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My Manta Ray frankenstein


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#1 rayonnair

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:18 PM

Way back in the mid 90s when I was a pimply faced teen, I had a Manta Ray that I loved to bits. I spent many happy hours building and bashing the thing all around the neighbourhood. It went through sand pits, long unkempt grass, pavement, roads, up and around playgrounds, even into a swimming pool not once, but twice. As time went by, I had less and less time to play with it, and eventually I took the electrics apart, put it neatly in a box, and put that box in a closet.

Fast forward some 15-18 years.

I have no pictures of the innards when I discovered the box - I had forgotten that it even existed. I took it out, put everything together, and what do you know - it still ran!

Unfortunately it was pretty beat up. The front shock tower was fractured, as was the front gear box and one front shock spring retainer. A younger me had cobbled together a quick fix with a big washer and lots of tape. The rear gearbox had cracked screw holes. The driveshaft was bent so far out of shape that it looked like a skipping rope when I turned on the power. The plastic motor mount had broken, and again, a younger me had cobbled a quick fix by sticking a plastic bearing into one of the hexagonal patterns on the body to keep the motor propped up and the pinion teeth biting into the spur. The spur itself was worn and covered with a grey goo (which I later discovered was bits of the soft aluminium pinion). The upper deck of the plastic chassis had somehow broken an upright on the bathtub chassis. And of course, the whole thing was pretty grimy, despite my younger self's best efforts to keep it clean.

I wanted to bring it back up to useable (but not necessarily stock) condition. These forums were an absolute godsend. Wez-li's top force rebuild and random posts by Percymon were really useful, but I really hit the motherload with TA-Mark's many detailed posts on the forum. THANKS GUYS! I knew jack and you really helped. To put things into perspective, when I took out my Manta Ray from the closet I would have told you that "DF-01" was a fighter plane.

So that's all introductory. I'll do a brief write up of the parts I used etc. in a reply. Meanwhile I'll leave you with a picture of my original Manta Ray box.

Posted Image

Edit:

I forgot to thank Twinset for fixing my forum login issue. THANKS!
I also forgot to reserve posts. What a forum noob.

#2 Percymon

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 01:43 PM

Welcome :(

Glad i could in part be of some assistance. Sixteen months ago this post could have been mine - i started with a beat up 'Ray purely as a means to become familiar with RC cars prior to my son getting a Rising Storm for Xmas. I've since lost my common sense and contents of my wallet ;)

Be nice to see you progress the rebuild. Mine started off like this (admittedly not that many broken chassis parts)..

Posted Image

and with a new body and cheap Ansmann wheelset became one of my favourite runners..

Posted Image

History last 3.9yrs.. spent a fortune, had a great time - balls, I'm back up to 60 models again !   Visit My Showroom


#3 rayonnair

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:40 PM

The build

So as I said, my rebuild is a Frankenstein. It's got parts from the Top Force and various other places wherever I could bring stuff together. I stripped and washed everything with warm soapy water, then slowly began putting it together.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a pic of when it was in its horrible borked condition! Silly me.

Anyways, here's a list of stuff I bought, with pics where I took them.


Misc parts
- TA-01 blue aluminium slotted drive shaft
- Metal ball bearings all around
- Metric screws, 3x10, 3x16 and 3x25, with matching nuts
- Losi removable threadlock
- Intellect battery 5000mAh NiMH battery


Front wheel/gear assembly

- Top force FRP front shock mounts
- Top force J parts (to attach the FRP shock mount onto the gearbox)
- Manta Ray A parts for the front gearbox
- GPM blue aluminium front gearbox cover
- Thundershot universal driveshafts
- DF-03 aluminium pre-filled (sorry, didn't know any better) threaded rear coilover shocks
- Blue Ansmann buggy twist wheel and tire combos (sorry again, didn't know any better)
- Top force ball ends and shafts
- TA-01 silver aluminium C hubs
- Random plastic 3x7x10mm plastic bushings, spray painted black, to attach the shocks to the tower

Took the entire thing apart down to the diffs for cleaning re-greasing, then put it back together. Before the ball ends and shafts went up it looked like this:

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And after everything went on and got attached back to the chassis:

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The entire assembly was attached back to the chassis using 3x16mm metric screws.


