How to Make a RC Rock Crawling Course

Written by nathan adlen
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How to Make a RC Rock Crawling Course
It takes more than rocks to make a good off road course. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Remote-controlled vehicles built for rock crawling are capable of climbing obstacles of incredible difficulty. Unlike racing and off road RC vehicles, rock crawlers require slow operation and close observation by the controller. This is why a proper rock crawling course gets to high elevation while continuously challenging the driver who is always within a few feet of the action. Follow these steps and build a unique, challenging rock crawling course in a weekend.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 12-by 20-foot open space
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Chalk
  • Wheel barrow
  • Large hammer
  • 30 8-by-8-by-16-inch cement blocks
  • 150 paving stones of various thicknesses (3/4 to 4 inches)
  • 340kg dirt
  • 90.7kg gravel
  • 45.4kg sand
  • 90.7kg rocks (various shapes and sizes)
  • 1 can inverted marking paint

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  1. 1

    Draw the shape of the rock crawling course using chalk if the surface of the ground permits it. If not, use the shovel and scrape the shape on the ground. The course should be crescent shaped with the largest hill in the middle. This shape will allow close observation while driving.

  2. 2

    Position 50 8-by-8-by-16-inch cement blocks in the middle of the crescent in increasing order, essentially building a pyramid about 5 feet in height. Use the wheel barrow to move the blocks. Use the hammer and smash the remaining blocks at all sides of the brick hill/pyramid.

  3. 3

    Place paving stones over the blocks, stacking each stone so that there is less than 10 inches of elevation change between each level. Start from the bottom where the broken blocks are and work your way up.

  4. 4

    Load the wheel barrow with dirt and, using the shovel, begin filling in the lower, smaller sections of the course. Mold small hills and gullies, stopping 1 to 2 feet away from the bottom of the cement block and paving stone hill.

  5. 5

    Fill the gap between the dirt and hill with gravel. Smooth the top layer of gravel and pack the gravel with the shovel. Add sand to where the hill meets the gravel and cover other areas of the course with loose sand at your discretion.

  6. 6

    Carefully place the 90.7kg of rocks throughout the course. Packing many together on the hill can create a challenging obstacle that's easy to modify. Be sure that no rock obstacle is too high for a rock crawler. Some can climb obstacles over a foot high, but many are only capable of around 6 inches of maximum climbing ability.

  7. 7

    Mark directions or paths using the inverted marking paint after you have experimented a bit with test vehicles. The marking paint fades after a while and other paths can be illustrated.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have the space, consider improvising fun obstacles like a suspended bridge or mud pit.
  • Do not allow children to climb on the course.

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