Turtle Shell Racer High Power Edition

by Skimbal Aug 5, 2011
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How do you print the Shell Tops? Every slice gives me a horizontal gap. I tried rotating the image. I've tried Cure, 3DPrinterOS, and AstroPrint. They are all giving me the same failure. I also tried downloading the low power model, but it's doing the same thing.

Here's a screenshot of what I'm getting.

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they recommend me some car of the brand maisto

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Do I really need to buy the cheap RC car to get the front steering wheel ? Anyone be able to design and print it ? Or anyone has a link where I can buy it ? I could not find the car mentioned in this project.

Any way "printed" or "molded" tires would work?

Or this


RC car tire
by meez
OPENRC F1 Rain Tires 1
by Palmiga

they recommend me some car of the brand maisto

This looks like an awesome project to get started on Printable R/C things. Is there an easy way to fill in the holes for the spikes? I want mine to look like a more standard shell.

I'm looking at re-doing this again (previous recipient managed to misplace it...sad face)...

Has anybody built one recently? Many of the parts don't appear to be available anymore.

The BaneBots motor controller appears to be discontinued:


Does anybody know of any alternative

The RC remote/controller is on backorder:


As is the micro-servo:


Even the DC motor suggested is not available:


Does anybody have suggested alternatives?

they recommend me some car of the brand maisto

If you still need a list of parts I can get you one. I am in the process of printing this myself and have one almost complete.

Yes, please!

Definitely keen to take another shot at this myself =).

Good luck with your build! What colour is yours?

I got most of my parts off of Amazon and Ebay.

The Rx/Tx (Andoer 2.4G FS-GT2) :

Battery (Digital Energy 7.2V/2000mAh):

Charger (Tenergy Smart Charger for 8.4V-9.6V):

ESC (320A Brushed Speed Controller ESC) (This one is a little bit overkill but it works):

Servo (SG9 Mini Gear Micro 9g Servo):

Motor (Atomik Venom 1320 Fireball Micro 370P):

I am building these for my niece and nephew for a Christmas gift. I am making one blue one and one red one. However I don't think I am putting the wings on the blue one. I can see that as being something they would fight over with one having wings and one not. Plus the wings a slightly to big to be printed as is on my Robox. (100mm limit in height, wings measure 104mm).

I hope the list helps you, and good luck with your build as well.

they recommend me some car of the brand maisto

its kinda of funny ive been to alot of garage sales recently and like 10 out of 15 had new bright rc cars so i bought them all who knew i would be able to do this print because i bought those

I now although found a used one at ebay. :)

Hi Michael,

I love the idea of your turtle shell racer but I have some small problems to get started.
Is every new bright #2424 rc suitable or could you provide the dimensions of the parts needed? I have some old rc cars here and may I can use those tires and print the steering parts. Unfortunately we have no walmart in germany and the shipping costs are 3 times the cost of the RAM...

Best regards,

my dad (Sgraber) has printed one of these over a year ago (1 year to be exact) and still hasn't finished the interior. :/ Lol

All of the pieces print without the need of support. Two pieces of the files, the back shell, do not print properly. You will see it fail half way and those two stl files need to be repaired. Everything else works perfect.

I remember seeing this in a nintendo power a long time ago when I was new to 3D printing then i found it here and i died

when i load the wings up on the up mini 3d printing software the left wing comes up red and when it prints just comes out as spaghetti but the right one is fine. i can do auto fix to remove the red but then when i try to 3d print the application just crashes

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. Can I do this with a printrbot simple metal?

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Is there any alternative ESC/DC motor controller to be used?
The one from trossenrobotics can't be found and I dare say I lack the tecnical expertise to buy something else hoping it will work.

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Engadget has actual offices?? LOL I just thought they were five fanboy bloggers who hang out in coffee shops and re-post stuff they read while hanging out...

Is this from Mario Kart?

When I try printing the "shell top" stl, i guess my slicer is doing something wrong. It creates new structures coming off of the shell and is then missing a bunch of layers. I am not sure why this is happening, can anyone guess?

I am using a makerbot 2x and using the latest makerware if that helps.

