Radio controlled car enthusiast James Beswick has a singular goal in his R/C life right now — he wants to break the world record for the fastest R/C car. Not only does he want to break the 202 mph (325 km/h) mark set by Nic Case in 2014, Beswick wants to do it with a 3D printed car that he’s been perfecting over the past couple years.
Beswick has a long history of operating R/C cars, racing them since he was young and graduating to building them over the past several years. Not happy with the off-the-shelf parts, Beswick turned to 3D printing to create his custom components. “It sped up the building process significantly and opened so many more exciting possibilities,” said Beswick in an interview with 3D printer maker Ultimaker.
Much of his car is 3D printed — including the rear wing, servo holders, controller mounts, battery and cable clamps, and shock absorbers. Beswick uses an Ultimaker 2 Extended printer, which provides a long printing surface suitable for the racing car’s dimensions, as well as an open filament system that allows him to test a combination of different materials in his design. Using this system, Beswick was able to print some materials with a flexible filament for shock absorption and others with a PLA/PHA filament that combines the strength of PLA with the flexibility of PHA.
3D printing also allowed Beswick to build quickly and test new ideas at at faster rate than he otherwise would have been able to. In his Ultimaker interview, Beswick discussed his development of the body for the car and subsequent discovery that the PLA he was using for the shell was susceptible to damage by stones at high speeds. If he used traditional off-the-shelf materials, Beswick would have been forced to accept this limitation, but his choice to use 3D printing provided him with the flexibility to choose another material and test his car again in a very short period.
Beswick is currently 11th in the R/C speed leaderboards, having broken the 200 Km/h mark in previous races. He has his eyes on the world record now and won’t stop with the development of his project until he breaks this mark.