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JennyMo

Lil'Scamp, aka. Willy's Rocker Mk3

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I'll aim to be brief with this particular build, as it's not really Tamiya based at all - but at the same time, I trust a number of the elements (not least the geometry engineering) will be of interest to some of you...

If you trawl back in the Build/Crawler threads and earlier entires in my showroom, you may recall I first got into crawlers a few years ago after buying a cheap RTR vehicle in the US (Messin' in the USA), and subsequently chopped a series of plastic cages around to make more of a Moab style rock-buggy out of the original chassis and running gear (Uncle Willy's Cage Crawler, plus Willy's original Rocker that used a chopped midnight Pumpkin cab as a minimalist body, followed by a Mk2 update which utilised a Vaterra Slickrock cage).

Ultimately, my desire to build more scale appearance vehicles meant that I dropped the box-chassis and canted suspension format (which admittedly offers the best articulation), and built a series of vehicles around a more conventional and realistic ladder chassis using the left-over running gear - including Lisa's Defender 90, and Desmond [the 2.2] which is my performance biased crawler that has been topped off with a narrowed HiLux cab and cage back - in an effort to not restrict any of the available travel.

And it is that ethos of unrestricted crawling performance (while retaining a semblance of realism) which has prompted this latest build, coupled with the fact that I seem to have amassed a stack of unused components that really ought to be utilised for something!

So let me introduce my latest folly - although I can justify it somewhat since a lot of the parts I already had, while the parts required to finish it (or at least get it rolling) are all from Far Eastern eBay manufacturers/sellers, so I hope to bring this whole build in at less than $200.

The heart of this build is the cheap and cheerful 'universal' 2.2 cage chassis from Integy:

i-RbhM2Hq-XL.jpg

I always thought these looked pretty cool - although if you read the reviews on line, a lot of people say that the build quality is not especially good (poor quality welding), and that the fixed/single-location upper mounts for the shocks are in completely the wrong place to offer any meaningful performance... hmmmm, we'll see shall we?

 

i-rKN3g5z-XL.jpg

You can see in the photo above that yes, some of the welds are a bit sparing - although overall the whole chassis is pretty true and nicely powder coated - and hey, it only cost me $23 (reduced from the typical RRP of $35.99) - so I figured it was definitely worth a punt!

The chassis is designed to accept the Axial SCX10 (first generation) skid-plate/gearbox mount, and it does perfectly (note this is the same style of aluminium aftermarket plate that I used for Desmond, although in that application I had to narrow it to fit between the ladder chassis), and is bolted to the cage with four M3 screws through pre-drilled holes.

i-BQL9XfM-XL.jpg

It is then simple to bolt the pattern SCX10 transmission assembly (which I'd originally bought for the currently dormant Mega-Bug build) and a spare 540 motor into the assembly, and ultimately drive will be taken to the front and rear axles with conventional prop-shafts.

cont.

 

 

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Next up, it was time to lay out the other chassis components, and try and figure out the wheelbase and corresponding linkage length (this would be a 4-link coil spring build of course) with the scale axles - the rear one I'd already bought for the Mega-Bug build (but have had second thoughts about), while the front cost me $43 from ebay including all the steering gear.

i-ZfGQ4zD-XL.jpg

I have to say, I actually think these axles are very nice quality - especially when you consider the price. Of course they are nothing like the high-end Vanquish axles (typically $200 each!) you see some builders using, and generally speaking you do indeed get what you pay for - but these appear to be made to just the same standard as the RC4WD 'Yota II' scale axles for example - and are essentially a direct copy, most likely from the very same factory in the Far East I suspect!

 

i-Bz53TF6-XL.jpg

I have literally dozens of 6mm rods, rod-ends, set-screws and other associated hardware these days, so it was easy enough to mix and match some components to make up the four rear linkage arms, and mount the rear axle in the approximate position I wanted - the idea being that rather than stretch this out like a typical 2.2 wheel size performance crawler, I will endeavour to make it a little more of a scale build - like those buggies you see on the slick-rock in Moab - bare bones certainly, but with the electronics hidden as well as I can and as much of a driver figure as I can squeeze in there.

