Gate 1-Project Planning

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Contents

Introduction

In this gate we will plan out the process by which we will continue and complete our project of dissecting a 4WD RC Drift Car.

In the Work Proposal we will asses the dissection process by examining each step required to disassemble and then reassemble the car. We will also list the tools that we will use in both processes, the challenges that we will potentially face, and the capabilities and shortcomings of each member of our group.

In the Management Proposal we will outline who our group contacts are, what our work schedule is, and the roles that each group member will serve throughout the remainder of the project. We will also demonstrate how we will handle any conflicts that may arise.

Finally, in the Initial Assessment we will discuss features of the product. This will include a brief history of remote control cars, an overview of the complexity and materials of individual components, a discussion of how energy is imported into the system and then transformed into the forms that will power the RC Drift Car, discussion of the system’s use and interfaces, and an examination of four alternative products.

Project Management

Work Proposal

It is good practice for an engineering team to layout a plan of attack for the future tasks that must be accomplished. The goal of this proposal is to establish roles for all of the members, set a schedule, delegate jobs and attempt to outline the steps to move forward. In doing this we must asses all possible challenges and evaluate our individual strengths and weaknesses. This will provide us with a firm stepping stone to efficiently move forward with our project.

Tools

Disassembly

  • Phillips head screwdriver set for varying screw sizes
  • Flathead screwdriver for removing bottom casing
  • Small adjustable socket wrench for removing wheels
  • Camera for documentation
  • Catalog for documenting each component of car


Reassembly

  • Phillips head screwdriver set for varying screw sizes
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Small adjustable socket wrench for removing wheels
  • Catalog documentation
  • Photographs of disassembly process

Disassembly

Time: 1.5 hours

Approach

1. Remove battery of the car. The only purpose of the battery is to power the car and therefore can be removed when dissecting in order to ease the process by freeing up space.

2. Remove the four cotter pins and lift off the shell. This will expose the body of the car and will allow us to analyze the car in a more thorough manner so we can come to a better understanding of how the vehicle operates as a whole and how the individual components interact with each other.

3. Remove the interior casing. Removing the casing will expose the underside of the car. We assume the circuit board is stored underneath the casing along with several wires that run into the casing.

4. Unscrew the circuit, LEDs, power switch and antenna from the frame of the car. This will remove all electric components so that they can be examined as an isolated system and will leave all mechanical components of the car for further analysis.

5. Remove the front bumper. This will expose some sort of component of the motor system located in the front of the vehicle.

6. Remove two screws from the supposed front motor system of car and remove two screws from the secondary axle component. Removing these screws will free up the front wheels and will expose the front gear system.

7. Unscrew the four screws of the shell support. This will free up the entire system for further examination.

8. Remove the front four screws which encloses the axle. We believe this will also expose a simple gear system that is powering the axle.

9. Unscrew the front two wheels from the axle and pry each wheel from the axle. This will hopefully totally expose the gears which should be removable. This will complete the disassembly of the front portion of the car.

10. Remove rear frame by removing the the shock springs.

11. Remove two screws which will expose the hinge mechanism that the rear axle sits on. The hinge can then be completely disconnected which will separate the rear axle from the frame.

12. Back tires can be unscrewed from the rear axle. After this is completed the rear gear system can be unscrewed and exposed along with the rear motor.

13. The tire treads can also be removed from the tires, so they can be examined separately.

14. The remote also requires a separate disassembly. This is fairly simple, the casing has to be unscrewed and we suspect this we reveal some sort of simple circuitry.

  • We will also be taking photographs along with a typed description of each step and each component. This will keep the process organized and will make the reassembly much easier.
  • It will also be extremely important to keep track of each and every screw that is removed from the car. There are many different screws and if they become jumbled it will be extremely difficult to reassemble the car.

Reassembly

Time: 3 hours

Approach

When going about the reassembly process, the cataloging of components and pictures taken will be essential. This will serve as a guide and will be extremely useful if we experience any difficulties later on. The following is an approximation for the reassembly process, this may change after we disassemble the car.

1. First the rear axle will be slid back through the frame of the car.

2. The shock system can then be screwed backed into place above the axle.

3. The front turning mechanism, which is a key component of the car can then be put back into place. This may involve several different components because we are not positive what exactly the mechanism consists of.

4. The front bumper can then be simple reattached with the appropriate screws.

5. The front cover which we believe covers the motor can then be put back into place. Because we are unsure of what exactly is under the cover, this step may require additional sub steps depending on what exactly is underneath the casing.

6.The front axle and turning mechanism can be reattached with the appropriate screws.

