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How To Make An RC Boat

People learn how to make an RC boat for a variety of reasons. Maybe they love the idea of cruising through the open water but are not yet able to afford a life-sized yacht. Or perhaps they just love to watch something they built go skimming across the surface of the water at high speeds. Sometimes the spirit of competition enters into it and hobbyists challenge themselves to build a faster, more water-worthy vessel.

Whatever their reasons for learning how to make an RC boat, most people do it because they love the idea of being able to build a tangible item that they can take to a local body of water to show off. Even people who do not build or race RC boats are often fascinated when they see one of these vessels on the water. Racing them, or even just watching them, is an entertaining way to spend the day and building them can be a fun challenge, as well as being a valuable learning experience, for friends and family to share together.

The History Of Radio Controlled Boats

RC controlled devices have been around since the 1960’s when pioneers began making 1/8th scale models of actual devices. Actual model kits began being produced in the middle of the century for people to buy to make the model building process easier and more efficient. As this caught on, more and more people began to view RC models as being viable and entertaining hobbies.

The progress of technology during the 80’s and 90’s introduced new technologies that helped increase the range of models available to the public. As engineers better understand electrical components and chemicals, they can produce smaller and smaller components leading to more complex and efficient models. This has elevated RC hobbies into an art form as well as a fun entertainment opportunity.

Getting Started With Your RC Boat

How To Make An RC BoatBecoming a hobbyist and learning how to make an RC boat can require a sizable investment. It’s helpful if the beginner has a friend or family member who is already an enthusiast who can give or loan some items to help them get started. If this is not an option, you can look into thrift stores or online resale websites to see if you can find an available working model in your price range.

No matter what kind of boat the new hobbyist chooses, they will need a radio control system that has at least two channels. The most basic of these systems can be as cheap as $50, but more sophisticated controls can easily cost several hundred dollars or more.

When it comes to choosing a first boat, there are many options to consider. The better quality boats come with a higher price tag, while the cheapest boats may look good to the wallet, but prove to under-perform in the water. It’s best to choose a nice middle-of-the-road first boat – one that offers decent quality at a modest price. This lets the beginner experience this hobby with minimal frustration and moderate expense.

Before investing in a boat, hobbyists should think about what they want to achieve. If speed is their goal, then a nitro RC boat may be just right. Those who are out to relax, however, may be happier with an RC sailboat. Also carefully consider the body of water where the boat will be run. Are there rules about what kinds of craft are allowed on the water? How deep is the water and how rough does it get? The answers to all of these questions can help the beginner find the right boat for them.

How To Make An RC Boat

Step One

First, decide what type of boat you want to build. You may even want to buy a used boat at first just to see if you enjoy the hobby. If you plan to build, be sure to thoroughly review the plans that came with the boat kit before beginning to build. It’s a good idea to acquire any additional accessories before starting. Any necessary parts that are not included with the kit for the boat should be clearly annotated on the packaging or in the directions. Your local hobby shop can also provide wonderful assistance.

Step Two

Do not rush the process of building – enjoy it instead. The process is where the fun lies in learning how to make an RC boat. Each boat is a unique work of art and craftsmanship is important for a water-worthy vessel (and your ego). Follow the instructions to the letter and the boat will be finished in no time. If you are purchasing, take your time in researching the options available to you, as careful research may yield you a great bargain.

Step Three

Try out your new boat at the local pond, swimming pool, or river. Some communities have RC boat clubs that hold special events and offer great opportunities for meeting fellow enthusiasts. This is also a wonderful way to try out racing a new boat against other hobbyists. On your maiden voyage, you may want to choose a very small body of water, in case you need to rescue your craft due to a miscalculation while building, or a steep learning curve that results in your mishandling of the craft.

Step Four

Be sure to take proper care of your RC model after it has spent a day out in the water. The last thing you want is for your investment to warp or crack due to improper care or storage. You will want to dry the boat thoroughly after each use, and then store it in a location that is dry and that has a consistent temperature. Depending on the size and value of your RC boat, you may also want to invest in a storage compartment to further protect it from the elements, dust, and excessive handling.

Tips And Tricks

While learning how to make an RC boat, the following tips and tricks can help you get the most out of this entertaining hobby…

  • It is important not to go with the cheapest model when learning how to make an RC boat. These cheap models tend to be difficult to build, as they are constructed of inferior materials and poorly written instructions. When in doubt, invest a bit extra to get better quality components that will stand the test of time and provide better performance. Again, your hobby shop owner can help guide you in the right direction.
  • Look to local clubs and even hobby shops for more information about how to have a better time. Often someone has experienced the same initial frustration that you have and is more than willing to share his or her tricks of the trade.
  • There are tons of websites on the Internet that can provide cheap and helpful electronics. Even sites like YouTube can provide you with great ideas for cheap electronic and project suggestions when you’re learning how to make an RC boat.
  • Building RC devices involves lots of smaller parts. Look into electronics magazines and other electronic resources for further information on how to better build your boats.

Ways To Grow Your RC Boat Hobby

If you find that you truly enjoy your maritime radio controlled hobby, here are a couple of ideas that can help you take it to the next level…

  • As experience grows, the RC hobbyist begins to long for more sophisticated equipment. Those who started out with an electric RC boat may want to graduate to a nitro powered RC vessel. This may also mean acquiring a more complex controller that offers better communication and maneuverability. This is, however, not a process that should be rushed.
  • Keep an eye out at the lake for the boats of other enthusiasts that you admire. Ask them about the pros and cons of their craft to get a better idea where to invest the expense of acquiring new equipment.
  • Try to build and modify your existing system to add more power or controllability. Nothing attracts more attention than a loud and fast boat in the water.
  • Learn more about the technology involved in the RC world. Gather your resources and teach someone else when given the chance.
  • Expand your RC horizons by getting involved in radio-controlled airplanes, helicopters, motorcycles and trucks.

RC Boat Resources

Check out the following online resources to help you learn more about building and operating RC boats…

MyRadioControlledBoats.com – great RC boat blog with product reviews, suggestions and buyer guides.

RCCarTips.com – buyer’s guide to electric, mini and nitro RC cars and trucks.

Best RC Boats – site dedicated to reviews, videos, and tutorials for primarily RC gas boats.

RC Boat Shop – site features a wide range of resources for the RC boat enthusiast.

Related YouTube Videos

Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.