James Knight’s Incredible 1/10 Beach Buggy with 3D-Printed Parts

Sep 08, 2013 1 Comment by

Rear_view

This outstanding machine is the work of James Knight (you can find him on Facebook as Knight Customs), and we’ve never seen a prettier RC version of the classic dune buggy design. While the suspension and drivetrain are from the Tamiya SRB (the platform shared by the Rough Rider/Buggy Champ and Sand Scorcher) everything else is custom. We’ll let James do the talking…

 

Unpainted_chassis

This photo shows the raw printed parts assembled to a Tamiya Sand Scorcher gearbox and front suspension. The parts were created in Rhino and 3D printed in a number of materials to see which worked best. I worked with a number of different companies at first to see who had the best materials, service and price. Shapeways ultimately won out and even make available an online store front so I can let others easily order my parts for their projectsI encourage everyone reading to look into 3D printing for their next scale project. The cost is still expensive compared to parts that are made in the tens of thousands, but Shapeways does a great job of making it easy to create your parts and share them with fellow modelers. Their customer service has been amazing and without them this project would not have been possible.

 

Painted_Chassis

Here’s the chassis painted with the engine added. The challenge was to create a replica of the famous VW four stroke that could be incorporated onto the gearbox, keeping it sealed whilst still looking scale. I created new motor and gear covers that were designed to look like the engine parts. I was heavily inspired by Bruce Meyers first Meyers Manx , hence the white sidewinder exhaust but with a little update in the carburetor dept.

 

Bottom

I left the underside surface unfinished. When painted satin black it resembled the underside of the fiberglass molding, just like the full size car’s.

 

Front_34

This is the full race cage version of the car. The best thing about this type of car is there are so many ways to build it, so I made all parts interchangeable just like on the full size cars. The roll cage is shown raw. Shapeways offers a polished version of their parts to help in speeding up the finishing time. This part will probably get chromed to match the front screen. The body needed a few weekends’ worth of sanding and priming and a final clear coat to really finish it off. 

 

With_top

In this photo, the classic full roof is installed. This is my wife’s favorite option for the car and really makes it feel like it belongs in the 70′s. 

 

MEET THE DRIVER

We could do an article just on this figure alone–he looks alive! Says James,

The driver represents an amazing collaboration with James French (aka Beetlelover) and Daniel Cockersell on TamiyaClub. The head (his name is Albert) is already available on as a traditional cast part sold by James and Daniel. They are masters of their craft and sculpted and painted the driver for me. Daniel created the new body traditionally, sculpting it in modeling wax and then casting it in solid resin. This may also be available as a 3D-printed part at a later date. James French sells the Albert head and a great how-to book teaching you step by step how to paint a figure to this high standard.

Driver_34

Astounding! Look at those gloves–you can practically see each fiber of the crochet-back driving gloves. There are even ribs in the T-shirt collar.

 

Driver_front

Driver_head

You can actually see the pores in Albert’s face, and his five o’clock shadow is coming in. Amazing.

 

Driver_left

Driver_right

Remember, this guy is just 1/10 scale–Albert looks life-size!  Awesome.

 

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About the author

I've been involved in RC for over 25 years, and first joined Air Age Media in 1997. I served as Executive Editor until 2008, when I went to work on the manufacturing side of the RC biz. Now back at RC Car Action, I'm thrilled to be doing what I love most--not just enjoying RC, but sharing it with all of you. In addition to RC, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife Kathleen and our wonderful daughter Audrey.

One Response to “James Knight’s Incredible 1/10 Beach Buggy with 3D-Printed Parts”

  1. Chris says:

    That’s impressive! They say it’s all in the details and this proves if for sure. 3D printing is nothing short of amazing? How far is the day when a 3D printer will be available to the RC racers and hobbyist? Imagine if you could print any part you want right then and there. Need a to replace a suspension part? Print it. Need to try a different suspension part? Print it. What do you think 3D printing has in store for the RC racer?

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