your 10-24 threaded rod and cut from the straightest part a 16mm length of it. With that cut mark a line 75mm away from each end with a Sharpie or any sort of marker. Next hold down tightly the rod on a flat surface and take a small file or dremmel and start filing the thread down where you just marked until you have a nice flat area in between the two lines. Then flip it 360º degrees and do the same thing, but be careful not to file to far. The only reason in doing this is to make a flat spot for the adjustable wrench to hold on to without slipping, while you screw on the nuts, so you only need to file down enough on each side to get rid of the roundness.

The only part remaining to cut now is the wood chassis, cut this out using the hack saw and files, or just use you dremmel with cutting disk and sanding bit( I would recommend using the dremmel because its much easier and faster to do ). What you need to do is first cut all the straight edges, and where there are rounded cuts draw a straight line from one point of the arch to the other point. Cut on the line and just use the sanding bit or a rounded file to sand down to the curve.

Step 8: Drilling Out the Holes

Step 3: Drilling out the holes

You heard it, it's time to drill the holes! You're going to need get out your drill and 3/16, 3/8, 1/2, and 5/32 (or as close to 5/32 as possible) drill bits, and two other bits (exact size doesn't matter: one larger than the 5/32 and one smaller than 3/8). Ok lets begin, the first parts we will be drilling are the holes in the motor mount brackets for the bearings. Take your two aluminum brackets and clamp them down on the edge of a table, workbench, or vise, with a piece of scrap wood under the bracket so you don't drill into your work table. Then take your drill with the 5/32 bit in it, and put the bit on the center of the circle and slowly give it throttle until you have a nice indentation for the bit to go into. Then start picking up its speed until it goes all the way through. After you have drilled the pilot hole move up a couple sizes up and use the previously drilled hole to position the next one and drill the hole. If you notice that your bit is starting to get too hot you may need to use some cutting oil to help it go through. Keep doing this until you get up to the 3/8 bit and you're done, Repeat for the other one! The whole point in doing this instead of just starting with the largest is because if you where to do that it would be extremely hard to keep it in the right spot without it going allover the place, not to mention it would most likely get stuck and you could break the bit or even damage the drill. Have you ever heard the saying "don't bite off more than you can you can chew"? It's much easier to to slowly move up a size until you get up to the right size, than try to go straight to the large one. If you notice that your bit is starting to get too hot you may need to use some cutting oil to help it go through. After you drill out the holes for the bearings it's time to make the mounting holes for the motor! With the 5/32 drill bit, start drilling a row of holes as close to each other as possible in the area you marked so you can turn them into one slot. Make sure that the middle holes are centered on the line, that the bottom of the top holes are aligned with the bottom of the line, and that the bottom holes are aligned with top of the bottom line (as seen in picture 7). After you have drilled all the holes get out a small flat file and start filing out the holes to make it flat. It doesn't need to be perfect you just need to file it down enough to fit your motor mount screws in, and the motor shaft fit through without rubbing up against the mount. Then just flip it around and drill the mounting holes on the bottom with your 5/32 drill bit, and you're done with the aluminum brackets!

Now get out the spur gear, both rear tire, the AAA washer, a nice strong vise ( or if you don't have a vise just a strong pair of clamps will work too ) drill, and 3/16in. and 1/2in. bits. Then using the 3/16in. bit, drill out all the holes in the spur gear, so that the bearing balls will fit in the holes. Now using the same drill bit, drill out the center holes on both the rear tires ( as shown in picture ). Next hold down the AAA washer (with a vise or some clamps), and using a 1/2in. drill bit, slowly drill the center of the AAA washer out. When you are done it should fit flush on the 1/2in. x 3/16in. nylon spacer.

Now just drill out the holes in the chassis, suspension upper deck, steering plates, and reinforcing plate with the 5/32 drill bit and your ready to move on to the next step!

