How To Build Radio Controlled Models

They zoom, they fly, and they can do 180- and 360-degree turns. They rev up. They emit smoke and even guzzle fuel like the real thing. There are even stunts that these radio controlled model toys can do that the real ones cannot perform.

It is fun to watch people, from small tots to adults wield their radio and remote controls to manipulate their toy models. There are even competitions for serious model builders and enthusiasts.

It is an accomplishment if you can build one yourself and join in the fun. To build an RC model, here are the steps:

1.    First, let’s get down to basics and know the lingo. Radio controlled toys are often referred to as RC toys so we will use that term for consistency. RC toys come in different varieties, from cars, trucks, airplanes, almost all types of vehicles and even animals. Radio control is wireless; a remote controlled toy has a wire that is attached to the toy and the controller.

2.    There are four main parts in all RC toys:

  • Transmitter – this is the control that you hold. This sends radio waves to the receiver.
  • Receiver – is the antenna and a circuit board tandem that receives the signal from the transmitter to activate the motor
  • Motor – is the device that makes the toy and its parts move
  • Power source – is the power source for the RC toy to activate the motor. It can be ordinary batteries of a rechargeable 9-volt battery pack.

3.    Two frequencies are assigned to most RC toys – 27 MHz or 49 MHz. These frequencies are the same for some consumer items like garage door openers and walkie-talkies. Sophisticated and advanced RC models use the 72 MHz or 75 MHz frequencies. RC toys are labeled with the frequency range they can use.

4.    Decide on the toy model, for example a race car that you want to build and buy a kit. The model kit is a detailed to scale version that includes all the parts, rims and tires, trims and decals, glue and some tools to help with the assembly. The kit comes with instructions on how to build your toy model.

5.    Study the manual that comes with the kit carefully before you start building your RC model. You have to be familiar with the process of building the toy model to minimize errors. Pay close attention to detailed instructions particularly if they pertain to small parts that can easily get lost or be forgotten.

6.    Prepare a place to work, a table or a bench will do. Line your work surface with a light- colored thick cloth or a towel to keep the parts from rolling. Place the parts in trays and keep them within easy reach and the instruction manual close at hand. Have the required tools ready.

7.    For a race car, read the instructions on how to assemble the shocks, the shock towering and the locations of them. It is easy to mix up some of the components so follow the dots and outlines in the drawings provided in the manual to align the screws properly. Take time to know which type of screws go with what part.

8.    There are parts that have to be attached to the left and the right and you need to pay close attention to these, just like the steering details and hub carriers.

9.    The following may or may not be included in your model kit. If not they you have to buy them separately. You need some electrical know-how to complete this phase of your assembly. The hobby shop specialist can teach you or you can request for a manual and illustrated instructions on how to attach and wire your model properly.

  • Transmitter
  • Servos
  • Battery pack and charger
  • ESC (electronic speed control)
  • Receiver
  • Motor
  • Pinion (for the motor)
  • Wire lead (for the motor)

Check that all the parts are screwed on tight and the wired attached and soldered. Charge your batteries and test your RC model.


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