These design files are several years old and optimized for a different slicing tool that is no longer in use. You will need to fix the file using an stl repair tool. Google a tool called Netfabb. There is a free addition that works fairly well for this kind of thing.

Where would you get an RC car that you can extract parts from? I literally do not know.

The car used is a cheep rc car sold under the 'New Bright' brand at Target and Walmart. New Bright sells a variety of cars, but they are all build on three primary chassis: small, medium and large. Something in the medium size range should work.

I've got it going pretty good now. I haven't finished assembling a full car yet, just got the rest of the components. I have printed out 6 of them though! All different color schemes plus a couple combos of my own. I seem to have the most trouble with the bottom shell parts and having them stay flat to the table but I keep trying. Some lift so bad I don't think I can use them. Tried lots of things and I think I have a pretty reliable technique now. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for producing this for the community and kudos for the most fun thing here on Thingiverse. I will post pics of my makes once I get one fully assembled. I do have one question: I think someone asked if there was a shell top done without spikes. I've looked but I haven't seen one. Do you think you will do one? I have no skill in the arts department or I would try. Thanks again!

Gear2.stl has 2 parts but when loaded I see the small part is gray and after slicing only the large gear is printing. Anyone have a solution?

This project is predates Makeware/Slicer and may need some TLC for Makerware and Slice to read. Try feeding the file through the Netfabb repair tool, http://cloud.netfabb.com/http://cloud.netfabb.com/

shell front b will not print using makerware ? comes up grey and its like the program can't see it ???? any help i have 90% of the project printed and this is a major part

I'm trying to assemble the gearbox but my skate bearings don't seem to fit very tightly into the gears (they can easilly slide straight through the hole). I have tried printing a few different copies but they all turn out the same. I could try to glue them but I'm worried the glue might get into the bearing and lock everything up. I also thought about scaling the gears but if I do that I don't know if they would mesh correctly. Anyone have any suggestions?

I'm running into the sam issues with gears locking up. Glueing the bearin in is fine. I'm playing with printing the gears at different sizes to see if it helps.

FYI to anyone trying to build this
… Car #2424 is discontinued and I couldn't find one anywhere. #1680 is pretty much the same car with some body differences and is available at Target for about $20. I just took one apart and the steering linkage does appear to be identical. Will have to try printing the parts and assembling it
to know for sure.

i found one on amazon today !

So it turns out 1680 is very slightly different and won't work as-is. I posted a derivative that explains how to make it work.


Turtle Shell Racer High Power (NewBright #1680)
by PxT

Good to know, I had sourced a 2424 back in december awaiting my printer just for this project.


Hmm, I have the model and all the other parts, but I'm still missing the Bane Bots ESC 3-9.

Banebots is out of stock, and has been for weeks =(, nobody else online has it either.

Anybody know of any other sources? Or any alternatives?


I agree, stuck at the same spot you are. I thing I've sourced out a part at a local hobby / RC store, I'd recommend the same. This guy recommended I put it together, then he'd find a motor controller to match the bane bots one...

Good luck

i hav quite a big problem i cant download any pdf file

I am having issues printing the shell backs, the support tower keeps falling over at ~1" or so. Not sure if turing up the heat on my platform will help or what. Any pointers would be appreciated.

I just printed the 4 backs, I don't remember any issues, but then again I don't remember what I had for lunch. I think my 1st one might have messed up, but them I used a raft. I did't use any support.

I may just use a raft as that would fix the issue I am having. I also edited the sketchup file for one side of the back and added half moons ot the rear support that keeps falling over. This should give it some more grip based on past experiance.

how much did the parts all together cost :-$ :-$ :-$ :-$ :-$ :-$ :-$ :-$ :-$

Where do you even get the parts

Just got the botmobile kit from MB. Does anyone know if the kit is compatible with this?

Don't think the motor is powerful enough to drive this behemoth

Just a note, neither of the steering linkages are included in the SKP file.

Just started printing this out, have all the parts and the back 2 parts of the bottom of the shell.

1) Do I have to use support for the front bottom pieces of the shell? if so, exterior or full?

