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Old 08-15-2018, 09:36 AM   #1
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Default OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Having a backyard course is great. My closest crawl spot is about 30 minutes away, and while that's not far, packing up all my gear and hauling it over there when you have 2 small kids isn't always feasible. This way, I can run out back, drop the tailgate on my truck as a workbench, and play/wrench away while the kids frolic in the pool.

This is actually V3 of my course... The first version was somewhat small and behind my garage. V2 was a long and narrow course that I ran across the backyard to cover up the stumps of 20 arborvitae trees I had taken down. Being that it bisected the yard and was a major pain in the rectum to mow around, as well as being a bit of an eyesore if I didn't keep up with it, I decided to move the whole thing back to behind my garage. My yard is flat and grassy - no natural terrain here like some of the cooler courses I see in various posts (Wicked Wolf's for example) so I have to make my own terrain.

The course is bordered with old deck lumber that I had laying around from a deck I took down. Makes it much easier to mow around, as well as holds in all the stone. The rocks I picked up from construction sites, and some of them are pretty large. I remember my old '89 F150 was down on the axle bump stops a couple of times when hauling them home - probably not good. But it made it! I used an old pool cover tarp as a weed barrier, and there's 2 small dump truck loads of gravel as filler. I would have used dirt, but the gravel makes pulling weeds and what not much easier, as well as drains out much better. The only thing I paid for was the gravel, everything else is made from whatever I have laying around.

So, it's not pretty per-se, but it is functional. The 2 previous setups were mostly piling some rock around to make some interesting lines, and I called it good. I went a little more scientific this time. I wanted something consistent where I could test out rigs to see how changes affected their abilities. So I've been keeping in mind having spots where I can test climbing/descending ability, sidehilling, raw grip in various conditions, etc.

So after all that rambling, let's have some pics. It's hard to get scale in pics, but I have about 30 inches of elevation in the rock garden. Not great, but enough to make things interesting. I built some ramps using leftover wood from various projects - some PT, some not. Should make for some interesting weathering as the wood ages. Do plan on a few bridges and a few more obstacles using the old TTC shows as inspiration.

Here's the old course - what's left of it. I had lots of pics on PB, but of course, those are long gone. I moved it all by hand - rocks, gravel and all, and removed all the stumps. Been slowly chipping away at it all summer. as it was ball busting work.


Overview of it now. Much more square with 2 main raised paths that will be connected by bridges. It's not exactly pretty being behind my garage with all my junk, but it's what I got.


Test ramps are done. 3 ramps at 45, 50 and 55 degrees (more or less.) I used my SCX10v2 as a test rig as it's my most capable 1.9 - figured if it can make it, it sets the bar for my other rigs. It is all designed with enough width to accommodate my 2.2 rigs as well. Ignore the trailer and run down garage in the background...lol.


45 degree ramp is no problem for the SCX10. I tested it with my most lowly CC01 and it was able to make it as well.


The top platform is a turning circle test, trucks have to cross over the platform without reversing. My SCX10 can just make it from ramp to ramp, which has kinda set the benchmark for other rigs. Here, it just made the turn and is coming down the 50 degree ramp. I put some "obstacles" made with some 2x4's up to to make it more interesting, though I can move them around. Might move them to the middle as it makes coming down the ramp a bit tricky.


Descending the 55 degree ramp... it's endo city if you're not paying attention.


SCX10 can't make the climb on the 55 degree ramp...lack of traction on the wood I reckon. Even with a running start, it stalls about 1/2 way up. Gives me something to shoot for.


Crossing from ramp to ramp is tricky, especially over the obstacles. Takes a bit of finesse...note the flipped truck, lol. I changed the initial ramp build after a few test runs, and pretty happy with it now. It's more challenging than it looks, but not impossible by any means. At least for my SCX10. We'll see with other trucks.


Ramps are spaced so I can go between them as well if I don't feel like going over. Not sure what to put under there yet.


