First Test Runs of the OpenRC Formula 1 Car

by Jason King on February 10, 2016

OpenRC F1 Car BrokenA few days ago I published an article about Fitting the Electrics to my Open RC F1 Car.

Fitting the electrics so the car was fully functional wasn’t too difficult, but finding a place to put all the components and wires so it was neat and tidy was tricky.

My temporary solution to this little problem was to avoid it for now and to take the car for a test run before I worried too much about neatness.

The point when I made the decision to take the car out for it’s first little test was at about 19:00 hours on a Friday night when it was cold and dark.

This probably wasn’t my best decision but let me explain how it went.

First Formula 1 Car Test Run

Having established that it was cold and dark and probably not the best time to take this car out for it’s first run, I also decided to try it on the little quiet road outside my house.

Unfortunately due to the lack of light I didn’t film this but I wish I had as it was rather interesting.

First impressions were that the car was very fast and as much as I wanted to test out it’s top speed, just for a few seconds, I couldn’t because as soon as I hit full throttle it would break into a spin.

OpenRC Car Broken AxlesI tried accelerating very gently but still no chance of full speed… wow this thing was fast!

The road surface was smooth tarmac and as far as I remember it was pretty dry, but may have been a little bit damp still as it was cold and had rained a bit a few days before.

The car was very capable of donutting and once I was used to the rear end skipping out on acceleration it handled corners pretty well, but I had to be very gentle with the throttle.

On one occasion I went a little wide and clipped the curb, which unsurprisingly broke the front spoiler. I was kind of expecting this to happen at some point so wasn’t too worried as I could always make another one.

Something unexpected did happen though when I took the car down the road at about half throttle (still quite fast), accelerated a bit more and spun the car.

The spinning part wasn’t so unusual, but what did surprise me is that I lost three wheels completely and watched them roll off down the road at the same time!

After I’d ran around searching in the dark for the wheels I noticed that all three axles had broken. There is a drain cover which I may have run over, I’m not sure to be honest. It’s quite a smooth drain cover but there’s enough bumps on it to upset the car so maybe this is what happened.

Anyway, with four broken parts I took the car back inside to assess the damage, think about possible solutions and to lick my wounds.

Repairing for the Second Test

It was obvious that the front spoiler is very vulnerable to breaking so the fix for that was to glue it for now as I’m sure it will happen again soon, until I’m more used to driving the car. The solution to prevent it happening again is simple – to drive more carefully and don’t hit the curb.

As for the axles, it’s easy to forget sometimes that I printed these parts at only 10% infill, so they’re largely hollow. My solution to this was to re-print these broken parts using 100% infill.

I had also noticed before that the Floreon PLA I had used (although it’s supposedly stronger than normal PLA) tended to break along the layer lines, implying it doesn’t fuse too well. With the front axles being 3D printed upright they did both break along the layer lines, so when I reprinted them I used ColorFabb PLA instead, which I know fuses really well.

Now the car was repaired it was time for a slightly tamer, gentler test run with a little more light. This time I’d film it so you could actually see this car move before I broke it again.

It’s just a 2 minute video of the car wheel spinning and donutting in my kitchen, but at least you get a feel for how the car moves.

You’ll also see me walk up to the car after a little prang, where I straighten out the servo saver so I can be off on my travels again. This demonstrates the servo saver doing it’s job which is not a bad thing.

What to Expect Next

Even though I broke a few parts on my first test run it was a good learning experience and the car is now repaired, stronger than ever. If any more parts break I might try my colorFabb XT Filament which supposedly is very strong stuff. Remember, there’s always a solution.

I will be taking the car back out on the road (later today if I’m brave enough) and I will be filming it at some point too, when it’s daylight and I’m feeling less reckless.

F1 FlipCam MountIncidentally, for some ‘in car’ footage I designed a little adapter to fit my HD FlipCam to the car.

This seems to work ok so when I’m confident that I won’t roll the car and destroy my camera, I’ll fit it and film some footage from the car itself.

No doubt I’ll write about this adapter soon and probably upload it to Thingiverse along with the OpenSCAD design source code, so people can modify it. Oh yes, and I’ll tidy up the electronics and wires soon too.

That’s almost it for now, but you can still follow my progress. The best way to find out more about this Formula 1 car is to visit my dedicated OpenRC F1 Car web page where I document everything.

To comment, ask questions and suggest new ideas join my new Facebook Group where we discuss this and other projects daily.

Finally, if you like this project then please Like and Share this article with your friends to help spread the word.

Thanks for reading.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Lum February 13, 2016 at 12:07 pm

What infill did you use to print the tires? I posted the same question on the thingiverse post but haven’t gotten a response. Great project and yours looks great!


Jason King February 13, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the comment. All of my NinjaFlex tyre settings are in bullet points in this earlier post:

I hope that helps.



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