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Speedy's Sport 3.2 Hot Wheels Homage

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I have plenty of projects in the fire, but this one has been consuming my thoughts lately.

Long story short, I built one of these chassis 8 years ago and sold it to a local buyer maybe a year later.  At one point I had it going as fast as 50 mph in the street with a Novak 4200kV brushless system installed, and I finished a couple bodies for it.  I kind of regret selling it as I didn't really experiment and play with it as much as I should have.  With RJ Speed up for sale these days due to retirement (link), I wanted to build another one just in case the opportunity disappears in the future.  Be sure to follow the link to get a little slice of BoLink and RJ Speed history.

Speaking of history, when people post about Hot Wheels I sometimes feel a little nostalgic for the 70s.  I have many good memories of playing with Hot Wheels with my dad; we used to set up some straight track from the edge of a couch cushion and fire off all the cars to see which would roll the farthest.  One of my favorite Hot Wheels from that time period was a "P-917," or Porsche 917.  As it turns out, RJ Speed has a nice Porsche 962 shell available for sale, so I grabbed one along with a Sport 3.2 kit.

As far as paint jobs are concerned, inspiration comes from the Hot Wheels carrying case and the original cars my parents saved and gave to me a few years ago.  Most of the cars are pretty well used and chipped, a few are missing windows, and several axles are bent, but it's their thoughtfulness that makes this a fun build to pursue.  A 962 is very different from a 917, but that's why this is a homage build.  It's an acknowledgement of all the effort BoLink/RJ Speed put into their business over the years, admiration for the creativity of the old school Hot Wheels designers, and appreciation for parents who played with their kids and saved a few key items to give again later.

Made in the USA!

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Kit contents:

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Inspiration:

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So let's get on with it, shall we?

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First things first, take a look at the instructions...  You'll notice there's a lot of written text and actual photographs; it's very old school.  No CAD images or exploded diagrams in sight, save a single diagram and parts list at the back of the manual.  In some ways I really like this, as there's a lot of freedom on the part of the author to convey all the nuances he wants.

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BoLink/RJ Speed wasn't alone in this practice; the original Associated RC10 manual was very similar.  It looks like it was typed on a typewriter first, and then photographs were probably taped in place before all the pages were taken to a printer for duplication.  I like how Associated gives the builder plenty of warnings and tips right away:

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And you get the idea of how the assembly steps proceed here:

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Sure, modern instructions with CAD images, parts images, and sequences of assembly reduce the need for writing and translating into other languages, but it can lead to interpretations and doubts at times.  To me these old instructions feel more personal; someone took the time to write them and had a vested interest in seeing the buyer successfully build the car.  Like the old Heathkit saying, "we won't let you fail."

In some ways these old instructions are like the build threads we author today...  :D

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So from the kit contents photo above, I broke open the tire bag and the main chassis/parts bag to set a few things aside...

You'll notice the tires are foam, and the rears are substantially wider than the fronts.  I don't know the Shore rating of the foam nor what spec class these are for, but it seems to me these would be best for carpet use and not asphalt.  The problem as I see it is the foam doesn't have much give, so when cornering on asphalt the outer and inner edges of the tires want to break free because the asphalt wants the edges to travel at different speeds, but the foam itself has very little give relative to the solid wheel.  So I'd think these tires would be better for carpet where the fibers of the carpet move to accommodate the same tire inner and outer edge speeds.  This is all speculation on my part as I almost never run foams on anything.

There are rubber-capped tires available which I believe have foam internals and a rubber outer tread.  CRC sells a set of four for something like $70 USD, which is way to pricey from my perspective, so later I may try to cap these foams myself by cutting a bicycle tube into segments.  We'll see how that goes when we get there.

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The chassis itself is super-simple.  You can flip the chassis to either side, it doesn't matter.  There are no countersunk holes.  From left to right, there are holes for body posts, front suspension arms (10", 10.25", and 10.5" wheelbases, or 254 / 260 / 267 mm), battery zip ties, rear pod plate, and rear body posts.  Along with the wheelbase options, the chassis accommodates 200 mm bodies when using the stock foam tires.

