Cars, the technological marvels that separate man from beast. A chariot of steel powered by molecular processes that contracts distances, connects far off places and merges destination together from the comfort of a warm seat and a steering wheel at hand. Who doesn’t like a good car? This is even more true for those who enjoy the pocket-size version of these metal stallions. I’m talking, of course, about RC vehicles.
Now, you might be asking “how to compare a full-sized car to a small remote-controlled toy?” and rightfully so, but let’s leave our preconceptions at the door and dive into the intricate complexities of what makes these mini cars such a fun hobby for so many people.
For a quick refresher for the uninitiated, RC, or remote-controlled cars are, for the most part, electric-powered vehicles that can be controlled from a distance and driven on several types of terrains. Sizes and models may vary, but the end product is the same, a small car with most of the details of its grown-up counterpart. Most of them are preassembled, but when you build your own remote control cars from scratch, that’s where the magic happens. So, we’ll examine them from the viewpoint of what a typical RC car kit contains to show that remote controlled car kits self build models are a form of art.
RC Kits (What Constitutes the Them)
Fun and easy to assemble, remote controlled car kits self build models are all the rage. They contain all the bells and whistles you’ll need to get your vehicle up and running in no time. Inside the RC kit box, you’ll find bags of parts, which are usually labelled or numbered for easier assembly. Some kits come with complicated components (like shocks, differentials, or turnbuckles) already put together.
Most kits contain a solid frame for the car, though some have the frame disassembled or in multiple smaller pieces. The frame is what you attach all the other pieces to, from the wheels to the motor to the car exterior. The frame is the literal backbone of the car, so try to handle it with care while putting the pieces together.
Next, obviously, are the wheels. No matter the car kit you’ve purchased and the type of vehicle in question, the wheels mostly stay the same when placing the frame, two in the front, two in the back. Some models contain extra wheels like trucks or tanks, but for the typical car, we’re going with 2×2. A small rubber tire is usually attached to the wheel rim, although some kits come without tires included, so make sure you check for that.
The electromotor and the driving electronics are what makes the car run, so unless specified otherwise, your RC car build kit should contain these electrical components…batteries not included. The motors can be brushed or brushless and they are attached to the electronics and to the battery. The electronic components are a combination of electric lights, a transmitter, receiver, servo, and a general chipset, which also may vary depending on the vehicle in question.
The inner mechanics are also important, like the cogs and axels that transfer the motor’s power to the wheels, not to mention the steering and extra features that the car possesses. These pieces can be small and seem easily interchangeable, but if you follow the instructions, you’ll do fine.
Finally, the exterior frame. This is what you see from the outside when driving your RC masterpiece. This is entirely up to your taste and depends on what car you actually want to control. But besides that, there’s not much to it, just attach it to your already assembled frame and drive.
Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s examine the other factors, besides the look, on which you should base your choice of a car kit.
This one is first because you want to know what you’re looking for. Is it a buggy? Is it a truck? If you want to vibe with the vehicle you’re controlling, choosing the right type is key. You can opt for racing cars, off-road cars, vintage cars, 4×4 cars, beetles and buggies, formulas and even big rigs. If you’ve seen it on the road, chances are, a DIY RC car kit of it exists somewhere.
Size is where we see the most visible difference. RC vehicles are made with proportions and scale in mind, meaning, an RC truck is a nearly perfect equally miniaturized trick. Usual scales can vary from 1:10 to 1:24. This fancy math says that the model is 1:24 of the scale of the original.
The larger the size, the heavier the RC unit, the bigger motor it needs, the larger/lower speed it can achieve. All these factors should be taken into consideration before going for the first car kit you see. Check the vehicle stats thoroughly, most often these things go hand in hand with the size of the unit.
Power-wise, RC cars use internal removable rechargeable batteries. They don’t make much of a difference besides providing a longer driving time.
The electric engines associated with RC can be brushless or brushed. Brushed motors are typical electro motors you can find in most appliances, containing a series of coils winded around a rotor, which is placed in a stator where the permanent magnets are placed. Tiny brushes bring power from the battery to the spinning rotor, hence why they are called “brushed motors”. This gives them a very simple design, but the cons are a shorter lifespan and more maintenance. Brushed is the more economic option.
Brushless motors use an inverted design, where the electromagnet is on the stator, and the static magnets are on the rotor. An electric inverter or power switch turns the DC power into AC current which supplies the pull-and-push electrodynamic motion to make this motor work. Though more expensive, this does make these motors quieter, faster and longer-lasting.
Lastly, drivetrain, the final parameter. This, in short, signifies the power of the vehicles by how many wheels pull or push it at once. The drivetrain can be a rear wheel, 2 wheels, 4 wheels and even some models have 6 wheel drive. The more wheels are in play at the same time, the better for open terrain the car will be.
With all these things in mind, you can now easily build your own remote control cars. We should briefly mention maintenance and how to take care of them.
Remove dust and dirt from the movable parts;
Check and clean the tires regularly;
Clean the motor often;
Don’t overuse lubricants;
Fix issues as they arise;