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The Beginning
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The Raven


As you can see, the chassis and drive train components differ dramatically from the original kit. I suppose all of the little nitpicks I had for the Clodzilla eventually drove me to this design. Suspension capability and stability at higher speeds as well as size restrictions all contributed to the idea of creating my own design. This first notion started as a rover or other low-speed crawler type of vehicle, and then I changed my mind and felt it needed to exhibit some decent speed and thus had to be adjusted accordingly. Since then, I have returned to the crawler type of vehicle that will utilize lowered gearing to explore. I have no delusions of competition, however. I honestly believe the vehicles with electric power have too much advantage over the nitro platform. In the future a class may emerge, but for now it is merely an experiment.

[While the Clodzilla was electrically powered with a motor on each axle, this newer design was to utilize a single high-torque motor to power the whole model. Retracting drive shafts and a center-mounted differential would be necessary for a single motor. I had gone through a few nitro and gasoline prospects also, and came up with the notion of a twin-cylinder four-stroke powerplant, but the idea of clean, quiet electric propulsion would be too easy to implement. The truck would then have almost no restrictions as to where it could operate. Recently, I have wrestled with power types and finally settled on a hybrid nitro-electric system for the immense challenge. A 1 cubic-inch offset v-twin will be the engine.]

After the 4 initial frame components were finished, I then machined 16 of my own type of turnbuckles for the new chassis. The aluminum was drilled and threaded left/right for ease of link adjustment and I had cut some threaded rod that connected those links to a set of steel rod ends. They are now fitted to the rod ends and chassis suspension mounts. In all, 8 main links, 4 shock links, 2 drag links and 2 pitman arms were made, all of which are pictured below. The shortest links have not been used. The two drag links in the picture became the pitman arms as the axles became much wider than the stock ClodBuster units. The 8 suspension links have also been lengthened in order to stabilize the wheelbase and also ease the complexity of the steering system.



Below is an image of an early stage of the differential housings (assembled with 1/8 scale Ofna gears inside) and also a prototype axle tube. The machine work was extensive, especially the alignment of the bearing races from end-to end in order to ensure smooth spinning when under high rpm. The axle tube shown represents the exact size, but the ends would change to ease the machining of each tube as well as that of the steering knuckles. I had decided to utilize stock Tamiya steel axles, half-shafts and stock bearings just in case something snapped.



After looking at the axle tube above, I decided to indeed change the style to ease in manufacturing. The finished tubes are shown below as simplified, and also seen are the spindles and various fixtures that had to be made in order to complete such.



Below is an image of the original JPS axles, after assembly. They included steering knuckles, idler arms, gear cases, motors with heat sinks, and the suspension mounts. Very attractive CNC work, for sure. These were sold in order to finance the rest of the model and also to allow me to fabricate my own drive train from scratch. This has taken a hell of a lot of time, and some of the design issues have driven me mad at times, but I would rather create as much as possible myself and then leave the purchasing for the electronics and other parts I cannot make. It's funny that in the beginning I had told myself that the axle tubes were too difficult for my skill level. Now I realize that it just took a hell of a lot of patience.



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

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