As such, I intend to build this as a 1.9 wheel size class crawler, with a correspondingly shorter wheelbase - even if ultimately that doesn't offer quite the same crawling performance as might be achievable out of this chassis, it's a compromise I'm prepared to make to keep the overall build compact and realistic.

 

i-QLNqZKF-XL.jpg

photo. initially I built the rear end up with relatively short radius arms, and the shocks mounted almost vertically to the designated upper location - and yes, it pretty much sucked!

note. if you were building one of these as essentially a 'rock racer' style buggy, then you could feasibly use shorter shocks (say 80mm) - keeping everything nice and low and just deal with the limited articulation of the axle only travelling the length of the vertical stroke available.

I was aware of course that if you extended the wheelbase and laid the shocks down a little more then the articulation would improve, but I want to retain a compact footprint if at all possible...

i-8rmDqFx-XL.jpg

So instead, I experimented with moving the shock top mounting position dramatically forward (to what are typically alternative upper link mounting holes on the chassis), and in laying the shocks down at closer to 45°, this significantly alters the leverage ratio and allowed masses more articulation to be achieved for the same stroke length - while at the same time, these particular shocks still having enough strength in the springs to support the weight of the vehicle - result!

 note. laying the shocks down like this increases the leverage on the springs, so the suspension ends up much softer - fortunately these spare shocks I am using have adjustable preload, so you can dial-in the ride height while still having really supple suspension - perfect!

In fact, the result of this radical shock location is that the rear end has plenty of sag, so that the centre of gravity remains low, while having huge articulation to cross serious terrain.

i-9X3WSGg-XL.jpg

photo. See what I mean? - that is some impressive articulation from relatively short radius arms, and best of all nothing binds even on full travel!

 

cont.

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So with the rear end working far more impressively than I had initially hoped, it was easy enough to do something similar at the front - again, custom building a series of linkage arms with threaded rods, rod-ends and set-screws, and dialling in the diff angles using slightly different rod lengths and mounting locations (on the chassis) to try and ensure that the front axle retained it's castor angle throughout the stroke:

i-nWdPBVC-XL.jpg

 

i-mtVC66g-XL.jpg

photo. It's starting to look like a proper rock-buggy already!

I chose to build the front-end initially with the shocks fitted to the dedicated upper mounting points on the cage, as not only is this realistic from a scale/1:1 point of view, but because the front axle is slightly further forward than the rear (not least so the steering servo will hopefully clear the front of the cage on full compression), I felt there would be a little more leverage on the front shocks - bearing in mind that the weight bias will be forward too, with hopefully the battery mounted under the nose rather than in the rear for better climbing ability.

 

However, having the front and rear shocks mounted at such different angles to one-another immediately showed a disparity - the front end being much stiffer, meaning the chassis was more likely to follow the terrain, while conversely the rear axle was far more free to flop around and track the terrain itself...

So I then decided to experiment with a similar laid-down shock set-up at the front too:

i-3h8DQJv-XL.jpg

photo. Fully extended...

 

i-TFfDWvG-XL.jpg

photo. mid-location, wheelbase here is approximately 285mm

 

i-MmW9JnN-XL.jpg

photo. more how I envisaged the vehicle to sit when on it's wheels (ie. offering a huge amount of droop travel) - albeit initially it was very saggy at the front...

 

However, as I mentioned above, the shocks I'm using have adjustable pre-load/ride-height, and with a little tweaking, I could actually get the chassis to self-support midway between the shock stroke front and rear - perfect for crawling and tracking the terrain both up and down:

i-64jjJhX-XL.jpg

photo. Louis was very pleased with himself having finally dialled in the static ride-height...

 

i-8Qj8NQW-XL.jpg

photo. and really impressed with the overall articulation - that is almost 90°!

 

cont.

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Of course this suspension layout is still only theoretical at the moment, since while it is wonderfully supple and smooth, there is every chance that once the wheels are being driven, it has so little resistance that may well suffer from a degree of jacking and torque loading - and that ultimately this layout will have to be revised further...