7. The circuit board which we believe is under the main casing can then be placed back with the wires and closed.

8. The LED’s, antenna and power switch can all be screwed back into their respective spots.

9. The shell support can also be screwed back into place.

10. The tire treads can be put back on each individual tire and the tires can be put back on their respective axles.

11. The battery underneath the car can simply be reconnected.

12. Finally the outer shell can be placed back on and the cotter pins can be put back in for restrain.

Perceived Challenges

We expect the main challenges to occur during the reassembly process. Because the car contains a variety of small components including many small screws it may become a bit confusing when we attempt to rebuild the car. In order to combat this anticipated challenge we will be extremely thorough and organized in the disassembly process. We will be documenting each step with photos and written descriptions. We will also be recording where each component comes from and storing them in an organized compartment box.

Group Member Abilities

Group Member Capabilities Shortcomings Capabilities to Develop
Dan Chelius
  • Basic electronics/circuits experience
  • Writing Experience
  • No automotive knowledge
  • Mechanical mechanisms knowledge
Deedat Choudhury
  • Automotive experience
  • Limited knowledge in circuits
  • Knowledge of circuitry and electrical systems
Katie Coley
  • Has used erector sets
  • Basic Digital Electronics experience
  • Writing Experience
  • Proficient in AutoCAD
  • Analysis experience
  • Little reassembly experience
  • Little knowledge of fine tuning properties such as shock systems
  • Knowledge of mechanics
  • Understanding complexity of products
Corinne Hutchinson
  • Writing experience
  • Little technical experience
  • Knowledge of mechanics
Dwight Robinson
  • Robotics team experience
  • Little to no electrical knowledge
  • Analysis and Understanding of parts and functions

Management Proposal

Group Contacts

Primary Contact

Dan Chelius, Project Manager

Email: dgcheliu@buffalo.edu

Phone: (516) 592-9571


Secondary Contact

Corinne Hutchinson, Communications Lead

Email: corinneh@buffalo.edu

Phone: (315) 807-8086

Work Schedule

Our group will meet weekly on Thursday evenings from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the Group Study Area in Capen Library’s basement. We will add meetings on Tuesday evenings at the same time and place when necessary. At group meetings we will discuss the current assignment and delegate specific jobs for each individual to complete. We will also collaborate our work and review ideas.

Group Roles

We have delegated roles to each member of our group as follows:

Project Manager

Dan Chelius: He will be responsible for project organization, including being the primary group contact, arranging group meetings, and overseeing individual’s tasks. He will break down the project and assign jobs to individuals in the group. He will also be in charge of reviewing all assignments before they are submitted.

Communications Lead

Corinne Hutchinson: She will serve as the secondary group contact. Her job will be to edit all documents submitted by the group and to format the group project Wiki page.

Mechanical Technicians

Deedat Choudhury and Dwight Robinson: They will work together to lead in the disassembly and reassembly of the product. They will also be responsible for understanding and listing the function of each component during the dissection process.

Analysis Lead

Katie Coley: She will analyze the function, uses, strengths, and weaknesses of each component. She will also lead in the reverse engineering process by suggesting system and component improvements.

Conflict Resolution

When conflicts arise in our group we will first attempt a resolution by discussing opposing viewpoints and reaching a consensus or compromise. If this fails we will bring the issue to a group vote. If there are still problems we will discuss these with either a TA or a professor.

Initial Assessment

Development Profile

The company that produces this remote control has been in operation since 2001 and even though the specific date that this product was developed could not be determined, it is recent and embodies the prevalent and recurring racing theme.


Italian company Elettronica Giocattoli produced the first remote control car, the Ferrari 250LM, in 1966. At this time most of the world was experiencing post World War II prosperity, allowing the market for non-essential items, such as children’s toys, to flourish. Shortly the Ferrari 250 LM was released companies in the United Kingdom began their own lines of remote control cars when possible or imported the cars from other nations. These cars were initially designed to be used on roads, sidewalks, or in parking lots by hobbyists who would compete against one another in races. The first race was held by Geneva in 1979 and was the On-Road World Championship.


It was not until the 1970s that the United States experienced a rise in remote control car sales and a subsequent increase in the manufacturing companies. Some of the most prominent of these companies include Associated Electrics, Wencon, and Delta Systems. As the global popularity rose, companies accommodated the increase need for speed and user-friendly models by improving the different components. For example, low traction tires became popular in drifting models as they would help induce and maintain controlled oversteer, and components such as shocks, tires, and brakes would be modified to serve the purpose of the car. Engines were improved from a single to a double-piston and then even further when they were made into electric. The first purely electric remote control became available in 1974. Off-road models did not become available until 1979 but when they did, enthusiasts were able to take their hobby off road and remote control popularity among the general public skyrocketed.


