Father of Dragons(Bakugan Dragonoid monster truck replica)

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johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
It's Winter. I'm bored ;)

I was watching Monster Jam the other day and saw this truck. It's crazy complex body intrigued me...I thought..."Could I make that in lexan?". I really like a challenge, and biting off more than I can chew, plus I have a fascination with Monster Jam 3D bodies for some reason. What can I say...monsters period.

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Monster Jam official rendering:

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Obviously this thing is way too complex to create a unified shell, has to be done in parts and assembled(which btw, is how they made the real thing, more later). I spent a couple of days pondering the construction, then came up with a plan, and started on creating a 3d model. Luckily for me, the guy that created the concept 3d model for Monster Jam has pictures of this thing from a bunch of angles, so the references were really good and helpful.
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So I started on a low poly 3d model in Blender:
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Next I chopped it into several sections that I would create forms with, and created forms which I pulled into Meshmixer.
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Note that the head, shoulders, and wing/arm are pieces that are forms, but the main body is a mold. The mold is a four piece design that will be used to create a form using water putty. The smaller pieces I'm printing myself, with 50% infill, which given that they are small, and far enough away from the lamps heating the lexan than they should not get deformed when doing the vacuum pull(I could always fill them with water putty if that is an issue anyway). The body mold I've farmed out for printing and it should be done in a few days.

After I did all of this, I saw a video of how they made the real thing, it looks like they 3d print the smaller parts and sand it all down then paint and attach...quite similar process in some ways!
 
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johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
Weekend of printing and prepping some of the pieces. Each of these is mounted on plywood so that suction can occur and pull it tight around the bottom edges. In the case of the wing, the main wood section is supported off of the platen and I will drill holes all around the perimeter for suction around the edges. Printed at 50% infill, they are pretty solid and should hold up ok, plus I'll have them cooled prior to forming to help offset any heat coming from the lamps or the hot PETG sheet when it's dropped on them. Surfaces are coated with epoxy resin and will be sanded where needed as well. I'm confident the wing will form very well, but slightly concerned about the head - may need to drill some tiny holes in some of the crevices like around the eye to get the PETG to form tight, but will try first without holes.

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I'm going to make a couple of these bodies with different color schemes. The first one will be fitted to my T Maxx racer(I am growing quite the collection of custom bodies for that thing!), but the second one will be for a new solid axle project that I've been planning for a long time but just haven't gotten around to seeing it through. I'm contemplating which platform to go with - it's going to be nitro regardless, but not sure yet whether or not to get a new Mad Crusher and just start hopping it up, or get a new SMT10 kit and convert to nitro. Not sure if it's doable actually, and I wonder if anyone has? I've seem some Ground Pounder nitro conversions though, but I don't think I want a Ground Pounder, SMT10 has way more aftermarket stuff.
 
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johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
Started pulling a few of the pieces, and they came out really well, only one minor crease in a spot that doesn't really hurt the appearance. The only issue I ran into was getting the plastic off of the head section, due to it having a number of undercut areas. Ultimately I had to cut a seam on the top rear to free it, which I later glued back together with JB Weld 5 minute clear(also this area is held in place with screws, so structurally doesn't hurt anything.
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Please ignore the horn ;) I thought it would work, but after mounting it, started thinking it wasn't the best idea, it'll probably tear out, or destroy the head on a flip. Instead I will make a rubber one like the real truck has, and it'll mount through the slot which can be fastened underneath with clips and pulled tight onto the socket.

The head is a little wavy yet. I really gooped on the epoxy to get it smooth, but didn't put a ton of effort into the sanding yet because I wasn't sure if it would hold up to the heat, but it actually held up perfectly, so I'll sand it some more and get it perfect for the next pull. These parts though are good to go for painting. Need to make masks yet...