...however, I didn't realise that revision would actually have to be quite so soon!

i-2m26wXt-XL.jpg

You see once Louis had fitted a set of wheels to the front axle (to check the tyre clearance on full lock and articulation) it was patently clear why you can't use laid-down shocks at the front on a narrow track-width vehicle... while the articulation was awesome with the wheels pointing straight ahead, as soon as you tried to turn the steering, the 115mm diameter tyres immediately hit the shocks of course - doh!

So other that significantly widening the track (something I really don't want to do as I'm trying to get away from the spider-leg look you get with a lot of narrow cage-based crawlers), then then only thing to do was to revert the front shocks to their previous more upright mounting position after all:

i-gKVqSB6-XL.jpg

This time I also mounted them inboard of the axle brackets to maximise steering clearance - and interestingly, this chassis has the top shock mounts spaced at 58mm, while these 'Yota II' pattern axles (also from a Far East supplier) have 72mm between the inside face of the axle mounting brackets - so once you mount these particular shocks with 6mm eyes* at the top and bottom, they mount almost exactly vertical, with the bottoms just slightly further out than the top (1mm each side) - perfect!

*note. with some shocks having 7mm wide eyelets, this would equate to the shocks being absolutely vertical of course - a coincidence, or do the manufacturers actually talk to one another I wonder?!

 

So with the steering sorted, and the shocks re-dialled in, there was nothing for it but to mock-up what it's going to look like with all four 115mm diameter tyres fitted:

i-4qrCD4D-XL.jpg

photo. borrowed spare wheel from the ebaYJeep, and Lisa's original Willy driver from her Cage Crawler - fits perfectly in what will now be his new home!

 

More soon!

Jenny x

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Money money money!

So while I wait for my dedicated wheels and tyres to arrive (and I feel I've scored a bargain by trawling around on eBay this morning), together with the necessary electronics to actually get this buggy moving under it's own power - I thought I'd tot-up what it's cost/costing me so far...

As I hinted at in my introduction, as this is really a pleasant distraction from my main project/s going on at the moment, I wanted to try and keep it as 'affordable' as possible, while at the same time hopefully end up with something that is more unique (both visually and performance wise) than you would get with a typical RTR crawler out of the box...

That said, there are some very capable RTR crawlers available around the $300-350 mark these days (and builders chassis kits starting at around $150-200) - so actually trying to source all the individual components you might/will need to build you own custom project is no longer really the cheapest option - if it ever were of course?

But still, there is a certain satisfaction in not only sourcing and building your own vehicle from a series of otherwise random parts, and not least that the end result is likely to be something far more unique of course. This way, you get to choose exactly what size, style and materials the various components are made from - and certainly most RTR models tend to cut costs with items such as plastic wheels, axle casings, gearbox internals and basic shocks for example - while with this particular build everything is made of metal.

So, as an illustration, my shopping list for this project so far is as follows (note. now I'm living in the US, these prices are in dollars of course) - purchased from a mix of Far East and US eBay/online retailers.

new vehicle components required to complete the build:

front axle - $43

cage/chassis - $23

skid-plate/gearbox mount - $11

wheels & tyres - $50

2x prop-shafts - $13

sub total: $140

 

electronics

waterproof ESC - $18

shorty steering servo - $20

2.4Ghz Tx/Rx - $20

square 6-cell NiMh battery - $13

electronics total: $71

So in total a touch over my $200 budget (but actually only by the cost of the skid-plate) - and that includes a 2600mAh battery pack too of course.

 

And finally a quick tot-up of the other parts I had already purchased/had in my spare stash:

rear axle - $40

SCX10 aluminium gearbox/transmission - $30

70T motor - $10

shocks - $20

So that's essentially another $100 plus the various rods/rod-ends and hardware required to connect everything together.

You see it all adds up doesn't it?!

Still, like all these things, the [monetary] bottom line is only part of the equation - for me this hobby is all about the joy of assembly, of the initial choosing and sourcing parts and then the actual build of the vehicle itself; and then of course the hours of enjoyment of actually running the finished article - and in this case, crawlers are huge fun!