Step 9: Gluing in the Rear Axle Bearing

Step 4: Gluing In the rear axle bearings

For this step you will need to get out the two aluminum brackets and your two 3/16" ball-bearings. What you need to do is push your bearings into the holes you drilled, and make sure that the outer part of it is flush with the bracket. You may need to file out the hole just a little bit to make it fit, but be careful not to file too far or you'll ruin it, you want the bearing too be tight but not so tight that it takes an excessive amount of force to push in. With the bearings pushed in making sure that they are flush, slowly pour on small drops of super glue, being very careful not to get any inside the bearing. Once you feel you have a good amount of it on there, get out some baking soda and cover all the glue and around it in the baking soda. This step is optional but highly recommended, because what the baking soda does is it instantly cures the surface of the super glue, and will prevent getting your fingers or anything else stuck to it. You will need to do this a few times until the glue is piled up enough to get a good hold on the aluminum and the bearing. Then just clean the baking soda off and do the exact same thing to the other one. (Note: I did this step with the brackets mounted to the chassis but you don't need to do that.)

Step 10: Building the Suspension

Step 5: Building the suspension

For this step you will need to get out the aluminum brackets, one oil filled shock, two ball studs, five short M4 bolts, and five long, nine M4 lock nuts, and six regular nuts. You will also need the front and rear chassis plates, the upper deck, and the large rectangle with two holes in it, and the small square.

Start by mounting the two aluminum brackets to the rear chassis plate with three of the short M4 bolts, and three of the lock nuts. Then use a 5/32 drill bit and drill two holes in each of the pieces of surgical tubing 20mm away from each other. Now put two long bolts onto the front of the rear chassis plate. Then slide on both of the rubber tubes, and tighten then down all the way with a lock nut. Now slide on the rectangle piece, and tighjten that down with locknuts. Next insert two short bolts into the rear of the front chassis, and connect the two chassis plates with the rubber tubing. Tighten that down with lock nuts, and make sure that its straight. After you have done that, insert three long bolts into the chassis with nuts on them ( as shown in picture ). Now you can put on the upper deck and slide it up and down, depending on the hight of your battery.

Now all thats left to do is mount the shock absorber! If you do not have any drill bits small enough to mount the ball studs you can just use the X-acto knife to start a hole and thread the ball stud through. With a hole drilled in the small and large rectangles, thread on the ball studs. Now mount your shocks to the studs, and glue down the little square to the upper deck (as shown in picture) and you are ready to move on!

Step 11: Building and Mounting the Rear Ball Differential

Step 6: Building and mounting the rear ball differential

For this step you will be needing, the spur gear, six 3/16 in. bearing balls, the threaded rod, four lock nuts, four nuts, two 3/16in. x 3/8in. ball bearings, three small copper washers, two. You will also need three of the 1in. x 1/2 in. diameter nylon spacers, and two of the 1/2in. x 3/16in. spacers.

Start by reaming out the inside of the 1in. x 1/2 nylon spacer just enough so that it will fit onto the inside of the rear tire. Once you have tested the fit, pour a couple drops of super glue onto the back and inside of the nylon spacer . Then quickly and carefully push it into the back of the tire all the way ( as seen in picture ). Then after you have cure the glue with baking soda, push a 1/2in. x 3/16in. spacer, into the spacer that you just glued on (as shown in picture). Make sure that its nice and straight then glue it in. Now glue another 1in. x 1/2in. spacer,and an AAA washer onto that. Then take a 1in. x 1/2in. spacer and an AAA washer and glue them both down to a 1/2in. x 3/16in. spacer ( as shown in picture). Now just cut the excess of the ends of those ( as seen in pictures ). These will be your diff hubs. Next you need to glue the diff hub without the tire to the axle. To do this put the smaller diff hub, spur gear, then other diff hub, onto the axle and on top of the other tire( see pictures ). Then pull the axle up about 1/4 of an inch, and pour some super glue onto the axle. Then push it back down and let that cure for 24 hours. Once that has cured for 24 hours, you should be able to pull every thing of the axle and the smaller diff hub should stay solid on the axle.

Now you can begin to assemble the diff! Start by putting a 3/16 x 3/8in. ball bearing onto the spur gear. Then put a liberal amount of diff lube onto the washers on both diff hubs. Now slide on the spur gear, and insert a 3/16in. bearing ball into each of the holes on the gear. Next make sure that both the washers and balls are lubricated, and slide on the tire a 3/16in. ball bearing three small copper washers. Now just tighten that down with a lock nut and you are ready to moze on to the next step!

