Step-By-Step Guide: How to Make a RC Car Body from Scratch

how to make a rc car body from scratch

Greetings fellow RC enthusiasts! Have you ever wanted to build a unique and personalized RC car body from scratch? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating a custom RC car body from scratch. Whether you’re a seasoned hobbyist or a beginner, building your own RC car body can be a fun and rewarding experience. So, let’s get started!

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Key Takeaways

  • Building a custom RC car body from scratch is a fun and rewarding experience for hobbyists of all levels.
  • Following a step-by-step guide can help ensure a successful outcome.
  • Proper planning, techniques, and materials are crucial to creating a durable and eye-catching RC car body.

Planning Your RC Car Body Design

Designing and customizing your RC car body is an important step in the making process. It allows you to create a unique and personalized car that stands out on the track.

Before starting the construction process, take some time to plan and design your RC car body. Think about the style and theme you want to achieve, as well as any specific colors or graphics you want to incorporate.

Brainstorming Ideas

Start by brainstorming ideas for your RC car body. Look for inspiration from other RC car designs, real cars, or even your own imagination. Sketch out your ideas in a notebook or use a digital design tool to create a visual representation.

Consider the shape and size of your RC car and how it might affect the design of the body. Think about the placement of wheels, the height of the car, and any other factors that could impact the design.

Choosing Materials

Once you have a design in mind, it’s time to choose the materials that will bring your vision to life. Consider the weight, durability, and flexibility of the materials you choose, as well as their cost.

Some popular materials for RC car bodies include polycarbonate, ABS plastic, and fiberglass. Each material has its pros and cons, so it’s important to research and choose the one that is best suited for your design and skill level.

Personalizing Your Design

Don’t be afraid to add personal touches and details to your RC car body. Consider adding decals or stickers, painting intricate designs, or even customizing the body with 3D printing or laser cutting.

Remember, the design possibilities are endless. Take your time and enjoy the creative process of designing and customizing your RC car body.

Gathering Materials and Tools

Before starting the process of building your RC car body, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials and tools. Here is a comprehensive list of what you’ll need:

Materials Tools
Polystyrene foam sheets X-Acto knife
Body filler putty Cutting mat
Sandpaper (120 grit, 220 grit, and 400 grit) Precision ruler
Masking tape Hot glue gun
Acrylic paint Paintbrushes
Clear coat Fine-grit sanding sponge

When it comes to the materials, it’s important to use high-quality items to ensure the best final product. For example, using low-quality foam sheets may result in a flimsy and weak RC car body. Similarly, using low-quality paint may result in a less durable and less visually appealing finish.

When selecting your tools, make sure to choose ones that are comfortable to use for extended periods of time. It’s also important to have a variety of cutting tools with different sizes and blade shapes to achieve the desired shapes and angles for your RC car body.

With all the necessary materials and tools on hand, you’re ready to move on to the next step in building your RC car body.

Building the Frame and Chassis

Now that I have planned out my RC car body design and gathered all the necessary materials and tools, it’s time to start building the frame and chassis. There are several construction techniques that can be used to create the foundation for the RC car body.

One option is to use a wire frame as the skeleton for the body. This involves bending wire into the desired shape and then securing it in place. Another option is to use a foam block as the base and then shape and carve it to the desired form. A third option is to use a vacuum-formed frame, which involves heating a sheet of plastic and molding it over a pre-made form.

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Construction Technique Pros Cons
Wire Frame Lightweight and flexible May not be as sturdy as other options
Foam Block Allows for precise shaping and detailing Can be time-consuming to carve and shape
Vacuum-Formed Frame Produces a consistent and uniform shape Requires specialized equipment and materials

I have decided to use the foam block technique for my RC car body. To create the foam block base, I used a hot wire cutter to shape a block of foam to the desired dimensions and contours. This allowed me to create a base with a smooth and uniform surface for shaping the body panels.