More soon, once the postman has been later this week!

Jenny x

 

 

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A quick update while I wait for my bargain-priced alloy wheels and tyres to arrive...

You might have observed from the photos above that my fancy disc brake hex hubs are nicely polished/brushed on the outside faces, but that the black anodising actually completely covers the reverse side of the discs... Now this wouldn't usually be so much of a problem on a traditional [road] car build, as the back of the wheels tend to be hidden inside the wheel arches of course, but on this open-wheel buggy, they do look a bit obvious/unrealistic I thought?

Initially I considered just stripping them completely in oven-cleaner (as I had already done with the anodising on what were the originally blue shock bodies), but then I thought what if I rig up a stub axle in a drill, and see if I can't just sand the black off the inside faces of the discs instead... so I did!

i-jvmWjTm-XL.jpg

photo. hub held onto axle with a regular pin, and secured with an M4 nut on the other side.

 

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photo. sanding with 120 grit sand-paper initially, then finer wet&dry.

 

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photo. That's not bad at all - certainly good enough for anyone casually peering inside an open wheel I should think.

 

So while I was jigging about with these existing components, I also took the opportunity to refine some of the linkage lengths and locations to eliminate any chance of binding on full travel, and also tidied up the steering linkages with some alternative hardware.

Then earlier today the postman delivered a key component - a shorty servo for the steering (it ought to be clear why I ordered a shorty version in a moment), plus a very nice quality waterproof ESC, which if it works well in this application I might end up changing a couple in my other crawlers for too.

i-BF77n9p-XL.jpg

photo. I do like an online retailer that includes a lollipop in their packaging!

 

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I mounted the servo in the more forward of the two possible locations - primarily as I hoped the rear edge would clear the nose of the cage on full compression, while an additional benefit (using the supplied plastic servo horn as essentially a ghetto servo-saver) is that the drag link would actually fit behind the horn and completely parallel above the steering tie rod bar - making for a very neat and compact (and I trust well protected) installation.

note. I replaced the original M4 threaded drag link which had the same dimension plastic rod-ends as the tie rod, with an M3 version with much smaller [metal] rod-ends, so that there was enough clearance under the servo when turning fully left and right.

i-G3Ntjz9-XL.jpg

photo. this compact installation ended up working perfectly - offering plenty of clearance with the cage on full compression. You might also notice I've started to experiment with some checker-plate for body panels too.

 

So now I'm just waiting on the wheels and tyres, plus the radio gear, battery, and prop-shafts to arrive - then hopefully this little scamp should be up and running by the weekend!

More soon!

Jenny x

 

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The wheels have arrived, and I have to say they are awesome - even better than I was expecting!

i-ScnGSpb-XL.jpg

I took a punt on these, as the price was really too good not to - four aluminium bead-lock wheels (with an 8 D-hole pattern, which ought to show the brake disc hubs behind well through the gaps), and complete with proper scale M2 hex bolts holding on the outer bead ring (not socket-head screws like most budget, and even some high-end wheels have).

The wheels mount to separate hubs (six bolt 'Toyota' pattern, which are appropriate for my 'Yota' scale axles on this build anyway of course), and have the same bolt PCD as the more expensive SLW pattern Vanquish hubs/wheels, along with SSD and the Axial IFD hubs, so plenty of options if I needed to change the off-set and space the wheels out for example.

As it was, the suppled aluminium hubs mated perfectly with the disc brake hexes I'd already installed (honestly like they were made for them!), and of course having separate hubs, you can even add separate brake discs as spacers between the wheel and hub if desired (I tried this too with my spare SLW discs).

i-Mh9MfsW-XL.jpg

Perhaps most impressive of all is that these particular wheels come with their own machined (again in aluminium, not plastic) centre hub caps to cover the axle bolt, and while they appear to require a special six-pronged tool to tighten them, in actual fact you can just do them up with your fingers as they are actually threaded into the centre of the wheel, complete with an o-ring. I'm impressed!

