While it may be said that play is the work of children, many of the toys out there today like hobby cars and far more are exactly what give adults the greatest relief from the stresses of work and generally having to be a grownup.
Coupled with 3D printing, traditional hobbies like RC car racing are allowed to become much more exciting–and even faster on the track.
Now, James Beswick wants to make history with both the RC car and some of the greatest new technology at his fingertips. Looking to make the fasted 3D printed RC car ever, Beswick is already well on his way, and he’s depending on the Ultimaker2 Extended 3D printer to get him to the finish line.
His 3D printed single-piece RC car is made so that it minimizes air disturbance, which is what is responsible for slowing race cars like Beswick’s down. Striving to beat the world record, his RC car currently speeds at over 100 mph, but he has to keep working to beat that in order to meet his goal.
Most RC cars are meant to go half the speed that Beswick is shooting for.
“With the Ultimaker, it’s main purpose for me is to build the body shells…The main benefit is that I can create shapes with a printer that you cannot create easily with any other means,” says Beswick.
“It sped up the building process significantly and opened so many more exciting possibilities,” said Beswick. “I think I can honestly say I’d be lost without my Ultimaker in my life.”
In using 3D printing for creating his car, Beswick is able to eliminate weak spots and produce a much cleaner design with less disturbance and greater aerodynamics. All of these features mean that when it comes to testing, there’s a much better outcome with Beswick’s car. And while testing and racing are extremely addictive, as is the want and desire to go faster, faster, faster, Beswick explains that the best part of the whole process is in the journey.
“Most of the challenge and the joy is in making the part and taking a part from a concept–essentially a prototype part to an end product, getting it on the car and actually using it,” says Beswick. “It’s always very well to think of something, but it’s another to have a first hand in building it, making it, and running it.”
The tall build volume of the Ultimaker 2 Extended 3D printer was what really met Beswick’s needs, allowing him to come up with the unique body design including the large and streamlined parts that his car required. Along with that, the open filament system allowed him great latitude in choosing materials. Ultimately, he decided to use a PLA/PHA filament that was suitable because of the flexible qualities blended in.
- Rear wing
- Servo holders
- Controller mounts
- Battery and cable clamps
- Shock absorbers for the electronics
“The good thing is it’s out-of-the-box thinking. I don’t know of anybody else who has thought to 3D print a body for a speed car. With a standard lexan body, it’s very flexible. So when the car’s going over 100 mph, it all bends and deforms,” says Beswick. “With a 3D printed car, you don’t get that because you can set the thickness, and you can set where the reinforcement parts are. So you can essentially build a body to your specification that actually works.”
“I don’t think you can beat that feeling,” says Beswick.
And speaking of ‘beating,’ we’ll be waiting to write the next story on Beswick as he makes history indeed for his 3D printed RC car, which will have to exceed 202 mph to beat the world record. He still has refinements to make regarding some aerodynamics issues, but Beswick has made it clear he will not stop until he breaks the record–and we all certainly look forward to waving our flags in cheering him on. Let us know your thoughts on this initiative. Discuss in the 3D Printed RC Car Forum thread on 3DPB.com.