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speedy_w_beans

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Everything posted by speedy_w_beans

  1. For sale are two copies of Tamiya's book, Master Modeler, Creating the Tamiya Style. These books provide significant insights into Tamiya's history, core values, and significant product development milestones. Told by Tamiya-san himself and translated into English, the story begins with a young boy and his fascination with the world around him, growing into a business and a lifelong passion for creating the best quality products in the world. The condition of these volumes is excellent; please see the picture below. Pricing is $45 USD for a single copy of the book; shipping within the continental United States ('lower 48') is included. For international shipping please contact me with your location and I'll quote a price. Payments are accepted through PayPal.
  2. I guess it depends on what type of paint you're spraying and what the final material will be. If you're doing polycarbonate paints, some have suggested using a clear plastic soda bottle, cutting it in half, and painting it on the inside just like a regular Lexan shell. Seems like this would be perfectly good for Tamiys PS/PC paint, Pactra polycarb paint, Parma Faskolor, and Spaztix stuff... Another thought: I've started saving all the cutoff scraps from each Lexan body I do; they make good test samples and could serve for windows and lights in modeling somewhere down the road. So, cut some bottles in half and save all your body scraps. If you're going to shoot some acrylics or enamels, it seems like you'd want to have a small stock of material lying around for testing. Maybe some Evergreen or Plastruct sheets, or some junk 1/24 model kits you find at a flea market for $3-4 as a source of polysytrene. I don't paint many hard bodies, so I don't have a lot of scrap material lying around like I do for Lexan. I have started saving parts sprues to have some ABS/PC/PA lying around for making things. Maybe a roll cage or some bumpers could be made; it's also nice to have the material to grind up and mix with solvent to fill stripped screw holes. As far as the other forum is concerned, I only read part of the thread but it seemed like one guy was insecure and needed to prove something to everyone else. Life's too short to care, honestly. I'd rather tap out than perpetuate the argument. That's where the "ignore" button/list comes in handy.
  3. @Saito2, you're asking a very complex question in that it has a lot of variables to it. I don't work for a hobby or toy manufacturer, but I have worked for a company that sourced product from southeast Asia, and this resulted in me traveling to several countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines. A lot of our electronic assemblies were specified and architected in the USA with low-level design completed in Singapore and sourcing/assembly/testing occurring in Indonesia. We were a USA-based company creating products for the USA market, so we knew the customer needs, the key specifications, and the best solution to meet all the requirements. We were also paid the best out of the three locations and had the highest cost of living. The next step in the chain was the company in Singapore who kept their business development, sales people, manager, engineers, and designers local to Singapore. They did the low-level design work, process documentation, and test programming for the factory. They weren't paid as well as us, but they were paid better than the factory workers in Indonesia, and they had commensurate cost of living. In Indonesia this is where the product was actually assembled, programmed, tested, boxed, and shipped to us in the USA. They had the usual manufacturing cell arrangements that were similar to our prototype lines in the USA, just scaled up for more volume. When I visited that factory in 2004/2005, the typical factory worker was making $0.30 per hour in wages with a fully burdened labor cost of $0.60 per hour to the main company in Singapore. This is where I was riding in a microbus down dirt roads watching families of four or five (a mom and dad and 2-3 small babies) all riding barefoot on mopeds with no protection whatsoever. The pay was low, and the cost of living / standard of living was low too. When we fully specified, architected, designed, manufactured, tested, and shipped products completely in the USA, we would sweat all the details down to the number of fasteners used in the assembly, the thickness of foam gaskets, how many copper layers in the circuit board, EMC mitigation measures like shielding and conductive paint, etc. Every piece of material and every process step had to be fully justified. We were running lots of simulations and calculations to optimize everything. Every person in factory was making at least double minimum wage (over $10 per hour) if not more. Process engineers and test engineers could have been making triple to quadruple that. So the cost of the product was higher because the process steps were the same in the USA as they were in Indonesia, but we're talking about a 30x difference in labor rate. It was interesting when our company started outsourcing production to Singapore/Indonesia; I once asked about labor costs and fastener count, and they (the CM) just laughed and said labor cost is not an issue. Whether the assembly has six screws or eight, it doesn't really matter because the cost of that person's time is so low. Consequently we were still diligent with our specifications and architecture, but the low-level engineering got a little more conservative/sloppy/expedient/take your pick. There was less simulating and calculating, and there was just a little more material and not too much concern over labor cost anymore. Yet we still came out ahead because a lot of that raw material came from component suppliers in southeast Asia, so it didn't have to travel as far and it didn't have the markup through distributors that we saw in the USA. The percentage markup varied quite a bit between in-house manufacturing and contract manufacturing, too. When the product was completely made in the USA, our in-house manufacturing division built and