In the winter it can be hard to get out and play all of the time. We built some chained tires to tackle the snow. Unfortunately 2019 has been more ice than snow, and the polar vortex kept us inside for over a week. But we can still have fun driving RC inside. So how […]
The idea came while researching tire and wheel sizes for the Prerunner. I wanted to find out if my daughter could drive her truck at Dollar Hobbyz Raceway on a practice day. To keep their carpet nice they have a strict “no knobby tire” rule. So I looked for some touring car tires that are approximately the same size as the stock Prerunner tires.
Turns out the LaTrax tires are exactly the same size as normal 1/10th scale touring car wheels and tires. Then it came to me… if touring car wheels & tires fit, so will drift tires – which means Kitchen Drift can become a reality. So I picked up a set of Integy drift wheels/tires for $20 at my local hobby shop and mounted them up.
It looks a little like an SUV rollin’ on dubs.
On half speed, it drifts well on the kitchen linoleum. With the tires providing very little grip, bumps into the fridge and oven aren’t going to do any damage to the car or the appliances
I haven’t tried full speed yet because it gets a good enough slide for this small space. Full speed would be great if you have a large room, like a concrete basement floor.
Start working on those drifting skills, maybe you could be the star driver in a Super Bowl commercial
The state of Minnesota defines our waste hierarchy as:
I wrote about recycling, and composting, and I recently visited the local waste-to-energy (WTE) facility to complete the picture of the garbage lifecycle. If you live in or near Minneapolis, there’s a place called the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (the HERC). It’s downtown, right next to Target Field. In the winter, the amount of steam it produces in the cold, still air makes it look like a cloud factory.
Burning trash doesn’t sound like a great idea. Ever put styrofoam into a campfire? Noxious fumes! But the HERC burns trash at much hotter temperatures – 2000°F. Also, more than half of the facility is dedicated to cleaning the exhaust from the burn – after it has turned the heat into power.
Here’s what it looks like in the belly of the beast:
The alternative to a facility like the HERC is landfill. But even landfills that capture their gas emissions, called Landfill Gas to Energy (LFGTE), produce more emissions on all accounts:
So we’re good on emissions and particulates compared to the alternatives. What about the leftover ash? It still needs to be landfilled, but it occupies 90% less space than the trash that went in. The ash, while it does require a special type of landfill, surprisingly is much cleaner than you’d think. Landfills are frequently tested via leachate – collecting water that has traveled through the material, and testing it for toxins.
Just the clarity of the ash leachate compared to that from a regular landfill is incredible:
Burn in Moderation
Waste-to-energy is listed as #68 in Drawdown – and basically describes it as a “net zero” effect – not really good or bad, but better than the alternatives (as we’ve shown here). WTE is 2nd-to-last on the hierarchy of trash for a reason – we need to do what we can to reduce what is sent to the HERC. Even if it is turning our trash to energy, it is running at capacity. Sadly, another waste-to-energy facility in Elk River, MN recently closed. This is where many northern suburbs trash went, and it’s also where the HERC would send overflow when they were at capacity. Now any extra trash will wind up in the landfill.
Doing as much as we can upstream will help – Reuse, Recycle, and Compost. Then we need to political will to keep places like Great River Energy in Elk River open – or we may just end up like this…
Installing a Rustler bumper upside-down on a 2wd Slash is a popular option for creating an on-road or rally style bumper cheaply and easily. Many people that have customized their Slashes for drag racing, rallying, or top-speed runs are already doing this. I got the idea from the Traxxas Slash Modified group on facebook – […]
Installing a Rustler bumper upside-down on a 2wd Slash is a popular option for creating an on-road or rally style bumper cheaply and easily. Many people that have customized their Slashes for drag racing, rallying, or top-speed runs are already doing this. I got the idea from the Traxxas Slash Modified group on facebook – one of the most helpful (and positive) resources out there. I wanted to document the steps and parts I used to do create mine for a rally car conversion.
However it extends 92mm (more than 3 1/2 inches) beyond the front of the gray chassis tub. This might be fine for a long-nose speed run body, but not for a short-overhang rally body.
Making my own bumper out of the RPM Rustler bumper wound up being cheaper and it also fit better because I could customize the dimensions.
Installation of the RPM bumper itself is simple – just install it upside down. Because the RPM bumper is made to use the stock counter-sunk screws, I designed and 3D printed some M4 tapered head screw inserts. Installing them should take some of the strain off of the bumper when you tighten it down.
All of the hardware I used I got at the hardware store. I’ve found Ace and my local Do-It-Best has a better metric selection than the big-box home improvement stores.
Use 4x14mm button head screws (something slightly longer than stock) that will sit flat on the bumper plastic. Because the Slash has 4 bumper screws and the Rustler has 2, you have a couple of mounting options, depending on how far forward you want the bumper to extend.