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The rest of the first bag contains other parts bags, some zip ties, and a "damper" rod for the rear pod.

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Most of the first page of instructions is dedicated to building the front suspension and steering of the car.  This is very simple as you'll see.

Bag 2 contains the parts for the front suspension.  In general what happens is screws and nuts are installed in the front chassis plate holes to accept the fuel tubing, suspension arms, and lock nuts.  the instructions call out using the center set of holes for a 260 mm (10.25") wheelbase.

Parts:

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Screws, nuts, and fuel tubing installed:

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Suspension arms and lock nuts installed.  I used some calipers to check the spacing between the suspension arm edges and the chassis plate to try to make the arms as level as possible.  When I thought I had it all set, I confirmed it by laying a straight edge across the arms and looking for any gaps showing light.  The setup is relatively primitive, but you can set some static camber and caster by adjusting the innermost and front nuts.

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That completes bag #2, now with bag #2A there are some steering parts to assemble.

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Installing the axle stubs takes some force.  I found it easiest to install an e-clip on the axle stub first, then with the stub supported by a block of wood, press the steering block down onto the axle using a Tamiya box wrench.

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The next step was to mount the kingpins to the suspension arms and install the steering blocks onto the kingpins.  Then install the springs, washers, and e-clips.  Here's where some reflection on the previous chassis from 8 years ago pays off.  What I remembered pretty clearly was how much friction there was between the steering blocks and kingpins; so much so that the movement of the blocks against the springs was severely hampered.  I remember getting a lot of front foam tire/suspension chatter when taking tight turns on the asphalt outside, and it was really my fault as I simply pressed the steering blocks on and gave each kingpin a small dab of silicone oil.

This time I tested the kingpins in the blocks before installing them, and I found once again the fit was way too tight.  I measured the kingpin diameters to be 3.16 mm, so I dug through my box of drill bits and eventually found a 3.22 mm bit.  I ran it through each block, test fitted, and found I needed to run the drill through each block several times to get a decent fit.  After some drilling, the steering blocks now fit on the kingpins with the slightest of friction and no slop.  I rubbed just the slightest coating of silicone shock oil on the kingpins, and the steering blocks really do move against the springs now much better than the first chassis I built.  Lesson learned and applied this time!

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Next up, building the rear motor pod and attaching it to the main chassis plate...

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Lovely story behind this Speedy. Those tyres are for carpet. This chassis looks almost identical to the GT10 LeMansPrototype class cars that quite a few guys run indoors at my club in the winter. They run 13.5 brushless on 1s batteries and they are easily the fastest thing around any given carpet track. Should be interesting getting it running outdoors. 

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Onwards with bag 3, the rear motor pod...  It's simple construction with a base plate, two vertical plates, and a top brace.

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As luck would have it, 8 years ago I bought some extra ball bearings as spare parts for the first chassis.  Nothing else I own uses flanged Imperial measurement ball bearings, so it's great to pull these out of the spare parts box and use them finally.  These replace the bushings for the rear axle and front wheels.

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I seem to vaguely remember gluing bearings into the rear vertical plates, but maybe I'm confusing that with a a Digger I built as well.  In this case the bearings fit into the holes snugly without any need for glue.

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Angle brackets installed...

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Vertical plates installed...  Here I made a mistake and tightened the smaller plate into place before installing the top brace.  It's better to press the top brace into place first, then install the screw for the smaller vertical plate.

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Top brace installed...

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I think the way the top brace is installed is worth a closer look; the way this works is the top brace has fingers that slide into slots cut into the vertical plates.  It's a bit of tight fit, but worth it as there is no slop in the finished assembly.  Once the top brace is installed and the smaller vertical plate is in place, screws bite into the top brace material directly.  This has the effect of spreading the top brace fingers even more, and also drawing the top brace into the vertical plate.  It's really quite inexpensive and effective -- pretty cool!

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Now we start to integrate the motor pod with the chassis plate, and this involves a U-plate and some hardware...

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The U-plate simply attaches to the motor pod with three screws and locknuts.

