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How To: Make RC Snow Chains

Many of us put our RC cars in storage during the cold winter months, or at least we do as soon as the snow starts to fly. And yet, few things are as tempting as a fresh layer of snow on the ground. You know what I’m talking about. If it’s a light snow and not too deep, you can run just about any RC car out on some snow-covered pavement and blow some donuts. That’s an absolute blast, but if the snow is deep or if your adventures take you off the beaten path, you’ll quickly be wishing you had more traction. This is where some scale RC snow chains come in. Not only do they look cool, but chains provide a very real improvement in traction.

MATERIALS

  • Small link “Jack” chain (20 ft)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Ruler
  • String
  • Scissors

THE RIGHT CHAIN
The best chain to use is known as “Jack” chain. It is usually sold by the foot. You can expect to pay between $.40 and $.55 per foot, and you should need about 20′ for a set of typical 2.2 tires, but keep in mind the overall length needed varies based on the specific chain link size you select and the size of your tires. The smaller the links, the more realistic the finished product will be, but the smaller links are slightly harder to work with. Links made out of heavier gauge wire will also require more effort to bend open and close as you build your snow chains.

STEP 1
Measure Up
You can make  snow chains for any size tire you like, but homemade snow chains are definitely not one-size fits all. To make sure the chains properly fit the tires you’re using, you’ll need to make a few quick measurements. The easiest way to do this is to use a string and wrap it around the tire in the position you’ll want the long lengths of chain that go on each side of the tire. I wanted my long lengths to sit fairly high on the sidewall which necessitates a longer length. Side chains sitting lower on the sidewall will be shorter, but will require longer lengths going across the tires.


STEP 2

Making Lengths
After you know how long you need your main lengths, place the chain along your ruler and use needle nose pliers to bend open links and separate  the chain. Since two long lengths are needed for each tire, you will need eight long lengths in all. Holding the chain in place over one of your tires will allow you to see how long the numerous short lengths going across the treads need to be. Speaking of the short lengths, the average 2.2-equipped RC truck will need at least 11 lengths per tire.


STEP 3

Get Jiggy
I don’t know why corny subheads are a requirement for articles like this, but no matter how hard I try, sometimes they are unavoidable. “Get Jiggy” is the lame way of introducing that a jig will make your life a whole lot easier. To make a jig, simply drive four small nails into a piece of wood (Call me ghetto, but I just put them right into my bench). When working with the chain, it seems to love to hook itself and get tangled. Working with a jig, keeps the chain in place and greatly speeds up the process.


STEP 4

Putting Them Together
Assembling the chains is a relatively simple process, but be warned that it does get a little tedious. Use needle nose pliers to open up the links and close the links when positioned on a new length. Again, it isn’t complicated, but it is work. Also, the smaller the links, the harder it is to work with. Take care to evenly space the short lengths as you work down the longer lengths of chain. Working on the jig makes this easy.


STEP 5

Ready To Roll
Ugh, another pun. After a set of chains is complete, it’s time to roll it on the tire. Place the chains out flat and slowly roll the tire while holding the chains in position. Attach each side by squeezing the tire until you can hook the ends of the lengths together. Don’t worry if it looks like a bit of a mess at this point. Get the lengths connected and then slowly reposition the lengths until they are sitting perfectly on the tires.


For more information about building snow chains check out Axial Racing’s Brad Dumont video tutorial below:

Also Check Out: Cold Weather Driving Tips

 

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10 Comments

    1. I imagine your Venom Safari Creeper has 2.2 tires on it (as it comes). In my opinion, chains work best with this size tire. I suggest going to your local hardware store and seeing what they have available. Usually the stores have big spools of chain in different sizes that the store will cut to length for you. Not only do I suggest going with one of the smallest links, but I also suggest making sure it is a link style that is easy to open and bend as needed.

  1. I hope these fit on a rustler vxl, im gonna try making some these with a #12 jack chain.

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