RC Tractors

How to convert die cast models into radio controlled models

TC Tractors

Introduction

Converting a diecast model tractor into an rc tractor can be quite a daunting tack however at the end you get the satisfaction of knowing you created it in exactly the way you wanted. You can add as much functionality as you want for example you could simply make your homemade rc tractor capable of driving forward, backwards and steering left to right. Alternatively you could make it more complex by adding control of the three point hitch or adding LED headlights, indicators and beacons.

The main problem you will encounter is fitting all the rc components into your diecast tractor model in way that they aren't obvious. You only need to look at the SIKU control 32 models to see how difficult it is. The SIKU 1:32 scale rc tractor models have the battery pack and other components sticking out the back of the tractor which isn't ideal so if they can't manage to hide everything with all their resources, you shouldn't be to worried about part of your tractor being visible.

I will be showing you ways to hide batteries, accessories such as mowers and trailers make great hiding places and by adding control to the accesories too can make your tractor better. One cheap solution to hide the battery may be to buy a SIKU round bale fork for the front of your tractors and a round bale and simply hide the battery inside the bale. That solution means you could have a few batteries and be able to change them very quickly.

Choosing a Tractor for RC Conversion

The model tractor you choose for your homemade rc tractor is probably going to be the biggest factor in determining what functions you can add. You will most likely want to pick a tractor which already has steering, SIKU and britains tractors seem to have good steering racks built in which makes things much easier. I have only used SIKU tractors so far myself and I found that some LEGO bevell gears suit the steering rack perfectly so you might find that useful. You can always cut the gear of the steering wheel and use that on your servo to steer the tractor, you'll probably be cutting it off to get it out of your way anyway.

Another feature of the SIKU tractor I liked is that the engine can be remove i.e. the tractor and engine is not one solid dicast block which I think might be the case with britains tractors so beware of that when you pick your tractor. You might also wish to pick a tractor with a full bonnet so you can remove the engine completely and put whatever you want in the engine bay.

Given that the biggest issue with build a homemade RC tractor is space you'll probably want to pick a pretty big tractor, I like to use 1:32 scale tractors and any of the models you see on here will be homemade 1:32 scale tractors. That doesn't mean you need to do that, there are many people who build tractors to 1:10, 1:14, 1:16 scales pretty much any scale you want. 

Diecast Tractor Models

Basic Requirements for DIY RC Tractor

To make a basic RC tractor with simple forward, reverse, left and right steering control you will need some simple radio control components found in any RC car. One way you might do this is simply to buy an radio controlled car which has similar dimensions to your tractor, remove the complete system system and squeeze it into your tractor somehow.

You will need:
  • A 2 Channel (Minimum) RC reciever
  • A 2 Channel (Minimum) RC controller (make sure they will work with each other before you buy them)
  • A mini servo motor for steering
  • A motor with gearbox to drive
  • An Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) for your motor

Requirements for Advanced RC Tractor

The advanced rc tractor can be done in a few different way, to add funtionallity you can buy an rc controller and rc reciever with more channels 6 or eight and use those to control lights and control accessories. Another way to do it is to use a microcontroller in the the tractors, this gives you much more control but is much more complicated. This is the method I like to use mostly because I like working with micro controllers.

1:32 Scale RC Fendt 936