Once the foam block was shaped, I reinforced it with a layer of fiberglass. This involves laying fiberglass cloth over the surface of the foam block and then applying resin to saturate the cloth. Once the resin has cured, the fiberglass provides added strength and durability to the foam block.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Using a hot wire cutter, shape a block of foam to the desired dimensions and contours for the RC car body.
  2. Apply a layer of fiberglass cloth over the surface of the foam block.
  3. Saturate the fiberglass cloth with resin.
  4. Allow the resin to cure completely.

With the foam block reinforced by the fiberglass layer, I am now ready to shape the body panels for the RC car body in section 5.

Shaping the Body Panels

Now that the frame and chassis are complete, it’s time to shape the body panels of your RC car body. There are several techniques you can use to achieve the desired shape and form, and the method you choose may depend on the materials you’re using.

One method is to create a paper template of the shape you want, and then trace that onto the material you’re using for the body panels. Use scissors or a hobby knife to cut the material along the shape, and then sand the edges to smooth them out.

Another technique is to heat the material, such as polycarbonate, until it becomes pliable, and then shape it by pressing it against a mold or form. You can create your own mold using foam or other materials, and then heat the polycarbonate with a heat gun or in an oven.

If you’re using a metal material, such as aluminum or brass, you may need to use metalworking tools to shape it. This could involve bending and cutting the metal, or using a hammer and mold to form it into the desired shape.

Remember to take your time and be patient when shaping the body panels. It’s important to get the shape just right before moving on to the next step.

Assembling the Body Panels

Now that we have shaped our body panels, it’s time to assemble them into a complete RC car body. This can be a delicate process, as we want to ensure a secure and durable fit.

The first step is to dry fit the panels together, meaning we are putting them together without any glue or other adhesives. This allows us to make sure everything fits correctly before making it permanent. Use clamps to hold everything together while dry fitting.

Once we are confident everything fits properly, we can begin applying adhesive to the edges of the panels. A popular adhesive for RC car body building is CA glue, also known as cyanoacrylate glue. When applying the glue, be sure to do so just to the edges and avoid getting any excess on the visible surface of the panel.

Use clamps or tape to securely hold the panels together while the glue dries. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more, depending on the type of glue used. It’s essential to let the glue dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Once the glue has fully cured, it’s time to reinforce the seams between the panels. We can do this by using fiberglass cloth and resin, applying it to the inside of the body where the panels meet. This not only strengthens the body but also helps to prevent cracking and splitting in the future.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the resin and fiberglass cloth packaging, as the amounts needed will vary depending on the size of the body being reinforced.

Finally, we can sand down any rough edges or seams and add any necessary finishing touches before painting.

Troubleshooting Tip:

If you encounter any issues while assembling the body, such as gaps between panels or uneven seams, try using filler material to make adjustments. A popular filler material for RC car body building is Bondo, which can be evenly spread over gaps with a putty knife and sanded down once it has dried.

Painting Your RC Car Body

Now comes the fun part – painting your RC car body! This is where you can really let your creativity shine and make your car unique. There are many different techniques you can use to achieve a professional-looking finish.

First, choose the type of paint you want to use. There are various options available, including spray paint, acrylic paint, and enamel paint. Spray paint is the easiest option, but it can be challenging to achieve a smooth and even finish. Acrylic paint is water-based and dries quickly, while enamel paint is solvent-based and produces a hard, durable finish.

Before painting, make sure to clean and sand the surface of the body to ensure the paint adheres properly. Use a primer to provide a smooth base coat and prevent the paint from chipping or peeling.

When painting, work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear such as a mask and gloves. Apply several thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat to achieve an even finish. You can use masking tape to create designs and patterns on your car.

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Once the paint has dried, you can add decals or stickers to further customize your car. There are many different designs available, or you can create your own using a printer or vinyl cutter. Make sure to seal the paint with a clear coat to protect it from scratches and damage.

Remember, painting takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out perfectly. Keep trying and experimenting with different techniques and styles until you achieve the look you want.

