RC Car Studded Tires

Studded RC car tires are quite nice when driving under icy conditions.

The example studded tires are built for Traxxas Slash 4x4. It's a 1:10 scale Radio-Controlled (RC) car for outdoor use. It can reach speeds up to 60mph+ (about 100km/h) and can be driven under any weather conditions, also on ice.

Needed parts:

  • RC car tires, separated from rims. I used stock tires.
  • Metal screws and a cutting tool. To make studs. I used size M3 screws and electrical pliers.
  • Piercing die and a hammer. To make stud places in tires.

    Step 1: Pierce the tires

    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires

    Pierce the tires with the piercing tool and a hammer. Hammer is used to push the sharp piercing die through the rubber. Use a small size piercing tool so that the tire will sqeeze the studs firmly in place. No further measures are required to attach the studs. Discard the weirdly shaped rubber parts that are cut by the piercing die.

    Place the holes evenly throughout the tire. Use parts on the thread pattern where the tire is thickest.

    I divided the tire into 8 sectors, totaling 24 holes for rear tires (8*3) and 16 (8*2) for front tires. More studs means more weight and traction. You may want to use less studs at the front to avoid oversteering and spinning the car while turning.

    Step 2: Cut the screws to appropriate length

    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires

    I used M3-sized machine screws. Machine screw tips are flat with somewhat rounded edges. The cut makes the tip flat, but turns the edges sharp. The 90 degrees angle edge is the effective part of the stud on ice.

    To make the cuts I used a pair of electrical pliers that had a M3.5 size cable cutter amongst other sizes. It's basically a hole on the pliers with a round cutting blade beneath. Just place the screw in the hole and squeeze. It's so much easier to use than normal side cutters and the cut is quite clean. I taped some washers to the pliers so that the cut would be of appropriate legth which was 9.01mm (0.354 inches).

    When cutting around a hundred studs you will want to take a breaks. It's quite time consuming.

    Don't make the studs too long. The further they reach outside the tire the easier they bend and scratch your car.

    Don't use regular wood screws. They come with a sharp tip, but the tip area of effect is smaller compared to cut machine screw, traction if lesser, the screws bend easier, attach to the tire weaker and wear out sooner. They may look aggressive and they are usually the first ones to try out. Been there, done that, no going back.

    Step 3: Place the screws to the tires

    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires

    Push the screws from the inside of the tire towards outside. The screw head will keep the screw from squeezing through the tire and an appropriate hole size seems to be quite enough the keep the stud in place.

    Step 4: Mount the tires to wheels

    RC Car Studded Tires
    RC Car Studded Tires

    Mount your new studded wheels to your car and you're ready to go!

    I used foam inserts and bead lock wheels. The bead locs use screws to attach the tire to the wheel so the tire can be unmounted later and studs can be removed or replaces with new ones.

    Remember that the studs are sharp around the edges, they rip through ice and scratch clothes and skin easily so do drive safely.

    These studs are likely to wear out in an uneven fashion. When this happens, you can rotate each stud half a turn (180 degrees) with pliers to get a fresh grip on ice. This is speculative, not actually tested.

    When the ice age is over, feel free to try the studded tires on concrete, asphalt and other hard surfaces. The studs will wear down quite quickly but also release lively sparks during the process.

    I will attempt to answer any questions you may have.

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