Now that Axial’s new Ridgecrest is readily available I wanted to show one of the Ridgecrest projects I have been working on. For this project I just wanted to build a do it all trail runner/crawler/basher. The Ridgecrest is the perfect platform for this type of build in my opinion, because of the stout AR60 axles and the well tuned suspension geometry. The purpose of this build is to have a rig that can handle a lot of various situations from sandy hills, to rocks and roots, a little water, and possibly some urban bashing. This project will also probably be a loaner vehicle on occasion as well, so I want it to work decent in all situations. Here’s a rundown of what I changed, and why.
A couple shots with the body removed. I swapped the electronics and battery trays around so the battery now sits in front for better weight distribution.
Swapping the two trays around was easy, the only thing required was a servo extension wire. The steering servo wire lead on this rig was a bit too short for me to reach the receiver after swapping the two trays around. Servo extensions can be found at most hobby shops and online retailers for less than $5, so it is a cheap and easy solution.
Here you can see the junction where the servo wire and the servo extension meet. I used the stock wire guide to keep the wires out of harm’s way. Also notice I moved the on/off switch to the opposite side of the chassis, just to keep wires cleanly tucked away.
I stretched the wheelbase on this Ridgecrest to help on big rock obstacles, and hill climbs. A longer wheelbase usually helps a rig’s capabilities in these situations. So, I installed our 106mm grey links, part number AX30516, to replace the old stock plastic lower links. Then, I used our grey machined high clearance links, part number AX30469, to replace the stock upper links. In order to stretch the wheelbase as much as possible I used our long curved XR10 rod ends on all the suspension links, part number AX80057. You will need 4 of the rod end parts trees total to complete the conversion, as well as M3 threaded studs to secure the rod ends to the links, part number AXA0187. You will need two packages of the threaded studs to complete the conversion. My wheelbase now sits at 13 1/2″.
A shot of the link set-up.
Here you can see I also installed our new AR60 machined link mounts, part number AX30830, on the axles as well. These link mounts are cool because they have multiple mounting points, which will help you fine tune wheelbase, ride height and shock angles as needed.
Another modification that I made was the jump to XR10 beadlock wheels, part number AX08061, and R35 Ripsaw tires, part number AX12015. This mod is one of the best you can make, the difference in traction between the stock RTR Ripsaw tires and the better R35 compound tires is night and day.
Last thing I changed was the springs on the shocks. The stock springs were a bit too stiff for my liking, so I swapped them out for our purple comp springs, part number AX30224.
A few shots with the newly cut body.
So far these few mods have really transformed this vehicle into a super capable basher/trail runner, that is extremely fun to drive. Keep an eye out for my next few Ridgecrest installments covering how to convert your Ridgecrest into a capable comp crawler.
A little update on this Rat Rod FOFF build that was featured in the 100th issue of RC Driver. Now that the 100th issue has been out for a few weeks I figured it was a good time to show some detailed chassis shots. Like my last FOFF build it began life as an SCX10 Honcho. I started off by stripping the donor Honcho down to the bare frame rails. I had a certain look that I wanted to achieve with this build, which was kind of an “old school hot rod” feel. I knew that the Rat Rod body was going to be blacked out by painting it on the outside for a “flat black” look. I also knew I was going to paint the rock rings white to kind of give the wheels and tires that “white wall” look. I also knew I wanted the suspension and steering links to be colored to set them off from the rest of the build. After debating for about 3 seconds what color to go with on the links, I knew that the old school Axial green would fit the bill perfectly. Here’s a few highlights from the build process.
A few photos of the front shock towers. I moved them forward on the chassis, flipped them 180* and swapped the left and right sides to match the contour of the chassis rails. The stock frame cross member between the shock towers in these photos is for mock-up only. I ended up using the stock frame cross member that ties the radio box to the frame rails and the stock rear cross member to cap the front of the frame rails.
I upgraded to aluminum SCX10 shock bodies, and used the stock plastic motor plate spacers for the transmission to limit the travel internally, 2 per shock shaft gave me the desired ride height and shock travel I needed. Overall length on the shocks is now 80mm. For springs I used 2 short soft springs (Part #AX30200) back to back on each shock.
Here you can see the motor plate spacers on the shock shaft.
