Be sure to read through the PDF in the thing files list.
Update: I have made an attempt and making this slightly easier to make. v2 files include a new antenna hole that will accommodate the stock antenna so now there is no need to solder that surface mount connector. You will have to dremel it out of the original x7 case to keep the wire intact though. Also, I have improved the ergonomics of the grip (using another design by Hjalte Nerdrum, listed now in the sources) and back with updated fastener tabs and holes as well as improved the front panel to fix a few annoyances I had.
Slight update: The back part now allows for both trim rocker switches to be installed and the top now has slight beefier tabs to accommodate screws from the back.
I got tired of super expensive commercial surface receivers for my RC cars. At the same time, they only offer typically 4 or less channels. That was all fine and good for the standard RC car, but crawling rigs and semi-trucks often have additional features that could benefit from having additional channels.
I love my Taranis for quads and other aircraft but I never quite got the hang of driving with sticks.
Soooo, I bought a new Taranis X7, tore it apart, printed a new shell, and I can now present the Taranis Pistola!
This allows for up to 8 normal channels of control, plus you can link receivers together to get 32 (I think, I've never done it). You also get all the flexbility of the Taranis ecosystem like OpenTX, which allows you to mix and twist the controller to do just about anything you need.
Receivers are typically less than $30, with some 8 channel receivers in the low $20's.
As for the design, I used a wheel and trigger cluster from a standard Traxxas remote, mostly because they are available cheap (or free if you or a friend has an unused unit lying around). You need to clip a plug from the Taranis and solder it to the potentiometer leads from the Traxxas cluster. I made a design decision to omit the other two proportional controls (the right stick) and two of the trim rockers (although one is located on the back of the remote as you need it to enter USB mode). I used a standard LiFE battery that is commercially available for $10. All pcb's are retained from the original radio. The antenna comes soldered directly to a pcb, so I desoldered and added a Ufl./IPX connector to the board (there are pads for this purpose) or you could order an SMA to bare wire and solder directly to the board. I didn't want to re-use the stock antenna because I wanted some flexibility in antenna choice.
If you can solder (or learn) this is decently straightforward. I posted a lengthy PDF with instructions that should get you most of the way if not all the way there. Start to finish this is about $120 + filament, which is pretty cheap for an 8 channel surface radio, especially since one does not exist commercially!
Feedback is appreciated!
I printed the front face up with support, some printers will need a raft. The back I printed backside down, no supports. The grip needs no supports, I printed it standing up. The top I printed at a weird angle, back down with supports. I should have all stl's in the correct orientation for printing, but please double check.