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Color0's Micro RC Blog -- A technical brain dump from the mind of yours truly...
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Body Modifications for Perfect Stance

Posted 08-26-2012 at 05:21 AM by color0
One of the great things about the Mini-Z's styrene plastic body is that it is a lot more modification-friendly than the polycarbonate bodies used in other scales. You can cut, sand, polish, weld, melt, etc. allowing you to push the envelope on your creation, whether that is reducing weight for racing, adding lights for show, or, as we'll be covering here, achieving the perfect lowered stance while keeping the car driveable.

I'm going to assume that we already understand how to lower a Mini-Z body in general -- space out the front clip on the chassis to lower it, then raise the side clips on the body to seat the body lower relative to the chassis. The problem though is that if you're trying to fit wide enough wheels/tires to fill out the fender, you can only lower it so much before it starts rubbing (of course). So we bust out the trusty Dremel and have a go -- naturally.

For fine-detail bodywork I actually prefer using this tiny dremel bit over files/sandpaper now, because my fingers just aren't that small and this little bit (~4mm diameter) has a sharper tip that really gets to wherever I need it to go. For the record, this is Dremel silicon carbide grinding bit #83322.

Using this bit, gently carve out the inside of the wheel well: you only need to carve the top "side" of the wheel well -- basically, carve wherever you see the tire rub the inside of the body. Carve, measure, carve, measure, carve, and you'll start to see your wheel make it farther up into the wheel well before the tire rubs.

Depending on your wheel/tire setup, you may end up grinding the wheel well plastic so thin that the Dremel bit starts pushing the fender outwards -- this isn't necessarily a bad thing, since pushing it outwards gives you more space, but you do want to watch out for the edge of the plastic becoming way too fragile. See red arrow below, where my F430's rear fender started to bow outwards from the pressure.

Shaving the plastic that thin also makes it susceptible to fraying at the edges, but thankfully we do have a fix for that. Take your fingernail, and fold the edge inwards. This gives a nice clean "rolled" edge as well as preserving it from tearing. If you want to be extra anal you can find something to roll the fender edge, which will make it even cleaner, and, while you're at it, you can even pull the fender out further to give you more tire clearance since the plastic has been thinned out. I did a little bit with the smooth side of my nail, but a proper scaled-down fender roller is the best tool if you want to do this.

So, you continue this process of carve, measure, fold, and if you've picked the right wheel offsets, you'll get the "stance".

On this particular F430 I've fit +2.2N up front (MR03W front end) and +2W in the back, and it's perfectly flush, and not rubbing, front or rear. I wouldn't recommend running this close clearance for racing of course, but it's very driveable "at home" and looks downright cool. On the Mini-Z AWD, since you can dial in more camber into the front and rear ends, you can potentially pick even wider offsets and make it look even more aggressive. The front end, as you might notice, is not quite as low as the rear, and there's no real way out of this with the MR03's steering geometry -- wheels gotta steer lol. Nonetheless, it's not too obvious (just look at the first picture in this post), so I hope to see more beautifully stanced Mini-Z's soon running parade laps on the RCP.

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