Building remote control cars from scratch

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Building remote control cars from scratch
Customisation is key if you intend to race your RC car. (

Remote control cars provide entertainment for people of all ages. Making your own remote control cars from scratch is challenging and rewarding and allows you to customise your car, which is important if you intend to compete in races or RC car tournaments. Remote control cars are controlled by radio signals and are powered by small electric motors.

The first step in building a remote control car is to create the frame. Attach a rectangular steel plate 1 foot long by 6 inches wide to two small axles. The front axle should have pivoting ends, which will allow the car's front tires to steer left or right. Also, the front axle will have the drive apparatus that will be wired to the electrical motor and will propel the car.

Use four steel clamps and four Phillips-head screws to attach the axles to the plate. Coat the ends of the axles with powdered graphite, and then attach the tires to the axles. Screw washers onto the ends of the axles to hold the tires in place. You can order the tires, axles and other parts for your remote control car from a parts supplier such as RC Hobbies (see Resources).

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Wiring the Engine

The next step is to wire the remote control car's engine. The engine is a two-way radio frequency electric motor that you can purchase at a hardware store or from an industrial supplier. Bolt the electric motor to the front right corner of the car's steel plate, and then attach the lead wire from the motor to the copper ring around the right side of the front axle. The copper ring will transmit electrical power from the motor to the front axle and will propel the car forward.

Next, attach the steering wire from the motor to the knob on the bottom right of the front axle. Twist the ends of the steering wire around the knob and crimp it tightly with your hands. This will tell the axle which way to steer the car's front wheels. Finally, screw the antenna to the top of the electrical motor. The antenna should be about 6 inches high.

Building the Remote Control

The final part of building a remote control car from scratch is to build the handheld remote control device. You can purchase the remote control housing with a trigger from a parts supplier such as RC Hobbies. Mount two pairs of resistors to the inside wall of the housing using rubber cement, leaving a space of approximately 1 inch between the two pairs. Bore a small hole through the wall of the housing in the middle of the 1-inch space, and insert a 4-inch steel rod through the hole.

Attach a rotating steel head with an electrode to the end of the bar that is inside the remote control housing. The steel head should be 1 inch in diameter. The head will rotate across the pairs of resistors, and the interaction between the electrode and the resistors creates an electrometrical pulse. This pulse is transmitted to the antenna on the car's motor and tells the car's front wheels which way to go. Snap a plastic knob to the end of the steel rod outside of the housing.

Next, wire the trigger to one pair of resistors by wrapping the edges of the trigger wire around the resistor and crimping it firmly into place. The trigger will control the speed at which the car's front axle is moving, which controls the speed of the car. Close the remote control housing by snapping the two halves together. Finally, screw the antenna onto the top of the remote control device. Your home-built remote control car is now ready for use.

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