R/C Paradox - a Pair of Radio Controlled Duck Decoys




About: I am a dedicated signage professional with over 25 years of experience and expertise earned working in literally every aspect of the sign industry, from design and production to installation, department mana...

After driving my friend's R/C boat on a duck pond one day, I was inspired to build an R/C duck.
I ended up buying a pair of duck decoys at the local flea market for $10. These are intended to be used by duck hunters to lure unsuspecting water foul within blasting range. When researching what kind of cheap R/C boat I could find to tear apart and reassemble into the duck, I found the yellow 10" submarine at RadioShack on sale for $20. They are available in two different channel frequencies, so I bought one of each, (excited now that I might be able to make two!). So now all I had to do was figure out a way to connect the ducks to the submarines in a fashion that would allow them to look and float like real ducks.

below are som links i found along the way:

R/C duck with a vengeance and rocket launcher

RadioShack R/C submarine

DuckCam Decoy Intructable

commercially prebuilt R/C ducks

Step 1: Stuff You'll Need

I had a hard time with the first version of the project, making a good seal between the duck and the sub.
It sank.I decided then, if I filled the duck with foam, it wouldn't matter if it leaked.
Also it would be easier to change the batteries, or add a different accessory, like shark fin.

duck decoy - hollow hard plastic, not wood or rubber.
spray foam - this stuff is messy and hard to clean up
heat gun
utility knife
(not pictured)
drill, holesaw, all thread stud, hex nut, hot glue gun

This where I should mention a missing step.
Notice in the picture I have used a hole saw to cut a circular hatch in the duck's back.
go ahead and do this first.

Step 2: Cut the Ballast Off

I used a utility knife. depending on the hardness or thickness of your duck you may want to use a dremmel tool or a saw. It did help a little to heat up the blade with the heat gun. The ballast is what makes the duck float upright. This will also create the hole that we need for the periscope and upper part of the submarine to fit inside the duck.

Step 3: Heat Form the Duck

The top of the submarine isn't completely flat like the bottom of the duck. To make the duck contour the submarine, I used a heat gun, to warm up the plastic, and pressed the submarine into place. You may need to hold the sub there until the plastic cools. different plastic have different memory properties, so you may need to exaggerate the indention to have it fit properly when it cools.

Step 4: Fill Up the Duck With Spray Foam

I suggest using rubber gloves, because this stuff is really hard to get off your hands.
After allowing the foam to completely cure, carve out the space for the periscope section of the submarine.

Step 5: Mounting Hardware

The submarine already has a small hole in the top portion behind the periscope. I simply drilled it out a little bigger with 5/32" bit. Then I used the heat gun to heat up a 3/16" all-thread stud, and drove it into the hole. This will stick out through the ducks back, and be our connecting point.

Step 6: Extending the Switch

Using the same method as the previous step, I drove a machine screw into the top of the periscope.
The periscope happens to be the power switch for the submarine. I chose a screw with a large head.
it will be concealed inside the duck, but accessible via a hole, in the ducks back. You want it to come close the the duck shell with out touching it, so you can push it with a key or a small screwdriver.
(yes I'm and old school Mac user)

you may want to take some measurements, with the duck pre-assembled to get the screw length right.

Step 7: Connection

here I have hot-glued the circular hatch back in place and drilled a hole in it that matches up with
the stud allowing it to penetrate the duck shell and accept the nut that hold the whole thing together. through the hole on the left you can see the machine screw head. this is our power button.

Step 8: Mission Complete

Duck is now seaworthy. Now repeat steps 1-7 for a second duck.

Step 9: Duck at the DeYoung

I took the duck for a test swim in Golden Gate Park, next to the DeYoung Museum. Currently there is a large neon sculpture there that is part of the Dale Chihuly exhibit.

here's some pictures I took of the Saffron Tower

and a short video clip of the other duck in action



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • 1 Hour Challenge

      1 Hour Challenge
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge

    42 Discussions

    Just so you know, the link at the top leads to a french website with no sign of the r/c rocket launcher duck.. so...... yea.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Just a suggestion: Why don't you find a way to hide a cam in the duck so to have short distance documentaries of other birds? Aside from this I like it, but I would prefer if it wasn't used to lure some duck in getting a lead poisoning ;)

    7 replies

    Lead shot is illegal for waterfowl hunting and lead shot can only be used for hunting upland game like quail and dove.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I would prefer a case of Steel Poisoning for them. They taste to good to pass up when I can head out of town during Duck season... which is coming up btw.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    yeah, and it will die of massive trauma or blood loss before poisoning would even set in. Maybe I'll try it with an R/C SHARK FIN...for the local park duck pond, and maybe figure out how to get it to submerge a lil!!!!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I say make this little guy automated. Micro controller+Motion sensor = Seeking duck


    10 years ago on Introduction

    these ducks are strictly for fun. I would never think of harming any real ducks or other animals for that matter. I really would like to add a camera, and maybe a string of baby ducks.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you add the baby ducks, DO NOT use it in a location with large mouth bass. You might lose the whole rig when the bass hit the duckling at the rear of the train.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Check your states regs first. Some states don't allow electronic decoys and you could get a hefty fine.

    (person1) ooh look, a duck, here ducky ducky (person2) Thats no duck, its a ROBODUCK (person1) ?????? (person2) RUNNNNNNN!!!!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I really think this needs a video! Great idea, anyway.