RSSAll Entries in the "Tip of the Week" Category

Tip of the Week: 3/3/2013 Clean, Convenient Fluid Storage

Ever have a container of shock fluid or bearing oil tip over unnoticed? It makes a big mess. Finding something to store items like this is a bit of a challenge. We have found the perfect storage solution to be a box designed for storing fishing spinner baits. These are easy to find at sporting goods stores and cost less than $10. The most commonly sold one by Plano includes dividers that make it even better for RC fluid bottle storage.

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Tip of the Week: 2/24/2013 Axial Wraith Axle Fix

The Axial Wraith and Ridgecrest both use Axial’s AR60 axles. These wide axles take a lot of abuse, but a very common problem occurs with the self-tapping screws that hold the C-hubs to the axles tubes. These screw holes tend to easily strip out. The first and often recommended fix is to replace the self-tapping screws with traditional machine screws that don’t loosen as easily. That will only work so well when the holes are stripped. While there are aftermarket tubes that insert inside the axle tubes that allow the screws to anchor into metal, a cheap fix that works extremely well is to drill additional holes (one on top and one underneath) and add two additional 3mm machine screws to each end of the axle.

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Tip of the Week: 2/17/2013 Twin Hammers Easier Cage Removal

To do any sort of real work on the Vaterra Twin Hammers, the cage has to come off. To make removing the cage a lot easier, use a body reamer on the back of each side panel. Carefully placed, the resulting hole will allow you to remove and install the screws that secure the battery tray without having to remove the side panels. This greatly cuts down on the number of screws that need to be removed. If you ever have to perform a field repair, you’ll be glad you made this quick mod.

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Tip of the Week: 2/10/2013 Safer Transport

Back in the day, I used to advise people to remove the antenna from their radio when transporting it. This included going to the track in a radio bag or being shipping it if needed. If the radio took a hit, an installed antenna could turn into a metal spear and smash into the internal circuitry it mounts to. If you have an AM or FM antenna, this is still a good idea, but today there are numerous chargers available with bullet connectors that plug into the charger. The same advice applies here–unplug those leads when transporting a charger.

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Tip of the Week: 2/3/2013 Better Short Course Wings and Fins

As short course bodies become more, um, sophisticated, manufacturers are adding all sorts of fins and wings to increase aerodynamic performance. Usually the strongest method of attaching the wings is with small screws and nuts. Unfortunately, this is a little time consuming, slightly raises the CG and often tear out and rip the body. The alternative method of using servo tape simply doesn’t work; you might as well just save yourself some time and shatter the little wings around the track. Another method that does work well is to attach the fins with silicone glue. Just make sure both surfaces are clean and give the glue plenty of time to dry.

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Tip of the Week: 1/27/2013 No Roll Hobby Knife

When your hobby knife rolls off your workbench there’s a good chance it will land in your leg or foot. While perfectly round hobby knife handles are easy to hold, the fact that they roll so easy is a bit of a design flaw. To prevent the runaway knife, slip on one of those kid’s grip aids that are normally used on pencils. Just slid it over the handle either where you grip or above it–your preference. The end result is a much safer hobby knife.

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Tip of the Week: 1/20/2013 Soldering Iron Refresh

Soldering iron tips take a beating and sometimes the tips get to the point where the won’t properly transfer heat (i.e., work). If you don’t have a replacement tip on hand, you can actually cut a small portion of the tip off with a rotary¬†tool such as a Dremel.

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Tip of the Week: 1/13/2013 Perfect Body Posts

Sometimes body posts require trimming (yes, those super long posts sticking out of your hood look horrible). A lot of people hack them with some dull side cutters that squeeze more than they cut. The end result isn’t pretty. Years ago, Peter Vieira of Traxxas let me know about a cool tool, the Craftsman Accu-Cut pliers, that makes trimming body posts easy and provides super clean, professional looking finished cut.

