AMS Spring 2023

Arduino + Car = Carduino. 3D Printed RC Car That Can Be Customized, Printed, & Controlled via a Smartphone

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projects-carRemote controlled (RC) cars hold a place in the hearts of so many. Just as we’ve seen through resurgences of Tang, My Little Pony, and even the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block, nostalgia is a powerful force.

Think back to a younger, maybe even more innocent time, and the toys and games of that era. For a lot of people, RC cars were a real staple. First, just getting one at the store and feeling the glee of being able to control its zooming. Maybe later, building one from a kit and feeling an inventor’s sort of satisfaction when finally it was up and running, making circles around the cat or little sister in the kitchen.

Nostalgia combined with ingenuity is a driving force too in the 3D printing industry. It’s not total nostalgia, though: it’s driven by more than just the idea to revisit our own youth. Rather than just reliving our own youths, though, we can improve upon them and really share with today’s younger generation.

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The team behind UK-based Maker Club — which will be kicking off its Indiegogo campaign today — have now rolled out (pun intended) their twist on the classic RC car. Based on an RC car and controlled by a powerful Arduino chip, the Carduino is here.

Maker Club has a mission:

“3D Printed Robots, for Everyone.”

With that sensibility in mind, the Carduino is among Maker Club’s first four big projects that can be implemented at the school level and undertaken by kids and families. While kids raised in earlier generations had to rely on kits or Radio Shack for their RC cars, today’s kids can really make their own. Maker Club will ship over the electronics, you print out the rest (following directions and using .stl files from Maker Club), and then control it.

The Carduino can be totally customized: want a bright yellow cruiser or a hot pink body? Go for it! Customize the body while printing, and paint to your heart’s content. Maker Club offers a few carduino-partssuggestions: “Some potential add-ons could be: distance detectors to avoid collisions, a GoPro for some cool mobile camera footage, awesome 3D printed shells to personalise your car, and much more!”

The team — led by Founder/CEO Simon Riley and Marketing and Community Manager Declan Cassidy — combined cloud-based mobile control with gamified learning and desktop manufacturing to develop their concept for Maker Club. They developed a smartphone app to control all robotic creations, designed to be supremely easy to use so kids can really get hands-on experience. Intended to be intuitive with simple big-button icons, the app allows for easy control of movements, lights, direction, speed: everything to move a robot. The signal travels from smartphone to robot using Bluetooth technology.

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Will you be making your own Carduino?  Let’s hear your thoughts on this project in the 3D Printed Carduino forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out Maker Club’s Indiegogo video for more details straight from the team.

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