In current society, the racing of remote control cars has drastically decreased but remote control cars remain popular with younger children as they have become more domesticated. Improvements on the different models continue as motors become stronger, quieter and more reliable, allowing for outdoor as well as household use. Lithium-Ion batteries have become common place to meet the demand for better batteries and, as one would expect, the designs of the car have evolved to adapt to the populations’ desires. Even though remote control cars have become more domesticated and organized races have decreased, racing is still a popular pastime with these cars, even if only quietly among friends and family and never cease to be a driving factor behind the overall design as can be seen by the 4WD RC Drift Car. [1] [2].

Usage Profile

The remote control car is intended for use as a toy. Being a toy, its main purpose is to provide the user with an enjoyable experience. This remote control car was designed for drifting, but the user’s imagination defines the specific use. This is especially true because this product is meant for use by children. It is rated for use by children aged 3 years and older. However, the target age is slightly older, somewhere in the 5 to 15 year range.


Being a toy, the product is intended for home usage. The car is intended for indoor use predominantly, but can also be used outdoors in optimal weather conditions, such as on a dry, flat surface and at a moderate temperature. It is designed to provide a safe form of entertainment for children by giving them the sensation of driving a car without any real dangers. The RC car may also be used as an alternative to a more dangerous miniature electric car that the child is able to actually drive outdoors.


The only required setup for this product is inserting the rechargeable battery into the car and charging it with the provided wall charger. This process takes approximately 30 minutes. The remote is ready for use after the provided 9 volt battery is put into the remote.

Energy Profile

Chemical energy, electrical energy, and kinetic energy are all used when operating the RC Drift Car. In the car itself the battery creates chemical energy and transforms it into electrical energy. This electrical energy then travels to the electrical board where it is used to create the kinetic energy that moves the car. In the remote the electrical energy from the battery is used to send radio signals.


Energy is imported into both the car and the remote through battery powered systems. Through chemical reactions the battery releases its stored electrons through a current which is captured by an electrical source and provides electrical energy to both the transmitter and the receiver.


Energy is transformed in the battery (figure 1.) and in the motor. The battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy (figure 2.). This is done by transferring electrons from the battery to an electrical source. This electrical energy is then converted into mechanical energy, turning the wheels and moving the system.


Complexity Profile

The RC Drift Car is a complex system made up of many different components that each serve a different purpose. Because it is a small scale automobile, there are many components that function in similar ways to those in a real car. Being able to draw comparisons between our product and a full sized car will help in the analysis process greatly.


The main components of the remote control car are listed below:


Component Function Material Complexity Interactions
Shell Hard crash endurance to protect the car upon impact Thin plastic Simple - purely a skeletal shell
  • Interacts predominantly with outside world
  • Attached to interior body with metal cotter pins
4 Airless Semi-

Pneumatic

Tires

  • Steers car with precision
  • Supports the cars weight
  • Softens impact on ground
  • Low frictional coefficient allows drifting
Molded dense Rubber Simple - thin in thickness
  • Slides over tire
  • Interacts with the surface of the ground
Monocoque Type Frame Supports load through frame Molded plastic Moderate - it is the largest component and is intertwined with many other components
  • Covers the motor and electric workings
  • Connected to wheels, hydraulic suspension, and front wheel drive
Motor Converts electrical energy from the battery into kinetic energy to power the car Unknown Unknown Unknown
Front Bumper Absorbs impact in head-on collisions Molded plastic Simple Main interaction upon collision with outside world
Front Axle Rotates and controls all turning Metel Somewhat complex - has many smaller components which are connected to front wheels Shifts horizontally which causes rotation of the wheels
Rechargeable Ni-Cd 9.6 V Battery Powers the car Unknown Unknown Unknown
Remote Control Controls the car through user interaction Plastic shell Moderate - includes electronic components The key interactions in the system, which are between the user and the remote and between the remote and the car

Material Profile

The RC Drift Car is a complex device that utilizes many components consisting of different materials that work together to produce a functional vehicle.


Most of the visible components are either plastic or metal. The shell, frame, and wheels of the car are made of plastic. The cotter pins that secure the shell to the frame are metal, as are the front and rear axles. Metal springs serve as shocks on the rear axle of the car. The tires are composed of rubber. The display lights are all LED.


The car's remote control has a shell made of plastic. The attached steering wheel, trigger, and joystick are also made of plastic. The controller's antenna is made of metal.