A shot of the front link set-up. Lower links are 106mm (Part #AX30441) plus a 15mm standoff (Part #AXA1311) with long straight XR10 rod ends (Part #AX80057). The uppers are 70mm threaded standoffs (Part #AXA1322) with 3mm spacers (Part #AXA1303) and long straight XR10 rod ends. The front axle will also use our plastic upper 4 link mount (Part #AX80043). Notice I also moved the upper link mounts on the chassis from the stock location. The holes are already in the frame rails, but they need to be drilled out to an 1/8″ for M3 hardware.
I copied my original FOFF’s behind the axle steering for this build as well. Here you can see I shaved the axle housing a little to clear the steering tie rod.
A few shots of the chassis mounted servo plate. Take your time with placement of the plate on the rails, to be sure to get a proper fit. Bolt your servo up to the servo plate. Then, hold it up against the chassis and scribe the profile of the plate on the rails to make sure your holes are drilled in the proper location.
A few shots with the servo mounted. I used a stock SCX10 RTR servo for mock-up. I ordered a Futaba S9156 servo to handle the steering duties.
Here you can see the 6mm spacer (Part #AXA1306) I used on the servo horn to move the drag link away from the upper links. The size on this spacer may vary depending on the servo and servo horn used.
For the drag link I used our 91mm (Part #30524) link. I put a slight bend in the link at the steering knuckle with one of our curved upper link rod ends in order to put less stress on the steering knuckle. My original FOFF build used a standoff at the knuckle with a straight drag link and that set-up put too much stress on the knuckle arm, which left me with a few broken knuckles in really hard crashes. This set-up relieves a lot of that stress.
A few photos of the rear suspension set-up. Lower links are 98mm (Part #AX30443) with stock rod ends, the uppers are 91mm with stock rod ends.
In order to keep the 48p gears in good working order, I installed Axial’s spur gear cover (Part #AX80078) to keep debris out of the pinion and spur gear.
To mount the ESC, receiver and the battery I used two of our standard battery plates (Part #AX30483). For the electronics I cut about 1 1/4″ off one end of the aluminum battery plate to shorten it up, then drilled and tapped into the stock rear frame cross member. In order to mount the battery plate I drilled and countersunk two holes to line up with the stock front frame cross member where the radio box normally sits.
An overall shot of the chassis.
A few shots with the body mounted.
For the cage work I used a stock Dingo roll cage (Part #AX80042) cut to fit the width of the body.
The 2.2 wheels I used on this build are now discontinued, but our black 8 hole beadlock wheels (Part #AX8097) are still readily available. The tires are Panther paddle tires. I sanded the stock rock rings with some fine sand paper, and spray painted them white for that old school look.
Here you can see the rear portion of the chassis protruded beyond the bed of the body. I eventually used a Dremel and cutoff wheel to trim the frame rails flush with the body, which gave it a lot cleaner look.
The front of the Rat Rod (Part #AX4016) body is very narrow. I had to cut the sides of the hood to clear the shock towers and servo. It was a little tedious to get the fit right, but 100% worth the time it took.
That covers a few of the custom build details on this Rat Rod FOFF. I will try to shoot some video soon. I will post up here on the blog when I am finished. Until then, I think it’s time to charge a few batteries and go scout some locations.
To see more Formula Offroad builds be sure to check out the forums on www.rccrawler.com
RC Driver magazine has hit a milestone…………….their 100th issue is about to hit newstands. Axial would like to congratulate them on this historic feat, way to go guys!! One vehicle that is featured in this special 100th edition magazine is a custom formula offroad SCX10 that I built a few months back. I sent a sneak peek photo of this rig to Ty Giebel, the man behind this article, while it was in the build process. I instantly got a message back saying he wanted to do an article for RC Driver featuring this Rat Rod FOFF in a future edition of the magazine. It was tough to finish the build, knowing that the first squeeze of the trigger wasn’t going to be made by my hand. But, in end I couldn’t turn him down as I knew he would truly do this rig justice with a spectacular article and photos. Here’s a few teaser photos of the new 100th issue, and this Rat Rod FOFF build. There is more to come on this particular rig, but for now this will have to hold you over. If you want to see more, look for this issue at your local newstand.
Yogi’s Favorite saying is “I’m Smarter than the Average Bear,” and he proved it.
As he was roaming Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest Campground in Western Pennsylvania looking for unattended Picnic Baskets, he came across John “Rckcrwlr” Thornton, driving his new Axial Wraith. As Yogi welcomed the children that gathered around him, he had his big eyes peeled at Rckcrwlr and his cool rock racing Wraith! As he approached, he pointed at Rckcrwlr’s hands and motioned to hand him the transmitter.
