Howto: Build a Custom 1/10 Scale RC Crawler
What is as cool and fun as 4x4 Rock Crawling?...4x4 1/10 RC scale Rock Crawling! Thats right, driving up and over large rocks and obstacles except at 1/10 the scale of a full size crawler rig.
1/10 Scale RC cars and crawlers are populer for kids and adults a like. What makes them so popular is there are lots of parts and accessories out there to customize them whichever way you like. Think big kids RC car and model building except with the added full of being able to customize and build it however you want. There are even scale accessories out there that match real life items such as brand name wheels, tires, and shocks.
So where do I get started?
The easiest way to get it into RC Rock Crawling is to purchase a "RTR" kit (Ready to Run). These kits are modeled after real life trucks and SUVs and are ready to drive right out of the box. You buy one, take it out of the box charge up the batteries, and drive. Simple as that, but wheres the fun in it?....
The most hands on approach is building and customizing your our 1/10 scale RC Crawler and this guide will help you do just that! For 2023, Small Fast Things has taken a deep dive into developing, designing, and building parts for 1/10 scale RC crawlers with our flagship RC Crawler product being the SFTRC 1/10 RC Crawler Chassis. It is a frame rail chassis kit CNC laser cut from lightweight aluminum with endless build possibilities.
The SFTRC 1/10 RC Crawler Chassis Kit features raised and angled shock towers for unlimited shock mounting locations. A built in panhard bracket lets you create some solid front end suspension setups. Lastly, bolt holes are slotted for unlimited adjustability. This chassis was truly built with customization in mind. A 1/10 crawler chassis like the SFTRC 1/10 chassis kit is the first piece you need to build you very own custom 1/10 scale RC crawler. You can find the SFTRC 1/10 Chassis as either standalone frame rails HERE or as a complete chassis kit HERE .
Once you have your hands on a 1/10 crawler chassis you can build from. You will then need to decide on the internals and drive for you rig. This may include solid axles, transmission, motor, driveshafts, and electronics. Popular axles to use are straight solid axles or high clearance portal axles. With motors, you want to stick to Brushed motors for more budget friendly builds or go big and invest in a brushless system. Our recommendation for electronics are the Hobbywing line of crawler ESC. They offer great programming options and the ability to use 2s or 3s LiPo batteries. You tie your motor, esc, and servos all together with a RC receiver that is bound to a RC transmitter that will allow you to control your rig with a handheld remote!
The SFTRC 1/10 Chassis with axles, links, shocks, motor, and transmission bolted on.
Suspension is a big part of RC Rock Crawler. This is where you can dive deep and hone in on your rig's ability to scale up tall obstacles without bottoming on and cling onto the side of rocks without rolling over. Investing in some quality shocks is a definite must but shock placement on your 1/10 rig is also crucial. This is another shining point when using the SFTRC 1/10 Crawler Chassis. The raised shock towers and unlimited mounting locations will allow you to fine tune the placement of your shocks on the SFTRC 1/10 crawler chassis.
Once you have your 1/10 crawler rigs motor and drive assembled and suspension setup, you can then focus on the aesthetics. That includes Wheels, Body, and Scale Accessories! The options for wheels and tires are endless. You can find brand name wheels and tires for true scale looks or opt for high performance tires to get you through rough terrain. There are also lots of options out there for 1/10 Rock Crawler bodies. These are usually Lexan formed bodies that model real life trucks and SUVs that come clear and ready for you to paint and design however you like. You can also mount diecast metal bodies if you get creative. The options to customize the look of your 1/10 scale Crawler are endless. Below is our 1/10 "Creep" Crawler rig built on the SFTRC 1/10 chassis with some trick bead-lock wheels and mudslinger tires. Don't forget the mini scale shovels and coolers....
Once you get everything assembled, wired, and bolted together, then it is time to hit the trails!
If you are looking for 1/10 scale RC crawler parts and accessories, check out the SFTRC collection HERE and be sure to stay tuned for more 1/10 RC Crawler parts from Small Fast Things!