How To Make an R/C Drift Car
Let's take a look at a typical rc drift car and study its parts. This will hopefully help you build the best drifter based on your style.
RC Drift Body
The first thing that attracts people are the beautiful bodies. RX7, Skyline, Supra, 350z, AE86, Silvia... these are some of the most popular bodies used for drifting.
Photo: Tamiya Mitsubish Lancer Evo X RC drift car.
In this example, I kept the paint job simple. The lexan body was painted white with black trimmings. Cut out the front and added some mesh grills. Used an aftermarket black plastic side mirrors and windshield wiper.
Chassis Guide for Beginners
Next is choosing the best chassis. Seems there is concensus that more weight balance up front is better. That is why the Tamiya TA03, with the electric motor mounted up front, is considered one of the best rc drift car.
There are also drift specific chassis such as the Tamiya TT-01D, Yokomo MR-4TC Drift Package and the HPI ProD. Take your pick, you cannot go wrong with any of these.
In my case, I chose my Tamiya 414 touring car as my primary chassis because I think it is one of the most beautiful rc chassis ever made.
Photo: Underneath the Evo X body is the Tamiya 414 TC chassis. The 414 chassis won the world championship for Tamiya in the Touring car class.
Photo: Closer look at a chassis used for rc drifting.
To drift, I used the Tamiya Super Driftech tires. These are 24mm wide and made of very hard resin material. Designed for drifting on carpet and asphalt. And best of all these drift tires look very realistic.
Picture: The Tamiya Super Driftech tire after about two hours of use. Wear is still almost non-existent. A very long lasting and cheap drift tire.
Wheels are as important as the body for the overall customized look of your ride. Here I use a 26mm wide Tamiya wheel. Perfect for the 24mm wide tire.
Photo: A Tamiya wheel. The center white 5-spoke is mounted to the chrome rim by screws. This complements the Evo's white body color. Note the Tamiya TBLE-01 brushless ESC.
To do power drifts, we need to use rc drift motors that have more power than standard stock motors. Here I decided to use a Tamiya 12T brushless motor/esc combo. I also used an ORION LIPO battery, light and powerful. Plus you can use these batteries 1,000 times if used properly.
Photo: Tamiya 12T sensorless brushless motor. It's cheap and almost maintenance free. Just avoid overheating and this electric motor will last a very long time.
Important is to choose the right gearing to provide lots of torque and help prevent the motor from overheating. Here Tamiya recommends a final drive ratio (i.e. FDR) of around 8 for their 12T motor. Being conservative, I geared at around 10. This reduces the strain on the motor and should give more torque for wheelspin and power drifts.
Photo: A large spur gear and small pinion gear gives a higher FDR number. For drifting I use a higher FDR than what I would use for grip racing. Make sure motor temps do not exceed 160F.
To provide quick steering response I used a Futaba 9550 high speed servo. This allows me to do quick steering corrections and intiate drifts and directional changes faster. Overall makes the radio control car more responsive and easy to control.
Pictured is the Futaba 9550 high speed servo used for quick and precise steering.
The radio control system I use a cheap Futaba AM controller and receiver. It still does a good job.
For tuning, it will depend on your driving style. It is suggested that for rc drifting we use 20% softer springs than what we would normally use for on-road racing. Also oil in the 20wt range.
Photo: Simply compress two different springs with your fingers. The softer spring will compress more. Use this technique to match and choose your springs.
And finally you can fine tune by changing the front to back weight balance (e.g. 50/50, 60/40) droop and ride height.
My typical setup is 50/50 weight balance, zero camber, even ride height, front toe out, soft front springs. I continue to fine tune so this setup might soon change.
Hope this has helped you setup and build your own rc drift car. Please share this with your friends.
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