As we approach the release of our B64.4F conversion kit we’ve been getting quite a bit of interest on the social medias apps and questions to follow. First we want to say its been great seeing all the interest from all platforms of cars. From the positive posts to the subtle ones calling it a copy, it shows we got your attention.
So where did we come up with the idea?
Best thing we can say is idle hands are the worse. Being a small company is nice at times, it gives us a chance to stop and enjoy the whole hobby instead of just one corner of it with the parts we make.
Our summer was winding down for rock crawling and it was another great season for us. Support from the community was incredible and our newest chassis release was already selling out faster then we could get them cut and together. We had our new SK Oval car, the Enyo, coming out for the winter and the approval process was completed. Now what?
Over the summer we had bought a B64 kit with the interest of just toying around over the winter indoors and see if there was anything we could make to help drivers. We had a great time building the car, its been a long time since we’ve had a new kit to start with. We missed a couple steps along the way and had to rewind ourselves but that’s what happens when you don’t fully read instructions. Associated has done a great job on illustrating everything and parts fit was spot on.
So we built the car and had everything wired up for some indoor carpet then as winter came in our crawler side of things picked up. Drivers were starting to stock up and build their winter projects for next season. Inventory took control of our free time and getting to the track isn’t as easy as it use to be, adult things step in first.
Fast forward a couple months later and we were back to idle hands and staring at our 4wd car just hanging on the wall. Time to read up and see whats going on out in the world so we hit our favorite forum for knowledge on these things, RCTech.
We read from start to finish the entire B64 thread and had some idea of what drivers were doing. It gave us a good place to start with ideas for setup and what changes could or might not help things. We browsed around the other posts in the off-road section to see what other drivers had going on. This was when we came across the Tekno thread on their new 410 car. This thing perplexed us and always liking those slightly different things this car really had our attention. A lot of it to where I was already grinding gears about when to get one.
After spending some time reading that thread and staring at our own B64 we said ‘why cant it be done to our car’. So with that idea in our head we started tearing apart our car that was never even run yet and figuring things out. We had something to keep our idle hands busy and its been a really fun project to work on.
What was our goal?
We didnt really have one when we got into this project, we just wanted to see if we could do it. As things progressed and ideas started forming into objects and cad files we started seeing that we had something possible. Being that we deal with carbon fiber for majority of all our products we grabbed some 3mm and cut our first prototype and added a 10* printed kick up spacer for the nose. We had a rolling chassis!
Proto3 showed us it had to be a chassis with the kick up in it so we ordered in some aluminum. We knew our plotting was correct and our holes all lined up square so on the machine it went. With each version we found spots to tweak and improve on. Proto4 brought us the first aluminum chassis and test on the track and by Proto7 we had a car that was pretty well planted but off on setup. We couldn’t turn back now, this project had us invested to the end.
Proto6 was the point we starting seeing the potential we had and figured we should probably set some sort of goals for ourselves. First we looked at all production aspects, can we make it all and what do we have to source. The second goal was to keep it in our retail pricing goal and we did. With those two accomplished we looked at what would make it stand out, perform and accomplish more pros then cons of a stock vehicle. Every driver is different just like tracks but we believe we captured tuning ability into an already multi track vehicle. Last was a name and I think this was the hardest, nothing dumb … something simple yet something that made the difference. We couldnt think of anything other then B64.4F and keep things simple with how Associated plays on their names. The B64 is the kit, the (dot)4 is an add-on and the ‘F’ is for Forward. Pretty simple and remember-able.
After finalizing a couple minor tweaks left we came to rest on our Proto9 as being our first production run file.
So what made things different?
We noticed the weight transfer on entry and exits, there wasn’t very much of it like we saw other 4wd’s around our track. With the battery farther further we didn’t have that nose down effect of letting off the throttle on entry, first roller we had to actually stab the breaks a few times so we didnt push through entry. Mid to exit though was fun. Being a touring car driver that likes to stab the throttle this setup liked it. I could actually feel where I drove the exit too soft and the car wanted to traction roll itself, a little more throttle into her and she would level out and drive off the corner.
I guess you could say that was one of the goals in this car, I really wanted to see a car you could drive smooth when needed but come crunch time you could push it harder and have that drive with stability.
Jumping and landing have never been a good thing for me in off road. Through the years any time I drove something I was always a nose up with a hard tail landing or back flip. This car was different right out of the gate for me, real smooth right off the tops and a nice arc bringing a smooth landing. I’m no professional but the harder I drove and more throttle I used this thing was very forgiving for me. I found that a little tap of the breaks or throttle I could correct the car very quickly and easily mid air.
Now we needed to get this thing into some professional hands and up to speed.
What are we getting with this?
Once we knew this was something we were gonna make some of and bring to production we knew we had to keep it simple. We wanted to make the most use out of what drivers already had in their kits and bring out only what they needed.
The kits really are as simplistic as we could think with the list of parts you get.
- 2.25mm 7075 T6 Aluminum chassis
- 2mm Carbon Fiber front and rear upper decks
- 2mm Carbon Fiber lower chassis spines
- 2mm Carbon Fiber battery hold down
- New 2.5mm Carbon Fiber steering bell crank
- 7075 Center drive shafts to help reduce rotating weight
We were also able to utilize our 3D printing ability for needed spacers and fan mount. This really helped cut down on our machine time and keep our costs under our limit. Machine time really is the killer and being small like us this is where we can gain or lose on things. 3D printing has really come a long way so when we can use it in non-stress/structural areas it helps everyone.
Is this for the dirt or carpet cars?
We dont have a good opinion on this one, We dont even have a good test for it since winter is here on us and we wont see dirt for another 5 months. When we started this it was carpet season for us.
Heres what we do know though. It will Not work if you use a geared center diff, you do need to use a slipper setup or slipper eliminator of some sort. Other then that everything else is the same between the two platforms.
What version is it more beneficial for? Again we really couldnt say. Everything we have thought about and tried putting into the design should really benefit both platforms. Where wouldnt more on power steering and overall balance not help you?
What are your future visions for the .4F?
Right now our sight is set on watching drivers progress with the kit, seeing who’s doing what and how their performing with them. Listening to others feedback is gonna be our greatest tool for improvements. We do have some files drawn up for tuning parts that we will be testing after we get some time on ours and others.
Are there any future plans for other platforms?
Nope nothing yet. The bulk of our parts line up is based around vehicles we drive so getting into a different vehicle isn’t something we jump on often. The downside to being small is the resources aren’t there at times when something new comes out or when something becomes popular. The business isn’t about making something for everything, for us its about making something that works well and people would want.
Thats about it for now ….. we really hope this gives a little insight into why and where things are going with our conversion.