internally sold a finished product to our division, a marketing and engineering group. Since both groups were held to the same overarching profit and loss expectations, essentially there were two large margins applied to the material and labor used in the assembly; hence the focus on design optimization. When we dissolved the in-house manufacturing division and moved it all to a contract manufacturer, the material costs stayed about the same, the labor rate substantially dropped, and the margins the CM charged were much lower as we were simply one of many customers they serviced. One other short story is I visited a Japanese component supplier manufacturing their product in the Philippines. There was a small core group of Japanese salesmen, managers, and engineers at this plant location filled with a substantial number of Filipinos running the machinery and completing the process steps. As were driving through the small town on the way to the factory, I was struck again by the dirt roads, families on mopeds, and housing that consisted of lean-tos with corrugated steel roofing and patchwork for walls. There were children sitting on the curbs of the streets, people urinating on poles, lots of people aimlessly wandering around. There were several automotive shops breaking vehicles apart and welding parts together to make all sorts of hybrid creations. It was a bit intimidating and eye-opening coming from a comfortable USA existence. It felt like the most basic of existence over there. So, taking a step back and thinking about Tamiya again... Tamiya positions itself as a premium brand through their brand mark ("passion and precision") and has a reputation coming from their legacy of static plastic models. In Tamiya's book there is a letter from a UK distributor apologizing to Tamiya for daring to weigh the plastic sprues and suggest a price based on the amount of resin. That event made Tamiya-san erupt with anger as it showed the difference in how Tamiya perceives its own products versus how the distributor was treating them (premium quality vs. commodity). To be treated as a commodity was insulting to him. So a component of a Tamiya kit's pricing is their belief in it. Due to their background in toolmaking and plastic injection molding, Tamiya has a bias towards using these techniques in many of their designs. All the entry-level and mid-level kits have a substantial amount of molded parts which in turn drives tools. There's a capital cost for these tools and a finite lifetime for them. In comparison, you'll see a company like 3Racing minimize how many plastic tools it has to invest in by producing more chassis with cut FRP or carbon fiber. It's easier to buy sheet material and run a CNC cutter to make those parts than it is to make a tool for a chassis tub, and it's wise to reuse suspension arms and bulkheads across several chassis. If you look at a TT02 First Try kit for $80 versus a Sakura XI Sport Ver. NU for $80, the differences in construction and standard features are amazing. I think 3Racing's tool savings translate into more budget for better standard equipment (turnbuckles, ball bearings, oil dampers). Since Tamiya manufactures in both Japan and the Philippines, it's worth noting there should be a labor cost difference between both locations. There was a thread some time ago about which Tamiya kits are made in Japan, and I think we noted that many of the TRF cars and mid-level products are made in Japan while the entry-level stuff seems to come from the Philippines. The cost of living in Japan is higher, so they have to pay factory workers more there, and that adds cost to a product. It probably doesn't work very well for low-margin, low-cost kits like a TT02. Therefore, opening an operation in the Philippines/Indonesia makes some sense to control costs. So if we compare Tamiya to Traxxas or Associated, I think you have to look at: Brand positioning and what the market will bear. Construction technique and tooling/material/process implications. Location of the labor force, their standard of living, and how low the wages can be to make the factory more attractive than working in the fields. Currency exchange rates Shipping costs Race team sponsorship Marketing and cost of sales R&D expenses (engineering) Capital costs Real estate and costs associated with it Other costs I can't think of right now... You know that Associated is owned by Thunder Tiger, and I've often wondered how Associated can afford to still be in business. Racers are a small percentage of the market, so it doesn't seem like that many RC10s, SC10s, RC8s, etc. will be sold. I suspect the R&D expenses are minimized as much as possible (basic incremental changes to models) and the kits are produced in the same factories in China that make Thunder Tiger's mainstream products (same low-cost labor force). For Thunder Tiger, there is some value in the legacy brand recognition in the USA and it gives them a channel for pushing all those relabeled 1/12, 1/18, and 1/28 Thunder Tiger products. Traxxas has clearly staked out their position as the basher's brand, and they are getting a premium for it. A lot of their designs reuse components between them, so the tooling costs are spread across all of them. Labor costs are cheap in Taiwan, but maybe not as cheap as Indonesia or the Philippines. The brand that really fascinates me is RJ Speed. Here's a company that started as BoLink, and they still manufacture in the USA 40+ years later. You can see how the designs use a lot of cut FRP, aluminum extrusions, and very simple molded parts. They're tied into the RC race track scene with road cars, drag cars, oval cars, spec series cars, etc. It's all very American and very traditional. When the constraint is the design/manufacturing location and an expectation of an American product, the materials and designs are simplified so the owner can still make a living from it. They stand in stark contrast to Tamiya and Traxxas. Not sure that I'm really answering anything, but I hope the rambling gives you some perspective and food for thought as you think about the question more. I suppose it's brand positioning, willingness to pay by the market, and cost control that all come together to make these businesses work.