Step 12: Mounting the Motor and Adjusting the Gear Mesh

Step 7: Mounting the motor and adjusting the gear mesh

Get your motor mount screws and washers. I used two of the screws that came with the fan and cut them down to 10mm long with a hack saw , and used the same small washers. Now you can go ahead and pour out some locktite onto something, and dip the screw in it. Then put the washer on it and screw it in the holes that are the farthest out. Now put on the pinion gear and tighten it, but be sure to align the grub screw with the flat part on the motor shaft. Once the pinion is on get regular old paper and push the pinion up against the spur with the paper in between them and tighten the screws down, this is the most common technique for adjusting the gear mesh. If your gear mesh is adjusted properly, the gears should have a little bit of give, but not too much or the pinion could slip on the spur and strip the gears, but also not too tight, because if it's too tight it will bind up and not work correctly. See the video to best understand this step.

( NOTE: It is easiest to mount the motor before you mount the axle. Also You must adjust the gear mesh before you put on the large diff hub.)

Step 13: Breaking in and Adjusting the Ball Diff

Step 8: Breaking in and adjusting the ball diff

In this step I will explain how to properly adjust and break in your newly built ball differential. It is very crucial to the performance of your vehicle, to have a properly broken in and adjusted ball diff. So lets get started!

We will begin with how to adjust your car's diff. Once you have properly adjusted the gear mesh, tighten the diff up all the way. Then slowly start loosening it, continuously checking the feel of it. When adjusted correctly, you should be able to grab both tires and rotate them in opposite directions easily. The point is to get it as loose as possible without the spur gear being able to turn when you hold both tires.

Now you are ready to break it in! To break in your ball diff all you must do is hold down one side down so that it will not move and give around 50% throttle, for around ten seconds. Then hold down the other tire and do it again. You will need to do this about ten times. When you are done you should have a nice smooth feeling diff, that has no slip on the spur gear!

Step 14: Assembling and Mounting the Front Steering Hub and Tires

Step 6: Assembling and mounting the front steering hub and tires

For this step you will need your two steering hubs, two aluminum steering plates, two M4 bolts, two large washers, four 4mm bearings, four small washers, two nuts, and your two front tires.

For each hub do the following. First start by getting out your steering hub, insert the arm into the hub, and make sure that its all the way up against the hub, then turn it around and mark with a sharpie the inside of the rectangle (see pictures). Then remove the arm and file down about 2mm of the area that you marked (see pictures).

The whole point in doing this so when you mount the axle the bolt head will have enough clearance to fit flush with the hub to allow the steering plates to be mounted. After you file that down get your steering hub and steering plates, and mount the plates on the hub. If you didn't have a drill bit small enough to drill the hole for the servo screw, you can also use the tip of an x-acto knife to start the hole. Then you should be able to screw in the servo screw and mount the steering plate with it. Now put the 4mm long M4 bolt into the back of the hub in steering plate hole, and slide on a small washer, 4mm bearing, large washer, tire, bearing, small washer, then a nut (see pictures). When you tighten up the nut try and center the large washer on the axle so the inner ring of the bearing is not touching the washer, otherwise the wheel will not move freely. You may need to loosen the nut so you can adjust the washer using a small screw driver, and move it around until the wheel moves freely.

After you assemble both the wheel assemblies, its time to mount them to the chassis. Start by mounting the aluminum reenforcing plate, with a M4 bolt and nut, cut it down if needed. Then put on the bolt, small washer, steering hub and arm, small washer again, and a nut (see pictures). You want the nut to be on firmly but not so tight that the hub won't move, you may need to lubricate it to help it move better.