Rear wheel/gear assembly
- TA-02 rear gear box
- TA-01 blue aluminium rear knuckle
- Thundershot universal driveshafts
- TA-02 all plastic gear set (50529)
- Tamiya super stock motor BZ
- Steel 19t pinion (says it is Ansmann but I believe it is rebranded)
- Top force FRP rear shock mounts
- DF-03 aluminium pre-filled threaded rear coilover shocks
- GPM silver aluminium motor mount
- Blue Ansmann buggy twist wheel and tire combos
- Random plastic 3x7x5mm plastic bushings, spray painted black, to attach the shocks to the tower

Again, I took the entire thing apart down to the diffs for cleaning and re-greasing. I replaced the worn spur and idler gears with all plastic gears, and slotted the motor in. Although I used the 19t holes on the motor mount, it was a really tight fit, super noisy and grindy, and so I used the 20t holes instead. It's much quieter now, and the motor runs cooler too. Hopefully the steel pinion won't strip the spur with this set up. It looks good so far.

Here's what it looked like before the ball ends and shafts went up:

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And here's a view with the shafts/ball ends/alloy bits/shocks/wheel connected:

Posted Image

Also, many mentioned that the rear top gear box cover had a weak link where the one screw on one side holds it to the rear gearbox. TA-Mark has a machined aluminium bit holding it in place. I don't have access to a workshop so the best I could do was put a bushing on and use a nut holding the rear shock mounts up to contribute to holding the gearbox cover down. Hopefully it will be strong enough. Pic:

Posted Image

At the end of it all I attached it to the bathtub with 3x16mm metric screws.


Main body + other assembly

I had a donkey of a time with the upper deck. The plastic upright on the lower bathtub that the upper deck screws into had broken off and it was really hard taking it off the 3x10mm self tapping screw stuck in it. After much cutting with a penknife I finally managed to get the screw out. I replaced the broken part with a Random Plastic Bushing ™ and used 3x16mm metric screws all around to stick it back onto the bathtub. Much better.

Fully assembled, it looked like this (ignore the wheels, I had the old ones on for a bit):

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Yes, yes, it's an MSC. Don't laugh! The ESC I ordered hasn't arrived yet. I bought 2x0.33ohm 10W resistors just in case the default Tamiya ones blew with the super stock BZ, but I'm being very careful not to drive at 2/3 or 1/3 throttle and nothing untoward has happened yet.

I also peeled the worn, scuffed and half destroyed stickers on my lexan shell. Then I scrubbed it down with Mr Hobby thinner. Worked like a charm, only fogging up a bit of the lexan where I put too much and scrubbed too hard. After about 4 hours I had a relatively clean body and wing!

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I wanted to spray a flame pattern on it (yes, I know it's gaudy!) but the liquid mask I bought was too elastic and didn't cut cleanly despite my knife being really really sharp. I have to try a different brand. In the end I just hand sprayed whatever I felt like and stuck some leftover stickers on the wing.

And now, all assembled, it looks like this!

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With the controller and box:

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Thanks for reading =). The next reply will have some thoughts and some lingering questions I have for you forum experts!

#4 rayonnair

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:51 PM

Glad i could in part be of some assistance. Sixteen months ago this post could have been mine - i started with a beat up 'Ray purely as a means to become familiar with RC cars prior to my son getting a Rising Storm for Xmas. I've since lost my common sense and contents of my wallet ;)


Hey, it's Percymon! Thanks for your help =).

I like the Manta Ray as a runner / basher but it's the only kit RC I ever owned, so I don't know if any others are better. I totally know what you mean about losing common sense: I've spent so much on this Ray, with that money I could have bought a Durango Dex410 V3 (NOT the "R"!) + a decent TX/RX + LiPo battery + charger + wheels/tires + servo + ridiculous 7.5T brushless sensored motor-esc combo. And I still might have had some money leftover for spares and alloy bling. *Tears*.

Be nice to see you progress the rebuild. Mine started off like this (admittedly not that many broken chassis parts)..

Posted Image

and with a new body and cheap Ansmann wheelset became one of my favourite runners..

Posted Image


That's a mighty big transformation! Your Manta Ray is a cool metallic green! And I like those wheels, should have gotten something like that instead.

#5 rayonnair

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:01 PM

Thoughts and questions

1. Do not buy the Ansmann buggy twist wheels. They're pretty, yes, but the manufacturing tolerances aren't very good. My rear buggy wheels have a difference in offset by about 1.5mm according to my calipers. That's enough to make it such that the nylock nuts can't screw in all the way, and I had to threadlock it on. ;)

2. No matter what I did, I could not get rid of the play in the steering assembly. It's got a TON of wiggle in it. Does anyone have any tips to make it tighter?

3. Is it worth getting the FRP decks for this chassis? Does it add that much more strength to it? I have to buy the upper and lower deck, the spacers, and the lexan undercowl, and so my guess is no. But I'd love input from people who do have the decks, or from any people running the Top Force.

4. I'm running a 19t pinion but have mounted the motor using the 20t mounts, because it looked like a better fit and is smoother and quieter. Is this going to destroy my spur gear?

Thanks guys!