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Two more screws and nuts install in the chassis, and then the U-plate lays on top of the nuts.

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The tips of the U-plate then see aluminum standoffs installed over them; they're tightened to hold everything together.  Screws, springs, spring seats, and lock nuts installed closer to the motor pod provide some rudimentary suspension.  Much like the front kingpin springs, these rear springs are relatively stiff.

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The last part of bag 3 involves installing the "traction" bar between the motor pod and chassis.

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Rear ball connector...

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Front collar...

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Ball cup, rod, collar, and fuel tubing installed...  The instructions suggest changing the amount of preload on the fuel tubing can be used to affect rear traction, but I'd have to think this is more true for carpet than asphalt.

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So as I revisit this chassis again after a long time away from it, I feel this strong desire to experiment with some softer springs for the kingpins and U-plate.  The stiffness of the suspension and the foam tires seem great for carpet racing, but for street bashing on a rougher asphalt surface my intuition is to make the suspension much more compliant.  We'll have to take this for a test drive and assess it.

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Time to build the rear axle from bag 4.

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First step is to install the axle in the rear motor pod.  There are two thin white nylon washers to minimize rubbing between the bearings and hub/diff.  Two set screws in the left hub bite into the axle and prevent any side to side movement.  The instructions recommend to leave a little bit of side play; I might have a half millimeter of play, not much.

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Here are all the diff parts.  From left to right, diff ring, spur gear, diff balls, diff ring, hub adapter, right hub, thrust washer, thrust bearings, thrust washer, cone spring washer, and lock nut.  I've been using this faucet grease on some ball diffs lately, and it's worked out as well if not better than the usual Tamiya silicone grease.  The main difference is the faucet grease is thicker and stays in place better; the Tamiya diff grease is relatively runny in comparison.

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First diff ring installed.  In some ball diffs I've built in the past, the instructions showed using a little bit of grease between the adapter and ring to promote some adhesion between the parts.  I did the same thing here, coating both sides of the diff ring so it sticks to the adapter on the axle and lubes the balls in the spur gear.

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The kit came with 8 diff balls and a spur gear; at this stage the instructions ask that the balls are snapped into the holes of the diff. I didn't bother to apply any grease to the balls as I figured enough grease would come from the diff rings themselves over time.

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Spur gear, diff balls, second diff ring, and hub adapter installed.  I lubed both sides of the diff ring again.

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Hub installed.  The hole slides over the lip on the face of the adapter, centering the adapter and diff ring against the spur.

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Thrust washer, bearing, and washer installed.  I used some Tamiya anti-wear grease for the thrust washer as it's relatively sticky and stays in place.

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And finally the cone washer and the lock nut...

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At this point I started adjusting the diff and checking the spur/diff balls for slippage with respect to the diff rings.  It didn't seem to matter how much I tightened the diff, it always seemed to slip when I held the hubs and pushed on the spur gear.  Watching more closely, I noticed the hub adapter was rotating inside the right hub.  The hub adapter and hub shouldn't have any slip between them, so to solve the issue I took the diff apart and make a donut-shaped gasket out of one layer of duct tape.  After applying the gasket to the hub adapter and reassembling the diff, it then worked as expected.  I could adjust the lock nut and find the sweet spot where the diff balls just started to slip between the rings with zero hub or axle movement.  Just a little bit of duct tape with an adhesive side and a vinyl side worked very well.

One other problem that popped up was I noticed the axle wasn't perfectly centered with respect to the main chassis plate.  The front suspension arms are identical and the front axle stubs are located outboard the same amount from the chassis plate, but it seemed like the rear axle was offset by 1.5 mm to the left.  Digging through my old RJ Speed parts, I found some 3 mm thick nylon washers I had used to position the axle on a Digger properly.  End result, I added a 3 mm thick washer between the diff and motor mount plate.  Both sides now appear equally positioned, but with tires mounted the width has grown from 200 mm to 203 mm.  Not sure if this will be a problem for the body later, but for now this is an easy way to balance it out.  If I run into problems later I can always remove 1.5 mm from the left hub and add a 1.5 mm washer to the right.

