Rick Winscot of Pennsylvania, a maker to the last molecule, describes himself as having “code in brain, soldering iron in hand…” His interests are pretty vast, encompassing family, tinkering, electronics, remote control airplanes and cars, LEGO, and even nuclear botany–and robots, always robots. He’s submitted projects to Instructables, Thingiverse, and Adafruit before and his latest, the Blue Buggy, a remote control vintage-style dune buggy, seems the ideal summer maker project for kids and grownups alike.
This particular project has been years in the making–at least the thought process portion of it–since the 1970s. Winscot, somewhat wistfully, explained:
“My older brothers had these amazing gas powered dune buggies, and I wanted one, too. Alas, I was a little [too] young at the time to be handling such gas-powered awesomeness.”
Subscribing to the “it’s never too late” philosophy, Winscot recently declared it “dune buggy time.” Regrettably, while the manufacturer of the original dune buggies his brothers had played with, Cox International, was still in business, they had long since stopped producing either the Dune Buggy or the Sandblaster (a variation). Next, he checked eBay for a vintage kit and discovered that buying one would cost him at least $400.
After crossing those two possibilities off the list, Winscot made a decision: “Time to take matters into my own hands – and recreate the dune buggy of my childhood.” He set about designing his own dune buggy, enlisting some of his favorite pastimes in the effort to make his modern-day version of the vehicle he’d vied to own as a child, and the end result–the Blue Buggy–is impressive.
He shared the .stl files, instructions for producing the remote control vehicle, and materials and tools lists on Instructables as well as Thingiverse. Editable models of the 3D printed portions of Winscot’s Blue Buggy are also available on Tinkercad.
If you intend to create your own Blue Buggy, the materials and tools you’ll need are pretty easy to acquire. The non-3D-printable electronic components are fairly minimal and relatively inexpensive: Two continuous rotation micro servos (he got his from Adafruit), a high-torque micro servo (Adafruit), a AA battery pack (Adafruit) and Grifiti 2” silicone bands. Additionally, you’ll need some Permatex black silicone adhesive (for the tires), a screwdriver set (get one from Adafruit!), PLA filament (he used blue, black, silver), and, of course, a 3D printer. If you don’t have a 3D printer of your own just yet, use the .stl files to get the 3D printed parts via a web-based 3D printing service like i.materialise or Shapeways, or find a 3D printer in your area through 3D Hubs.
Winscot went with the easiest method for making his Blue Buggy operational, using a standard remote control transmitter, receiver, and a 5v battery pack. However, he notes that you can add a microcontroller and “go semi-autonomous using an IR sensor,” which is what he used with a different project, his Red Rover–a Trinket-powered rover that’s actually pretty adorable.
Winscot’s Blue Buggy seems like an ideal summer project parents can share with kids, or older siblings with younger ones. Still seemingly disappointed at having been left out of the fun in his youth, Winscot closed his Instructables commentary by adding, “Whatever you decide to do, have fun and remember to let your little brother or sister have a turn.”
Is this a project that catches your eye? Let us know your thoughts over at the Blue Buggy forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of the Blue Buggy in action.