#6 TA-Mark

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:05 PM

If you needed to use the 20 holes in the motor mount you may have the mount upside down. The 'flat' of the GPM mounts is the bottom.

The gearbox brace was very easy to make. Take small piece of angle aluminium (I used offcuts from a caravan frame build). Cut it with a hacksaw to size, then drill a hole in it. Use a bast*rd file to tidy up the corners and edges. Sand it smooth and polish it with aluminium polish. Doing the cutting and drilling with the piece held in a vice makes life alot easier.

No alloy front knuckles? You did everything else. They're the same as TA01 steering knuckles.

You gotta get rid of the Tamiya battery connectors (molex) and get a better battery connector fitted. Change everything (including the charger) away from the low amperage tamiya plugs and use a high voltage plug like Deans. These require soldering!

Lastly, the MSC. It's a gearbox destroyer in a DF01. Switching from forward to reverse while the model is still travelling forward (it's how a MSC brakes) puts alot of upward pressure on the rear geabox top cover. An ESC (electronic speed controller) has brakes, but alot less force than the motor being powered in reverse, and will not allow reverse to engage until the model has come to a stop.

Love the 'comet' paint scheme on the body. Suits it well.

Hold one front wheel, and wiggle the other. Where is the slop in the steering? In the ball cups/balls, or in the bent piece of wire akerman rod holes, or in the bellcrank mounts. The standard bellcrank and akerman wire setup can be hard to get the slop out of and they seem to wear quickly. Making it all tight to remove the play can make life difficult for the steering servo to operate normally.

#7 Percymon

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:09 PM

Thats a great job on cleaning up the shell and i really like the new paint job - much better than boring box art ;)

Nice project - now go enjoy

History last 3.9yrs.. spent a fortune, had a great time - balls, I'm back up to 60 models again !   Visit My Showroom


#8 rayonnair

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:20 PM

If you needed to use the 20 holes in the motor mount you may have the mount upside down. The 'flat' of the GPM mounts is the bottom.


... ... .. darn. I will check that.

The gearbox brace was very easy to make. Take small piece of angle aluminium (I used offcuts from a caravan frame build). Cut it with a hacksaw to size, then drill a hole in it. Use a bast*rd file to tidy up the corners and edges. Sand it smooth and polish it with aluminium polish. Doing the cutting and drilling with the piece held in a vice makes life alot easier.


I'm thinking of doing it if I ever manage to finagle access to a workshop. I think a bench drill will also make life easier. I don't really have access to scrap metal or tools here =(.

No alloy front knuckles? You did everything else. They're the same as TA01 steering knuckles.


They're on the way! Asiatees was out of GPM parts so I bought some random bits from eBay. I have no idea if they will be any good. Worst case scenario I buy a new set from Asiatees when they're in stock.

You gotta get rid of the Tamiya battery connectors (molex) and get a better battery connector fitted. Change everything (including the charger) away from the low amperage tamiya plugs and use a high voltage plug like Deans. These require soldering!


OK. The wires themselves are beefy enough though, right? I'm not sure how much the super stock BZ draws under load.

Lastly, the MSC. It's a gearbox destroyer in a DF01. Switching from forward to reverse while the model is still travelling forward (it's how a MSC brakes) puts alot of upward pressure on the rear geabox top cover. An ESC (electronic speed controller) has brakes, but alot less force than the motor being powered in reverse, and will not allow reverse to engage until the model has come to a stop.


Yup, my ESC is on its way. I've been trying not to brake it by throwing it into reverse, and just letting it coast to a stop. But I never knew why I shouldn't do it - it just felt like the right thing to do. Thanks for the explanation.

Love the 'comet' paint scheme on the body. Suits it well.


;) cheers, it was my failed attempt at rattlecan spraying flames!

Edit: ******, forgot to say thanks directly to you! Thanks for all the informative posts.

#9 rayonnair

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:26 PM

Thats a great job on cleaning up the shell and i really like the new paint job - much better than boring box art ;)

Nice project - now go enjoy


Thanks. TBH I was somewhat worried because it wasn't a resto. But then I thought, it's a runner! So I went ahead and sprayed it whatever =).

#10 TA-Mark

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:32 PM

Thanks. TBH I was somewhat worried because it wasn't a resto. But then I thought, it's a runner! So I went ahead and sprayed it whatever =).

Nothing wrong with going your own way with the paint when the scheme works well. ...and there's nothing worse than turning up to a bash (or race) with the guys and everyone has the same car painted in boxart and you can't tell which car is yours on the other side of the track.

