There are plenty sites detailing the difference between toy grade and hobby grade RC cars. If you are spending more than £40-£50 on toy grade you could probably go hobby grade.
This instractable assumes you have not spent the big bucks on a really cool hobby grade RC car - if you've done that again there are plenty of other sites to help you.
The things we are going to change are:
Steering (more lock) - useful indooors where space is tight;
Tires (taped for more drifty-ness);
Protection (a skid plate); and
Cosmetic bling (L.E.D lights).
Step 1: Get Your / Your Kids Cheap Toy Grade RC Car
Unbox that bad-boy, get some batteries in there and check everything works before the improvements commence...
All working, good, move onto the next step.
Step 2: More Steering
Firstly get the top (shell) off your RC model - typically 4 screws need to be undone, be careful no wires attach to both the chassis (the black bit) and the shell (the colourful car shaped bit), if they do, be careful not to pull them out.
Locate the end that does the steering and remove any plasic covers.
You will see there is s bar attached to the wheels which is turned by some gears to make the car steer. On my model car there were "stops" mouled into this (the black tabs in the picture).
You need to file these tabs down so that they are less wide. On my model I had to stop before the gears interfered with each other, so do check your setup. I filed 3-4mm from each side.
Reassemble and test drive - you may need to file one side more if it doesn't turn evenly.
Result = The car now corners sharply enough to be driven indoors.
Step 3: Tape Those Tires and Drift!
This mod will make for hard-surface drifty fun.
Find a few types of tape and measure out two pieces about the length of the car. I tried electrical (PVC) tape and masking tape.
Make sure the tape is about the width of the tyre (or double it up) and roll it onto the wheel while turning the wheel in reverse (this will stop it unravelling).
The PVC tape was still a bit grippy but worked well on laminate floor - the masking tape was better on kitchen tiles. - Experiment with taping up different parts of the tyre, and different amounts of layers of tape.
Then go drift it:
Step 4: Skid Plate
My RC has no real protection at the front - this looks cool, but as it's only a 1/16 model it catches on a lot of stuff (edges of paving slabs, skirting board, furniture, carpet / flooring dividers).
To avoid cracking the shell and to give it a way to bump over small obstacles I've added a small skid plate.
I looked through lots of materials that were lying about (lexan, plastic ice cream tubs, old tin cans). I finally settled on part of a metal chocolate tin.
Make a paper template first remembering to:
- Make the skid plate level with the bodywork, not behind it, even sticking out slightly is fine;
- Leave room for the wheels to turn when steering; and
- ***Edit*** make holes for any controls you cover up (in my case I accidentally covered the steering trim).
I cut mine out of the metal tin with sturdy scissors and attached it to the chassis of the toy car with a screw that held it into its original packaging.
I attached mine to the chassis and you should try to do the same. If it really really needs to be secured to the bumper remember it is attached so if you take the body shell off without detatching it you risk damage.
My MK1 design was only held on with one screw and could rotate into the tyres. Mk2 is a longer version zip-tied to the chassis to stop that happening.
The Mk2 design is also about 4mm longer so it sticks out fom the bumper. I've bent up the edge too to help things go under it.
Enjoy a little more bump / front end crash protection.
Get out there and jump / bump it:
Step 5: LED Lights
Will not be completed - the model broke (stopped going forwards - only steered or went in reverse) and was returned to the store :(
I'm going to buy myself a hobby grade RC car so when it brakes I can replace parts.