If you love RC cars and DIY projects and want something different, you should build your RC rock crawler! Building your RC rock crawler can be a fascinating and worthwhile project, and it lets you develop a device that’s yours and no one else’s. Doing this from scratch needs some skills and knowledge, though it’s certainly doable with the proper tools and assistance.
From getting the required parts to building and resting, this procedure needs a high level of dedication and patience. For a successful building process, make sure you have quality rock crawler parts and an easy-to-understand plan, follow it, and test drive it before finishing the building.
However, it’s possible you need a plan you can follow. If so, read my multi-step guide on building your RC rock crawler right here!
But before we get into the guide, here is the difference between building your RC rock crawler from scratch and using an RC Kit:
Building from Scratch Vs. Using an RC Kit
Generally, RC kits are informative. There is an easy way to build your RC rock crawler, especially for people without the skills to build from scratch. Everything you’ll require is included in the kit, together with the instructions for assembling.
With a kit, you’re sure everything will fit, the components are right for the task, and your final product will work, provided you follow the instructions. Further, these kits help you spot the pieces and identify where they’ll fit and how they function.
On the other hand, building from scratch requires specific skills and experience. First, you’ll determine the design, perhaps something unique. Next, you’ll have to find the parts and ensure they are all compatible and will work correctly.
Some experienced builders even develop their RC rock crawlers instead of downloading them from the internet. What’s more, they create most of the rock crawler parts. However, others download plans online, purchase pre-made components, and build their desired rock crawler.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Your RC Rock Crawler
What You’ll Need
- Lexan plastic
- Utility knife
- Electric drive motors
- Transmitter & receiver
- Speed controller
Design and Cut Out the Chassis from the Lexan Plastic.
This solid plastic would make an excellent base for your rock crawler. With a utility knife, cut out a 7.6 by 17.8 cm rectangle from a huge piece of Lexan plastic. On the rectangle, cut out a smaller rectangle measuring 1.9 by 3.2 cm, on both sides, from the chassis’ front to give room for the wheels at the front to turn properly.
On the other hand, if you want to build a larger rock crawler, you can use PVC pipes or wood for the chassis.
Fix the Wheels at the Front of Your Chassis
Take out wheels 5.1 cm in diameter wheels from a rock crawler or a toy car. Return to the Lexan plastic and cut out six L-shaped sections of approximately 3.8 by 3.8 cm. Create a pair of wheel hinges by attaching three L-shaped sections using glue. Fix a nail at one of the wheels’ centers and to the hinge’s center.
Do this with the other wheel. To attach the hinges to the chassis’ bottom, use bolts. Alternatively, you can use store-bought wheels or those from an RC car kit.
Building the Steering Section
You will build this from plastic. Cut out a slender stripe from the Lexan with the same length as the space between the hinges of the wheel. Bore a tiny hole through the hinges’ back and the stripe. Affix a tiny bolt via each hole to keep the stripe in position. This allows both wheels to move in the same direction.
As for the servo, attach it behind the steering part, allowing it to control the wheels’ direction. You can buy the RC servos in hobby stores or online.
Position the Electric Drive Motors
The rear wheels of your rock crawler determine the speed and if your rock crawler moves in reverse or forward. Place a pair of electric drive motors of 800 RPM speed into the Lexan structure, and attach them to the car’s rear section using glue. Slide them onto the motor’s end to keep the wheel in position.
You can buy RC motors in hobby stores online. While using a bigger motor will deliver higher speeds, it will consume more power and make the car weightier.
Link the Battery, Speed Controller, and Receiver to the Servos and Motor
How you arrange these components on the chassis is up to you, though you should ensure you can wire them effortlessly. Go for an 11.5V or 9V battery for your rock crawler. Attach the parts using glue and check to connect the cables from the battery to the motors, speed controller, receiver, and servo.
You can purchase all these parts in RC hobby stores or online.
Note: Make sure the battery is disconnected before working on the other electrical parts.
The transmitter, or remote controller, sends a signal to the receiver and controls the direction and speed of your rock crawler. Again, the speed controller dictates the speed at which your rock crawler drives.
Test Drive Your RC Rock Crawler
Take the remote transmitter and use it to drive your newly built rock crawler. Don’t flip it over because the parts aren’t covered at the top. Test its range and check how fast it can move.
If it doesn’t work, go back to step one and redo it correctly!
Once your RC rock crawler is operational, it’s time to accessorize! From winches to LED lights, there’s plenty to incorporate to customize your new ride and make it look great.
For accessories, it’s essential to pick the right ones for your rock crawler. For instance, if you built your rock crawler for racing, it would be better to pay more attention to performance upgrades than sound systems and LED lights.
Nevertheless, if your focus is on appearance, go for aesthetic accessories like body shells.
How Fast Can a Rock Crawler Go?
It depends. The speed differs depending on the conditions and model, though most can reach 10 to 15 mph.
How Long Will the Batteries on My Rock Crawler Last?
This also varies on the type of battery. However, most go for approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
Is It Hard to Control an RC Car?
At first, it might be difficult. However, as you practice and get more experience, it becomes easier. Besides, some models are harder to control than others. Therefore, if you’re a beginner, go for a beginner-friendly RC rock crawler.
RC rock crawling is a great hobby for kids and adults alike. However, it is crucial to know the ins and outs of these vehicles for a better experience. From how to build an RC rock crawler to accessorizing it, I’ve covered all you need to know about building your RC rock crawler.
Remember to be safe. Have fun building!