There are two indentations on the RPM Rustler bumper that make for perfect counter-sunk M4 screw holes. Just drill them out with a 4mm drill bit. Metric drill bits seem to be easier to find at US hardware stores these days. If you can’t find one, a 5/32″ will probably work.
Put your body on and test fit how much overhang you want your bumper foam to have. You can mark the foam with a paint pen through the bumper holes. I wanted mine flush up against the chassis.
With the foam holes marked, drill them out. I simply did mine while holding the foam in place against the chassis and bumper.
Fasten it all up by putting two 4x35mm tapered head screws through the bottom.
Add washers and 4mm nylock nuts on top.
Now I’m ready to rally!
More information on this complete rally build is coming up. Are you doing something similar? If you’re interested in a set of those M4 counter-sunk screw inserts and don’t have access to a 3D printer, comment below and I can print and send you a pair.
People that recycle often feel recycling guilt. It’s when they want to make sure something gets recycled even if it’s not recyclable. This is when wish cycling occurs. You can’t just wish your grease-stained cardboard pizza box can get recycled. Cardboard is recyclable, right? Instead let’s put it where it belongs and really reduce the contents of your waste bin.
To get started, let’s look at the big picture: total trash output. It appears that we reached “Peak Trash” in 1990
Drawdown lists composting as #60 on the top list of things you can do to reverse global warming. Also if you reduce food waste by purchasing and using the right amount – #3(!) in Drawdown – you’d be killing it on your new year’s resolution.
Many people already do at-home composting with a bin in their backyard. But what if you don’t garden and don’t need fresh soil? Municipal composting will help you reduce your trash and turn your compostable material into rich soils that others can use.
Even people that have home compost bins can enjoy the benefits of municipal composting. The large compost facilities can process materials that your home compost bin can’t – including meat, fish, eggs, even bones. Who wants to trudge through the snow to the backyard compost bin when you can just put it in an organics cart?
Seeing the future
I had the privilege of touring the Mdewakanton Sioux organics recycling facility and Shakopee, MN. We got to see how they manage the organic material, mixing and turning it to keep it composting all year-round (even in the harsh Minnesota winters).
What struck me the most was that the Mdewakanton Sioux started the organics recycling facility as a seventh generation initiative. Not because the organics market is hot right now, but because it is the right thing to do – thinking ahead seven generations down the road.
Many cities and haulers now offer composting options, referred to in their business as curbside organics recycling pickup. Some municipalities, usually those with organized waste collection, will offer organics collection in conjunction with normal yard waste collection.
Like RC Adventures (RC Sparks) I live in a cold weather area – the grey, blustery north that is Minnesnowta. This winter, rather than only driving at indoor tracks, I wanted to conquer the elements with a usable setup for bashing outside with our 2wd Slashes. My son Jules’ Slash is already set up with […]
Like RC Adventures (RC Sparks) I live in a cold weather area – the grey, blustery north that is Minnesnowta. This winter, rather than only driving at indoor tracks, I wanted to conquer the elements with a usable setup for bashing outside with our 2wd Slashes. My son Jules’ Slash is already set up with a set of 2.8″ Pro-Line Trencher tires ala AMain’s Monster Slash setup. To give us the ability to mix-and-match, I followed DJ Medic’s lead by purchasing some 2.8″ Pro-Line Masher tires:
Well… it turns out that the Mashers by themselves aren’t great in the cold:
I should have seen this video before I purchased, but I hadn’t
I’ve also tried a Pro-Line Sling Shot paddle tire and Mohawk ribbed tire setup. They’re good on densely packed snow but anything deep or fluffy and you’ll just dig in and get stuck.
A Usable Setup
While indeed the Mashers by themselves perform pretty poor (traction wise) in the cold, they make a decent front tire on a 2wd vehicle in snow. And if you continue to watch that 2nd RC Sparks video, Medic constructs some snow chains for his tires.
Too Long; Didn’t Read? Here’s what I arrived at:
Trenchers in back with chains, Mashers in front facing the “normal way.”
This set up works great for two 2wd Slashes. If you’re going to buy just one type of tire for one vehicle, go with the Trenchers. They are all-around great and you can add chains for the snow. This would probably also work great on a 4wd Slash with chains all-around.
2.8″ Trencher Tires with Chains
To make tire chains for the 2.8″ Pro-Line Trencher tires, I went to the hardware store and purchased 8 feet of #12 single-jack chain. It was $1.39/ft. so about $12 to cover 2 tires. Double the length and cost if you’re doing 4. The only tools I used were a needle nose pliers, a side-cutter, and a clamp.
