Introduction: Wooden RC Boat That You Can Control Manually or Via a Website

Hi I'm a student at Howest and I built a Wooden RC boat wich you can control via a controller or via a website.

I was tired of rc vehicles breaking down so quickly and I wanted something to enjoy myself with when i was living at the sea.


  • balsa wood
  • servo motor
  • dc motor
  • motordriver module
  • arduino (uno)
  • raspberry pi
  • ldr
  • joystick
  • epoxy hars
  • fiberglass
  • propeller
  • rudder
  • something to connect the rudder to the servo motor
  • a rubber sock(optional)
  • wood glue
  • 2x LED
  • 3x 330 ohm resistors
  • jumper cables
  • MCP3008
  • lcd screen
  • 2x NRF24L01 module with antenna
  • 2x 10 µF Condensator
  • potentiometer
  • NEO-6m gps module
  • screws

necessary skills:

  • arduino
  • raspberry pi
  • python
  • electronics
  • networking

price: 250 €

Step 1: Making the Base of the Boat

  1. Cut out the parts like in the first photo. The size depends on how big you want to make your boat, but make sure they have the same shape. The slots are for extra sturdiness so that they are already properly attached without glue.
  2. Glue the parts together as in the second photo.
  3. Now you can easily make the walls by laying planks on the support boards.
  4. Next cut out the middle part as in photo 3. This is to make space for the electronics.
  5. Don't start over if there is a hole in your boat we can solve that later by filling it with glue or epoxy hars.

Step 2: Making the Base Waterproof

  1. Fill all gaps and holes inside the boat with glue.
  2. Next sand the outside of the boat so that everything is nice and smooth when we coat it with epoxy resin.
  3. Then you take the resin and the hardener and you mix it in a 2: 1 ratio. This means if you want 30 grams of epoxy resin, take 20 grams of resin and 10 grams of hardener. You can work with the hars for 45 min before it becomes too hard to use.
  4. Take a brush and coat the boat in epoxy resin. Do this 3 times and sand after each coat. Beware! Epoxy resin cannot withstand the sun. Then it becomes yellow and crumbles. We are going to solve this by painting our boat. But for now it's best to leave it in the shade.
  5. Because balsa wood is very brittle, we have to make the boat sturdy. We do this by applying fiberglass.
    Place your fiberglass on the outside of the boat and coat it with epoxy resin. After the resin is dry, sand it again and then put one last layer on your boat.

Step 3: Electronics in Boat

We use a motor driver module to allow the boat to go both windshield and reverse and to use 12V to connect the motor.
Drill a hole in the back of your boat that goes up slightly and insert the rod of the engine shaft. Glue it and clamp the motor by gluing a board on top of it that is attached to the sides. Place the servo motor on that board, which you then glue and clamp by sliding it into a board that is attached to the sides. Solder a capacitor to the transmitter for better and more stable range. Put a toggle switch between te ground from the 12V battery and the moter module and put a toggle switch between the 9V battery and the arduino to power on/off the boat.

Step 4: Building the Controller

  1. For the controller you make a simple box that fits your breadboard and your raspberry pi. The height should be at least 7 cm.
  2. At the top you drill 2 holes: for your RGB LED and for your transmitter.
  3. You cut out 2 rectangles in the lid: for your LCD screen and for your joystick.

Step 5: Coding on the Raspberry Pi

I recommend programming the raspberry with visual studio code.
Here you can find an explanation of how to connect visual studio code and raspberry pi. You will have to download a library for the transmitter. You can find it Here. Place the library in the same folder as your program for it to work.

Step 6: Mysql Database

Step 7: Finishing Boat

  1. glue boards on the nose of the boat and make 2 holes for the LEDs.
  2. Resin the nose again so that it is also waterproof from above.
  3. Make the lid by gluing and waxing 2 wooden boards side by side.
  4. Don't forget to leave a hole for the ldr, gps and switch button.
  5. Connect this cover to the boat with a hinge.
  6. In the 2 rear corners of the boat you screw 2 wooden cubes.
  7. You can then put a screw through the lid in the wood block to be able to close the lid. So you can still reach the electronics if something went wrong.
  8. Give the boat a layer of paint and you're done.

Step 8: Website

Step 9: How Does the Boat Work

  1. You push on the joystick to switch between manual and website mode.
  2. On the lcd screen appears your ip.
  3. the RGB turns green if the moter is still or slow and red if it goes fast.
  4. the RGB turns blue if it is in website mode.
  5. The leds turn on if it is dark outside