 

i-ZbRFbdP-XL.jpg

The supplied tyres (the wheels and tyres were a package) were also surprisingly high quality - soft compound with medium to soft foams inside, 115mm diameter and around 45mm wide, while the tread pattern itself looks like a much more expensive 'branded' tyre you get from RC4WD or ProLine for example - and fortunately they didn't come with any nasty sidewall markings like a lot of pattern (I mean 'copy' of course ;o) tyres from the Far East factories can do.

Indeed I'm so taken with this combo that I might end up buying a second set to fit on Ozzy's ebaYJeep, although I do still have a soft spot for the Weller white 8-spokes, which are kind of more appropriate on a beater trail-rig anyway.

The tyres and wheels also went together perfectly, and the inner bead-lock ring does up securely with 8 bolts (one in each spoke), so that tyres can be changed without having to remove the dozens of tiny M2 scale bolts on the outer ring - neat!

 

In fact the only thing that was slightly disappointing was that one of the wheels was missing it's centre hub cap... not the end of the world on a hard-working rock buggy perhaps, but a shame when the other three wheels look so good with them fitted. I've emailed the seller and hopefully they can supply a spare. edit. they did, in double quick time too - excellent service!

 

i-Xqfk7Tc-XL.jpg

photo. So close to being the perfect purchase, unfortunately one wheel was missing it's centre cap... still, they look great with or without them fitted to be honest. note. I will ultimately change the six socket-cap bolts for scale acorn nuts I feel.

 

i-gsVsbHh-XL.jpg

photo. on four matching* wheels at last.

*well, except for that missing centre cap of course!

So with all four wheels on, it was time to check the stance and clearance, and fit the front and rear prop-shafts which also arrived today:

i-RhFqGqK-XL.jpg

photo. Articulation is impressive, although it remains to be seen how it will actually drive - the rear is significantly softer than the front and while that ought to give it good overall ability, it's possible the rear will squat significantly under power, and possibly torque-twist too.

i-cqZPsTP-XL.jpg

photo. Overall it is tall, but actually quite realistically proportioned when compared to the 2WD Toyota pick up parked next to it. I'd say I've manged to retain a 1/10th scale appearance by using 1.9 wheels and narrower axles than you might with a 2.2 size wheel build?

cont.

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cont.

So it was time to fit the props - and again, these were great quality for the price, and included the grub-screws* (and an allen key) to secure them the gearbox and differential shafts.

*note. while I initially secured the prop-shafts with the suppled grub screws (one either side), I felt the holes in the axle shafts particularly were a little too large for everything to be really secured tightly, so I ended up buzzing a 3mm hole though the output shafts of the gearbox, and securing each end of the props using a single M3 set-screw all the way through each shaft.

i-JXKWnFF-XL.jpg

photo. at the rear the prop clears the gearbox flywheel cage on all but full compression - and all that will need is a slight Dremel to sort out.

 

i-PPkP6vc-XL.jpg

photo. As with the rear, the 4-link suspension means the prop is contained between the upper and lower links and well protected.

 

i-dvbWpss-XL.jpg

photo. Louis is impressed, and so is Willy!

 

i-FHJZPR2-XL.jpg

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So the next stage it to make a start on the body panels (CAD template already cut for the bonnet) - nothing too fancy, just a nose cone/front fender assembly (to hide the eventual battery) and some side panels perhaps for a few stickers...

All being well, the rest of the electronics should be here in the next day or two too!

Jenny x

 

 

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Well Mr Postman didn't let me down - the radio gear arrived on Friday (still waiting on the main battery), and fortunately I had a mini (1100Mah) 7.2v battery lying around, so I thought I'd charge everything up and see if it all works... and it does!

 

i-ZCt5r7f-XL.jpg

photo. Transmitter/Receiver set was less than $20, and comes with a waterproof 3-channel receiver (with a dedicated 3rd channel button on the handset). The Transmitter unit itself is physically smaller than a typical 'full size' handset, but it has electronic trim buttons for the steering and throttle and is essentially the same as you get with some smaller scale RTR models for example.

