3D Printed Tyres Let You Drive on Water

[Jesus] apparently walked on water, without any tools at all. But when you’ve got a 3D printer handy, it makes sense to use it. [Simon] decided to use his to 3D print some tyres for his R/C car – with awesome results.

[Simon] started this project with a goal of driving on water. Initial experiments were promising – the first design of paddle tyres gave great traction in the sand and were capable of climbing some impressive slopes. However, once aimed at the water, the car quickly sank below the surface.

Returning to the drawing board armed with the advice of commenters, [Simon] made some changes. The paddle tyres were reprinted with larger paddles, and a more powerful R/C car selected as the test bed. On the second attempt, the car deftly skipped along the surface and was remarkably controllable as well! [Simon] has provided the files so you can make your own at home.

It’s a great example of a practical use for a 3D printer. Parts can readily be made for all manner of RC purposes, such as making your own servo adapters.

28 thoughts on “3D Printed Tyres Let You Drive on Water

  1. I think he made the tires bigger, and therefore displacing more water that made them work on water, not the bigger paddles. I would have liked to see a static test in the water to see how the car floats.

    1. That would only help with floating. It would do nothing for the car to actually propel itself. You can see in the video when the car hits the water it is like slamming on the breaks. Just like a person wake boarding, the ability to float is not actually required to skim across a water surface. The speed is key here.

  2. Can’t deny the fact that the new tyres worked much better than the old ones did on water. Whether they float or not is immaterial. Very impressive use of a personal 3D printer to solve an interesting engineering problem.

  3. “It’s a great example of a practical use for a 3D printer”
    i guess you are entitled to your own opinion, but imho this is not that practical. i mean why drive a car on water, could use a hovercraft.

    1. Or… a boat. Or a toy boat for your little toy men to town behind their toy car.

      If this car actually carried friggin’ people, then that would be a great example. As it is, this is barely even an example, and it’s not practical either.

      I heard they can print bits of surgical implants and stuff on 3D printers, so there’s your practical use. For the in-home model, my brother in law so far printed a little plastic cat, a name badge for his 3D printer, and some brackets for his 3D printer. Currently it’s broken.

  4. “[Jesus] apparently walked on water, without any tools at all.” that’s a pretty strong statement (did not expect to read that on hackaday) but how will we know for sure? Do we just assume that everything written down is true, are there more independent sources confirming this story? Is there any scientific evidence confirming the event. Was he defying the laws of nature guided by a higher source (of which you would be burned for as a whitch a lot of centuries later…) or was it just for laughs and giggles? Ahhh… we just never know for sure untill somebody invents a timemachine, now that would solve all mysteries and discussions regarding this and other religious matters.

    Regarding the RC-car, because it has no practical value what so ever, fun to watch. Hope that his car was 100% waterproof.

    1. I also find it amusing that one commenter was angry that the statement implied the biblical account is true, and another commenter was angry that the statement implied the biblical account is false.

    1. I am offended by this. Because Family Guy is low-tier bottom of the barrel ripoff brainless shit. And the guy’s a coke-snortin’ arsehole.

      American TV doesn’t deserve Matt Groening.

      1. Modern society where ‘dislike’ == ‘offence’. If you really want to be offended I can rip into you and your parentage, if you would like. But saying you’re offended buy something you dislike, that’s just a hyperbolic comment….

    1. This has been done with quads. Can’t remember the Alaska based reality show off the top of my head. Basically one guy just straps four of those huge floating balls to the center of each rim. Amazingly it works WELL!

      Cool 3D printer project though. Kudos!

    1. I take offense to you calling them bigots the one time they actually aren’t. You make it harder for us to call them out when they really do screw up.

      It was sarcasm/comedy, it was relevant to the story. Grow a brain.

      P.S. Tires.

      1. Tires – only for the sleepy.

        Tyres – for those of us on the historical side of the planet.

        The first patent for what appears to be a standard pneumatic tyre appeared in 1847 lodged by the Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson. However, this never went into production. The first practical pneumatic tyre was made in 1888 on May Street, Belfast, by Scots-born John Boyd Dunlop, owner of one of Ireland’s most prosperous veterinary practices. It was an effort to prevent the headaches of his 10-year-old son Johnnie, while riding his tricycle on rough pavements. His doctor, John, later Sir John Fagan, had prescribed cycling as an exercise for the boy, and was a regular visitor. Fagan participated in designing the first pneumatic tyres. In Dunlop’s tyre patent specification dated 31 October 1888, his interest is only in its use in cycles and light vehicles. In September 1890, he was made aware of an earlier development but the company kept the information to itself.

        Disappointing that the article refers to Scottish and Irish yet constantly written as ‘tire’- I edited it for us Yurpeens.

  5. i feel like this is a misunderstanding. proline racing makes paddle tires that fulfill this exact purpose. i get that he wanted to make something, but this isn’t new, innovative, or creative, it’s just tinkering.

    i respect that, and doing so can create new solutions to the same problem, but it needs to be recognized as someone intentionally re-inventing the wheel for their own enjoyment, instead of ‘solving’ a problem that already has a very large mass market offering.

  6. I don’t feel there is a misunderstanding at all. While there ARE certainly projects on here that are completely innovative and are all over uncharted territory, I would guesstimate a large majority of posts here are EXACTLY this kind of thing: Finding a way to take a paid/purchased solution and replicate it, design it, alter it and make it your own and do it yourself homebrew style.
    Just tinkering, you say? Messing around with, altering to achieve a goal? (in this case, better performance of a land vehicle across liquids)? I say absolutely. He and his youtubers who aided him hit a stumbling block and found a solution. Kudos I say. We see this countless times with ardunio projects, with raspberry pi projects, with diy custom circuits and sensor projects, ALL aimed at doing something cool, often when there is a pre-packaged ready-to-buy solution often available. Only thing different is this isn’t everyones cup of tea.
    And to the person/people saying “Well just use a hovercraft”. Maybe he doesn’t have one? Maybe that’s not the project he wants? Just like “Why not just use a 555 timer” comments, because THAT is the way the designer wanted it, that’s why.
    Good job r/c dude, you overcame an obstacle creatively and with tools you had available. I think it was cool :)

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