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Old Jun 23, 2008, 11:46 PM
Registered User
binghamton ny
Joined Apr 2007
12 Posts
Discussion
plastic vs. carbon fiber vs. aluminum

I'm trying to start a discussion about plastic vs. carbon fiber vs. aluminum. This is only my opinion, and I'm trying to start a talk about this topic and I would like to hear other ideas or opinions about this topic. I've been in the hobby for 25 years and I'm 36 now. Back in the day, our cars, for example (aluminum car) my Team Associated Club Racer was made of fiber glass and aluminum. For being the moving brick that it was, it did around 50 mph probably in under 5 seconds and totally indestructable. I had a Tamiya Superchamp (brass gears in the transmission) fiber glass aluminum, indestructable, slower than the fastest slug but bullet-proof about 20 mph. Back in the day, these cars were built for durability, not for speed I think. I also had (plastic) the Frog, Grasshopper and Hornet which were all plastic which were extremely light, durable and faster than snot modified about 30 mph. Today's cars people are modifying with aluminum CNC parts and back in the day we were trying to get away from aluminum parts. I think aluminum is strong, light and durable but the downside to aluminum I think is that it could bend and once it bends, it is hard to bend it back to normal where it was in the first place where the car will drive straight. Some people like the bling, bling factor which is pretty cool but costs a lot of money. Which you have to understand, I worked in a machine shop and I know how much CNC aluminum parts cost. Overall thing about aluminum, I think it is cool for the bling bling factor but I prefer to stay plastic/carbon fiber mix because it's light and still durable. Also, just because you put a lot of bling bling on a car doesn't mean you know how to drive it. Performance wise, plastic is still lighter than aluminum. Another thing is, when a plastic part breaks, you can just replace it. If you replace aluminum parts, you're talking some serious money. If you make a car all aluminum, there again the bling bling factor, but if the A-arm does not break under pressure, you could tweak the chassis and ruin the chassis which you would have to take your whole car apart because your aluminum A-arm didn't want to bend. If you had a plastic A-arm instead of aluminum and broke the plastic part, you just replace the plastic part. Let's talk carbon fiber on cars now. Carbon fiber is stronger than steel and stronger than aluminum but pure carbon fiber parts can snap under stress in the right situation. Carbon fiber plus plastic mix of parts is almost the better choice because of it's strength and lightness and durability but there again, it could cost a pretty good dollar. Straight carbon fiber could be pretty expensive but there also again, it could snap like a twig under certain circumstances. Overall, my opinion I would go with carbon fiber plastic mix which is strong, durable and light and not really costly. I'm just trying to have a discussion here. I would like to know your opinions. I learn a lot by reading your opinions. Your friend, RC Fanatic
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Old Jun 24, 2008, 05:17 AM
Mike Van Osten
Gilbert, AZ
Joined Dec 2007
68 Posts
Sounds like you've studied yourself into confusion. Each of the materials that you have named serves a specific purpose, wether it's high strength or economical etc. Many companies will offer aluminum this or titanium that, but that's what keeps bussiness going. Most of the time you don't need any of these things, they're just nice to have. I've been racing rc cars since 84, started with a frog then rc10 then yokomo then optima mid then yokomo then losi ....I race 1/8 scale nitro now. 8th scale companies offer lots of aluminum, so you will usually be trading plastic for aluminum. Aluminum is much stiffer than plastic, so , when you use aluminum chassis braces for example, your chassis will flex less causing a change in performance and handling. Per given situation, this could help/hurt the way your car performs. So, using different materials is more than just bling. You can actually tune the performance or your car
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Old Jun 24, 2008, 06:14 PM
Registered User
binghamton ny
Joined Apr 2007
12 Posts
i'm not confused on materials

I like aluminnum parts on cars .I was
just was saying that if you use to much for example the entire car you can twist the chassis alot easier.If the a arm can't break under stress like it should then most likley your going to stress another part of the car like the chassis.I also think that aluminum parts should be used on certain parts of the car and not the entire car. Their again I worked in a machine shop so I know how much time and effort goes into machining a cnc part. I also not just into rc cars I'm also into helicopters ' motorcycles boats monster trucks; on road cars and airplanes all of them nitro gas and electric.Also I"m not some rich guy Throwing my money around and also I'm not some yong kid . I've been in this hobby for 25 years so I know a thing or two about rc. I learn everyday reading your ideas and comments and Iread alot of rc magazines like caraction 'extreme cars 'rc driver boat modeler and rc modeler. I love every area of rc. RC FANATIC
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Old Jun 27, 2008, 03:44 PM
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined Jan 2008
404 Posts
I like alum better too






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Old Jun 30, 2008, 12:05 PM
Newb Drifter
Bergen, Norway
Joined Jun 2008
2 Posts
Is alu more stable than plastic (since plastic flexes)?

If that's the case, then using alu parts instead of plastic parts for the steerings arms in TT01 will give me more precise steering control?
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 04:28 PM
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Joined Jan 2007
65 Posts
I've been around the hobby since the RC10 was the hot car, which was a long time as I recall, and started with the Losi XXT but not near as long as you guys.

Certainly the preference will be around what you are trying to accomplish and for me its durability. I think that good plastic parts will absorb a ton of damage, easy to modify and generally inexpensive to replace. For the times you really tank it the parts that break save additional parts some of the impact.

I stay away from Carbon Fiber and the most ambitious upgrades I tend to add would be parts from RPM and the like.
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 07:12 PM
Registered User
Joined Jun 2008
3 Posts
For beating around the yard or even club racing; plastic is fine. If you're into the ( bling bling ) money racing then carbon fiber is the way to go. IMO


Since we're talking about the 80's. I ran a Hornet with some hop-ups and a stock motor at our local club races and kicked the snot out of the rc10 guys. A 100 buck toy beating $500+ cars with the best of the best parts.
Moral of the story, you can have the best but if you don't know how to use it's worthless.

I still have the horent, dropped in a 19T and its still beating the AE and Losi boys. They're convinced I'm cheating. Even after I torn down the car right in front of them all.
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Old Jul 01, 2008, 03:55 AM
Mike Van Osten
Gilbert, AZ
Joined Dec 2007
68 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by carfan
I like aluminnum parts on cars .I was
just was saying that if you use to much for example the entire car you can twist the chassis alot easier.If the a arm can't break under stress like it should then most likley your going to stress another part of the car like the chassis.I also think that aluminum parts should be used on certain parts of the car and not the entire car. Their again I worked in a machine shop so I know how much time and effort goes into machining a cnc part. I also not just into rc cars I'm also into helicopters ' motorcycles boats monster trucks; on road cars and airplanes all of them nitro gas and electric.Also I"m not some rich guy Throwing my money around and also I'm not some yong kid . I've been in this hobby for 25 years so I know a thing or two about rc. I learn everyday reading your ideas and comments and Iread alot of rc magazines like caraction 'extreme cars 'rc driver boat modeler and rc modeler. I love every area of rc. RC FANATIC
OK
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Old Jul 01, 2008, 09:33 AM
Registered User
Joined May 2008
436 Posts
Well, I like a combination. I like Carbon fiber and graphite for the lightweight, even though it is fairly expansive to replace, I don't plan on going extreme, yet. Not until I know how to handle my car. I also like aluminum for rigidity and, of course, the bling. Plastic has it's place, but when it's in a place I don't want a lot of flex, I'll replace it with aluminum.

You can check out my TT-01 Skyline build, I have all the parts listed there. It's gonna be soooooooooo much fun building it, and it's going to look SOOOOOOOOOO cool with the color change paint I got for it.
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