Concerned about a “newbie-bear” running an RC rig, Rckcrwlr took time to teach Yogi how to use the the AX-3 Transmitter. After about 3 minutes, Yogi wanted to try it. Rckcrwlr put a new battery in the Axial Wraith and off he went. The only time Yogi had a bigger smile was when he scores a Picnic Basket full of Chicken, Biscuits and Danish.
Yogi first drove in circles that he got bored with. Quickly he was climbing wood piles, rocks and dirt hills. Yogi is a little heavy on the throttle and really had the Wraith moving. At one point he was chasing BooBoo with it.
Yogi had his fun and about that time, caught a whiff of a freshly opened picnic basket and was off on his next entertainment mission.
Set-up tips for installing and programming Axial’s AE-2 ESC.
1. Mount ESC in an area that is well ventilated, and isolated from vibration and shock.
2. Connect ESC wires to the motor(s).
3. Plug the receiver wire into the throttle channel on your receiver.
4. Before plugging the battery into the ESC, make sure your transmitter is on and that the throttle trim is set to zero.
5. Double check that the battery wires on the ESC are wired correctly, red on red and black on black. **Reversing the polarity will permanently damage the ESC**
6. Plug the battery into the ESC, with the ESC switch in the “off” position.
7. Apply full throttle on the transmitter.
8. Turn the ESC on while applying full throttle.
9. The ESC will emit a series of beeps through the motor with the “Red” LED.
10. Continue applying full throttle until the ESC blinks “Green” and emits a series of beeps to finalize the full throttle endpoint.
11. Once the ESC blinks “Red”, apply full brake/reverse, and hold.
12. The ESC will emit a series of beeps while blinking “Red” to finalize the reverse/brake endpoint.
13. Return the throttle to neutral and the ESC will emit a series of beeps to finalize the neutral point.
14. The ESC will emit one last series of beeps confirming the ESC is ready to go.
15. Apply throttle to make sure motor turns in the proper direction. To reverse the direction of the motor, switch the wires going to the motor.
1. If ESC set-up does not initialize while holding full throttle, try switching the throttle reverse switch on the transmitter. Also double check that the throttle trim is still set to zero.
2. Lipo “Cut-off” is set to “On” from the factory.
3. Use the “Castle Link” to access the advanced settings in this ESC.
Input Voltage – 6 cell NiCad/NiMH or 2cell lipo**
Size – 1.7″ x 1.24″
Weight – 45 Grams
Motor Limit – 19t
On-Resistance FET – .0018
Rated/Peak Current – 106A Peak
Braking Current – 106A Peak
BEC Voltage – 5.0V/2A Peak
PWM Frequency – 6KHZ
**You can run higher voltage batteries such as a 7 cell NiCad/NiMH or 3 cell lipo with the installation of a “Castle BEC”
Manually programming Axial’s AE-2 ESC
Here are a few tips for programming Axial’s AE-2 ESC, without a computer or “Castle Link”.
You can manually adjust 3 of the most important settings in the AE-2 ESC.
1. Lipo Cut-off
2. Drag Brake
Follow these steps to change settings on your Axial AE-2 ESC without a computer.
*Remove your pinion gear before calibration and manual programming as a safety precaution!*
STEP 1: Start with the transmitter ON and the ESC switched OFF and not connected to the battery.
STEP 2: Plug a battery into the ESC. Hold full throttle on the transmitter and turn the ESC switch ON. After a few seconds you will get the four rings in a row signaling full throttle calibration. Keep on holding full throttle. After a few more seconds, you will hear another four rings in a row. After the second group of four rings, relax the throttle to neutral. If you have successfully entered programming mode, the ESC will beep twice, pause, and repeat the two beeps.
STEP 3: The programming sequence is always presented in sequential order and always starts with the first setting (None) within the first section (Voltage Cutoff). The first beep(s) signifies which section of the programming you are in and the second beep(s) signifies which setting is waiting for a “yes” or “no” answer. As you go sequentially through the options, you will need to answer “yes” by holding full throttle, or answer “no” by holding full brake until the ESC accepts your answer by beeping rapidly. Once an answer has been accepted, relax the throttle back to neutral for the next question. After a “no” answer is accepted, the ESC will then present you with the next option in that section. After a “yes” answer is accepted, the ESC knows you aren’t interested in any other option in that section, so it skips to the first option in the next section.
