Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Own RC Cars

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Designing, crafting and racing remote controlled (RC) cars has been a passion of hobbyists for some time. While many aspiring RC engineers are content to purchase and assemble ready-to-race kits, purists insist on making homemade RC cars from minimally purchased parts and carefully constructing their own machines. With a basic understanding of the components of an RC car, you can draft your own design and get to building.

Design and Supplies

Sketch a car design in the appropriate scale, beginning with the frame. The typical measurement is 1/10 scale. Draw the vehicle from various angles. Measure from the wheels of the car and make sure the design will leave room for the motor you need.

Buy new parts or salvage from used RCs You will need a flat metal plate to serve as the chassis or body of the car, which holds the shock towers and an electrical motor capable of receiving a two-way radio frequency; a pivoting axle, straight axle and steering knob; a servomechanism; two resistors; wheels for the type of surface you will be driving on; a copper ring; antennas for both the car and remote; and remote casing with a trigger.

Find a flat work surface and lay a towel on it to prevent parts from falling off.


Cut the flat metal plate to the scale indicated in your drawing. Place one pivoting axle near the front of the plate for steering and a straight axle near the rear for the wheels.

Attach the axles with screws.

Place the motor at the front frame plate near the front axle.

Connect the main steering wire along the motor to the front axle's gear assembly and secure the wire around the copper ring by twisting. Run the secondary, steering wire from the motor to the front bottom axle knob. Screw the antenna to the motor's top.

Align the servomechanism level to the motor. Coil or zip-tie the servo leads so they are not loose.

Select the remote's plastic housing and place two resistors coated in rubber cement inside the frame.

Attach tires to the axles, screwing washers onto the ends of axles to hold the tires in place.

Install two pairs of resisters with rubber cement inside the remote base housing about an inch apart from each other. Make a hole in the middle and add a steel rod, attaching a steel head and electrode at the end of the rod and cap it with a knob on the outside.

Connect the wire from the trigger to one pair of resistors to regulate the front axle, which in turn regulates the car's speed.

Snap the two halves of the remote's housing together and screw the antenna to the top. Test to see that your remote control is communicating with your car.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Flat metal plate
  • Shock towers
  • Electrical motor
  • Pivoting axle
  • Straight axle
  • Steering knob
  • Servomechanism
  • Two resistors
  • Four wheels
  • Copper ring
  • Two antennas
  • Remote casing with trigger
  • Flat work surface
  • Towel
  • Scissors or sharp hobby knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Steering wire
  • Secondary wire
  • Coil or zip-tie
  • Rubber cement
  • Washers
  • Drill
  • Steel rod
  • Steel head
  • Electrode
  • Knob