2) What about the top pieces, they sure look like they need support.

Thanks for the help, and BRAVO on this design, it's amazing


Has anybody had any luck getting a place to print this for them?

I'm in Sydney, Australia, and don't have access to a Makerbot, RepRap, Up! or similar.

I've contacted a few 3D printing places, and the quotes I've been getting for printing this out range from $2000 to $4800...lol. Even Ponoko was
getting to be a couple grand (and I hadn't added all the parts).

Has anybody actually had this printed out, and if so, how much did it cost, and where did you go? I'm happy to order from the US if it's cheaper, and if they're prepared to ship overseas.


It would be cool if you can add a wifi camera on board, so you can make a real Mario Kart race in a small neighbourhood street speed track. You can race from you own homes and race against your neighbour friends. Maybe a new social thing in you block!

I'm not sure if anyone is still browsing through this idea and has made or is making the shell, but I am having a bit of trouble when it comes to processing 2 of the stl's in the printer program. I believe the 2 that I am having trouble with are the real axle brackets and new steering link. If you have any answers that may help me, PLEASE comment. I am very new at this whole 3D printing thing. :)

Just found the new bright 2424 at kmart. Happy hunting.

I tried finding the New Bright car No 2424 that posted to use but it seems they discontinued that and the closet one I could find is the New Bright No 1680, is that an alright substitute or would it change the instructions too much?

Honestly, I don't know. I have been hearing more and more that these cars are becoming hard to find. I am working with people here at MakerBot on a modified version of the Turtle Shell Racer that will use easier to source parts. It should be ready at the beginning of November.

I am just a random kid i don't know how to make it so can you trie to get a patent and sell this so i can buy one :'( . i just got my 2nd nintendo power yesterday and there was a article in it about your turtle shells. i was thinking about all the ways i could make it but i couldn't find an R/C car except my little one inch car so i wish you could do this so i could turtle shell my brother and sister.I'm the biggest mario fan ever!:)

LOVE it :D I'm pleased with the appearance even with translucent PLA + spray paint. (Anyone considering spray paint should consider that the porosity of the object does increase drying times, mine has a bit of a smell after a few days)

I tried printing the Gear 1 and 2 combined but the Gear 1 always comes out as just a shell. Any thoughts on this? Skeinforge 35, zero shells and 100% fill and 2 shells 50% fill come our similiar. I was wondering if it was because I have perimeter, loops then fill as the default.

The gears have some geometry problems that skeinforge doesn't like. So I split them up and repaired them. Give these a try: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11582http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Turtle Shell Racer Gears - Fixed
by tbuser

Great! I'll have a look at that later. I also had the gear_1 rendered by itself which worked well. By the way I drilled out the two holes that hold each wheel in place on the front suspension with a 4.5mm bit. This made the wheels turn easier. I still have a problem with the steering linkage not moving correctly but perhaps it just needs an adjustment.

I just tested the chassis out last night and the motor got so hot after 5 minutes that it stopped working because it softened the PLA pinion gear and motor mounting surface. :( How are you combatting motor heat?

I know this is an old post, but if you can try different gearing on your motor it might make a difference. If your motor is heating up that means it's working too hard - gearing or surface type (think carpet vs hard surface) can contribute to that heat. Also, make sure nothing is retarding the wheels or gearing mechanism as that will certainly cause the motor to heat up. If you can reduce the friction or impedance of the drive train you will also get longer battery life.

One thing I've noticed is that some of the holes (used with filament pieces to hold the parts in place) don't line up properly on Shell Top A and B with the shell bottoms.

Same here. Don't use all the holes. Just the ones that work.

Any chance you could make a shell with no spike/wing plugs? For unadorned shells. And perhaps a smooth shell (no lines) for the black one? I've looked at the sketup and deleteing the faces and trying to recreate the curve of the shell isn't a trivial task. What plugins did you use with sketup to create the top and bottom shell? As SU doesn't seem to to domes very well natively.

printing this out dont have blue abs does spray painted plastic look good

Yep :) (see my picture above somewhere) I used cheap car spray paint on PLA, but should be the same for ABS.

is it possible to use the gearmotor from my old extruder if i tear the gearbox off of it? its the original DC kysan extruder motor.

