Remote Controlled Toys

How to Build a Remote Controlled Robot at Home

Look around your house for any old toys no longer in use-specifically, radio-controlled (RC) cars. These old cars contain many of the parts necessary for your remote controlled robot. Salvage a controller and receiver combo from any of these old RC toys. The receiver is the circuit board at the base of these old toys that receives instructions from the controller, which should be either four-way or higher. Four-way controllers allow for up-down and left-right movement for your robot.

Locate a bare wheel base that is flat and consists of four wheels, or tear down an old RC car and toss away the unnecessary plastic decorative items, leaving only the base. Set aside the battery if it still works.

Glue two pieces of Velcro to the wheel base using professional-strength glue. One Velcro piece should affix to the top center of the wheel base, while the other should affix to the bottom center of the base.

Place your battery on the bottom Velcro piece. This battery should be either lead-acid or nickel-cadmium, although the latter is the more efficient of the two. Attach your receiver from the salvaged RC car to the top Velcro piece.

Attach servos (the motors driving your remote-controlled robot) to the wheel base. Place the servos at opposite ends of the wheel base along the perimeter and directly beside the wheels. Secure the servos in place with dual-lock tape.

Wire the components together through the receiver. The receiver has channels on the end of it, and each component should be wired to one of these channels. In the case of the battery, take its wire lead and connect it to the receiver channel that is labeled either “Batt” or “Battery”, depending on your receiver. Each of the two servos should be connected in the same fashion to the receiver, but in directly adjacent channels.

Flip on your controller and give your remote controlled robot a spin. Now that your robot is in working order, you may add any decorative elements you wish to spruce up its appearance.

Things You Will Need

  • Wheel base
  • Battery
  • Four- or six-way receiver/controller combo
  • 2 Velcro pieces
  • Professional-strength glue
  • 2 servos
  • Dual-lock tape

How to Build Your Own RC Monster Truck

Look through your RC monster truck kit. Make sure everything that is supposed to be in the kit--body, chassis, motor, receiver and transmitter. If your kit is missing parts, enlist the help of your local hobby shop to point you to the right parts for your kit.

Separate out all the small screws and nuts into little bowls or containers for later retrieval. Assemble the kit, taking time to identify the correct screws and parts needed for each step. Be sure to tighten all screws into place but avoid over tightening and stripping the threads. Rub a little bit of soap along the threads before screwing in to place. This will help prevent stripping threads when working on a stubborn screw.

Apply grease to all the internal gears and moving parts of the RC monster truck. This can be messy, so take care in not applying too much to avoid gunky gears. You can also use WD-40. The oil-based liquid lubricant is light and thin, so you will not lose performance and won't have to worry about gunky gears and mess.

Attach all metal components tightly. Apply a little liquid thread lock on the threads and nuts to ensure a tight hold. Screws can loosen over time from vibrations during operation. Loose screws can cause the chassis and parts to move and vibrate, resulting in damage or lowered performance.

Take your time when measuring out parts to cut, like the shocks or tire rods. Parts like this need to be accurate in length and size. Use a ruler or calipers to measure twice, then cut.

Put together the receiver box as it states in the manual. Follow it closely and correctly. Once done, attach the receiver box to the inside of the RC monster truck. Look for a flat smooth spot away from the motor and moving parts. Protect the receiver from harsh jolts and prolong vibration by filling the receiver box with foam rubber. This insulation will help prevent radio glitching, which is common from vibration.

Wash all parts you plan on painting with warm soapy water, removing all the grease and dirt. This extra step will prevent peeling and chipping. Paint one color at a time, allowing it to dry before moving onto new colors. Use painter's tape for sharp lines and edges like racing lines or pen lines.

Assemble the final components to the RC monster truck, attaching the body to the chassis and spoilers to the body. Once completed, test the RC monster truck outdoors on a flat smooth surface to see how it handles on the road.

Things You Will Need

  • RC monster truck kit
  • Screwdriver
  • Bowls
  • Soap
  • Grease
  • WD-40
  • Liquid thread lock
  • Paint

Homemade RC Airboats

Build a base for the vehicle. A base made of styrofoam, about 8 inches wide by 12 inches long, or whatever dimensions you would prefer to make. Round off the sides and taper slightly the base toward the front.

Build a mount for the fan motor out of balsa wood. Place the mount about 2 inches from the rear of the base, and have it stand about 4 inches tall. Leave the glue to dry overnight.

Make a seat out of balsa panels, as well as a slot to store the receiver and power supply for the boat underneath the seat. This should extend toward the front of the boat, but not exceed about 3 inches from the front of the boat.

Mount the motor on the frame you built for it. Attach the propeller to the mounted motor.

Build a rudder that connects to the airboat on the back of the propeller. Build a wooden frame that surrounds the propeller, but does not impeded the motor's movement. Attach a hinged rudder to it, as well as a small wooden "handle" that reaches to the motor mount.

Install the servo so it attaches to the handle on the rudder, and mounts on the motor frame.

Wire the servo and the motor to the receiver. Place these in the slot hidden under the seat.

Connect the battery to the power supply. Attach that to the boat as well.

Test the servo motor to make sure it moves the rudder as needed. Test that the motor also increases and decreases speed as needed.

Things You Will Need

  • Styrofoam base
  • Balsa wood panels
  • Glue
  • 1/4-inch balsa sticks
  • Motor
  • RC plane propeller
  • Hinge (loose)
  • Wires
  • Servo
  • RC reciever
  • RC vehicle battery
  • Action figure (optional)

Tip

You can place an action figure in the driver's seat to make it look like someone is actually driving the boat.

How to Make a RC Helicopter Landing Pad

Lay the rubber matting (it should be a 2-foot by 2-foot square) on a cutting board.

Mark out the size and shape of your as-yet-nonexistent landing pad on the rubber matting with the marker, using the ruler to ensure straight edges.

Cut the marked-out shape from the matting with the utility knife, paying careful attention to stay within the lines. Cut away any excess once the shape is fully out of the matting.

Place the landing pad on a large, flat surface that is clear of any aerial obstructions, and gently land your helicopter on it. Watch the mat to make sure it doesn’t twist when the landing skids come into contact with it.

Things You Will Need

  • Anti-fatigue child-proof rubber matting
  • Cutting board
  • Black marker
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife

Tip

The area around your work space must have enough open space to allow you to work without bumping your elbows.

You can choose different-colored matting and decorate it as you like to simulate an actual landing pad's colors.

Warning

You have to assume that every landing will not be pinpoint-accurate, so leave extra room on the pad for off-center landings.