Extra washer:

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I'm going to skip bag 5, body posts, because I have a different solution in mind for the body later.  That leaves bag 6 to finish the assembly of the chassis.

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The last bag, bag 6, has some miscellaneous hardware for installing the motor and steering.  The kit includes a 27T 48p pinion; with the kit 81T spur that's a FDR of 3:1.  At first glance that might seem low compared to the 7 or 8:1 most Tamiya on-road touring car chassis start at, but with such a light chassis it's not a big deal.  Maybe this car will hit 30 mph?  That would make it plenty fun.

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For electronics I'm going old school and using a brushed motor/ESC and analog servo.  I like the feel of silver cans in my other pan cars, so why change the formula?  I found this particular silver can in a used parts box and gave it some extra attention.  I ran it submerged in water, both forward and reverse, using a single 'D' battery initially.  Some dirt and debris actually came out floating around in the water, and a second dipping in clean water didn't yield any more crud, so I stopped.  After drying the motor, I lubed the end bushings with a light weight bearing oil and worked the shaft back and forth hoping for some capillary action to draw the oil in.  Finally, I applied a few commutator drops and spun the motor by hand several times.  All of this prep didn't seem to make the motor run any faster, but I could definitely tell a difference with the bushings as the motor spun down.  So, everything is clean and lubed now.

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Installed, and gear mesh set.  I usually set the mesh with the screws just barely tight, and move the spur to multiple positions and check the mesh all the way around.  I just look and listen for the slightest of play between the gears to consider it good.  The pinion is steel; I check it with a  magnet.  Even with the extra washer moving the diff outboard another 3 mm, there was enough motor shaft for the set screw to bite into it.

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Onwards with the steering.  The collars and set screws are used to set the total length of a combination of short and long Z-wires.  Basically, this is how you set toe on the car.

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Wires and collars installed.

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This analog servo from Hobbyking works pretty well.  It's about the same as a Futaba S3003 standard servo, but 1/3 the price.

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I don't have a dedicated servo centering tool, so I had to solder connectors on the ESC, bind the receiver to the radio, and then plug in the servo to set the midpoint.

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Once I had the servo centered, I realized the Z-wires weren't going to fit the included horn.  Fortunately I had some leftover servo saver parts from years ago when I just needed one part to fix a Lunch Box; there was a set of parts still on the tree usable in this car.

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The servo is simply held down with tape.

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The rest of the electronics installation was easy enough.  I just taped the ESC and receiver to the chassis and used a few zip ties to take up the slack and secure the wiring.

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I tried a few hard case LiPos to check fitment, and I can see I'll have to do something about mounting the battery.  I may have to drill some extra holes and mount some battery cups, or resort to some slots and run battery tape commonly seen on race-spec touring chassis.

As you can see the chassis is very simple.  I think I've found a nice cheap way to outfit cars that don't require the power or speed of a brushless setup.  Hobbyking is selling everything here:

  • $5 for the RS540-SH if buying one new
  • $12 for the brushed ESC
  • $7 for the receiver
  • $4 for the servo

Total, about $27 to $28.

Looks like it's time to think about tires and the body...

 

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aw speedy should've sent one of my motors to ya, they all set out in a padded shelf tray drawer not where everything else is. if you need another let me know, i do not open that drawer often. have a few 540's and 550's i keep them cause they all work and fairly new condition, some never used. 

tires i got China specials but they fargin work (foam or rubber?), i heave only rubber. no bods.

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Not too much to report today.  I cut apart a bicycle tube with the intention of making my own capped tires, but I think I bought too small a size.  Stretching the tube to fit around the tire was almost impossible.  Anyhow, I mounted the wheels/tires and checked the fit of the shell, and there's definitely no issue adding another 3 mm of width to the rear axle.  At this point I'm encouraged the rest of the project will go ok.  My punch list includes making a battery holder, capping the tires, finishing the body, and doing some tuning/testing with different springs.

