Progress has been a little slow on developing more track terrain, so here is a quick video I made of my Losi Micro Desert Truck going over some cardboard jumps on my track. You can see how the truck handles in slow motion.
Here is a closer view of my Losi Micro Desert Truck running over the plaster terrain I have made for the modular micro RC track. As you can see there are a variety of molds I have used and a few of the castings have been further worked to ensure the micro RC cars could get over them and add some interest. From the slow motion you can really see how the vehicle works over the terrain.
Here is another view of my Losi Micro Desert Truck running on a 6 module layout that was the same as the onboard video from the previous post (with some minor adjustments).
You can see the terrain elements that I made with Plaster Of Paris on the left hand side. I will show you more on those features and how I made them in a later post.
It has been a little slow going making terrain so far but I have managed to make some moldings out of Plaster Of Paris. I have shaped a few of these moldings and left some in an as molded state to use as terrain on the track. There will be a separate post with details of how I made the terrain but, for now, I have made a video using my HobbyKing Wingcam onboard my Losi Micro Desert Truck. You can see the plaster terrain flashing by on one of the straights.
After seeing some videos of Tamiya Mini 4WD cars with onboard footage I wondered where I could get a camera small enough to run on Losi Micro and Kyosho Mini-Z cars. I figure it could be cool to see the cars running on my track with a first person/race cam type view.
It took me a while but it turned out the answer was in the first place I looked, I just didn’t see it the first time around. HobbyKing actually sells very small cameras that are aimed at the RC plane market they call wing cameras. The camera I got was the smallest version of ‘wing cam’ that runs at 1280 x 720p HD resolution.
Here is a quick video test of the camera on my Losi Micro Desert Truck:
I used four 500W halogen work lamps to provide plenty of light in the room for this video. I had tried it with just the room lights and the video did work with the low level of light but the camera turned the gain right up making the image quite grainy.
As you can hear the sound is not great but it is a tiny car with a tiny motor and tiny gears all adding up to a shrill sound. I actually dropped the volume quite a bit in the video because it was very annoying.
Here is how I mounted it temporarily to the Losi Micro DT without the body on.
Want to try it for yourself? The version of Wing Camera I got is available from HobbyKing on this link.
There is also a larger cousin to this camera which is a little longer and fatter but does full HD 1080p video and has HDMI out. I am not sure on how it would go on a micro RC car but it might work. You can get that one on this link.
Now that I have fixed the tie rod on my Losi Micro DT I have had a chance to test more layouts of the modular micro RC race track I am building. Here is a video of a number of track layouts using 5 or 6 modules. These layouts include:
- Small Oval (5 modules)
- b-Shape (5 modules)
- L-Shape (5 modules)
- C-Shape (6 modules)
- Brickyard (6 modules)
It also shows the process for changing between two layouts and adding a module to the layout.
Things break on RC cars and Micro RC cars are no different to their bigger brothers despite their lower speeds and lighter weight (meaning less energy to deal with when hitting something). In testing a layout of my modular, micro RC race track I managed to break one of the Lexan tie rods on my Losi Micro Desert Truck.
I toyed with the idea of making some replacements out of zip ties or steel from a feeler gauge. That was going to take some time that I really don’t have so the better option was to buy some. I picked up three sets of Delrin tie rods (neutral, toe-in and toe-out) from The Toyz for under US$8 plus shipping to Australia and they arrived here in about a week. This is how you install them:
Progress on my track has been slow the last couple of weeks and my Losi Micro Desert Truck has also been out of action due to a broken steering tie rod. So while you’re waiting for the next update on my track, here is one of the benchmark tracks I have looked to for some inspiration in developing my own indoor micro RC race track.
The track includes a 6 foot triple and is overall a lot bigger than anything I can fit in my living room. The car running is a Losi Micro DT like mine but it has some modification including running a Li-Po battery which will make it faster than my standard Micro DT.
Whilst I do not intend on doing any modifications that increase the speed of my vehicle the YouTube user who made the video, DonRCjunky, also indicated that he has upgraded the shock absorbers and gearbox which might be good modifications to consider.
I have completed seven of the eight base modules for the micro RC race track and have finally gotten around to making a video of it, so let’s get straight into that…
It worked better than expected although the car wasn’t sliding on the plywood as it did in the earlier ‘Proof Of Concept’ test. I am not sure if that is because I have changed the trim settings on the transmitter, if the batteries are not getting a full charge or if having built up the track on the support it grips better for some crazy reason. The latter seems unlikely I would suggest.
My intent was to show a number of different layout options in that video but as you can see I broke a steering tie rod on the first layout so that was the end of filming. Reading around the forums I see it is possible to make tie rods for the Losi Micro Desert Truck and Micro-T using cable ties. I will give that a go as soon as possible and hopefully show you some more layouts before I start adding terrain to the modules.
As I move from building base modules into making terrain for my micro RC car track I have been developing ideas for terrain on each module. There are some obvious ones such as using paper mache or building jumps out of cardboard or wood but I found an interesting product at the Australian Toy Fair that piqued my interest. It was called ‘Kinetic Sand’.
The idea of using ‘sand’ with micro RC cars that are in the form of buggies, desert trucks and rally cars seems only logical to me.
This video shows what you can do with Kinetic Sand.
So naturally what I wanted to know is can I make this myself. I researching the possibility I found that Kinetic Sand is not something that can be made easily at home, but what can be made is what is refered to as ‘Moon Sand’. There are many recipes out on the web for moon sand and they are typically a mixture of play sand, corn flour/starch and water in around a 4:2:1 ratio (there are many sites with recipes but the pictures I have seen for this one appears to be a good consistency).
There are pros and cons to using home-made moon sand vs the newer, polymer based kinetic sands.
Home Made Moon Sand
Pros – Can make at home, cheap to make, safe
Cons – Will dry out (although can be reconstituted), water based so may not be compatible with RC car electronics, can be crumbly so may get into RC car running gear, clean up may be difficult
Commercial Kinetic Sand
Pros – Won’t dry out (polymeric ingredient), safe
Cons – Not sure if polymer ingredient (Polydimethylsiloxane) will be compatible with all parts of the RC cars, expensive, sand may get into RC car running gear
With either type of moldable sand I am really not sure of the compatibility with micro RC cars and what effect it could have on them. I think I will still make a small batch of Moon Sand to see what it is like. If I don’t like the home made Moon Sand then, after a little more reasearch on the polymer ingredient, I may fork over some dollars on the Kinetic Sand. Even if I don’t use it for the Micro RC Track it still is fun to play with!