3D Printing RC Car Tires To Go Fast

There’s a bit of a high-speed arms race in the RC world on YouTube these days. [Michael Rectin] is in on the action, and he’s been exploring how to 3D print a decent set of tires to help his RC car reach higher speeds mph.

His first efforts involved experiments with TPU. The tires looked okay, but had very little traction. He later moved on to VarioShore TPU, a filament capable of delivering various properties depending on the printing method. Printing for the softest, and thus grippiest, possible tires, [Michael] whipped up some sporty looking boots for his wheels.

His tires improved over  off-road RC tires in one major way. His design didn’t suffer significant ballooning as the rotational velocity increased. However, the VarioShore material lacked grip compared to off-the-shelf rubber RC tires designed for high-speed use. The commercially-available tires also offered a smoother ride.

[Michael] also demonstrated some neat tricks for high-speed RC driving. He used a modified flight controller to correct the car’s steering in response to perturbations, and put in a scaling method that reduces steering inputs at higher speed. That didn’t entirely stop the carnage though, with some incidents seeing wheels thrown off in big tumbling crashes.

Electric-powered RC cars can go darn quick these days, but you might want to consider jet power if you want to break records. Video after the break.

15 thoughts on “3D Printing RC Car Tires To Go Fast

  1. Considering tire technology is a billion dollar industry (with a lot of R&D and closely gaurded secrets) printing tires with 2 off the shelf filaments is indeed a hack. Hope the bug has bit him and he starts mixing rubber and sulphur

      1. IMO if commercial tires don’t cut it for speed, 3D printing isn’t the rabbit-hole to go down. I think custom mixing and molding is where anyone will inevitably end up if they’re serious about going over 200MPH, so may as well start there. 3D printing the molds might work well.

    1. why not stamp out circles out old car tyres? five circles screwed (or rubber glue and clamped) togeher to one tyre. 20 stamp out for 4 wheels. thought hard real car tyre should help for 200 mph.

  2. What about a light spritz of “Super 77” adhesive on the VarioShore? If you did light dusting passes maybe the solvent in the adhesive wouldn’t eat into the tire much and actually solvent bond to it.. sticky tacky stuff!

  3. Mate, try aero improvements like reducing height ride to leverage ground effect. Also, probably your wings need more work (ie wider front wing) and your middle section may benefit with a custom cover to ease airflow above and letting it out faster

  4. Not sure if this could give any hints to try, but…..

    I recently got to see and hold what was described as a “high RPM stabilization wheel” that a PhD student 3D printed as part of his thesis project. (no clue what the wheel was for) The texture and shape felt like a cross between an RC Tire and a rollerblade wheel.
    Three different filaments were used to make the wheel to gain the combination of geometric stability, surface conformity to provide grip, and resistance to lateral friction. The 3 filaments were ABS, a flexible filament, and an “unnamed” filament that the description made me think of Delrin.
    From the short explanation, I gathered that the Delrin type filament and the ABS was used to give the tire rigidity by means of a woven, tire-shaped, skeleton structure (think of the steel wires in a steel belted radial tire) and the flexible filament was filling in all the gaps; as well as being the main material that was on the outer surface.
    The Delrin filament could also be seen going around the upper portion of what would be the top edge of the sidewall on a tire. If the wheel tilted far enough to either side, that filament helped the wheel slide on the surface (because it only needed grip when mostly vertical.
    I couldn’t make sense of how you would use it, but that is why I don’t have a PhD. However, the explanation of leveraging and mixing the properties of 3 different filaments to accomplish the goal was intriguing.

    Anyhow, maybe leveraging multiple types of filament in your tires is a way to improve them.

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