The Raider-A Knex Vehicle With Motorized Steering

Introduction: The Raider-A Knex Vehicle With Motorized Steering

About: I love building. A mechanical engineering student, most of my instructables involve modeling projects, K'nex ball machines, and Lego creations. I am also a model railroader, and I enjoy science (astronomy is...

     Hello all! Today I bring you the Raider, a Knex truck with a very special feature: motorized steering. Most of the Knex vehicles I have seen on Instructables have steering, but so far as I know mine is the only one that has the mechanism motorized. This is really a shame, since there's really no point in having a car with steering if it can't be turned unless you have your hands on the wheel! My system makes driving a Knex car far simpler. While it isn't remote control in the strictest sense, for all practical purposes it works as such.
     The motors were from the lost mines line of Knex, and have a special controller that is well suited to this project. However, I have tested classic motors with the normal battery packs, and they worked just fine. I have added a way to install these in the last step.
     The Raider isn't a speed demon, but it is still a great model and has the potential to be remade into a number of other vehicle types. (Besides, you shouldn't be taking curves at eighty miles per hour anyway!) So without further ado, I give you...the Raider!

Note: Music is "Climbing Higher and Higher" by The Cathedrals.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: The Rear Axle

This is the part with the rear wheels; it will eventually control the forward/reverse drive.

1) This is the rear axle
2) Close up
3) Another close up
4) Still another close up...
5) One more close up...
6) This piece will eventually keep the motor snug
7) Attach like so
8) Another view
9) Get these wheels. If you don't have them, you can substitute the normal large wheels. It will not look as good though. Do NOT use treads. I found that in order to overcome the initial friction to get going, the wheels needed some slippage. Treads prevent this. If they work for you, though, more power to ya.
10) Attach them on each end
11) Close up
12) Get these little wheels. You can leave the treads on these...they won't touch the ground and are more for the appearance of having treads on the tires. If you use the normal big wheels, ignore these.
13) Attach like so
14) Add the grey connector
15) Wha-la! You're done with Step 1!

Step 2: The Chassis

The rear underframe...a short step, really.

1) Build this
2) Another view
3) Add a few rods...
4) 2 small triangular panels
5) Add the red connectors
6) Get ready to combine...
7) Attach
8) Close up

Step 3: Rear Motor and Gearbox

This is what allows this car to be a Raider instead of a Stucker. All of the mechanics for straightforward movement! (No pun intended)

1) This is what you will be building
2) An axle!
3) Another view
4) Another view
5) An axle...with a motor! (Note it is a classic type...however, with a little modification any motor with a tethered cable to its battery pack would work)
6) Close up
7) Another close up
8) And another close up
9) Still anther close up. Notice the blue spacer on the end.
10) And another close up...note the placement of the rods
11) Yet another...oh, wait. Build this part!
12) Attach like so
13) Build this
14) Oooh! Looks like we're about to combine...
15) Put the first axle into the hole in the snowflake
16) Stick that other part over the end of both axles. Get all of your assemblies together...
17) And combine!
18) See how that part went on?
19) Another view
20) The other side
21) Another view
22) And another view
23) Make sure these gears mesh
24) See that white rod under the motor? It will keep the motor from shifting about later on
25) Move on to the next step!

Step 4: Front Gearbox and Steering Mechanism

This is a really long step...but it is the most important step of the instructable! Now is the time to build your steering mechanism. (While the motorization method is purely mine, I must give credit for the basic steering mechanism itself to king1000. I modified his design, but his instructable was nevertheless instrumental in the design process.)

1) What you will build
2) Build this. Note that it is NOT symetrical
3) Build these two things
4) Another view
5) Attach like so
6) Another view
7) Yet another view
8) And another view
9) Build this...and yes, you should probably have those spacers!
10) Build this little blocky thingy
11) Another view
12) Attach like so
13) Another view
14) Add that orange connector...
15) And combine!
16) See?
17) Build this. (Build two of this, actually.)
18) Another view
19) Another view
20) See? I told you to build two!
21) Attach them with a blue rod
22) Build this piece
23) Attach like so
24) Another view. Make sure the pieces are at right angles as shown
25) Build two of these wheel hubs
26) A cutaway view...
27) Then add tires, same as on back wheels
28) And the final product.
29) Actually, two final need a mirror image for the other side. This isn't a trike!
30) Attach the wheel assemblies to the steering mechanism
31) A close up
32) Another view of a close up?
33) Combining time!
34) This shows a good side shot...
35) These white rods go in those white holes. Got it?
36) Should look like this
37) Make sure to snap that rod into the orange connector. It will hold the entire mechanism rigid and vertical.
38) The overall assembly at this point
39) Yea, another axle! This one coordinates the movement of the wheels
40) Another view
41) Rod into hole...don't let the spacers fall off!
42) Ta-da! The gears should mesh
43) The other motor!
44) Rod into hole...there is no spacer between the motor and the white connector
45) And the gears should mesh
46) Note the orientation of the motor...
47) And this white rod?
48) Secures the motor in place
49) Another view
50) The overall assembly
51) I'd like a combo platter, please...
52) Attach together
53) Close up of the attachment points
54) Build this piece
55) Slide over the rods...
56) Add the spacers...
57) And you're done with Step 4!