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Tip of the Week: 1/6/2013 Wheel Nut Dress Up

This Tip of the Week comes from Charles Reed. Charles points out that you can cover 4mm flange lock nuts with valve stem caps. Valve stems are available in a a variety of colors and easy to find at auto parts stores and in the automotive section of department stores. Charles states he prefers the aluminum ones.

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Tip of the Week: 12/30/2013 Ride Height Monitor

Whether you drive on- or off-road, ride height is an important aspect of suspension setup. While raising ride height can increase traction, running too high can excessively raise the center of gravity and degrade handling. A lower setup is often stable and predictable, but too low with scrub speed if the chassis scrapes the ground too much. A RC car set too low can also cause odd, erratic handling as it occasionally hits the ground.

The easiest way to see if your vehicles is too low is to mark the chassis fairly lightly with a white china marker. These soft pencils can be found at most office supply stores.

Mark the bottom of your chassis in four spots–short lines front and rear and long marks on each side. This tip works on everything from a short course truck to a pan car.

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Tip of the Week: 12/23/2012 End of Your Rope

A functional scale RC winch is one of the coolest scale accessories you can bolt on your RC scale rock crawler. Their operation is pretty straightforward, but there is a simple trick you can do to keep a winch working exactly as you set it up. Often, winches are set up to operate on a switch so that hitting the switch one way causes the winch to spool in and hitting the switch the other way causes the winch to stop and hitting it again causes the winch to spool out. The little trick I mentioned is marking the line so that you can see when it is close to fully extended. Doing this has two benefits. First, when the line is completely out, you have more pulling power, so the mark will let you know you’ve got as much line out as possible. Second, the mark shows you when to stop so that the winch doesn’t start spooling in reverse. RC winches will start spooling in reverse when the line is completely extending. So, if you were spooling out, the line will start spooling in and your switch controls will be reversed.

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Tip of the Week: 12/16/2012 Neat RC Car Storage

If you’re doing it right, your RC trucks get dirty. Getting dirty is fun, but storing trucks with grime on the tires can make a mess of shelves (if you’e organized) or the bottom of the closet or under your workbench (if you’re not too organized). I may not be the most organized person, but I use the standard large, freestanding plastic shelves. These work great, but every time a toss a truck on a shelf it makes a mess as the dirt falls off the tires on whatever is stored below. To solve this problem and contain the debris, I picked up some heavy duty produce boxes (for free) from the grocery store. The kind I grab are for apples and they are reenforced, are shallow and even have built-in handles. When I have a truck that is dirty, I place it in the shallow box until I get around to a thorough cleaning.

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Tip of the Week: 12/9/2012 Plastic Safe Thread Lock

Common question: Can you use thread-locking compound on screws that thread into plastic? Correct answer: No. While there are some products made to work as a thread locker on plastic, we have found one of the best to be ordinary nail polish. Nail polish is safe on plastics–at least we haven’t encountered a plastic that it doesn’t work with–and it dries fast. Don’t use nail polish on every screw that threads into plastic, but if you have one that just won’t stay tight, try a drop. Not only is the polish strong, it dries really fast.

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Tip of the Week: 12/2/2012 Transponder Recall

This is a tip that will make your life easier and make you a little more popular with hobby shop owners. Instead of carrying your dirty RC truck into the hobby shop when you need to provide its transponder number, write the number in the “notes” section of your phone. Most cell phones and all smart phones have a built-in application for writing short notes. If you’re in the cell phone equivalent of the stone age, flip open that relic and enter your transponder numbers as a contact.

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Tip of the Week: 11/25/2012 No Mess Gear Lube

If you didn’t know your fellow RC’ers are judging you, let me be the bearer of bad news. For example, a loud (as in grinding gears) RC car sounds hack. The problem is greasing gears such as pinion and spur gears will attract grime and make matters much worse. The no mess solution may be right down the hall. Traditional bar soap works as an excellent gear lubricant for exposed gears. It is a great dry lube that will not attract dirt and doesn’t have to go on as a liquid and dry. Of course, setting proper gear mesh still is step one.

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