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Thread: Freestyle RC ZRD Build

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Concord, NC
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    Default Freestyle RC ZRD Build

    Several months ago, I renewed my interest in RC monster trucks. I still have a Clod, a Juggernaut, and a Wheely King lying around in various states of non-use. I noticed that the solid axle MT segment seemed to be having a bit of a resurgence, which I think is pretty cool. So I started visiting some forums and joined a few FB groups in order to get caught up with the latest.

    My timing couldn't have been much better because I happened to stumble across the closing days of Freestyle RC's pre-order for the awesome ZRD chassis, axle, and transmission set. It was a total impulse buy, which is pretty rare for me, but totally worth the $ and the wait.

    So here is how it came:






    The chassis based on the popular CRD monster jam chassis, and incorporates lots of details that replicate that. Short of a full custom tube frame build, I don't think anyone has come close to reproducing a monster truck chassis with such detail.

    A nice touch is a cool 3D printed engine that bolts right into the chassis that also acts as a cover for the brushless motor. Coupled with the Freestyle transmission, it makes for a pretty convincing setup.






    As mentioned earlier, the kit contains the chassis, axle housings, and transmission. It includes a battery tray, receiver box, links, and swaybars. The rest has to be sourced from elsewhere. The axles are designed to accept T/E-Maxx diffs and half shafts, and it is designed around the HPI Savage shocks. I like that it uses the long travel Savage shocks, but options for quality shocks are limited in this size. I'm going with the HPI aluminum body shocks in the long run it looks like.

    That's all I have time for today, I will start detailing the build in my next post.

    -Jeff

  2. #2
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    Jul 2017
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    The axles on the ZRD are pretty cool. While not extremely scale, they are very much bomb proof, and should take a lot of abuse. They are also designed really well and in a way that makes them really flexible. They accept the center diff from the T/E-Maxx 3.3 trucks along with the driveshafts that go with them.




    The housings have lots of threaded holes that enable you to configure the link mounts in a variety of positions to suit almost any build. Also included are two sets of spacers that allow the width to be adjusted. The knuckles are nice and beefy, and feature bearings at the pivot points.




    Links are included along with a set of lock out parts for the rear if you don't want rear steering. They also come with some 3D printed front covers that are pretty nice. I may be tempted to design a set that is a little more scale in appearance at some point though.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Smithfield, RI USA
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    1,965

    Default

    Whoa, this thing is intense. I know nothing of the solid axle monster trucks, but this looks to be top notch...

  4. #4
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    Jul 2017
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    Concord, NC
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    It is a really nice kit. Everything on it is beefy, and it will be a heavy beast once it is done.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2017
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    Concord, NC
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    I regret not taking more pics during the initial assembly, but honestly there wasn't that much interesting detail that can't already be seen. So here is the complete kit chassis, assembled as it comes.




    It is pretty impressive the way it comes, but I couldn't help but try and kick it up a notch or two. There is a lot of opportunity for details in between the two main chassis sides that would be hard to manufacture, put into a kit, and keep even remotely reasonably priced well.

    I have had my own 3D printer for about a year and a half now. It gets used for a variety of projects; mostly RC related. So, naturally I planned to design and print most of the detailed parts that I pan to add to this chassis.

    First up was to make some chassis bracing behind the driver's compartment. The kit comes with a piece of 1/4" thick lexan that bolts in here, but I didn't care for how that looked. Also, there is a prominent X brace that goes between the main roll hoop support tubes and the rear of the chassis that I added. Most of these tubes would be round, but I am going to keep the majority of them square with beveled edges to match the style of the chassis side tubes. The hope is to make it look like it was all part of the original kit. There will be some round parts mixed in here or there, where it seems appropriate.




  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Duff Gardens
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    6,190

    Default

    Those axles look tough! Is this being built for competing?
    SBG Junior Vice President RC4WDCASTLEGCM

  7. #7
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    Jul 2017
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    Concord, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by pardonmyn00b View Post
    Those axles look tough! Is this being built for competing?
    Bomb proof for sure. They are designed for competing and can handle 1/8 scale brushless power on 4-6 cells. A lot of the comp guys run these axles as they can be used with most any chassis.

    I doubt that I will ever compete with mine as there are not any local organized racing groups. I intend for it to be more of a fun scale project that I can run in my backyard occasionally for fun and take it off some sweet jumps.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2017
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    Next up, I wanted to get some detail in the back of the chassis. Typically these areas are open and in plain view if using a pickup style body, so any extra detail here is easily shown off. The kit came with a lexan mounting plate with a RC4WD fuel cell style receiver box. Not a bad solution, but I didn't like where the wires entered into the box nor did I like how the lid attached. A good mounting place for the ESC also needed to be made because I really didn't want to put it where the driver sits and end up with some awkward wiring.

    So, what I ended up doing, through a few iterations, was designing some bracing that mimicked what would be found on the 1:1 trucks and 3D printed them.






    In the vertical "X" brace I designed in a way to mount my ESC. Since this is normally where the radiator and fan are on the 1:1 trucks, I had the idea to disguise the ESC a little. I made a cover that fits around the main body of the ESC that looks like a radiator. The cooling fan for the ESC looks similar to a radiator fan, so I called it good. I also designed a new fuel cell receiver box that looks a little cleaner and has the wires entering where I want them.




  9. #9
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    Feb 2008
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    Glued to a CNC Machine
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    Beast mode turned on! Yeah!

  10. #10
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    Jul 2017
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    On to the front end of the truck...The 1:1 trucks have an interesting jungle gym of bracing and tubes up front to help make the chassis good and strong. So I designed some bracing that simulated the maze of tubes that they have up there while keeping room and access for the battery. Here are the prototype parts.




    For the battery mount again the kit provided a 1/4" lexan tray with an associated style battery box attached. It works, but lets the battery sit higher than it needs to be for the best performance. I decided that I wanted to run the truck on 3-cells to start off, so the associated battery box wouldn't work for that anyway. So a battery box was designed that fits the 3-cell 5000 mah battery that will be used. It hides the battery pretty well, and gets it as low as it can be placed without running afoul of the transmission or front axle at full compression. It bolts in place using the existing screws/holes on the chassis.








    I am pretty happy with how everything fits and looks, but I think I am going to tweak the design so that it has a hinged door on the front to retain the battery. I think it will be more secure and provide easier loading.

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