Hot Wheel Car Becomes 1/64 Scale Micro RC Car, Complete With Camera

If you enjoy watching skilled assembly of small mechanical systems with electronics to match, then make some time to watch [Max Imagination] transform a Hot Wheels car into a 1/64th scale RC car complete with video FPV video feed. To say the project took careful planning and assembly would be an understatement, and the results look great.

The sort of affordable electronics available to hobbyists today opens up all kinds of possibilities, but connecting up various integrated modules brings its own challenges. This is especially true when there are physical constraints such as fitting everything into an off-the-shelf 1/64 scale toy car.

There are a lot of interesting build details that [Max] showcases, such as rebuilding a tiny DC motor to have a longer shaft so that it can drive both wheels at once. We also liked the use of 0.2 mm thick nickel strips (intended for connecting cells in a battery pack) as compliant structural components.

There are actually two web servers being run on the car. One provides an interface for throttle and steering (here’s the code it uses), and the other takes care of the video feed with ESP32-CAM sending a motion jpeg stream. [Max]’s mobile phone is used to control the car, and a second device goes into an old phone-based VR headset to display the FPV video feed.

Circuit diagrams and code are available for anyone wanting to perhaps make a similar project. We’ve seen micro RC builds of high quality before, but integrating an FPV camera kicks things up a notch. Want even more complex builds? All the rules change when weight reduction is a non-negotiable #1 priority. Check out a micro RC plane that weighs under three grams and get a few new ideas.

20 thoughts on “Hot Wheel Car Becomes 1/64 Scale Micro RC Car, Complete With Camera

  1. Sheesh, when I was a kid my RC builders handbook had a schematic for a transmitter with a single button. You hit it twice to go left, and once for right. Now I’m running 2 web servers and a live video feed from a Matchbox car, SMH.

  2. >ESP32-CAM sending a motion jpeg stream

    this is when I knew it wouldnt work satisfactory. 25 minute video has _10_ second of actual video stream from the car model, and author pretends everything went according to plan :(

      1. That was the most PROMISING aspect of the project, but it actually was the least INTERESTING, from a making/hacking point of view. More $$$ fixes that problem, so it’s not very interesting. With what he had, he did great.

  3. Wow this set off a nostalgia bomb. There was a toy fad for about six months back in 2003-ish? for mini RC cars. Fast and Furious was still on everyone’s minds and suddenly everyone wanted to be a “gear head”.

    Charge-N-Go was on of the cheaper brands but there were more expensive ones you could sink a bit of money into. You could buy wheel and tire packs, different shells to change the look, more powerful motors and gear ratios. It was one of the first instances I can remember of there being an online parallel to the in real life toy line. It was relatively simple flash game where the player could drive their mini car through an alley full of tunnels and jumps for a time score. More points let you get better wheels and motors etc. It let the player see what their in real life car could do if they bought the upgrades. Devious in retrospect.

    This is an awesome and impressive build. All the more so because you took an actual Hot Wheels car and turned it into a mini RC car instead of modding an existing one.

    1. I actually have a set of tuning springs and some hot motors from the upscale Radio Shack brand I got on closeout. I didn’t have those cars, I had a handful of the Walmart version when they went on $3 closeout.
      I remember hopping them up with 4x NiMH AAA instead of 2xAA Alkaline. And when I blew the circuit using a salvage power transistor ro give it turbo forward only speed. It was a dark blue Lancer Evo 7 I think. I remember cutting out the headlights and filing down some 5mm Blue LEDs to fit.

      I did try some Kyosho Mini-Z knockoffs too, sadly wasn’t able to get parts for those.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.