Coming off the ramps, there are 2 lines to enter the rock area. The SCX is on the "easy path" though there is a tougher path to the left over the parking block. Very easy to high center on that one. Still building from here on, more pics to follow.


I know, I know, plywood is not a great test of grip and what not. I agree, so I used some textured bedliner to give it about the same grip level as rock. Jato had a great idea about using roofing shingles for grip - that might be a bit too grippy, though I'm keeping it in mind. In any case, I'll paint up the rest later for protection as well as looks. I'm not going for anything scale per-se, but it looks like a whole lot of Home Depot going on here.



I have to say, building a course is almost as much fun as building a truck. There's a fine line between too easy and too hard. Getting things just right can be tricky. This has been a fun project so far, and should be even more so now that the hard work of moving the materials is over. Time to get creative.

Next is a bridge of sorts off the platform next to the 50d ramp, then onto the
main bridges and the rest of the obstacles. Kids start school in 12 days, so should have plenty of time to work on it shortly. I'd like to have it complete by winter.
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

I like it. Another idea for the ramps may be to make them wide enough to have different "lanes". Have a smooth lane and a rougher lane. For the rougher lane you can just cut some kerfs into it. Once you slap the truck bed liner over it, it should simulate the unevenness of rock, but in a nice consistent way all the way up, assuming your kerfs are even.
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Very cool. I wish I had room to do that. The course will be ever evolving I'm sure.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

The ramps look wide enough for wraith axles, have you tried the 1/6 Dodge on it?
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Not yet... should fit width-wise. Course is not much of a challenge for that big beast
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Old 08-15-2018, 10:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Technically, it's a vid of a tire test, but you can see the course in action. Such as it is right now...



Love the "slide job" in the second shot... Where's Dale Jr. When you need him?

Last edited by OSRC; 08-15-2018 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

While I'm jealous of your crawler course (I live in an apartment, so don't have any yard at all!) - I wanted to say that I like that blue Dodge truck - total Pre-runner style!
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Old 08-16-2018, 07:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Thanks - it's nothing fancy. SCX10v2 with SSD axles. There's a thread on it somewhere.
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Old 08-16-2018, 07:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

OSRC, great video on the tire test, it really shows how much fun the course is. Oh, and thanks for NOT adding music to the video. I can't tell you how many crawler videos I click on only to find they have terrible music for no reason. I love the simplicity of listening to the motor and all of the other soothing sounds that come with a good crawl.
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Old 08-16-2018, 09:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Your course looks like a lot of fun! Have your kids tried your course with their Tonka trucks yet?
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Quote:
Originally Posted by TIME MACHINE View Post
OSRC, great video on the tire test, it really shows how much fun the course is. Oh, and thanks for NOT adding music to the video. I can't tell you how many crawler videos I click on only to find they have terrible music for no reason.
I'm done with music. You never know what's going to be taken out anymore. Some of my older ones have music to "set the mood," but I haven't bothered with it lately. Then again, I don't do video much, it's kind of a PITA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJohn View Post
Your course looks like a lot of fun! Have your kids tried your course with their Tonka trucks yet?
Thanks! Just getting started - lots more to do yet. They have not, my girls have very little interest in RC, trucks, trains, Transformers, or anything that daddy likes.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

I dig the long/narrow layout. I've got somewhere North of 12 cubic yards of boulders crammed into ~300 square feet in my side yard. While that gives me tons of lines to run, it'd be tough to layout a marked run for a group to follow/compete on.

As it has filled in, I have had to really think about layout and difficulty, otherwise I'd soon end up with only 2.2" lines, which is not nearly as fun for most of the people who use our course. A "creek bed" meandering through the course acts as a "service road" to let scale crawlers bypass the nasty stuff while still being entertaining.