So with the bench-testing complete, I thought I'd complete the rest of my bodypanels:

 

i-CQNz6dR-XL.jpg

photo. I ended up having to cut each individual template for each panel, as the cage being a cheap and cheerful 'Far-Eastern Fabrication' was not, shall we say, dimensionally a mirror image down each flank. To be fair my example is not that bad, but enough that I had to adjust the sizes from side to side by a couple of millimetres here and there.

 

I had been considering a number of finishes for the bodywork - including cutting all the panels out of either flat sheet aluminium (and I might still do that ultimately), or for speed and simplicity cut from 1mm thick styrene - either painted and/or covered in aluminium checker-plate for example. Following that train of thought, I rummaged around in my stash and found half a sheet of self-adhesive 'carbon fibre' effect vinyl (the same stuff I'd used on the bonnet of Desmond to realistic effect I thought), and felt that would be a quick and easy way to get a neat 'finished' look without having to break out the paint cans.

i-j64pdXT-XL.jpg

photo. 1mm styrene sheet covered in self-adhesive carbon-fibre effect vinyl - far cheaper than the real thing, and far easier to cut too!

 

i-Sq5K9Dm-XL.jpg

photo. the cage doesn't come with any bodywork mounting tabs, so using a trick I'd seen on other similar cage-crawler builds, I simply drilled a series of 3mm holes before covering the styrene with the carbon-fibre, then poked a small hole through the vinyl and inserted the 2.5mm zip-ties through and around the tubes of the cage.

 

i-pdPsN9Q-XL.jpg

photo. the nose-cone/bonnet was also cut from styrene, then heated and bent to follow the profile of the cage, before having the vinyl applied. note I also super-glued a styrene return lip at the base of the 'windscreen' area before covering the whole bonnet assembly with a single piece of vinyl.

 

i-tb2SMBb-XL.jpg

photo. temporary, although possibly quite permanent location for the waterproof ESC on the rear of the gearbox flywheel cage.

 

Despite not having thread-locked any of the bolts yet, I could resist taking it outside for a quick spin in the garden this afternoon (with the tiny battery temporarily installed in the cockpit), and I have to say, I'm impressed with how it drives! It does jack to the right slightly under power on the flat (although it's not really noticeable at all once you're crawling at super-slow speed on the rocks), but the suspension is working well already, and it seems to be very capable - I can't wait to get it out on some more serious terrain!

 

i-RHqQb92-XL.jpg

photo. not a bad looker for a 'budget' crawler I thought?

Once the proper battery arrives, I'll just need to fabricate a secure mounting for that (I'm hoping it will squeeze under the bonnet and out of sight), then a quick buzz with the Dremel and finally Willy ought to be sitting in there snugly too!

More soon!

Jenny x

 

 

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52 minutes ago, speedy_w_beans said:

That's a nice use of leftover and bargain parts.  Good result!

Yes, thank you! - certainly my box(es) of hardware are suitable depleted now - even if I do still have three left over tyres from the ebaYJeep build (I used the forth of a second set for the spare wheel you see, but at $16 for a set of four I couldn't really complain of course ;o)

I'm still debating whether to cut some 1mm thick aluminium sheet for the body panels - in an effort to make more a 'scaler' style rock-buggy, plus rust up the cage a bit and put some worn sponsor stickers on there...

For the time being though, I think I'm going to run this as is just for fun, and get back to my other dormant (or at least stalled) builds... I've still got a rear winch that needs installing on a HiLux for example!

Jenny x

 

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Sweet! - the new battery just arrived, and it's a lot smaller than I was expecting too!

i-s7vD6b3-XL.jpg

photo. 2600mAh 6-cell NiMh battery - I was expecting it to be six full-size cells in a square formation (the same as I've got fitted in Desmond), but it's actually much smaller...

In fact this is the PERFECT size to fit under the bonnet of the cage without any need for modifying the panels at all - all I need to do is create a base plate/under-tray for it to sit on:

i-jpnStwk-XL.jpg

i-3k43js4-XL.jpg

There is even enough room in the nose to still mount the Receiver there too if I wanted - I'm liking that a lot!