Step 15: Gluing in the Servo and Placing the Steering Links

Step 6: Gluing in the servo and placing the steering links

For this step you will need, your servo and servo arm with screw, three 1.4 linkage stoppers, and two lengths of 1.4mm music wire, one 65mm long and another 95mm long. Step one, get your 65mm long wire, and make a horizontal bend 10mm in, then make a vertical bend 15mm away from that one, this is called a modified z-bend (see pictures). After you are done with that, cut out a 10mm x 10mm foam board square and peel off the paper on both sides, then take your hot-glue gun and glue the foam board square to the chassis up against the aluminum (see pictures). Then get your x-acto knife and cut down the foam board so that it's flush with the aluminum and glue down your servo with a generous amount of hot-glue. Be sure to configure it as seen in the pictures! Next get your servo arm and ream out the second to the last hole so that the linkage stopper will fit on. Next put the linkage stopper on and wiggle the modified z-bend wire into the hole that you made on the steering arm (see pictures). Now slide the wire into the linkage stopper and screw on the servo arm (see pictures). Then flip the car upside down hot-glue the bottom of the z-bend so that you won't have too much wiggle room (see pictures). Now it's time to link the two steering arms. Get the two linkage stoppers and put them on the last hole on the steering arms, and link them with the 95mm long wire (see pictures). Now all that's left is to plug in the servo to make sure its centered, and tighten the linkage stoppers so that the tires are straight, and your done with steering!

Step 16: Building the Body! ( in Editing Process)

Terms to understand:

. score cut: cut 50% of the way through

. A-fold: Above (see pictures to understand)

. B-fold: Besides

Sorry, if you find these instructions confusing. My main advice is be sure to look at all the pictures as you read, and if you need to read it more than once. If there is something that you really don't get, please let me know and I can help you. Also I may do a build video depending on how clear these instruction turn out.

Step one, print the plans that are provided, and cut them all out using the same technique. Once you have cut out the plans, you can start tracing them out, as done before. Now its time to cut them!

The most important trick when using foam board, is to use a sharp x-acto blade! If your blade is dull it will just tear through it and leave nasty edges on your cuts. Now you may think well why does it have to be an x-acto knife? The answer is, you don't have to use an x-acto knife. You can also use razor blades and other cutting tools, but I would highly recommend using just your x-acto knife for a couple reasons. One, because it is the most maneuverable when cutting small and curved edges. Two, it is easiest to hold and move around. Third, the blade is normally thinner than most razorblades, so it will make a thinner, cleaner cut. It may help to get a scrap piece of foam and draw some straight lines and boxes using a ruler for practice. This will help you when you cut the actual pieces out. Also draw out some curved edges. Do some cuts that go all the way through and do some scoring cuts.

After you have gotten used to cutting you are ready to start cutting out the pieces! After you have cut out all the pieces flip the main body piece upside down and mark all the lines for the score cuts. See pictures to understand which lines are score cuts. Then carefully cut all those lines being careful to not cut through the bottom paper. Then remove the foam from the cuts leaving a 5mm gap ( see pictures to understand ).

Now you can begin to assemble the body. Start by gluing the two side pieces vertically onto the rest of the main body piece. Be sure that you do this as an B-fold not an A-fold. Next take the remaining piece thats sticking out and fold it inwards, as shown in pictures. Then glue that down, as seen in the pictures. Now take the nose and crease it on the lines, as shown in picture. Then glue the nose down, vertically in a B-fold, as seen in picture. Now take the cockpit piece and crease it every 4mm or so. With this done you should be able to slide it onto the main body piece. Once you get it to fit, glue it in making sure its all the way in. Now just glue down the other two remaining pieces (as seen in pictures), and you're finished! I will leave painting and decorating all up to you, use your imagination!

Feel free to hit that I made it button and share what you have come up with! I would love to see what you have come up with! :)

Step 17: Mounting the Electronics

Now you are ready to mount the electronics and go out for a run!

This step is pretty self explanatory but i wanted to include it anyway! First mount your battery. You will need to loosen the nuts holding the upper deck and slide the battery under it. Then tighten it down so that the battery is nice and snug down there. Then put your ESC and RX on the sides!

Step 18: Extras!!

Here are some extra videos that will help you better understand, and use your RC power system and car! These are optional to watch, but I would recommend watching them! :)

Step 19: Future Upgrades!

Yah you heard it! I'm not done and finished with this project! There is much more to come in future versions! Including, PETG vacuum formed body, aluminum or G10 fiberglass chassis, better steering, better differential design, impact resistant bumper, FPV (first person video), and maybe more! For more up to date progress and info on this project visit....

I'm currently working on V.3.0 Aka the FPV version, so stay tuned for more!

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