Step 5: The Front Cover

No, we're not discussing books! This part will cover all those mechanics you've been building, and make this begin to actually look like a car!

1) Build this piece
2) Slide it over those rods so that it rests on the spacers
3) Build these two frames
4) Connect with a blue rod
5) Add a panel...
6) Build this. It's the bumper.
7) Another view
8) Attach like so
9) Close up
10) Combo time!
11) See the attachment points?
12) Move on to the next step ---->

Step 6: The Truck Bed

Now it's time to cover up all those mechanics in the back. Dress up time!

1) Build these
2) Attach one here...
3) ...and the others here.
4) Build this. Don't worry, I have a TON of extra views. This is actually the underside.
5) Another view
6) Another view
7) Another view
8) Now from the top...
9) Another view
10) Another view
11) Another view
12) Attach to the car frame!
13) Note the attachment points
14) And more attachment points
15) Two of the white rods stick partway through these holes
16) More attachment points! It's a big piece.
17) Build these
18) Attach one here, through the rod to the motor
19) Attach the other here on the opposite side
20) Almost there! You're really close!

Step 7: The Cab

This is the decorative touch that finishes off the look of an identifiable Knex vehicle. Fairly simple, follow the yellow brick road...*ahem*, follow the pics!

1) The top of the cab, a simple framework
2) Close up
3) Another view
4) Build these two bits
5) Attach like so
6) Another view
7) Get these rods
8) Attach here...and here!
9) Slide cab top over the rods...
10) And attach at the bottom!
11) One last piece...
12) There we go!

Step 8: A Word About Motors...

Okay, I promised I'd tell you how to substitute normal classic motors for the lost mines controller type. Since the motor itself is in both cases exactly the same, all it takes is putting in the motors as per the instructions, then rigging something like the device in the pictures below to keep the switches at the ready. Or, you could opt for one battery pack for each hand...
Learning the controls can take some time, but with a little practice it isn't hard to remember which direction to flip the switches!

1) Wind some slack around the back to ensure the wires won't fall down and contact the rear wheels or gears; it WILL hamper performance, so take the necessary precautions!
2) All wired and ready to go!
3) A system I made for using normal battery packs to control movement. The switches are a bit more awkward, but still quite manageable.
4) Just slide rods of whatever length for however many motors you want (in this case two), and have all your switches handy!
5) Another view

Step 9: That's All for Now, Folks!

That's all there is to it! Now you have a fun model to zip around and show your friends. The nicest thing is, the design is very easy to modify, so there is an almost unlimited number of body shells you could use, if you prefer a different style or variation. Of course, as with all models, mechanical improvements win the day!
And  remember, drive safely! We wouldn't want our other Knexmen to end up like True Blue... ;-)

*No Knexmen were harmed in the making of this Instructable.*

Be the First to Share


    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Wearables Contest

      Wearables Contest
    • Fix It Contest

      Fix It Contest

    16 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Lost Mines.... They are so slow and weak!

    Very nice! It can be used for many other cars.
    Also a nice vid with a clear view of how it works, good job!
    Maybe a challenge: If you have cyberknex, you could try to make the same with cyberknexmotors, then it's wireless :D


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I'm glad you think the video was clear, it was one of my primary goals! :-D
    Actually, I do have a cyberknex motor. I didn't use it for a few reasons. First, I only have one, not the required two. Second, while cyberknex allow you to run wireless, it still isn't RC, because you don't get to handle the controls yourself - from what I know, it runs on a set program. My system at least allows you to be in full control of directional movement. Lastly, I know I've heard complaints on Instructables over use of cyberknex motors because not everyone has them, and they are no longer produced like the classic motors; thus, I tend to avoid using them. But yes, it would be a logical next step! ;-)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    But you can enter as many instructables as you want! The more you enter, the more chance you can win :D