Jx

 

 

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Nosing ahead...

So with all my electrics assembled, it was time to sort out a proper (solid) battery mounting tray, and try and hide the wiring the best I can in this otherwise open chassis/body vehicle.

Initially I'd hope the battery would tuck in neatly under the bonnet, but on closer inspection, it really was a little too wide to fit inside the fender/side panels I'd fabricated to fit between the cage rails, and especially once I'd glued the sides to the [battery] base panel:

i-gxVx9Lf-XL.jpg

However, all was not lost, as actually the small 2600mAh battery didn't weigh all that much more than the ESC and Rx unit together, so I factored I'd just put all the electronics under the bonnet/inside the nose cone, and have the battery in the rear instead!

 

i-sZtHc9v-XL.jpg

photo. I covered the styrene nose cone assembly with self-adhesive carbon-fibre, and also cut a panel of aluminium checker-plate for the underside.

 

i-nHrcQP6-XL.jpg

photo. the electronics compartment - note the side fender panels are the original ones I'd cut, just trimmed slightly and glued to the curved base panel, before being recovered in the vinyl.

 

i-67cmNwN-XL.jpg

photo. ESC held in place with servo-tape. plenty of space in the nose for the Receiver and connector wires.

 

i-dcJHjNV-XL.jpg

photo. all the electronics in place, and the original bonnet panel fits over the top.

 

i-n5gBkJ4-XL.jpg

photo. The bonnet is now held on with two zip-ties around the front cage cross-bar, allowing it to hing forward for access to the wiring if required.

 

cont.

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cont. 

Less is more...

You might have just noticed in the photo above that I'd installed the battery on a flat panel behind the gearbox assembly (high enough so that the rear linkage arms still clear the underside on full compression travel) - and recovered the rear side panels of the now U shaped styrene assembly with self-adhesive aluminium foil...

i-xCK9pPs-XL.jpg

i-rGgmT8S-XL.jpg

photo. I thought the new battery (particularly once held in place with two large zip-ties and some servo tape underneath) actually looked rather like a luggage bundle or trunk?

However, I wasn't entirely happy with this revised look - while I like the industrial nature of the bare aluminium panels (and this effect looks great with a few stickers/decals on too of course), something about the bodywork at the rear seemed a bit clunky compared to the slim carbon-fibre nose perhaps?

 

So I removed the side panels entirely and cut a simple shelf (from slightly thicker styrene) instead:

i-r3B8d75-XL.jpg

photo. again, self-adhesive carbon-fibre was employed as a simple and cost-effective finish.

 

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photo. now personally, I feel that is 'more better' as the saying goes...

 

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photo. I also super-glued an M3 nut to the top of the motor, to secure Willy in place (the torso style driver having a screw hole through his left arm) - this will need to be beefed up with some Araldite or similar epoxy.

 

i-hBvJGNj-XL.jpg

photo. Ready to rock!

 

So there we have it - by hiding all the wiring in the nose-cone and under the driver figure, and hiding the battery itself in plain sight as a 'trunk covered with a tarp' on the rear shelf, I feel I've created something that while obviously still an RC rock-crawler, at the same time has a number of scale elements that enhance the overall look towards a real 1:1 Moab style rock-buggy... well, other than Willy's big ol' head perhaps!

In that regard I'm going to run this for a while now, in an effort to obtain some genuine patina, and then consider a degree of weathering and some further scale detailing - perhaps to the extent of stripping the cage itself (it needs some of the welds beefing up with either solder or at least filling with quick-steel anyway) and letting it rust naturally?

Hope you enjoyed this little distraction as much as I have!

