3D Printed Hot Wheels GoPro Car

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About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.

If you can put a GoPro onto a Hot Wheels car you can get some amazing POV footage. The GoPro session is small enough to do this and YouTube creator 5MadMovieMakers has made some wonderful videos with this combination.

I found a couple of tutorials for how to get this effect, and they work, but I wanted to make my own solution and with 3D printing I knew I could get it just the way I wanted it.

Step 1: What You Need

The biggest tool you need here is a 3D printer. If you don't have one, this is an incredibly tiny print job so if you know someone who has one you could print it up in under half an hour. If you're thinking of getting one, I'd recommend the Creality CR-10 or the Prusa i3 MK3. The Ultimaker 2 Go, pictured, is also fantastic, but has a higher price tag for a first printer.

Besides that, the list is pretty short:

  • one Hot Wheels car to sacrifice with straight axles
  • drill
  • Dremel with a cutoff wheel (maybe)
  • masking tape or gaffer tape. NOT duct tape
  • GoPro Session (preferably the Hero5 one)
  • 37mm macro filters (optional)

Step 2: Get Those Axles Off the Car

Flip the Hot Wheels car over and you'll see two spots where the top of the car is attached to the bottom of the car. Use the drill to break this connection and you'll soon have two axles ready to go.

Some cars have the axles going through the metal body. If this is the case, use a Dremel to free the wheels.

Then measure the diameter of the wheels so you will know if you need to modify the print.

Skip ahead to the printing for the file, but for now it's time to dive into the design.

Step 3: Design Considerations

My goal was to get stable and nice-looking footage.

So for stability I wanted the camera as low as possible. A lower camera means a lower center of gravity and less wobble and danger of toppling over.

For nice-looking footage that can be how much of the wheels show up in the shot. Drop the camera down and you'll see more of the wheels. This is a matter of preference, though. Wheels in the shot can provide context so maybe OK to keep them in.

The next part is also about preference. Putting a GoPro on a Hot Wheels track feels like just that, an action camera on a track. The background is in focus and items that are close are out of focus. By adding a macro filter to fix that it can "feel" more like you're on the track. The camera and mental focus is more on what's right in front of the car. I think this is a big help, but it's not needed.

Step 4: Body

All of this CAD is in Tinkercad, because Tinkercad is freaking awesome. If you don't know CAD, check this out. If you already have a preferred program this is easy to copy. OK, let's go.

When you take apart your car, measure the width of the body where the wheels were attached. This is how wide you should make the body. If the wheels are different sizes, the body will have different widths for each set of wheels and you may need a more complex shape or two body pieces.

As for the length, that came roughly from this formula: wheel diameter + camera depth + lens thickness + 2mm margin.

Step 5: GoPro Holder

The GoPro should be held firmly in place so that the camera can't get nudged and start pointing to the side. This holder both fits the shape of the GoPro to keep it in place.

In the second image you can see that shapes that were combined to make the holder. One box is the positive shape. Two cylinders and a box make up the GoPro shape. Two wedges are on each side to keep the shape close and avoid bumping into the walls of the track.

Step 6: Axle Holders and Stops

Here are the axle holders for the car. The axle holder is taller with a negative shape underneath so that it's easy to change the height of the axle for different size wheels. If the wheel is bigger, lift it up. Smaller, lower it down.

The void in the middle of the axle holder is a gap that makes it easier to slide the axles in. It allows you to be able to reach in with pliers the pull the axle all the way in.

This gap is also helpful if you want to "lock in" the axles by applying a bit of hot glue or epoxy to this area. This worked when I needed it, but since there were so many prototypes I mostly didn't bother as I was constantly swapping the wheels around.

Step 7: Stops

These final shapes are to prevent the camera from sliding into contact with the wheels. Just a couple of small boxes to finish the shape.

Step 8: Print and Put Together

I printed this with 3 shells at 200 microns at 20% infill out of PLA because that was the preset I already had. Since it worked I didn't bother with variations, but that might help.

The carcamera.stl file is for wheels that are the same size. The carcamera_offset.stl is what I used for this picture where the rear wheel is bigger than the front. The carcamera_sideways.stl is a variation for the camera facing the side and the wheels are the same size.

After printing, slide the axles into place, attach the camera with some gaffer tape and you're good to go! Make some movies!

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    14 Discussions

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    BrahmaD

    7 months ago

    Fantastic project! Looking forward many more from you.

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    Thorondor95

    Tip 7 months ago

    If you have problems with the top-heavy looking GoPro, try using a small FPV camera and record the footage externally.

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    EdwinGrana2

    7 months ago

    This is a great idea, one dream of mine when I was a child is to see "what the hot wheels sees" while is running in the circuits I created, looking forward to make it.

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    Artuino

    7 months ago

    cool stuff dude!..thanks for sharing

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    mrwontonmrwonton

    Reply 7 months ago

    darn, the video did not work. Anyways, it was a cool hotwheels track!

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    fungus amungusmrwonton

    Reply 7 months ago

    I know that video and it was made with 5MadMovieMakers. He switched over to a 3D-printed car later, think that one was still a modified Hot Wheels car.

    EDIT: not even that. Just a Session taped to a regular car.

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    seamster

    7 months ago

    This is cool. For years I've thought about doing some sort of gopro roller coaster. But I was picturing the camera suspended from a completely scratch-built track of some sort.. This seems much easier and accessible. I dig it, nice work.

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    fungus amungusseamster

    Reply 7 months ago

    It's a lot easier. Also, what I've found is that the footage you think will be amazing is often just confusing. Lots of quick turns don't make much sense without your own body getting moved around as well.

    Better to add context to stuff that has slower turns or hills. I barely had any room to work with with this track which was only 10' long or so. But crashes are always fun and I fit that in with only about half that track.
    As for a rollercoaster you could probably do that with a double rail system and concave plastic wheels.

    This is kind of weird but I could watch that hot wheels footage for hours.

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    ToolboxGuy

    7 months ago

    Nice little project that you can bring the kids into! Got any loop-the-loop videos, or is the camera too heavy for such tight loops?

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    fungus amungusToolboxGuy

    Reply 7 months ago

    It can handle it, but loop footage isn't as exciting as you'd think. You just see the track rise up for a few frames since the regular loops are pretty small and fast. To get a bigger effect the loop would need to be at least a couple feet in diameter. Even then you're just seeing track.

    If I was to go after that I'd like to make a large set of two loops side by side. Then run the camera on one track to shoot a car on the other.

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    makendo

    7 months ago

    great use of the printer and the effect is fantastic

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    fungus amungusmakendo

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thanks! I didn't even show the best part of the printer which was all of the prototypes I made. Love being able to print, test, tweak, and print again.