Meanwhile in the "what's it getting used for" department, aside from this one which I'll fit to my Tmaxx, I'm still debating on what platform the solid axle project will be. I really like the scale look of the SMT10 build kits, but if I could dig up an XTM X-Factor for a reasonable price somewhere, I'd consider that. I keep studying the SMT10 to see how I would modify it for nitro. I have an idea of how and where I'd mount the engine, but am not sure if to use the stock tranny, or use one from something else. I do have a lot of parts laying around, including a buggy trans with a brute SH .28 engine. The challenge of doing such a conversion is really, really appealing. I have heard rumors of a guy doing such a nitro conversion on one of the FB groups I belong to...
 

johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
Ruling out the SMT10 conversion. The Mad Crusher suspension is very similar, and I think I can get a tube frame that will work on it(or make one). Still a lot to ponder, and still considering the X Factor chassis. Bottom line is I want to make this thing as scale as possible, but still a good, fast driver for Monster Jam style solid axle racing.

I printed out a mold to create the horn out of rubber, and that worked really, really well! Pics coming soon.
 

BobP

RCNT Talkaholic
Supporter
Messages
343
Location
Where you least expect me
RC Driving Style
Bashing, Racing
F$%^ing cool project. I just built a vacuform frame and ordered some poly sheets. I'm getting some inspiration from your build and looking to see it done
 

D3MON

Hardcore RCNT User
Messages
1,441
Location
Missoula MT
RC Driving Style
Bashing
Ruling out the SMT10 conversion. The Mad Crusher suspension is very similar, and I think I can get a tube frame that will work on it(or make one). Still a lot to ponder, and still considering the X Factor chassis. Bottom line is I want to make this thing as scale as possible, but still a good, fast driver for Monster Jam style solid axle racing.

I printed out a mold to create the horn out of rubber, and that worked really, really well! Pics coming soon.
i know it could be a pain in the A$$ to get/find, but could look for a HPI Nitro Monster King, (nitro version of the Wheely King.)
really can't wait to see your always impressive builds and craftsmanship!!!
 

johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
The Nitro King was one I looked at, but it's 12th scale, right? Might be a little small, this body is more 1/8 - 1/10 in size.

Here is the rubber horn, mounted. It's held in with a clip that goes through a "tab" of rubber that drops through a slot on the nose. Definitely a much better idea than the polycarb horn!

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Just waiting now on the body mold printed pieces to arrive in the mail, either today or tomorrow. Then I'll make the body form, sand it smooth, and vacuum form that, assemble and fit to truck, take back apart, and paint.
 

johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
Did some more work over the weekend. All of the bolt on parts are formed, and came out well. I made some stencil masks for the parts that need that for painting(and templates so that I can easily make new ones). Received the mold parts for the main body and put it together using caulk, so that I can crack it open after casting the form. I have some concerns about demolding the rear pieces, it may require some chiseling away because I stupidly left a bit of an overhang along the top edge in the 3d model I sent out, but it should be ok, that's not part of where it would be left on the body.

Hilarious story...Sunday morning, after caulking Saturday evening, I mixed up 8 lbs of water putty and filled the mold. I had decided to do it outside because the water putty dust is kind of obnoxious when pouring into the mixing bucket. Man am I glad I decided to do that! Apparently 12 hours isn't quite enough for caulk to harden fully, and as I walked back from dumping the empty water putty cans in the trash, I heard a noise and a splash, and I looked on my deck to see the giant mess created as the mold had separated! DOH!! I knew I only had minutes before the water putty permanently fused itself to my deck surface, so I was running around with my hair on fire trying to hook up my garden hose and get kinks out of it to start rinsing it off. Quickly realized that the garden hose was no match, and scrambled to get my pressure washer up and running, which at first it didn't want to start, but finally was able to clean off my deck and prevent disaster, lol!

After that mess, I recaulked, and also this time I'll do it on a piece of plywood in the yard, and will also put some bricks all around the mold to keep it from repeating that scenario. Live and learn...live and learn. Luckily in the end I was only out 16 dollars for my failed effort.

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On another note, as for the second vehicle I made this body for (this first one goes on my T-maxx), I've decided to go with the Mad Crusher, which will get some mods straight out of the box, mostly with the shocks/position/stance, and I might swap out the engine with an SH .28 I have. I'm not sure what the HP for the KE .25 engine is, but the SH .28 is a beast.
 

LibertyMKiii

RCNT Racer
Messages
116
Location
Dallas TX
RC Driving Style
Bashing
Great work here!
You are inspiring me to get a vacuum form setup going. Can't wait to see this thing painted!