Flames would have required some intricate masking between the blue and red. Just need some tiny white dots (stars) in the dark blue to finish off the comet look now. I think you call that a successful save ;)

#11 kontemax

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 11:24 PM

This is mine:

http://www.tamiyaclu...a...6245&sid=24


Max

#12 rayonnair

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:01 PM

I just got a chance to bash my Manta Ray at the local track, which is a tiny affair:

Posted Image

Had a fun time trying to attempt that double jump at the back! Landed badly many times, once really hard on the knuckle of the second hump. The Ray is tough, nothing's broken, though the screw holding the pinion to the motor did come loose and cut short my bashing session B) . I'd thought I'd damaged the spur somehow but luckily it was just the screw coming loose.

It got filthy:

Posted Image

Everything's drying from the wash now. This is pretty awesome!

Hold one front wheel, and wiggle the other. Where is the slop in the steering? In the ball cups/balls, or in the bent piece of wire akerman rod holes, or in the bellcrank mounts. The standard bellcrank and akerman wire setup can be hard to get the slop out of and they seem to wear quickly. Making it all tight to remove the play can make life difficult for the steering servo to operate normally.


The slop is mainly from the akerman holes, followed by the bellcranks (I'm assuming these mean the pivoting things). The servo saver had a tiny bit of slop too but threadlock fixed that. I replaced the ball cups so there's hardly any slop there. It still goes in a straight line forwards, just not backwards. I guess I shouldn't really mess with it if it's going to make it hard for the servo to steer. I just wondered how I could make the steering less wobbly.

This is mine:

http://www.tamiyaclu...a...6245&sid=24
Max


So jelly of the carbon fibre plates. :unsure:

#13 Kevin_Mc

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:07 PM

that looks great, i'm sure you'll have a load of fun with it. The track looks brilliant too :unsure:

Where did you get the Mr hobby thinner? It looks to have done a good job, i've never sucessfully removed paint from a lexan shell.
too many to list...

#14 rayonnair

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:55 AM

that looks great, i'm sure you'll have a load of fun with it. The track looks brilliant too ;)

Where did you get the Mr hobby thinner? It looks to have done a good job, i've never sucessfully removed paint from a lexan shell.


I bought it from my local hobby store. They had a few bottles open already and let me test it on bits of lexan before I made a purchase. I had for testing purposes Tamiya Plastic Spray, Tamiya Polycarbonate Spray, general industrial matte black spray, and a general industrial silver spray. The Mr Hobby took them all off, in order of ease of removal:

1. Tamiya plastic spray <- easy to remove
2. The general industrial matte black spray
3. The general industrial silver spray
4. Tamiya polycarbonate spray <- hard to remove

The polycarbonate spray needed a fair bit of rubbing and soaking to get off and I ended up using a bit too much force and thinner, resulting in a slightly clouded bit of lexan. It's invisible after a fresh coat of spray. It seems that you just need to avoid damaging the outside.

I tried a few other things including alcohol and dot 4 brake fluid, but in the end the Mr Hobby is what worked. I suspect YMMV.

I'm at work now, I'll get a picture of the Mr Hobby I used so you can see what it looks like. There were a few different kinds at the store.

Edit: here's what it looks like:

Posted Image

#15 Wez-li

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 06:12 PM

I love the Manta Ray and all it's variants.

Was my first nib tamiya 20 odd years ago ;)

Yours looks cool pal.

#16 rayonnair

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:10 AM

Finally, the ESC and the front steering bits came. Installed! I can't believe how much space is left inside now.

Posted Image

This is my first time using an ESC. It drives completely different than the mechanical speed controller I used to have, with a lot more throttle control. Hopefully the granularity will let me drive properly around the local track.

I love the Manta Ray and all it's variants.

Was my first nib tamiya 20 odd years ago ;)

Yours looks cool pal.


Thanks! I love the Manta Ray because it was my first hobby grade RC. Awesome car =).

#17 taliesin

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 02:14 PM

I think you have the metal propshaft installed backwards? That little depressed area about a third of the way down the shaft should align perfectly with the raised nubbins on the plastic ESC platform. With the coat hanger wire shaft that comes stock, that little nubbin keeps the flex from getting out of hand, but when using the solid shaft it required a little indention to allow the propshaft to clear. ;)
Friends don't let friends drive with Tamiya pinions!

#18 rayonnair

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:58 PM

I think you have the metal propshaft installed backwards? That little depressed area about a third of the way down the shaft should align perfectly with the raised nubbins on the plastic ESC platform. With the coat hanger wire shaft that comes stock, that little nubbin keeps the flex from getting out of hand, but when using the solid shaft it required a little indention to allow the propshaft to clear. :P


Ack :o . You are right. I must have re-installed it backwards after taking the front end off to put on the steering bits. Gotta undo all those metric screws again. I have basically cut the nubbins away because the prop shaft would rub against it, so there's no rubbing now. But now that you've mentioned it I just have to correct it.



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