How to Make a Remote Control Boat

By Kevin Hanson
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Do you consider yourself a remote control boat enthusiast or hobbyist? Do you look at the retail price tags on some of your favorite models and wonder how you will ever be able to afford them? Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Does it make you sick to your stomach when you can’t repair your car yourself? Do you cook your own meals rather than having someone else do it? Does it drive you crazy to ride in a car instead of drive it?

Okay, I think you get the point. If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have most likely thought, at one time or another, that it would be cool, fun and rewarding to build your own remote control boat instead of buying whatever rolls off the manufacturers’ assembly lines.

This article is intended to give you some hints, tips and suggestions for how to save a good chunk of change by making your own remote control boat; however, because you are probably the do-it-yourself type, you will no doubt develop your own methods, designs and techniques. It’s all part of the fun!

If you are already an avid remote control boat enthusiast, you probably have a lot of the materials and tools you need for this project, such as screwdrivers, pliers, hex wrenches and a utility knife. You might also need soldering, molding and modeling equipment and materials, depending on the complexity of your RC boat model.

Your first step is to shop around for a radio transmitter and receiver, motor and servo, hull, and rechargeable battery and charger.

If you’re concerned about money – and, let’s face it, who isn’t? – you will want to know that these parts tend to be the most expensive. So, shop around; most, if not all, of the retail outlets we have reviewed carry a comprehensive selection of parts and materials for repairing and building RC boats.

Step number two is to glue your RC boat’s motor to bottom side of the boat at the stern (rear). It is common for remote control boat manufacturers and hobbyists alike to place the batteries immediately above the motor. Now you are ready to set up the propeller.

Waterproof all of the openings on your boat. Most remote control boats have at least one opening in the deck to allow you to make adjustments and charge your batteries. You will want to build some kind of removable hatch that’s also waterproof as a covering for one or more of these openings.

If the hull you purchased does not come with an attached rudder, you can buy rudder assemblies to help you attach one yourself. Next, you should glue your servo to the hull, approximately in the middle of your boat near the bow (front). Then, glue the battery pack between the servo and the rudder.

The last component to go on your boat is probably the receiver. Most builders place this in the nose cone of the boat, making sure to consider the weight distribution of all the components.

Once your vessel is fully assembled, waterproof it with kitchen-and-bath silicone and prepare to launch it. Before taking her to the lake or pond, however, test her in the bathtub or kids’ swimming pool. You don’t want your first voyage to end in Titanic-like futility!

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