How to make some links!!!

Budhatrain

Moderator
Moderator
With a couple of projects I have going on... I need links made. I purchased some from a retailer a couple weeks ago and spent $30 for a set of 4 custom links (included shipping). Wasn't too much money but I ended up needing to re-tap them and provide my own rod ends. I looked at that and said, "surely I can do better than that?!"

So I pursued what I am about to share. There are other ways, some similar to this but just with different resources. For what I need them for and the look I have already established on my builds, this was a good fit.

First I purchased some aluminum tube from here: https://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?pid=6844&step=4&showunits=inches&id=71&top_cat=60 I cannot tell you the difference from aluminum pipe and aluminum tube... but I "think" tube was the better fit. Another fabricator tried going this route himself and said he was unhappy from the center hole not being center, not sure what he tried buying and where he tried buying it at... but mine was dead on perfect, doesn't look like it will ever be a problem. He also warned me that tube "might" be weaker than aluminum rod. Surely it is but I can't notice it at all and for what I using them for- I am confident it will never be a worry. Also he has a lathe and it does take him longer than my project did :) So pro's and con's people. I am just a broke and cheap guy here. The Outside Diameter (OD) is 1/4in and the Inside Diameter (ID) is 1/8in. For this project I am using traxxas jato rod ends ect... so this is perfect with #8-32 3/4in set screws. Like what I find here: http://www.fastenal.com/web/products/detail.ex?sku=1125159 These also work with #6-32 set screws too.

I don't know about you, but cutting a straight line can be an issue for me... so a LHS guy suggested this little hobby saw and it cuts through aluminium like butter- thin cut and straightish.






Here is what I am going for... on the left is a link from current build style, on the right is what I made.



I cut some aluminum tube to my desired length. Chuck'd the tube in one of my cordless drills. Used the proper tap drill bit. Tapped the tube by hand (do not do this part with a cordless drill).






Some things to take note. I marked the maximum depth I wanted my 8-32 set screws (picked up the screws from Local Hardware Store). Also while you have the tap out- save yourself some grief and just tap the rod ends too :)




 
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Budhatrain

Moderator
Moderator
Ok, now lets finish this right! The finish on the newly bought tube is nothing to brag about. So just use some hobby grade very fine sand paper and spin the drill. Makes the tube look much better for a completed project.






So that's that! Very happy with the results and I have plenty of material for 2-5 more builds depending on what I use it for. Total cost... $5.71 for 2ft of aluminum tube (I used 6" for this project). 12 traxxas rod ends, $6. 8-32 studs $.55 ea. I already owned the tap- but that's like $8. Joy of personal discovery and building..... wait for it..... wait for it..... PRICELESS.

Just kidding... I didn't really do bargain shopping here, just went to the most convenient suppliers I could find- so I am sure I can bring that price down. I think if someone is charging around $20 for a set of 4 links, it's a good deal especially if they include all the hardware (including rod ends ect). Plus you add shipping. I will just do it myself, save some money and take joy in fabricating my own stuff.

If you have anything to add here, please feel free. Another option I am pursuing is aluminum rod and delrin rod... I picked up these drill guides from a guy named Jeepin Doug on rccrawler for $18 (set of three different sizes). Looks to be easy peezy too!

 

JKRacing37

Well-Known Member
Nice write up Mike! Just an FYI if you want to take the finish on the tube to the next level, spin them up in a paper towel with a dab of Flitz and they will look almost chrome plated. :cool
 

Manfjourde

Contributor
"stud" (my bad, I went back through and changed the wording) is probably a bad way to describe these... maybe more appropriate "set screw"

#8-32 3/4in lenth set screw

Here is a link to fastenal... hopefully this points you in the right direction. I found mine at a good local hardware shop

http://www.fastenal.com/web/products/detail.ex?sku=1125159
Thanks for the info and change - found some set screws lol! Also, do you know the part number for the rod ends? I'm gonna pick this stuff up and make my own. I've done it before with all-thread and aluminum tube but personally don't like making them that way. I'd like to give this a try.

EDIT - Would this tubing be strong enough for links on a Clod?
 
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Budhatrain

Moderator
Moderator
I think traxxas #5347.... There are some that are made for the Jato that are longer too- I have both sets in my tool box.

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXHGB7&P=ML

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXKMD6&P=ML

Obviously it depends on length... I would say for sure they are fine for upper links. I can't say for sure for lower links (especially if you are talking about a shock mount too)- I would stick with solid rod or machined lower links. I personally haven't made a set of these that are over 3.5" yet so I really can't validate, they feel fine to me and I would have no problem trying it, if that counts for anything (I would use them on any crawler I made, they feel sturdy). The best way is to build them and let's see. They say on the website the "ultimate sheer strength KSI" for the aluminum tube a value of 27 and for the aluminum rod is 30. Once again I don't know exactly what it means but it's looks close to me :)

Hope that helps, once I know more I will update this thread.
 

JKRacing37

Well-Known Member
If you have anything to add here, please feel free. Another option I am pursuing is aluminum rod and delrin rod... I picked up these drill guides from a guy named Jeepin Doug on rccrawler for $18 (set of three different sizes). Looks to be easy peezy too!

Mike - I made some links last night using the JeepinDoug guides and they are awesome to use. One thing is they want to "walk" up the drill bit when using them, so you have to hold them in place. Other than that no issues at all and tonight was the easiest and best links I have ever made - right on center every time!
 

muppit

Well-Known Member
Mike - I made some links last night using the JeepinDoug guides and they are awesome to use. One thing is they want to "walk" up the drill bit when using them, so you have to hold them in place. Other than that no issues at all and tonight was the easiest and best links I have ever made - right on center every time!
try using duct tape or electrical tape when using the guide just tape it to the rod and the guide stays put
 

northerngames

Well-Known Member
1. great post

2. this should be stickied in general section for others with no interest in tuber's or "other" section wich this is a first time for me in this section.

3. I now see myself sticking links in my new benchtop drill press while pulling on it using a buffing towel with mothers polish ;)

4. where I can buy these Jeepin Doug on rccrawler dril guide's I was going to grab some a few months back and I could find them but I no can and after a set.
 

DiggerXX

Well-Known Member
Nice thread! I need some longer links for my wheely king and making them myself seems to be the best option!

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