To start the build I constructed the ring chain. I wanted it to sit a little inside the sidewall lettering. To make it easy I found a can from the pantry that matched the size I wanted. I put it in the middle of the tire and draped the chain around it. I opened the link at the size I wanted and kept it open – this will be how the chains are hooked on and off. In total I made 4 ring chains to cover the inside and outside of the two rear tires:
To measure and construct the cross chains that go across the tread, I needed a clever way to hold the ring chains in place. I got another can of the same size, added both ring chains, and clamped it all together.
Once clamped, I just needed to construct one cross chain length to go across the tread. Then I could make several other lengths to match. On the Trencher I found there was a nice open slot to weave the cross chain through. Also when you’re choosing your chain size, bring your tire to the hardware store. You can see in the top of this picture that the chain does not need to stick out very far above tread surface to be effective.
To space out the cross chains evenly, I used the Trencher’s tread pattern as a guide. There are 14 of the thin blocks (on each side). You can see the chain going below (on the left) and above them (on the right). I added a cross chain to every other thin block, giving 7 cross chains per tire.
I fit them up on the tire, not paying too much attention to the cross chain connection points on ring chain. Once I had all of the cross chain sections hooked on the ring chain, I removed the chains from the tire by unhooking just the ring chains.
With the cross chains attached and the ring chains unhooked, you can lay it out flat like a ladder and adjust how the cross chains are spaced out:
Since each link on this single-jack chain is like a figure-8, I counted each loop as one space. In my example the cross chains were ultimately spaced out with this pattern: 6, 5, 6, 5, 6, 5, (5). The last “5” in parentheses represents the spacing between the last cross chain and the first (where the ring chain hooks together). You can see the spacing in the above photo.
Once you like where they’re at, install the chains back on the tires and crimp the cross chain links closed with a needle nose pliers. Only leave one open link on each ring chain so you can remove them.
Then install on your vehicle, check for clearance, and go test it out!
Here’s how it looks, ready to rumble:
The chains offered paddle-like traction without the extreme propensity for digging like the Sling Shots do. 2.8″ Sand Paws probably provide even better traction, but I have the versatility of being able to remove the chains and use the Trenchers on normal surfaces.
The big 2.8″ tires also give some extra ground clearance that the Sling Shots don’t have. And the extra width makes the tires float over the snow more than dig through it – they will still dig, but at a slower rate.
The chains get a little wiley on hard surfaces – much like a drift car. Plus you’ll be wearing your chains down. Better to stick to the soft stuff when the chains are on.
The Slash chassis can really act like a snow collection tub. With the body raised up to accommodate the big tires, it gets even worse:
I always blast out any snow with an air compressor in the garage where I can get the snow out before melting and make a mess without worry.
The amount of snow was getting ridiculous so we got some OuterWears chassis covers. Even though the electronics are advertised as waterproof, it gives a little extra insurance. Plus it makes clean-up a heck of a lot easier:
Now we can get out in the elements and have a lot more fun with a lot less frustration!
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Waste Management Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Minneapolis, colloquially referred to as a “Murf.” Simply put, this is the type of place all of your recycling goes to be processed. This particular facility is where recycling from Columbia Heights goes (and other cities that contract through Waste Management). Fridley’s recycling goes to a similar type of murf facility owned by Republic Services in Inver Grove Heights.
The trip was enlightening and I wish everyone could see it in action. If you can’t make it, here are the cliff’s notes.
My favorite part of single sort recycling is that you just put all of your stuff in one bin. Remember the days of crushing cans and taking them to the metal recycler? Now you just throw it in the bin.
Not only do you not have to crush your bottles & cans, the recycler prefers you don’t.
This is because the sorting machines rely partly on dimension to determine the material type. It’s easier to sort a plastic bottle that hasn’t been crushed than one that is flat. Vice versa for paper and cardboard, which is the exception to the be lazy rule – you should always break down cardboard boxes so they’re flat.
If you use a brown grocery bag in your kitchen for recyclables, remember to empty the bag when you dump it into the recycling cart for your hauler. It may not get separated at the recycler – which makes it part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Likewise, don’t stuff things into other things. Don’t put a piece of paper in a plastic bottle and think the recycler will be able to sort it out (they won’t). The only time things can be nested is if they are the same product.
Keep It Clean
I want everyone to visit the recycling center because it re-enforces the feedback loop of what you put into your recycling bin. My guess is you don’t talk to the trash guy like your grandma did. Seeing how it’s processed helps close the loop so you know what you should put in and what you shouldn’t.
What you shouldn’t put in is as important as what you should. It matters because recycling is a supply and demand business. The stuff you put in that can’t be processed could very well become a contaminant that devalues the raw material that would normally have a buyer.