Adding Details and Accessories

Now that the body panels are assembled, it’s time to add some personality to your RC car body. This is where the fun really begins! Here are some tips and techniques for adding details and accessories:

  • Decals: Decals are a great and easy way to add some color and design to your RC car body. You can find a wide variety of pre-made decals online or create your own using a printer and special decal paper.
  • Airbrushing: If you want to get really creative, consider using an airbrush to paint custom designs on your RC car body. This technique allows for a lot of detail and precision in your designs.
  • Adding Lights: Adding LED lights to your RC car body is a great way to make it stand out on the track. You can install them on the exterior or interior of the body.
  • Additional Accessories: There are so many ways to add personality to your RC car body! From spoilers to wings to antennas and more, there are endless options for customization. Just make sure to keep the weight and balance of your car in mind when choosing accessories.

Remember, the key to adding details and accessories is to have fun and get creative. This is where you can truly personalize your RC car body and make it your own.

Installing the RC Car Body on the Chassis

Now that the body panels are shaped and painted to perfection, it’s time to install the RC car body onto the chassis. Here are some helpful tips to ensure a secure fit:

  • Before beginning the installation process, make sure the chassis is clean and free of any debris or dirt.
  • Line up the body mounting holes on the body with those on the chassis. Use screws or body clips (depending on the type of RC car) to attach the body to the chassis.
  • Ensure that the body is evenly aligned on the chassis, and adjust as necessary.
  • Add any final accessories or details, and make sure that they do not interfere with the fit of the body on the chassis.
  • Carefully test the car to make sure the body is securely attached and does not interfere with any moving parts.

With these tips, you can successfully install your custom-made RC car body onto your chassis, and show off your unique and personalized ride!

Troubleshooting and Common Mistakes

Building a RC car body from scratch can be a challenging but rewarding project. However, even with careful planning and execution, mistakes can happen. Here are some common issues that may arise and expert advice on how to troubleshoot them:

Problem: Body Panels Don’t Fit Properly

If the body panels don’t fit properly on the chassis, it may be due to incorrect measurements or the wrong type of material used for construction. To fix this issue, double-check your measurements and make sure that the materials you’re using are compatible with one another. You may also need to sand down the edges of the body panels to create a better fit.

Problem: Body Panels Are Warped or Uneven

If your body panels are warped or uneven, it may be due to using too much heat during the shaping process or not using enough support while cooling. To fix this issue, try reshaping the panels with less heat or use more support while cooling to prevent warping.

Problem: Paint is Uneven or Peeling

If your paint job isn’t turning out as expected, it may be due to incorrect painting techniques or using the wrong type of paint. To fix this issue, consider using a primer before painting and apply multiple thin coats of paint instead of one thick coat. It’s also important to let each coat dry fully before applying the next one.

Problem: Accessories Don’t Fit Properly

If your accessories don’t fit properly on the RC car body, it may be due to incorrect measurements or not taking the placement of the accessories into account during the construction process. To fix this issue, double-check your measurements and consider using a template or guide to ensure that the accessories are in the correct location.

Expert Advice: Take Your Time and Be Patient

Remember, building a RC car body from scratch takes time and patience. Don’t rush the process and be willing to make adjustments as needed. It’s also helpful to seek advice from other hobbyists or experts in the field to get tips and tricks for troubleshooting any issues you may encounter.

Maintaining and Repairing Your RC Car Body

Congratulations on building your RC car body from scratch! Now that you have a custom-designed car body, it’s important to know how to maintain and repair it properly to ensure its longevity. Here are some expert tips and techniques for keeping your RC car body in good condition:

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is essential to prevent dirt and grime build-up on your RC car body. Use a soft cloth or a microfiber towel to gently wipe down the body panels. Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents that can damage the paint or the material of the body.

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Inspection and Repairs

Inspect your RC car body regularly for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as cracks, chipping, or scratches. If you notice any damage, it’s important to repair it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

For minor scratches or chips, you can use touch-up paint to cover them up. Use a small paintbrush to apply the paint carefully, and let it dry completely before applying a second coat if needed.