I might take a stab at designing a set of steering mechanics for this that are printable as well (as well as some front wheels). Combine with a cheap tx/rx from hobbyking, and some tires for a couple bucks, throw in a small hobby rc motor and speed controller, and you've got a nice setup (and fully DIY instead of stealing bits from the other car). Mind you in the end, cannibalizing the other car will be cheaper than the hobbyking route lol... But would be neat to have options. Has anyone else already tried this? don't want to re-invent the wheel (pun intended lol)

So im confused...what equipment do we need to control this? And where can i get the motor

That's what I'm waiting on is the electronics portion of this build. I have the project half printed already and I'd like to know what I need to get this thing running. My two boys are extremely excited over this build. 8-)

Please correct me if I'm wrong. But I believe he is using a hobby grade 2 channel remote and receiver along with an electronic speed controller. One mini servo, And any 12v motor of about the right size.

Generic picture.

The Electronics Supplement is now Online. I hope this answers any questions.

Now there's a frood who knows where his towel is...

What a difficult website Hobby King has. But I did order everything from their international site as the US site didn't have mych. Several items were backordered so I ordered the 3 channel HK300 and their own Hobby King power supply for the Lipo battery. I ordered the alltronics motors ($20 minimum) as I wasn't sure the Hobby King ones would fit.

There's a ton of other hobby shops that carry everything on your list. Tower Hobbies, and A-Main Hobbies are two of my go to sites for RC related stuff. Fairly reasonable prices and decent shipping rates. Also, you should probably spec the motor out a bit. Obviously a 250ma toy DC motor probably won't cut it, but using a 5A motor controller on a huge motor might be overkill too. Some guidance on the parameters that make sense for the weight and size of this project might be helpful. Great project, thanks for sharing!

Ugh don't do what I did, I wanted to order everything from one place so I got everything at hobbyking except the motor which was out of stock at the time... I didn't know my cheap 2 wire motor wasn't compatible with that fancy ESC that has 3 wires for the motor. :( Now I have to either wait another month for Hobbyking to ship me a motor or get the brushed motor ESC.

This looks great. Are there CAD files available for the parts? I'm interested in building this with a different RP method, and I'm having trouble removing the supports without corrupting the STL file. I'd also rather use a tighter triangle tolerance.

The whole thing was designed in sketchup. All the parts are in the attached .skp file and you can modify them in sketchup.

Dude... this is awesome!

Congratulations on getting a job at Makerbot Industries, Michael:)

I have been a fan of your work for a long time, and you really deserve this.

Keep it up;)

I kind of got inspired by your project, and made something else from super mario bros. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10572http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... 8-)

I love it... If I eat it, will I get bigger?

like your mushroom ;)

i switched my automated build platform to a heated aluminum one like yours now my z stage falls off of my threaded stepper motor because the stage is too low what do i do

Move the motor flange to the top of the Z stage instead of the bottom and your problem should be fixed.

So did you use the support setting in skeinforge or do these parts print supportless?

nm 45 degree overhangs everwhere...

So after a trip to walmart they are sold out of that particular truck. Can you use the 12.97 vw bug instead? Is the undercarrage the same just with different snap on bodies?

I ended up buying the #2490 truck instead of the one listed in the PDF. From everything I can see the undercarriage is the same. It's just the shell that's different. So far I have the gears printed and tonight I'm working on the shell portions. :)

Could be that any of their 1:24th trucks will work. I was able to find a supply of the #2424 which is the truck used in the instructs. I went to the Mart of Walton with a printed wheel hub in case I had to get a different model and I wanted the wheel size to be right.

You could go the same route as I am and use four gear motors and mecanum wheels. It is only going to take two small adapters for the rear and a simple front housing to bolt on. (then your shells can spin and go sideways)

Arduino with wifi shield and ladyada motorshield.

I honestly don't know. Next time I stop by a wallmart I will take a look and see it the undercarriage is the same

I found one. Yay!