  4. Japan is starting into its second wave of COVID-19: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-31/japan-acted-like-the-virus-had-gone-now-it-s-spread-everywhere It would not surprise me if Tamiya model production in Japan and the Philippines is reduced for the foreseeable future. You can look at the graphs for these countries on worldometers.info and see the numbers are going in the wrong direction.
  5. I have to assume the same thing -- it probably takes some trial and error to figure it out. You have a few variables to juggle, such as drill/motor speed, the equivalent grit number of the abrasive, how much loading is on the gears opposing the motor, the gear material, the cut of the teeth, etc. I don't think the LHS employee ran his gearbox under load; all the gears simply idled and squeezed the toothpaste around the teeth at a low rate of speed. I think the idea was to give everything a light polishing but not try to fundamentally reshape the tooth profile, as gear tooth profiles are generally designed to have a single line of contact to another tooth through the gears' rotation. Therefore, I would err on the side of being conservative and not get too aggressive with the polish for fear of affecting the gear tooth geometry in funny ways.
  6. One of the guys I know from the LHS told me once how they used to fill buggy gear cases with tooth paste and run them overnight to polish and break in all the gears. He claimed it reduced the gear friction quite a bit and provided some benefits in competitive racing. So, your idea sounds consistent with what I've heard before. The trick is to do just enough, but not overdo it.
  7. Hi Percymon, it's good to hear from you again! There haven't been any changes since 2015 (five years? really? ), but this model is still special to me just like the "Bump Steer" Lunch Box, TRF801XT, RM01 Stratos, F103GT Nismo, and Sport 3.2 Hot Wheel. There are always new ideas and new directions to pursue, and never enough time to do it all!
  8. Saw your post on the Rzeppa joints the other day... Tempting, but the Tamiya steel prop shafts seem good enough. The main issue I see is how the transmission and pinion shaft angles are not aligned if you follow the kit instructions, so the one U-joint doesn't cancel the other correctly. Someone wanted to buy this model from me; I had to turn him down. It would be impossible to build this again if I ever let it go!
  9. Eventually we'll get you to buy one of these: https://www.amazon.com/3Racing-TB03-16-Graphite-Conversion-TB-03/dp/B00XO9EYQU
  10. Compared to the standard base TT02, the drift spec chassis includes: Full ball bearings: The gearboxes use the same ball bearings as ever, but the front and rear uprights use 1050 ball bearings instead of 1150 ball bearings. Oil dampers: Full set of 55 mm CVAs included, but the kit silver springs are softer (more turns) than the touring chassis. The instructions have you add ride height spacers to the rear CVAs to force some preload on the springs. Tires: Yes, the usual Drift Spec plastic tires are included instead of grip tires. Otherwise it seems all other details are similar. I bought a drift kit w/ body (Civic) just to get the bearings and CVAs on a TT02; it made sense when the Civic kit was much less expensive than other drift spec kits, but then I was surprised by the change in ball bearings and springs. It wasn't what I expected so now I have one oddball TT out of a few.
  11. @Saito2, if I still had younger children at home I would seriously consider either an online option or simply pull them out of the system to home school them. The transmission and effects of the virus are pretty well understood, and we all know kids spread disease each school year from touching, sneezing, and coughing on each other. Every one of them will bring it home, and this bioweapon will take its toll on the population soon enough.
