After spending nearly eight hours building this rig and another couple painting and trimming the body it’s finally time to take her for a spin. We originally meant to take our project truck out on the rocks to do what it was intended for, however a large snow/ice storm hit our area a few days before it’s maiden voyage so we were limited to testing it in those conditions. Fear not! We were still able to break something.
Part 4: Performance and Durability Testing
We were really bummed that we couldn’t get Project Scorpion on a nice big mountain of dry rock. However in the end we found that the icy terrain proved to be more than sufficient to show what the Axial could do. We tried throwing everything at the AX10 to see what we could and couldn’t break and at the end of the day only one part was proven to be a weak link.
If you’ve been around the R/C rock crawling world for any amount of time I’m sure you’ve already heard that the Axial’s driveshaft is it’s weak link. We did too. To be honest we always thought it must have been driver error, but after just one battery pack we found ourselves in the same situation other enthusiasts have many times before….our drive shaft broke. We had heard that a common problem with the AX10’s driveshaft is that the yokes would pop out of the drive shaft, but in our case one of the little ears on the driveshaft split. I’m sure you’re thinking we did something stupid to blow the drive shaft like that but in reality is was just a matter of a lot of torque, and a wheel that got slightly hung up. I was personally very surprised at how easily that thing broke. A common solution, and the one we chose to go with, was to swap in a set of Traxxas Stampede half shafts. The Stampede’s half shafts are slightly shorter but are a direct fit with the Axial. After numerous successive battery packs we have yet to break these.
As for the durability of the rest of the AX10 Scorpion we have yet to find another weak link. During testing we did “lose” the driveshafts a few times but it was merely due to our stupidity; we forgot to put threadlock on the set screws.
In the past we have had the chance to drive a few other home made rock crawlers that performed well but weren’t anything to write home about. The Axial on the other hand is awesome! We were shocked at how well it performed out of the box and even more happy after performing a few tweaks. Even using the stock battery location it was found to have a very low center of gravity and it took getting the truck nearly vertical for it to roll backwards. Like all live axle trucks the Axial does exhibit a good amount of torque roll. We found that by adding a shock spacer to the left rear shock it was reduced but it’s unlikely you’ll ever get rid of it completely. The Axial is very well balanced, actually too well balanced for rock crawling which works best with a front weight bias. All in all we were very happy with our purchase and plan to keep you up to date on future mods and breakages as they happen.
As for the electronics, they performed flawlessly. We originally mounted the antenna inside the truck zip tied to the chassis. However the reception with that setup was so bad that we went back to using the stock antenna mount. As you can see from the photos we ran the Scorpion through ice and snow and thanks to our waterproof ESC (and balloon wrapped receiver) we didn’t have one hiccup. Even the cheap plastic geared servo that came with our radio system has held up fine…without a servo saver!!! The Integy 45t Lathe motor has proven to be more than powerful enough for our needs. There wasn’t one time throughout our testing that it stalled. I really can’t see why anyone would need anything more powerful, though a higher turn motor may be smoother at lower throttle settings.
Here is what our driveshaft looked like after it grenaded. As you can see one of the ears split straight down the middle.
Here is Project Scorpion transversing a slight incline on a complete sheet of ice. We were stunned at how well it climbed even on the most slippery of surfaces.
Yes, even the Axial can get stuck if the snow is soft enough…LOL
The Axial was very well balanced and could go nearly vertical without rolling over backwards.
The obligatory articulation shot
Another articulation shot
We ran the Scorpion over everything we could find. From ice and snow, to branches, logs, tree stumps, and even rocks. (go figure) On the night of assembly we even built a big stack of boxes in our workshop to see what it could do. It climbs very well.
Is this the end? Not by a long shot. Even though the Axial Scorpion performed well out of the box we noticed that a few cheap mods greatly improved its performance. In the coming weeks/months/years/millenia we plan to keep you up to date on those mods and anything else that breaks along the way. Thanks for following along on the build.