So, you have an itch to build a RC car kit.
You have done the remote control toy thing, maybe moved on to the RTR version radio control cars, trucks and buggies. Whatever your background you now want to build a RC car kit. You even know what type of car you want to build, except you are not sure what tools and extra materials you are going to need, what radio gear to treat your soon to be completed kit or what batteries you want use.
Everybody has their own preferences to all these things and generally none of them are wrong so don’t panic. What ever you choose can always be changed later. Building a RC car from kit takes time and patience, the benefits are your knowledge of your car will be greatly improved you will appreciate the maintenance required to keep it going and your completed car will be unique to you as it is your choice of what hop ups and other customizable parts you decide to install while building it.
A Tool Kit for Your RC Car Kit
If you have not already got them, you are going to need a few tools to build your new kit RC. Some of the tools are supplied with the kits.
Here are some tools you will need…
- Small soldering iron and soldier
- Tire glue
- Loctite threadlocker – blue
- Craft knife
- Screw drivers – flat blade and Phillips
- Long nose pliers
- Hex wrenches
- Marker pen
- Hole punches or reamer
…on top of those you will also require the materials to prep and paint your body.
- Masking tape
- Spray paints (colors you want to paint your body)
- Solvent to remove over spray – be careful it does not melt your body.
Jaing from Ultimaterc.com shows you how to set up a good work area to build your kit.
What Else Does Your RC Car Kit Need?
Most kits do not come with radio gear, batteries or chargers. Depending on the make of the kit there maybe other things you will require like tires and wheels, motor, speed controller, servos.
Do not worry to much about what you need to add to a kit as most kits clearly state what is required for completion.
Choosing the radio gear is almost as much fun as choosing the kit. There are many different makes and models to choose from. My advice is at least start with an entry level digital radio system similar to the ones supplied with most RTRs these days. Two channel 2.4GHz wheel type.
Keep your eyes open on the specials to be had from any of your local or online hobby shops.
Batteries – if you are building an electric kit you will require batteries. NiMH are cheap but LiPo’s are better because of the longer run times and faster speeds they can give your car. Make sure your speed control is LiPo compatible.
Battery charger. Buy a good peak detection type that will charge NiMH and LiPo batteries.
If you are building a RC car kit that is nitro or gas engine powered you will require a battery pack and charger for your receiver unit. Ultimately these should come with the radio gear you purchase, truth is they often don’t.
Electric Motors. By now you should know there are two types, brushed and brushless. If you want the best performance for your money, with low maintenance, brushless motors are the way to go. Choosing the size and the pinion gear to suit is another one of your builder decisions to make.
Nitro Engines. The kit you are building will recommend the size engine for the car. Mostly these recommendations are in line with the racing rules for the type of racing your car is designed for. It will be your choice as to the brand you decide to use. Sticking to the same brand as the kit has advantages if you require help from the company support line.
Gas/Petrol Engines. A variety of engine sizes are available and as with the other two, electric and nitro, you will have to choose one that suits your race purposes. The engines are two stroke pre-mix type, with hand pull start.
You have got the car type sorted! But, there are a couple of brands with the same car type that you really like. Which one to choose?
Key recommendation here is to go with the brand that can readily supply you with spare parts you need. Check with you local hobby shop and online stores to see if they stock parts for your future model.
Secondly look for excellent customer support. You can test this by sending an email or calling their support line. If you email them take note of the response time and did they answer your question. If calling by the phone just be truthful and tell them you are just checking to see if you get a real person or an automated answer machine.
Getting excellent customer support can make the difference between an enjoyable or regrettable RC car kit build.
Best Places for Research
RC car magazines are a great source of information and they give reviews which often list the pro’s and con’s of many kits and RTRs. They are often better than using the computer as they are 100% on topic.
Another place to get really good advice is online forums. Check a few out and join in the conversations. Ask some questions about things you are unsure of. The answers you get back are often from other users that have had personal experience with the same problem themselves.
You have done the research and taken the plunge and purchased your first RC car kit.
Unpack it and careful lay out all the parts. Check that you have all the parts you are supposed to have with the kit.
Using the manual that came supplied with your kit familiarize yourself with the parts.
This not a time for thinking that you know how it all goes together…..and then when all else fails….. read the manual, no!
Follow the manuals instructions, right from the beginning. It really does make for a smoother build process.
Upon completion of your new radio control car kit, keep all manuals and reference materials as these will have maintenance and repair tips and a parts list with part numbers.
These tips and parts lists will help you keep your new kit RC running at top performance.