  12. Dear Whahoo, I'm sorry you are feeling tremendous stress right now as your significant other looks to make a major change in your relationship. In my own life I have experienced a similar stress with a long-time family member (not my wife) who broke our trust which resulted in estrangement. Most days I do my job and take care of the remaining family adequately, but there is always this stress/tension/anger in the background over what happened, a regular replay and analysis of those events, and uncertainty over what the future might hold or how to proceed with the relationship. At least where this one other person is concerned, it feels like she succumbed to selfishness and outside influences, manipulated us for years, and squandered the generosity we showed her. In the months that followed that event I spent considerable time listing out what happened, how it made me feel, and why I felt that way. In a way this event was a blessing because it forced a thorough self-examination which led to strengthened convictions about my beliefs and values. While the stress of the estrangement still lingers, I do find some peace and renewed confidence in subscribing to a set of beliefs and prioritized list of values, and therefore know myself better than ever. There is clarity about who I am, and this clarity guides my daily thinking and actions. Do you know who you are, down to your very core? What is your place in this universe, and what is your purpose in life? If you know your self, your place, and your purpose, are your words and actions towards your significant other and daughter consistent with that? If you have this end-to-end view from your essence to your actions, it should all fall into place (even if considered, spoken, and acted upon imperfectly). To be very open with you, I know myself now better than ever. Through my upbringing, my own personal searching, my relationship with my wife, the relationships with other people, and adversities, I cling tightly to my Christian beliefs. I am a son, a husband, a father, a member of society and my job is to glorify God and lead others to salvation as best I can through my words and actions. I can do this by honoring my parents, loving my wife exclusively, raising my children effectively, being an honest/industrious worker, extending myself to others in need, and never forgetting Christ's sacrifice for me or denying the Holy Spirit trying to work through me. If you've not been exposed to God or Christian beliefs before, what I'm saying will likely sound crazy to you. Why should anyone believe in God? Why should anyone subscribe to the example of Christ? What is this Holy Spirit? Instead of quoting Bible verses, arguments over circular references, and interpretation/context, let me suggest a linear train of thought: Evidence Probability Occam's Razor The evidence is all of nature is continuously decaying and falling apart. It doesn't matter if we're talking on a planetary level or molecular level, we can see all of life going through an aging/death/decomposition process as the universe gradually moves towards equilibrium (see the second law of thermodynamics). Additionally, if we consider the probability of random events creating higher orders of structure, that probability is virtually zero. Lighting strikes in pools of proteins are highly unlikely to create life forms, and it's highly unlikely that life forms evolve to higher levels of complexity. If anything, raw energy has a tendency to accelerate destruction more than anything. Finally, if we look at all the assumptions and conditions science places on successful creation, all the contradictory research papers, all the revising of scientific thought still occurring, is it not a simpler answer to acknowledge a Creator's hand in all of this? Archaeological, geological, fossil, and literary records all seem to support what the Bible has to say. If there is a Creator out there, what is our relationship to him? And how do we live? And so my faith and convictions are strengthened, and I read the Bible for more understanding and life instruction. While the immediate events you're facing are distressing, and I can only imagine how your mind is speculating and imagining different conclusions, and you face practical logistics/coordination issues, and there is raw emotion gnawing at you, and you may feel all consumed and overwhelmed, and you want it all solved and to go away, I encourage you to do what has to be done now, but then slow down and spend some time in self-reflection. Take some time to think about the bigger picture, find your place in all of it, understand the promise of eternal life, and think through the practical daily ramifications of it. Connecting it all together from beliefs through actions has been a source of stability for me, and I consider my life blessed because of it. I hope you can find the same for yourself. If you want to know more, I'm happy to share in greater detail. I feel your pain and hope for the best for you.
  13. "Eh, what's that sonny? What did you say? Why are my joints so stiff and my headlights so dim? Let me tell you about the time I almost made it to the IFMAR off-road world championship back in 1985... *staring distantly from his shelf* *presses button* Nurse, I need my diff changed!"
  14. I've driven my F103GT in the cul-de-sac in front of my house and thought it performed fine on that unprepared surface. It just has a silver can motor and the kit Super Slick tires on it. I did take time to balance the car with weight and limit steering travel. I'd enter a corner two ways either by braking enough and carrying momentum through the turn, or coming in a little hot and scrubbing speed with some understeer. Exiting a corner, I had to wait to apply throttle a little longer, and even then, I just rolled on the throttle and didn't treat it as a binary switch. I think if I replaced the rear tires with some wider, softer 31 mm ones, the rear would be really quite planted. I just finished my RJ Speed pan car and used soft F1 rubber tires on it, and was delighted with how well it drove. There's just a slight air gap between the rubber and foam inserts, so the tire has more contact patch with the pavement It actually is even easier to drive then the F193GT, and it has even less of a suspension. So my view is pan cars take effort to set up, and they take different driving habits. They're not point-and-shoot like touring cars.
