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spikedaniIt was just last week that we did a story on a man named Thomas Palm, and his 3D printed RC snow tires. Palm had amazingly created a set of six tires and six wheels that can be mixed and matched in order to create 36 different combinations for Daniel Norée’s OpenRC Project.

It really is amazing how many RC hobbyists there are out there, with a growing number turning to 3D printing technology in order to customize or completely build their own RC vehicles from the ground up. The OpenRC Project is responsible for most of these creations through its open source, open community of designers and developers.

Thomas Palm is no newcomer to 3D printing nor RC vehicles. He has developed 3D printing materials that allow these RC hobbyists to 3D print not only the hard bodies of their vehicles but also the rubbery, shock-absorbing tires. If his snow tires impressed you last week, than his latest creation should blow your socks off.

“I of course acknowledged the need for spikes on the 3D printed RC tires,” Palm told 3DPrint.com.

I had always wondered about the traction that these RC vehicles could get if they could be equipped with some sort of tire spikes. I just never foresaw the day when someone would try and create their own. This is exactly what Palm decided to do. Taking his original snow tire design, he made very small modifications, and then proceeded to print them out.

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For the spikes, Palm used 18 Phillips roundhead 3.5×13 screws which are designed for use in sheet metal.  He inserted them into each tire from the inside out. As you can see in the photos and video provided, the spiked tires came out very nicely.

spiked5The theory behind how they work is solid, and as soon as Palm has some snow to test these tires out on, certainly he will. The way they are designed, with two lines of spikes, ensures that the tips of the screws dig into the ice and snow, thus creating good traction. The two rows of screws are designed so that they have the ability to provide enhanced traction when turning as well.

Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on your opinion — Palm doesn’t plan to make this design publicly available.

“I will not release them broadly,” Palm tells us. “Perhaps to Daniel [Norée] or someone that I can trust will do a good job printing it and take the proper precautions when driving. I would hate to have it on my conscious if someone got hurt. Even if my tests show them not to brake down, I don’t want to send the screws all over the place like lethal projectiles. There are a lot of worries that still exists preventing me from releasing the STL-file.”

While Palm is confident that his tires will perform well, he feels as though releasing them to the public would not be all that responsible on his behalf. He tells us that he has several concerns, which include:

  • The fact that there are a vast array of different filaments on the market, all with different properties. This means that the tires may hold up better using some filaments than with others.
  • The different nozzle sizes and print parameters/settings used by different 3D printers could have the same effect, thus making it hard to gauge if these tires will hold up being printed under different conditions.
  • The idea that the individuals inserting the screws may not do so evenly, thus causing an unbalanced wheel which could break loose from the RC vehicle.
  • The fact that driving on ice and then suddenly gripping the surface could result in the screw holders or even the entire rim breaking, thus projecting screws through the air.

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Without a doubt, Palm’s latest creation is a very clever one, one which if printed and assembled correctly could make for quite the fun afternoon of RC racing. It should be interesting to see if Palm ends up developing these further, while taking some additional safety measures.

What do you think about Thomas Palm’s 3D printed spiked snow tires? Discuss in the 3D Printed RC Snow Tire forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video showcasing these amazing tires below.

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