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Started looking at the body today to figure out how to trim and mount it.  I grabbed a picture of a 1:1 962 and overlaid a picture of my shell and chassis, and came to the realization just how different the body is from the real thing:

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The chassis itself has about 11 mm of clearance between it and the table, but the trim line on the body is only about 5 mm above the table.  One question on my mind was whether to mount the body so the trim line matches the bottom of the chassis, or mount the body so it is just 5 mm above the table.  After looking at the shell vs. a real 962 overlaid, I think I'm going to mount the body so it only has 5 mm of clearance with respect to the table.  The placement of the wheel arches is pretty clear.

The rear of this 962 shell is completely inaccurate to the real car.  You can see how the rear wing starts and finishes way more forward compared to the real car.  The profile of the top surface curls up vs. tapering down.  I'll probably trim behind the wheels to be more accurate to the 1:1 profile, but making an accurate rear diffuser and an accurate rear wing is out of the question.  I'll do my best to make it 'cool.' B)

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Can't have a "Hot Wheel" without "hot wheels," can we?  Just a quick try to see how I can blend the foam pan car wheel with the face of a Hot Wheels wheel.  I might have to consider shrinking the face of the wheel and inserting black foam between the spokes and the red line.

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Quit playing with your Hot Wheels, and concentrate on this build!:lol:

Dang kids, the yout's today.

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29 minutes ago, ACCEL said:

Quit playing with your Hot Wheels, and concentrate on this build!:lol:

Dang kids, the yout's today.

Ha, I'm in the middle of yet another build, but this one is for another TC member.  So I'm on the clock and need to get it finished in the next week or two so he can meet a delivery date of his own.  In the meantime...

 

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Well, it was more than 8 minutes, but we're back in business!

Time to take advantage of the fact the body is still clear.  This means designing the body posts, designing LED buckets, and establishing cut lines for the wheel arches and rear wing.

First up are the body posts.  Using a flat surface and a height gauge, I measured the elevation for the top of the chassis plate.  It turned out to be 13.6 mm all the around the edge of the plate.  Then I positioned the clear body over the chassis right where I think I want it and measured the elevation of the shell right over the body post holes.  In the front, the outer skin of the shell measured 35.6 mm.  Towards the rear of the chassis plate, where the other post holes are located, I measured 63.6 mm.  There's a free app for Android called Clinometer that will provide angle measurements using the sensors in the phone, I measured an angle of 26.5 degrees in the front and 20 degrees along the sides.  So with these measurements in hand, I designed some body posts to the exact length and angle factoring in some neo magnets and double-stick tape.

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Time to fire up the printer and see if these are any good.

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Here's the first attempt at body posts.  The main chassis plate already has holes in it for posts, so these are held in place with M3x8 button head screws installed from the bottom.  The red film on each piece of servo tape is still there because I'm not ready to mount the body yet; I just want to test fit it.

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Here's the body laid on top of the magnets.  What I found was that the front wheels were just a little too far rearwards compared to the wheel arches in the body, so I had to lift the front end of the body about 1 mm to get it to slide far enough backwards to center the wheels appropriately.  But, then the magnets on the rear body posts were just a few millimeters too far forward.  So, what I did was go back into CAD, make the front posts 1 mm shorter, and moved the rear magnets 4 mm rearwards.  As the print for the revised parts was nearly finished, the rear posts broke free from the build plate and were ruined, so I'm attempting the print again with some stabilizing features built into the part.  Hopefully tomorrow I can test the body position again and it will be nearly perfect.

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While the posts were printing I spent some time looking at the front headlight areas and did a very quick 3D model to print and do a fit check.  The idea was to print something quickly and then trim it back or sand the corners where necessary to then go back and revise the model.  Unfortunately, I designed it with the minimum wall thickness (a single pass of the printer nozzle), so it fell apart as I was trying to remove it from the build plate.  That's ok; I'll print another one soon and continue on with the fit check.