  15. For me the projects and results are artifacts of a learning process. If all the projects were done that would mean I'm no longer enjoying or learning anything, so the next steps would include: 1) Pick a few projects that were my favorites and keep them as trophies. 2) Sell all the remaining cars and kits to recoup some cash. 3). Keep all the tools I bought or built, as well as general supplies. 4). Move on to the next hobby or interest that will provide some novel learning experiences and leverage what I learned. I may hit that point in the next 3-5 years if some of my remaining goals are achieved.
  16. Depends where you are, but Duratrax and Pactra paints are still available. https://www.testors.com/product-catalog/testors-brands/testors-pactra/pactra-3oz-sprays https://www.duratrax.com/paint/index.html A pearl coat will lighten any color applied to it. So a brown will become a light brown or tan. If you really need brown, you'll likely have to mix your own using Parma Faskolor or Liquitex primary colors and an airbrush. BUT, check formulation because some of these may not stand up to impact damage.
  17. For a long time I convinced myself I always 'needed' the better setup -- ball bearings, oil dampers, turnbuckles, nylon plastics, etc. etc. etc. Add in some alloy and carbon fiber too! You can see several examples in my showroom. A tried a different route with just a plain TT02 a year or two ago. Kit stock with non-adjustable arms, friction shocks, no hopups other than ball bearings. I took it for a drive with a mild brushless setup and I was pretty impressed with the handling on a completely unprepared, pebble-ridden street surface. The kit silver springs and no damping actually worked just fine for fooling around. I didn't care about the camber, caster, or toe of the suspension. The car tracked straight and turned well given the power level going through it. The only reason I added ball bearings was to avoid some future maintenance and teardown of the gearboxes and uprights. It really wasn't terrible. The way Alexei writes about his desires, it sounds like he just wants to charge a battery and go outside to drive around in the street. Maybe do some loops, some figure-8's, some mock road course with some sticks for corner markers... Who knows. Not a top spec car, not the fastest car, not really something to fuss over but something to have some casual fun with. Almost like a casual hobby that has some journey associated with it. So in this case I wouldn't worry about getting the best TT02; I'd get the base TT02 and string this along for a year with a new hopup every few months while I enjoy other non-RC parts of my life too. Build it, drive it, then try something and really work with it. Then try something else two months later. The actual money spent won't be as important as the experience of seeing how the car improves over time and making it your own. No need to get to the endpoint as quickly as possible in this case.
  18. I recently put together a TT02D and was surprised to discover the ball bearings in the uprights are 1050s instead of the usual 1150s. Also, the steering on the D seems to have less Ackermann than the standard TT02; at least it looks that way as I have a TT02 and a TT02D sitting next to each other. The springs are softer than the usual touring springs. So, if I was going to pick a TT02 for casual street driving I'd buy a base TT02 (not D, R, RR, S, SR, etc.) and put the money towards ball bearings and a pinion gear to start. Build it, drive it, and slowly upgrade the dampers and steering and appreciate how it changes the performance. Maybe spring for a front one-way. Spring for a brushless system. Buy some different body shells and wheels/tires to keep it fresh. Drive it a lot and scape it up; don't be afraid to use it and modify it to your heart's content.
  19. All my best bashers were 1/8 scale e-buggies or e-truggies. The materials and construction are way beyond anything 1/10 scale or made out of plastic. If you can find an Associated, Mugen, Tekno, or even a closeout TRF for a few hundred it will require a new level of investment in electronics, but the vehicle will be bulletproof.
  20. Some serious hardware you have there...
  21. In my early days in the hobby I wanted to try a wide variety of chassis and bought kits accordingly. Then I went through a phase of bargain hunting watching for deep discounts or closeout specials. Now I'm more selective and pull the trigger only if the kit has a body I like. My collection is skewed more towards on-road touring and pan cars with a small variety of off-road thrown in.
  22. I agree with you 100% from a technical perspective. At the same time, there is a universal joint marketed as a "CVD," and generally people have a mental picture of what that looks like. If you search on the web for "3Racing CVD," "Yeah Racing CVD," "Xtra Speed CVD," etc. you'll see something like this (which is a universal joint): Search results also show something like this (which is a DCJ): Then there's the universal joint most people think of and is functionally similar to the "CVD" shown above: So, yes, I agree that a "CVD" is really a "universal joint" technically speaking. At the same time, the manufacturers have chosen marketing terminology to distinguish the appearance of two universal joints. It's still the case the dogbone is the sloppiest solution, with universal joints (either true universal joints or "CVDs") reducing some slop, and finally DCJs being the best. Thanks for pointing this out; hopefully this clarifies things for everyone.
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