The Beginning
Skip Navigation Links

The Raven
Welcome to my nitro crawler design and build. The information on the following pages details the progression of my RC vehicle from the off-the-shelf machine at its beginning, to the heavily modified and enlarged monstrosity it has become. There are many steps to the process of this design and build, and the original project that inspired this menace was none other than Tamiya's ClodBuster kit. A bit of history about that, and then we'll delve into the custom mess in which I am currently involved. Keep in mind that as many parts as possible have been designed and machined/built by me. The picture below represents the chassis just after the steering work had been completed.

First, some background on the idea. Some sections are dated to reflect the time at which I originally wrote the text.


When I first ordered the ClodBuster in 2000, I also ordered some aftermarket parts to include in the build, thus starting out with a much more capable truck than was in the kit. I wanted the truck to perform well and be easy to maintain, and there was plenty of motivation for building something superior to what Tamiya had designed. Now, I don't wish to berate what they put on the market, and we all know that this very kit was the beginning of flexible, customizable monster trucks and rock crawlers, and the ClodBuster revolutionized the way in which RC hobbyists looked at their choices and possible vehicles. Tamiya did a great thing by putting on the shelves a truck which utilized both four wheel drive and four wheel steering. 

Now, the main item on the list of modifications to the kit was ESP hobby's Clodzilla IV race chassis. This chassis, at that time, was the leader in race- winning ability and served up several upgrades from the stiff, plastic chassis which Tamiya had designed. The key features of this were a stretched wheelbase (a three inch increase), which offered stability at higher speeds, and a cantilever-actuated suspension system that facilitated an enormous step forward in racing control. I also installed the sway bar kit to keep the body roll to a minimum while at speed. 

Not long after the original Clodzilla IV was completed, I realized a distinct lack of solidity. The chassis seemed at once a toy and not at all what I had hoped to control. The rod ends were plastic, and the entire steering and suspension system tended to loosen up under pressure. Unacceptable. This slapped me with the realization that this kit was intended as a toy, and not some superior design for the advanced modeler. Now, it's important to understand that I entered this modeling phase as an adult and as an engineering technician at trade, and someone who had no issues with investing more than $1200 in materials in order to reach a predetermined goal such as a truck that would perform consistent with my expectations. 

Following the old truck pictures, there are several shots of the frame rails and other chassis parts which I machined first. I had planned to create a frame that was comparable to the Clodzilla and then extend the wheelbase to 16" and mate it to the JPS aluminum axles via suspension and shock links also made by me. It was essentially a plan to replace everything on that Clodzilla with which I was unhappy. I did not realize at the time, but the project would later spiral into a completely custom job that would serve to both drive me insane and force me into design directions the likes of which I really did not intend to think about. 

Next >>>


Content Updated: Sunday, September 04, 2016 at 10:25 pdt

Maltese Cross

Valid XHTML1.0!

Powered by Microsoft ASP.NET
Copyright ©2002-2018 RS Engineering USA   All rights reserved
All other logos, trademarks and graphics used herein are the property of their respective owners
Index | General Information | Archive | Contact | Sitemap | Privacy Policy | Terms Of Use | Credits | Cookies