Jenny x

 

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I was thinking while reading above that maybe the battery could go in toolbox like one of these diamond-plate models, but I also understand the value of easy battery access and the idea this is more of a casual model...  Anyhow, neat build!

lund-chest-truck-tool-boxes-9447-64_1000

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On 8/13/2019 at 9:35 AM, speedy_w_beans said:

I was thinking while reading above that maybe the battery could go in toolbox like one of these diamond-plate models, but I also understand the value of easy battery access and the idea this is more of a casual model...  Anyhow, neat build!

lund-chest-truck-tool-boxes-9447-64_1000

Hi Speedy - yes, I did consider fabricating a box/chest to contain the battery and covering it in the checker-plate (and I also have a fuel-cell box that would work in a similar way) to hide the battery... the problem is any additional weight on the rear makes the suspension sag too much, and not rebound properly - it's right on the limit as it is with the shocks canted at the angle they are.

Ideally I would rig up some alternative location for the top of the rear shocks to mount to (as I mentioned in the introduction, the stock shock mounts are one of criticisms of this cage chassis with regards to suspension performance), but without actually welding some new tabs onto the frame itself, I'm not sure the rear could support any more weight than it does currently - although at least with this current set-up the rear articulation is immense!

However, over time I'm sure this build will evolve further, just as all my other models seem to do ;o)

Jenny x

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Ch, ch, ch, changes already...

After a quick run round the garden on the rocks yesterday, I also experimented with relocating the rear shock tops to the pre-set/original mounting locations; and it turns out that while the articulation is significantly reduced, it is still very capable once it's actually being driven under power:

i-N5ftBxz-XL.jpg

photo. more conventional shock location - limits overall articulation [to more of the actual shock stroke length], but still works well... and arguably looks 'right' too?

 

i-9X6rNX8-XL.jpg

photo. it's not completely maxed out here, but it is close...

 

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photo. and that's still not bad after all...

 

i-Fvgtzj9-XL.jpg

Ultimately, having the rear shocks mounted more conventionally gives a lot more range on the preload adjusters - with them laid down at 45° previously, the preload was maxed out, and only just sufficient to support the weight of the rear end; while now the adjusters are backed off almost all the way in a similar way to the front... Indeed, this way, the front and rear suspension is much more evenly matched, and the overall support from the springs means that the belly is less likely to sag over really rough terrain too.

Time to recharge that battery and get back out there!

Willy is Rockin'!

Jenny x

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An inspired build from (as speedy_w_beans noted) were essentially leftover parts! The carbon-effect vinyl looks quite impressive, and the performance you have gotten out of the rig is even better. Amazing as always :)

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On 8/15/2019 at 11:36 AM, Grastens said:

An inspired build from (as speedy_w_beans noted) were essentially leftover parts! The carbon-effect vinyl looks quite impressive, and the performance you have gotten out of the rig is even better. Amazing as always :)

Thank you Grastens - yes, since the Mega-Bug is currently dormant (hence my new sig. line), I thought it would make sense to try and utilise that motor, gearbox, rear axle and some of the links and other hardware I'd acquired originally for that build...

If I'd been really disciplined, I could have utilised some of the wheels and tyres I already had too (although they wouldn't be bead-locks, which really is essential on a vehicle like this) and it would have meant forfeiting the spare wheel I've now installed on the ebaYJeep of course. I also have a spare FlySky 2.4Ghz Receiver kicking around, although by the time I'd bought a matching Transmitter and paid for postage, the compact TX/RX set I got from eBay was just as cheap, and the new Receiver is waterproof too which ought to be handy on a vehicle like this.

Similarly, I also wanted to try the Hobby Wing waterproof ESC, and I have to say, it's really nicely made and seems to be perfect for a crawler, with a really strong drag-brake on it... for info. if anyone is unfamiliar, it's about the same size as a Tamiya TEU-105BK ESC, but made of metal and waterproof too of course. They also offer a non-crawler version (presumably with a traditional braking function rather than the abrupt stop/lock you get with a crawler ESC), so I think in future that is going to be my go-to brand/model for ESCs in future.

Anyway, I'm hoping that a build like this is a good example of the kind of vehicle you can just leave in the boot of the car perhaps - so that it's always on hand for an impromptu crawling session should I spot any suitable terrain!

Glad you like it!

Jenny x

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