Settings and explanations
The following section explains all the settings available to you via manual programming and what each one does to change the reactions of the ESC in order to tune it to your specific preferences. More settings are available via “Castle Link”.
1. Cutoff Voltage
Sets the voltage at which the ESC lowers or removes power to the motor in order to either keep the battery at a safe minimum voltage (Lithium Polymer cells) or the radio system working reliably (NiCad/NiMH cells).
Setting 1: None
Does not cut off or limit the motor due to low voltage. Do not use with any Lithium Polymer packs!
Use this setting ONLY with NiCad or NiMH packs. With continued driving, the radio system may eventually cease to deliver pulses to the servo and ESC, and the vehicle will not be under control.
You will irreversibly damage Lithium Polymer packs with this setting!
Setting 2: Auto-LiPo (Default)
This setting allows you to go back and forth between 2 and 3 cell LiPo packs without having to change the cutoff voltage for each one. The ESC automatically sets the cutoff voltage correctly for a 2 or 3 cell pack when that pack is plugged in.
2. Drag Brake
Sets the amount of drag brake applied at neutral throttle to simulate the slight braking effect of a neutral brushed motor while coasting.
Setting 1: Drag Brake OFF
Vehicle will coast with almost no resistance from the motor at neutral throttle.
Setting 2: Drag Brake 15%
Very Low amount of braking effect from the motor at neutral throttle
Setting 3: Drag brake 25%
Low amount of braking effect from the motor at neutral throttle
Setting 4: Drag Brake 40%
More braking effect from the motor at neutral throttle.
Setting 5: Drag Brake 50%
Fairly high braking effect from the motor at neutral throttle.
Setting 6: Drag Brake 100% (Default)
Full braking effect from the motor at neutral throttle.
3. Brake / Reverse Type
Sets whether reverse is enabled or not, and exactly how it can be accessed.
Setting 1: Reverse Lockout
This setting allows the use of reverse only after the ESC senses two seconds of neutral throttle. Use it for race practice sessions and bashing, but check with your race director to see if this setting is allowed for actual racing.
Setting 2: Forward/Brake Only
Use this setting for actual sanctioned racing events. Reverse cannot be accessed under any circumstances with this setting.
Setting 3: Forward/Brake/Reverse (Default)
Reverse or forward is accessible at any time after the ESC brakes to zero motor RPM.
I went out last night for a little shakedown run with my Honcho. For those that missed it, I recently swapped the stock axles out for Wraith axles. Wraith axles under a Honcho, equals the “Wroncho Build”. This gave me a wider footprint and the full width one ton axle look. I do need to make a few tweaks to the suspension, but so far it is pretty fun to drive. It is amazing how much more stable it is at high speeds, because of the extra width.
Ever since I saw the first prototype Wraith axles, I have wanted to bolt them up to an SCX10 frame with a Honcho body for that “full width” one ton axle look. Well, I finally had a chance to try and it, and so far it seems like it’s going to be a fun vehicle. The extra width of the Wraith axles make this SCX10 extremely stable at speeds, especially when cornering on any high traction surface. The axles should make this SCX10 a great TTC style rig too, because of the extra width/beef of these new axles. I also have a feeling it would do well in G6 style events too. I haven’t had a chance to take the “Wroncho” off-road yet, but here are a few photos of my set-up. Keep an eye out for action shots and video in the near future.
The overall stance……..wheelbase is right at 13 1/2″.
The suspension set-up. I had to use various rod ends and links to achieve the stance and wheelbase I wanted. I will probably machine new rear lower links to eliminate the extra spacers at the axle.
I tried using straight rod ends at first, but the triangulation of the links was too much, and it caused binding. The curved XR10 rod ends are a perfect fit though.
For the initial mock-up I ran the link/shock mounts on the axle the standard way they arrive in the RTR Wraith. But, my ride height ended up a little too tall for my liking. So, I flipped the link/shock mounts upside down which lowered the overall height just enough for me.
It’s tough to see, but in order for the driveshafts to clear the upper links as the suspension cycles, I had to put a slight bend in them front and rear.
The rear clearance at full compression of the suspension.
The front at full compression.
Mandatory flex shot.
So far I am really excited about how this build is shaping up. Like I mentioned earlier, keep an eye out for some action shots and video very soon.