3D Sets Rancher RC Jeep Build
The 3DSets crew is one of the newest 3d printing rc model designers on the stage but in just a few months they've offered some of the top designs available on the web. We took the challenge to create their first model, the "Rancher", which is basically a Jeep, and in this article we'll tell you all about how it went.
<<Read on below or start by watching our “Should I build it?” review of the RC Jeep on Youtube.>>
Quick intro to 3DSets: The company consists of a couple of 3d printing enthusiasts Ondrej Slavik and Jiri Lorencik from the Czech Republic who wanted start a company to create premium quality 3d printable objects that were more interesting than just statues and flower pots you normally see on Thingiverse. They love RC cars so the choice to build RC models came easy to them. The cars they build are quite large and all quite complex.
Their first models were released in 2020 and the goal was to design 3d printable scale RC models that would be as close as possible to the real thing and instead of being a low quality copy. They wanted to create printable products you would be really happy with.
To date they have a couple different models of the "Rancher" (or jeep) design, a few different models of a "Landy" (or land rover) design, and their newest model is the RWD "Buggy" which is basically a Volkswagen Beetle dune racer. 3DSets also offers a bunch of different accessories available to print for your model such as different tops, racks, hoods with scoops, siderails, luggage and fuel cans, people, snorkels, winches, tow hooks, and more... some of which are paid and some are free.
The car models themselves are not free and will cost $35-40 each however when you consider the amount of money you’ll be spending on the electronic parts like shocks, truck tires, radio and receiver, motor, battery, speed controller, servo, electrical connectors, cable and solder, 550 screws and 28 bearings you’re easily going to spend a few hundred bucks so $40 for the design doesn’t seem that bad.
The build: Printing the parts for this build is actually quite easy. If you have a Prusa mk3s and Prusament PLA Filament they have gcode files ready for you. For everyone else they have 19 premade build plates that will fit a 200mm square build surface that you can import into your slicer of choice which are somewhat color coordinated so that you can print all your body pieces/chassis pieces / interior pieces together and get the look you’re going for. The first build plate includes a calibration tool to make sure your printer is set properly so everything goes together nicely and your bearings are gonna fit in their holes. All of the parts can be printed in PLA and they recommend against most other materials. It’ll take 2-3 weeks of print time to get it all done and 2-½ kg of filament at a minimum.
The 19 jam packed build plates are filled with approximately 225 different model pieces that are all going to need to be screwed together with 550 screws so be prepared for serious model build. Its quite fun if you like building models and the engineering that goes into every section of the model from the complicated gearbox to the chassis and suspension to the body and rollcage is awe inspiring. They did a really good job designing around the limitations of small models and 3D printers and coming up with something you'll be quite happy with in the end.
Now, putting together the model is quite fun if you love building models but its also quite complicated and would be a bit daunting if you’ve never built anything like this before. There are so many tiny pieces that screw together with little m2 screws that its kind mind bending. Like I just said with 550 screws and 28 bearings in the required materials you’re going to have a lot of work to do. Luckily NO GLUE is required so you can put it together and take it apart again easily when you realize you made a mistake.
The instructions are also very good. Of course, there were a few times where I did struggle with an instruction here or there but I was always able to figure it out in a few minutes without too much stress or rework. The instructions walk you completely through the entire detailed build process step by step over a 72 page build manual so you CAN do it if you decide you want to BUT you will NOT get this done in a night. It’ll take a couple weeks of nights to get this build done so you have to be prepared for that if you want to be successful.
The body of this car is truly awesome. Its not like a normal RC car which has a body clipped onto the top of a chassis. Instead the body is much more a PART of the build here and adds to the structure. The body details are extremely well done from things like windshield wipers to door handles, to working door hinges and clasps. The doors have inside door panels and moveable mirrors and fenders are printed separately from the side panels so you can get that two toned jeep look. You can even print two toned wheels! The seats hide all your electronics and your on/off switch is hidden inside the center console... there's even floormats to hide your wiring. The windscreen you make yourself out of clear plastic which you can cut from whatever recycling containers you have around that week and it gets sandwiched tightly in between two frames.
There's no working lights which is too bad, because it would have really added to the design but it does makes it simpler and less daunting for the beginner and you can find working light mods for these cars on thingiverse if desired.
The Drivetrain: The motor (which coincidentally is hidden under the working hood where a motor should go!) is a 27T 540 DC motor which has a tonne of power when paired with a 2s lipo battery.
The car's gear box to me was the most amazing part of the build and includes 6 different steps to harness the power of the motor and deliver tonnes of torque out to the driveshafts for crawling over anything in its path.
The model is also 4wd and the differentials are locked both front and rear so you have a tonne of traction.
The result is a model that is more similar to a crawler rc than a basher which is quite a joy to play with but it IS NOT FAST. If you’re looking for a fast model for bashing then this isn’t the one for you.
The drivetrain past the gearbox near the differentials and axles is where I’ve had most of my problems with breakages. Originally I printed most of those pieces in PETG with standard settings (2 walls, 20% infill) but I've since reprinted them all with PLA and many walls and the model is lasting much longer. I’d recommend printing most of the drivetrain with 100% infill as well but definitely the little cube cardon joints require a solid infill at a minimum.
The suspension: For a suspension the model can accommodate 80-100mm shocks to absorb bouncing and get you over rocky terrain. Once complete the build feels satisfyingly spongy. All of the stabilizer and steering arms in the vehicle (and there are many) use 3d printed ball joints and they’re all great. I’ve never had an issue with any of them and now I’ve started using 3d ball joints on other models as well
The bad: Despite everything amazing about this vehicle there are some drawbacks.
- Its harder to fix. There are so many pieces to put together and the order of installation matters. If you break something you often have to tear quite a lot of the model apart to fix it.
- As previously stated, its not fast.
- The wheels don't use locknuts nuts and instead are simply screwed on into plastic.
- The wheel hub hex is quite small in diameter (normally you'd see about 12mm) which can result in wheel wobble and increase the possibility of breakage.
Conclusion: This is a really great model that I very much enjoyed building and enjoy having around... But should YOU build it?
Well, if you want a super well designed, well though out model with meticulous detail with 225 different printed pieces and 450 screws, and you’re going to love the process of building it, and then you want to end up with a model that has awesome grip and traction and ability to climb over obstacles but NOT something super fast, and if you want something that is highly customizable and something you’ll be able to work on and tinker with and keep improving then this is the model for you!
However, if you’re not looking for a big, complicated build project and you don't have weeks to spend on it then I’d suggest something a little simpler like an OpenRC car.
Check out this video of our 3DSets Rancher in Action!
Here are some pics of the completed build.