This Tiny 3D-Printed Dump Truck Is Remotely Controlled with an Arduino

What is this? A dump track for ants?

Most of us have some experience with RC vehicles — at least the cheap toy variety. But those are just the start of what is available and the RC hobby is full of really impressive vehicles that put those toys to shame. Some are meant for speed and can outrun your Honda Civic. But others are designed to replicate their full-size counterparts as faithfully as possible. For example, it isn’t uncommon to see RC airplanes with accurate interiors. Redditor EnosCamare wanted to try their hand at a replica and built this adorable 3D-printed dump truck that is remotely controlled with an Arduino.

This is a 1:87 scale model of a Mack B-42 dump truck, which was part of Mack Trucks’ B series of heavy duty vehicles that was in production from 1953 to 1966. 1:87 is the HO scale in the model railroad world, which is the most popular scale for that hobby in North America and continental Europe. At this scale, EnosCamare’s truck is only about 1-1/4 inch tall. But even at that small size, EnosCamare was able to implement a lot of features. The RC truck can drive forward, backwards, and steer in both directions. It also has a full set of lights, including working turn signals and brake lights. Best of all, the dump bed can be lifted. All of those functions can be controlled by a custom remote that EnosCamare also designed.

Almost the entire truck was modeled in SolidWorks CAD software and 3D-printed, even down to the tires. The only exceptions are the electronic components, which include the drive motor, the steering servo motor, and the bed lift motor. The motors and LED lights are controlled by an Arduino Micro board with an nRF2401 2.4GHz radio transceiver module. Power comes from a small 150mAh LiPo battery, which is good for about 5-8 minutes of operation (depending on the use of lights and how much actual driving is done). The 3D-printed remote control has a similar radio setup, but a much larger battery. Its only controls are a joystick for steering and throttle, and a lever for operating the bed lift motor. This truck doesn’t have any practical purpose, but it is impressive how much EnosCamare was able to fit into the limited space and how accurately his design mirrors the real truck.

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