Many of the materials that power the car are not visible without further dissection. The electrical wires that help the car and remote run and communicate with each other are made of copper. The printed circuit board is another hidden component that is likely made of copper sheets on a non conductive surface like glass. The gears that are attached to the motor to allow for mobility are likely made of pieces of grooved plastic or metal.

User Interaction Profile

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Figure 3. 4WD RC Drift Car Remote

The sole interaction between the remote control car and the user is through the remote (figure 3.). The trigger acts as the pedal, pulling the trigger back moves the car forward and pushing the trigger forward moves the car backwards. There is also a miniature wheel, which rotates the front tires in order to turn the car.


The remote is not very intuitive. The interaction with the remote feels very awkward and unnatural. The wheel is placed above the trigger which requires two hands in order to drive and turn the car at the same time. Due to the poor design of the remoter, the car is more difficult to control.


The only maintenance required for the remote control car is to have its batteries periodically recharged. This is done by plugging the charger into an outlet and connecting the car using a plug with wires attached directly to the battery.

Product Alternative Profile

The 4WD RC Drift Car is a remote control car designed for indoor use. It is designed with a light body weight and low-friction tires that allow it to drift, or spin out. There are many alternatives for this product including the four that we considered:


  • Hot Wheels R/C Camaro ZL1
  • John Deere Lights and Sounds Radio-Controlled Tractor
  • Redcat Racing Earthquake 3. 5 Truck
  • Radio Control Monster Truck.


While not all of these models are able to drift like the RC Drift Car, they have features that are designed to serve other purposes while still being suitable for some forms of racing. Some of the advantages of these alternative models include light and sound systems, access windows, larger tires, and suitability for outdoor use. Their disadvantages include high price, oil-filled shock absorbers, and heavy body weight.


In situations where outdoor use or a heavier-duty car is desired, one of the alternative products may be a better choice. The RC Drift Car is designed for use on flat surfaces, both indoors and outdoors, making it unsuitable for rough and unpaved surfaces and, therefore, use in a more rural setting. An important societal factor to be considered is what group of products is most suitable for use in a given setting. For example, in the case of desired rural use a model such as the John Deere tractor may be more suitable than a drift car for use on gravel or dirt.


Product Cost Advantages Disadvantages
Hot Wheels R/C Camaro ZL1 [4]

RC Comaro.png

$19.99
  • Looks like a real car
  • Household objects can be used as tracks and obstacles
  • Practical for indoor use
  • Battery powered
  • Intended for indoor use only. Cannot be used outdoors
  • Easily stuck on obstacles because of its small tires and low riding frame
John Deer Lights and Sounds Radio-Controlled Tractor [5]

John Deere.png

$57.58

  • Access window to steering wheel
  • Has working lights and makes engine sounds
  • High detail
  • Large wheels allow tractor to move over obstacles
  • Battery powered
  • Intended for ages 8+
  • Weighs 3.8 lb
  • More practical for rural locations where children grow up seeing tractors
Redcat Racing Earthquake 3. 5 Truck (1-8 Scale Nitro) [6]

Redcat.png

$249.99
  • Large wheels to maneuver over obstacles
  • Designed for off road use
  • Has excellent acceleration
  • 2-speed drive system
  • Extremely high speeds of 50 mph
  • Oil filled shock absorbers and Nitro 3 motor are not suitable for indoor use
  • Screws and nuts can become loose and fall off
  • Very expensive compared to other alternative products to the 4WD RC Drift Car
Radio Control Monster Truck - Snake Bite – Green (1-24 scale) [7]

Monster Truck.png

$30.05
  • Full function control (right, left, forward, and reverse)
  • Intended for ages 4+
  • Large wheels to move over obstacles
  • Battery powered
  • Unable to drive on short cut grass or up a slight incline on a cement sidewalk

References

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-controlled_drifting

[2] http://www.ehow.com/about_6455872_history-remote-control-car.html

[3] http://www.nitrorcx.com/1brmo.html

[4] http://www.target.com/p/hot-wheels-r-c-camaro-zl1-vehicle-red/-/A-14054605

[5] http://www.walmart.com/ip/John-Deere-Lights-and-Sounds-Radio-Controlled-Tractor/20743949

[6] http://www.ebay.com/itm/EARTHQUAKE-3-5-1-8-SCALE-R-C-NITRO-MONSTER-TRUCK-Redcat-Racing-and-WICKED-FAST-/310408485195

[7] http://www.walmart.com/ip/New-Bright-1-24-Scale-Radio-Control-Vehicle-Dodge-Raminator/16818263