3D Printed Tires Run Over Water!

By on October 20th, 2017 in Usage


 These 3D printed tires enable this RC car to zoom across water
These 3D printed tires enable this RC car to zoom across water

YouTuber Simon Sörensen of RCLifeOn has posted an interesting video where he’s designed a 3D printed approach for driving on water. 

Well, at least driving an RC car on water; I’m not sure this would work for a full size vehicle. 

Sörensen attempted to drive a stock RC car over the surface of some calm water, but was disappointed because in spite of high speed, the stock vehicle gradually slowed and sunk into the murk. He believed that by changing a few things he could make a RC vehicle actually drive on the water’s surface. 

To do so he redesigned the wheels and tires. Of particularly interest was the tire: 

The tire was 3D printed in a flexible material, Fiberlogy’s Fiberflex 40D, which is a relatively “hard” flexible material. Using only 5% infill, the tires were quite lightweight. The design of the tire also ensure an amount of air was contained within for some buoyancy. 

 The tire design. Note the
The tire design. Note the “paddles” to capture water

The most notable feature on the tires are the unique “paddles” designed to grab hunks of still water and through them with great velocity towards the vehicle’s rear end. 

The vehicle was also rigged with a higher voltage battery system to provide a way to turn the wheels faster than they would normally run. 

 An RC car with 3D printed wheels that can race across water
An RC car with 3D printed wheels that can race across water

The test turned out to be a complete success, as the video below shows the test vehicle running seamlessly across water at high speed for relatively long distances. Sure, almost anything can skim across the water, including snowmobiles, but this RC vehicle seems to go a lot farther than you’d expect. It even seems to execute slight turns as well. 

What I find fascinating about projects like this is that they exist at all. The accessibility of inexpensive 3D printing equipment enables folks like Sörensen to easily execute what otherwise might have been a difficult challenge. 

Via YouTube

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!