The biggest two things I noticed were plastic bags and paper shreds. While these both can be recycled, they need to be handled appropriately.
Plastic bags do not go to your recycling hauler. They need to be brought to a specialist. Target takes plastic bags. Recycle them there. At the Waste Management MRF they remove plastic bags from their equipment 4x daily (along with other trash like saran wrap, ropes, chains, hoses, VHS tapes, cords, and Xmas lights). Some of that other stuff is recyclable as well, but not through your normal recycling hauler.
Paper shreds were everywhere at the murf. They don’t cause trouble as much as they just coat everything and don’t get recycled. You can recycle paper shreds through your hauler, but put them in a brown paper bag and staple it shut and write “SHREDS” on it. Someone at the murf will pull it out, or it’s greater dimension will help it through the process. The murf uses air pressure to sort materials of different density – without being sealed the shreds will likely explode into a ticker tape parade.
Two more things that trouble the recycling plant manager are wood, it gets stuck in the machine and actually starts to burn the sorting wheels up. The other is hazards like lawnmower blades, which will get flung about in a facility like this. 🔪 It will shut the place down. Take it to a metal recycler. Your city or county likely has recycling days where you can bring scrap metal so you don’t even need to seek out a scrap metal specialist.
Stay up to date
Facilities like the murf are constantly being updated to be able to handle new materials. If your hauler, county, or city is doing their job, they’ll send out appropriate information to keep you up to date. However, the Minneapolis MRF highly recommended that you call them if you have a question – 612-379-1360.
Make sure you’re only putting in stuff that your hauler can process. Send as much of the other stuff as you can to the specialized recyclers. What little trash you have left shouldn’t be a huge concern, most of it likely goes to a Energy Recovery Center like the HERC. There it gets burned and turned into energy rather than just adding to the landfill.
Here’s a quick tip on lettering even the smallest tire sidewalls. I essentially used the technique in this video, but with some extra techniques to work on a 1/10 scale on-road tire: And I used an extra-fine white Sharpie paint pen on my 1/10 scale vintage trans-am (VTA) pre-glued Protoform tires (front and rear). Using some […]
The goal was simple, color the raised logo sections on the tire. The execution was more difficult than it seems because the logos are barely raised from the sidewall. What happened was paint often running off the logo onto the sidewall.
The best solution I found was to keep going! Leave any paint that you want to remove from the sidewall to dry for a minute while you’re continuing to paint. Then take a toothpick and scrape off the dried paint you don’t want.
If you want the stuff to stay-put you’ll want to seal it up. All the guys at my local track glue the sidewalls to avoid excessive traction rolling, so I suggest doing the same for both performance and retention of your newly painted lettering.
I use TLR tire glue. It’s a clear CA glue that dries flexibly. Other tire-specific CA glues are black in color and won’t let the white shine through.
So it doesn’t take several hours to dry, use some CA kicker. Don’t spray it directly on the glue or it will turn white. Instead spray a quick spritz into a cup, and then cover the tire with the cup. I use a collapsible camping cup that I got at walmart. It was super cheap and folds down to put into my tool box.
I tried using this sharpie paint pen for another project but it didn’t work as nicely as it did brand new. If anyone has any tips for cleaning or storing these sharpies so they last longer, let me know in the comments!
Years ago, I had an idea to write a post called “Down with the Dodge Stratus” – which was based on the fact that in the early 2000s, most of the race-approved 1/10 electric on-road (sedan) bodies were based off of the Dodge Stratus. You can see in the roar archives that the Stratus was […]
Years ago, I had an idea to write a post called “Down with the Dodge Stratus” – which was based on the fact that in the early 2000s, most of the race-approved 1/10 electric on-road (sedan) bodies were based off of the Dodge Stratus. You can see in the roar archives that the Stratus was phased out in 2008 (search “Stratus”). Bleh, I’m glad it’s gone! When’s the last time you saw a Dodge Stratus actually racing?!?
Just like model railroaders, the trail truck guys are also on to something – scale is cool. The more realistic, the better. For VTA body inspiration, look no further than your local library. Just pick up a copy of Hot Rod Magazine – it’s guaranteed to inspire. Just take a look at some of these examples:
To give it a “street sponsored” look I sprayed some decals with a single, very light pass of the PS-23 Gun Metal color.
I added a little white lettering detail to the tires to make them stand out a little more than the all-black look.
It’s both unique and real at the same time. I like the orange stripe especially because some other guys like to do the crazy sedan-style neon paint schemes. It gives a visual queue so they can’t say “I didn’t see you out there” without being brash and over-the-top.
If you have any other sources you like to use for painting inspiration – like a specific racing series – let us know in the comments. We can turn the tide and do away with boring single colors, insane teardrop neon patterns, and have great scale looking cars instead.