Another area I'm starting to think about is replacing the foam tires with rubber F104 tires.  I have a set of front and rear Sweep Racing SW-F1RS (rear soft) and SW-F1FS (front soft) mounted but not glued on some Tuning Haus TUH1185 and TUH1188 wheels.  The foam tires are really low profile, and to get the right wheel appearance I need more sidewall on the tire.  I thought about putting some fake foam on the face of the existing wheel and painting the wheel edge red, but I think I'm going to toy with printing some Hot Wheels-style wheels that will work with the RJ Speed chassis and accept the F104 rubber.  If something like this can be done, then it might be interesting to consider other wheels for touring car tires in the future, almost like a F103GT.

Anyhow, here's a picture showing the difference in sidewalls between the kit foams and the F1 rubber.

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So, hopefully the body posts will be finished very soon.  Then I want to have a plan in mind for headlights and tail lights.  Once the wheel/tire situation is decided, then it'll be time to mark and trim the body.

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All right, V2 of the body posts are printed and things are looking good.  I'm happy with the height and position of the body now.  One nice thing about these magnets:  I can use a few extra to hold the body in position while marking the axle centers for the wheel arches...

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Axle positions marked on the shell...  A neat trick I figured out was to position my eye at just the right distance so the outer foam of the far tire would just meet with the inside of the closer wheel; that way I knew my eye was along the axis of the shaft and I could place the tip of a dry-erase fine tip marker with confidence on the body.

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After the axle positions were marked, I made some cutting templates to tape to the inside of the body for the wheel arches.  The foam tires measure about 61.7 mm in diameter, but the rubber tires I want to use measure about 63 mm in diameter.  I made the circle templates 64 mm in diameter to have a little gap and added cross hairs to align with the axle dots.  The vertical lines are there to help cut the arches perpendicular to the bottom body line, and the multiple bottom horizontal lines are there to help me align the angle of the template with the bottom body line.

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Templates taped in place.  Right after this I added some lines to cut the rear of the body; you'll see with the cut body.

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These are my main tools for trimming bodies.  When the lines are simple and there aren't any interior corners, the curved embroidery scissors produce excellent results much like dedicate body trimming scissors.  I've done quite a few bodies with these scissors, and they've never let me down.  For some of the harder lines or interior features, scoring and snapping works great.  Sometimes I'll score the complex feature, use the scissors to segment the lexan into snapping zones, and use the bent needle nose pliers for the smallest snapped features.  A body reamer is another essential, but since I'm doing magnetic mounts on this body there's no need to cut any holes.

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I'm happy with this...  Even the front bottom lip is very straight.

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Detail of the front arch...

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The gaps are tight, like the real car.  I didn't want to incorporate some of non-round aspects of the arches into my body because it would just leave a big gap; there's no fender liner to darken the space behind the tire.

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I've been making it a habit to save all my lexan cutoffs lately.  The extra material is good to have on hand for making windows, lights, etc.  We'll get into that later.

The posts and the body are in good shape for now, so I'm interested in the wheels/tires next.  It'll be great to see some rubber tires under that body!

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10 hours ago, speedy_w_beans said:

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Love that profile, it's very Hot Wheels 

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Took a lot of measurements of the rear axle, foam tires/wheels, and F1 tires/wheels tonight.  Then I did a quick and dirty model of the rear axle and the foam tires to get some idea of how things are really positioned.  Note there are four mounting holes on each side's flange (only two used at a time), but in my Hot Wheels wheel model above I have five spokes.  This means one mounting screw is easy to access, but the other one is blocked by the opposing spoke.  I could go to six spokes, but that ruins the look compared to the original model.  After a bit of trial and error and considering options, I think what's going to happen is there will be an adapter that converts the flange into a hex, similar to how it is done on the RM01 or F103GT.  Since the axle is only 150 mm long, there's enough room for two M4x20 cap head screws acting as axle stubs and the surrounding material to capture them.

Baseline model to start some designing with...

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Mad skills going on here

 

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On 3/21/2020 at 9:03 AM, ACCEL said:

so 8 minutes, ok i'll wait:P

i think my watch stopped.

 my, my how time fly's.

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All This!  for a Hot wheel....................................................................................................?

Cup a coffee in the A.M. , i'll have popcarn later on, some finger sandwhich's for brunch, then some pie and i'll tune here to Speedy's Channel for an adventurous build.

You have Marvelous skills Speed.

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