-Liberty
 

johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
So close now I can taste it :D

So this time around I 1) Let the caulk dry for nearly 2 days and 2) Reinforced by wedging it in a cat litter box and putting bricks up against it.

It held just fine, and the cat litter box was a nice trick to prevent any spills in case of mold failure. This morning I removed one of the front pieces, as it seemed to be cured - however it was not 100%, and a corner broke off (but I glued it back on with Elmers glue with no issues). Interestingly, the caulk was still quite soft in most areas, but I guess gluey enough to hold and seal. In hindsight, this is really about the ideal amount of time because I was able to pretty easily separate the mold section.

I'll wait until getting home from work to check and see if the hardness is there, and remove the other pieces. Still a bit concerned about getting the rear two sections off without damaging the form, but my plan is that if pieces of that tail break off, I'll either glue it together, or worst case, I'll recreate those missing pieces with Sculpy and bake it.
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Note the piece of wood submerged, this was to take up some space as the two four pound cans of water putty were just slightly not enough.

Tonight I'm hoping to successfully demold, repair if needed, and begin surface prep sanding. From what I could see from the exposed part I demolded this morning, the prep won't be much, it's pretty smooth already. If all goes well, I should be able to form the body tonight! I only have one sheet of PETG left, so I didn't leave myself much margin for error....

Speaking of the PETG. I ordered sheets from Grainger, and I did so because the shipping cost was lower than some other places. However, I've noticed that these sheets seem more brittle than what I got from other places, so I'm not sure that I will use them again. I've had several cracks when removing from the forms, or even when trimming, which I never got before even with some serious torqueing and manhandling.
 

johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
Demolded the entire body. As expected, the rear section broke apart a bit. I was able to salvage and glue some large pieces(mostly of the tail), and reconstruct using wood putty. I then filled in, smoothed out various areas with wood putty to make the sanding process easier. It looks rough right now, but with a bit of sanding, dremeling, it should work out well. It probably would have broken apart less had I waited another day or two to demold, but I was getting impatient :p
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This will surely require some more filling after I sand and see what imperfections are left, but I can definitely see that "it will work", which is always a question doing these projects, especially one as complex as this.

I will be forming two sheets of PETG, one that is the actual body at .60 and the other which will be used as a stencil at .20, which will be a lot more accurate and give better results than attempting to cut masks, plus be re-usable when I inevitably need to reproduce the body after beating it up(especially with this somewhat brittle Grainger PETG sheets).

PS - Ordering my Mad Crusher and some aftermarket stuff today.
 

johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
Good bit of sanding done, some refilling, more sanding tonight, and some detailing with a Dremel such as the groove on the section of the tail that is rebuilt from wood putty. After that I will coat it with slow cure epoxy to further smooth it, and add a lot of strength to the top layers and corners. A ways to go, but getting there.

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johnnydmd

RCNT Racer
Messages
115
More sanding, detailing, cleaning up. Delicate process, as water putty is pretty easy to sand(too much). Workplace is now dusty as hell, lol.

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Last stage of prep was to coat(soak) with slow cure epoxy. I say soak, because the porous, sanded surface definitely absorbs some of it, making it much stronger and resistant to chips and small breaks.

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This weekend I will vacuum form the body, and then the stencil for painting the body. This one I'll fit to my Tmaxx, and then I'll form another to fit to my Mad Crusher(which arrives this weekend wooooo!). Fairly certain I'll need to get creative to fit it to the Crusher, surely going to need to move the front body posts at the least.
 

Nitro power

RC Newbie
Messages
5
More sanding, detailing, cleaning up. Delicate process, as water putty is pretty easy to sand(too much). Workplace is now dusty as hell, lol.

View attachment 121005

Last stage of prep was to coat(soak) with slow cure epoxy. I say soak, because the porous, sanded surface definitely absorbs some of it, making it much stronger and resistant to chips and small breaks.

View attachment 121006

This weekend I will vacuum form the body, and then the stencil for painting the body. This one I'll fit to my Tmaxx, and then I'll form another to fit to my Mad Crusher(which arrives this weekend wooooo!). Fairly certain I'll need to get creative to fit it to the Crusher, surely going to need to move the front body posts at the least.
Holly $|--|¡–|– bro so much time and effort into that
 
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