For more significant damage, such as cracks or breaks, you may need to replace the damaged body panels. In this case, refer to the construction process on how to remove and replace the panels.


Proper storage is crucial to keep your RC car body in good condition. Store your car in a clean, dry, and cool place to avoid exposure to moisture, dust, or direct sunlight.

If the RC car is not being used for an extended period, remove the batteries from the car to prevent any leakage or damage.

Following these maintenance and repair tips will help you keep your RC car body in tip-top shape and extend its lifespan.


In conclusion, making a RC car body from scratch is a challenging and rewarding project for any hobbyist or DIY enthusiast. With the right planning, tools, and techniques, you can create a unique and personalized RC car body that reflects your style and personality. Throughout this article, we have discussed the step-by-step guide on how to make a RC car body from scratch, including planning your design, gathering materials and tools, building the frame and chassis, shaping the body panels, assembling the body panels, painting your RC car body, adding details and accessories, installing the RC car body on the chassis, troubleshooting and common mistakes, and maintaining and repairing your RC car body. By following these tips and techniques, you can create an impressive RC car body that will turn heads and impress your friends and family. So, if you’re up for the challenge, grab your tools and start building. You won’t regret the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with a job well done!

What is the Best Lipo Charger to Use for My DIY RC Car?

When it comes to finding the best lipo charger for your DIY RC car, it’s essential to stay updated with the latest options. In 2023, the top lipo chargers offer advanced features like fast charging and precise voltage control to optimize the performance and lifespan of your RC car’s batteries. Investing in one of these top lipo chargers for 2023 ensures that you can keep your DIY RC car running smoothly for years to come.

What Type of Glue Should I Use to Attach the RC Car Body?

When it comes to attaching the RC car body, using the best glue for rc tires is crucial. The right adhesive will ensure a strong bond that can withstand the pressures and vibrations experienced during races. Look for a glue specifically designed for RC car bodies, which offers a secure attachment without causing any damage to the tires. Choose wisely to keep your RC car intact during those thrilling rides.


Q: Can I make a RC car body from scratch even if I’m a beginner?

A: Absolutely! This step-by-step guide is designed to help beginners create their own RC car body from scratch.

Q: What materials and tools do I need to make a RC car body?

A: To make a RC car body from scratch, you will need materials such as foam, fiberglass, and paint, as well as tools like a hobby knife, sandpaper, and a heat gun.

Q: Do I need any technical skills or expertise to make a RC car body?

A: While some basic crafting skills are helpful, you don’t need to be an expert to make a RC car body. Follow the step-by-step instructions and you’ll be able to create your own custom body.

Q: How long does it take to make a RC car body from scratch?

A: The time it takes to make a RC car body will depend on your skill level and the complexity of your design. It could take anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Q: Can I customize and personalize my RC car body?

A: Absolutely! One of the benefits of making a RC car body from scratch is the ability to customize and personalize it to your liking. Let your creativity shine!

Q: How do I paint my RC car body?

A: Painting your RC car body requires some prep work and the use of specific paints designed for RC car bodies. The section on painting in this guide will provide detailed instructions and tips.

Q: Can I use any RC car chassis with the body I make from scratch?

A: In most cases, you will need to ensure that the RC car chassis you choose is compatible with the body you make. It’s important to consider the size and dimensions of both the body and the chassis.

Q: What if I make a mistake while building my RC car body?

A: Don’t worry! Mistakes happen. The troubleshooting section of this guide will provide tips and advice on how to overcome common mistakes and challenges.

Q: How do I maintain and repair my RC car body?

A: Regular maintenance is important to keep your RC car body in good condition. The section on maintaining and repairing in this guide will provide expert advice on how to do so.

Q: Can I use this guide to make a RC car body for any type of RC car?

A: While this guide is primarily focused on making RC car bodies for hobby-grade RC cars, many of the techniques and tips can be applied to other types of RC cars as well.