All I want to do is put one of my hobby grade rc cars electronics into the design but I would need to get shapeways to print metal gears because the motor is too powerful for the plastic gears.

Why not just use a chassis from an existing rc truck and use the shell as a body? I think that would be the best and easiest.

Try it! What the worst that could happen? The gears break? Then print some more...

I just want to say thank you for creating such a great project...it's stuff like this that makes me happy to have a 3D printer. Such a fun concept and excellent build instructions.

My only problem is that I'm away for the weekend and have to wait until tomorrow to start printing!

hi I love this idea. I've looked at the instructions but i couldn't find where the remote and receiver,the motor controller and the battery goes in the shell . ( when i say the instructions i mean the ,very well built, build instructions with pics of how to build.)

The Electronics supplement to the instructions will be finished shortly. It will show how to wire the RC Remote, motor, battery ect

thanks :) :) :)

Thanks, I was wondering the same thing. Also, do you think you could provide a link or place to look for the electronic parts? Don't always have time to go looking for the best price on these electronics. (And I want to know which ones you used :) ).

I notice they have turning issues in the video caused by the solid back axle. If you make one of the rear wheels free wheel by adding bearings you will have a one wheel drive but great steering. This is common on dune buggies and go carts.

Or just, you know... while you're printing most of a car, go ahead and print a differential too...


Not to be pedantic but green shells have no spikes and black shells are smooth with no spikes...

Awsome job again though...

Maybe he has the shell without the spike location......please... ;)

Sorry... But the skechup files are there... 8-)

Does sketchup have a history function where we could go back to before the spikes were added? ( I'm a Linux user so don't have easy access to sketchup to check )

use wine; it works fine on my 1.6ghz netbook ;)

Can you upload a single spike? You said you need either 5 or 7, but you only uploaded a set of 4......which doesn't fit into 5 or 7 evenly, lol.

I have added a single spike.stl

sorry but could you also add a single wing to because I was building it and when it went to build the second wing it pulled of the first wing. :'(

Sorry, don't know why it posted more than once.... :-P

This is great. Printing one right now!

Just curious, why cant you use the original electronics from the RC Car? Has a motor, steering motor, plus Radio transmitter and receiver. Seems like it has more than half the stuff you need. Is it because this is a "High powered" version?

Good Comment,

The Low Power version of the Turtle Shell is now live:

The difference is that the RC Car turned out to be too cheep to carry the weight of the printed shell. You'll see in the Low Power instructions that that version is posted as a non-functional work in p
rogress. I'm hopeful that someone with circuit bending experience will be able to come up with a hack that increases the car's power and makes that shell functional.


Turtle Shell Racer – Low Power Edition
by Skimbal

Guess this:


Makes my question moot. lol. :-P

Turtle Shell Racer – Low Power Edition
by Skimbal

This is really, really great. It's a great build, and I'm really impressed that it has such a small number of 'vitamin' parts. Also, kudos on the PDF- really slick assembly instructions. You, sir, rock.

I shared it on google plus...

I agree! If I had a 3d printer I would build this!

This is on my priority for the first thing to build when I get a 3d printer

I can't like this enough!

I can't like this enough!

Same here! I felt that liking your like was the only way to like it more!

Same here! :)

Sweet zombie jebus... that is so cool!

I have seen it a couple of days ago on the planet, and I checked every day since on thingiverse when it will show up:)


Beautiful work and amazing instructions. Could you please provide all the parts in a zip file. Its kind of a pain to download them separately. :)

Good Though. I have added a zip file that has all the stl's and the instruction pdf inside it.

These were so to play with at Maker Faire Detroit! People interacted with them like they were real, they have such great little attitudes!

Another masterful design. Saw pics of these from the Makerfaire and hoped they would make their way to the Verse. Very nice! :)

This is a beautiful design, from the way the ABS colors stand out to that wonderful shape of the shell. I can't wait to have this as an alternate car other than my Traxxas Ford Fiesta Gymkhana which takes a beating at the hobby store race track. Now that I think of it, the ABS printed shell would be invincible against other cars bumping it :-D

Great work!