Other than a 2' high x 4' long rope bridge, I haven't kept any man-made obstacles, but I'm nearing capacity for rocks, so I'm starting to consider some more wooden obstacles (teeter-totter, arched bridge, planked climb to a shelf, etc) and your course has given me some food for thought.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Awesome course!!! I have been looking for threads like these, I am in the middle of building my own course and looking for ideas of what to add to it. My course started out with a chunk of sled track I found in the woods and an old playset that was at the house when I bought it...

Course by Scott O, on Flickr

Course by Scott O, on Flickr

I also have a bit of a rock garden, and I just put in another platform that is bridged to the one shown, that one has an elevator on it.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Love the sled track! Great idea

My first 2 were "all natural" so to speak, and they were fun, but not particularly challenging. It's very hard to replicate nature and the cool lines you find while out on the trail. Not sure why I never thought of building stuff...it's not natural, but it's a good way to get some elevation and some more challenging lines than just pilling up rocks.

Watch a few of the old TTC videos on Youtube. I've got the Rubicon and the climbs as best as I can. Already thinking of a 1/10 frame twister...Got a lot of old 2x4's laying around. Maybe a teeter bridge, not sure yet.
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Old 08-21-2018, 07:07 AM   #15
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Got a bit of work done yesterday. Much of the day was spent returning the old course back to grass, but I did have time to dink around a bit working on the course.

I moved the "obstacles" to the middle of the platform at the top of the ramps. Just made for a better line this way. My OG SCX10 got to play on the course today for testing purposes. Still need to do some painting - weather has been wet and humid seems like since forever.



After a few rain storms (ok, 10" worth over the past 3 weeks") the stone is setting in nicely. The gravel and dirt mix is settling in and helping to bed the rocks. More of the lines in the rock area are starting to come together now.


Started on the 4th ramp - the Diagonal Frame Twister. It's a bit narrower than the others, and set at about 45 degrees. It's hard, but doable. Will be a bit better I think once I get some texture on it.


The Chicane...very narrow though the center. Really have to pay attention to wheel placement. The blocks will throw the truck off to the side


SCX10 made it through, both up and down, but I really had to work at it. Will need to fine tune the angle and the height of the blocks before painting. I was going to make it a multi-angle ramp, but anything more than 45 proved impossible. We'll see once it's textured up.


First truck up the 55d ramp...SCX10II with excellent broken in Pitbulls couldn't do it, no matter how hard I hit it. V1 with Falkens and stock soft foams eventually got there. Huh.... Though I only got there once, couldn't get it to go it again.


Next I need to tackle the bridges so I can make a full circuit of the course.
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Old 08-21-2018, 07:14 AM   #16
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

The only problem I have with fixed courses is that once I run them a few times I grow tired of them. Iím always on the lookout for local spots to hit. Thereís a dentist office and a new medical facility with nice after hours rock gardens thatís fun for an hour. Plus a clean parking lot for the road car.
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Old 08-22-2018, 06:45 AM   #17
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Very true. Running the same lines can get old.

Goal of my course is to have a place right outside to test out builds and make changes - it is in no way going to replace trail runs. Just can't beat mother nature!
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Old 08-23-2018, 06:41 AM   #18
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Got bridge #1 made yesterday. Didn't really plan anything, just started cutting up some scrap lumber and hoping for the best. Came out pretty decent for completely winging it.




Heard a growling sound while I was setting the bridge - apparently I have a groundhog under my shed. I had no idea they could growl....Have to keep an eye out, those things can be nasty.


Threw on a little paint while I was out there. Makes a world of difference!

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Old 08-23-2018, 07:20 AM   #19
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

It's looking really good. I need to build something like this in my backyard. It's getting harder to find the time to travel an hour or so to take the trucks out crawling. Having something like this would give me a place to test and tune and keep the dust off my rigs.

Keep on sharing the pics! And thanks for sharing your ideas.
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:25 AM   #20
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Default Re: OS's Backyard Crawler Playground

Your simple course is getting complex. I like it.
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