How To Build A Ramp For An RC Truck (For Under $30)


How To Build A Ramp For An RC Truck

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Avid RC Truck enthusiasts know that this hobby, like all others, can quickly become quite expensive. Therefore, anywhere you can save a few bucks is a huge plus. Buying a ramp for your RC Truck could easily run into the triple digits for even a basic ramp. One way to save at least a little bit of money is to build your own.

Can you build a ramp for an RC Truck for less than buying one? The cost of buying a ramp for your RC truck can run into the hundreds of dollars depending on the type of ramp you want, and the materials used. When you build your own, from basic supplies, you can build it to fit your personal needs and save quite a bit of money in the process.

Across the board, unless you need to purchase tools, you can easily beat the cost of most commercially available ramps made for RC trucks. In this article, we will guide you step by step through building your own ramp for your RC truck made to your own specifications and needs. Ready to get started?

Why Build Your Own RC Truck Ramp

There are some huge advantages to building your own ramp. Here are just a few of our favorite advantages.

Cheap

Ok, we already mentioned this, but it is definitely worth repeating. We all know that RC’ing can be an expensive hobby. especially if you buy everything ready-made. The cost goes up when you decide to explore beyond the flat ground in your back yard or the small rock pile at your local park. Building your own ramp can save you a ton of money over buying one.

Design

Our favorite benefit of building your very own ramp is that you get to design your ramp how you want. There are plenty of options available, including size, complexity, and even materials that you can use. The possibilities are truly endless if you have only the most basic skills.

Size

Depending on your space and skill, you can build a ramp the size that you want. You are not limited to the various skateboard ramps or a ramp of a  basic length. You can make a ramp that you can adjust depending on what your unique needs are, or choose to make one to load your RC, one to jump it or both!

Speaking of size…

What Size Ramp Should You Build for an RC Truck?

The ultimate size of your ramp will be determined by what you want to achieve with your jump. In general, jumping ramps are built for height or distance. Each has its unique attributes.

The Height of the Jump

If you want to use your ramp to reach maximum height with your RC truck, the general rule of thumb will be to have a ramp built at around a 45-degree angle. Much steeper and you will fail to maintain enough velocity to reach a high jump altitude.

The Distance of the Jump

For distance, you will want to reduce the angle of your ramp to between 20 and 30 degrees and lengthen the ramp appropriately. This degree range will help your RC to keep the highest velocity to reach the farthest distance possible with your jump. 

No matter which angle you choose, or how you decide to use your ramp, you will want to make sure that you do everything you can to protect your RC vehicle when it lands. The best option is to always land on grass or other soft surface. Some RC jumpers use leaves or sand to help soften the landing. All of these options will help you to reduce any potential damage to your RC.

The Size of the Truck

Of course, you’ll also have to consider the size of your vehicle when creating your own ramp. If you’re dealing with a 1:8 scale truck, you’ll need something bigger than if you’re running a 1:28 size truck, for instance. The basic rule of thumb is to make the width of your ramp 3 to 4 times the width of your RC truck.

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You certainly don’t want to make the ramp so small that you don’t have any wiggle room on either side for a mistake. It’s always better to be a little bigger than you need than it is to be too small and wreck your RC vehicle everytime you miss the jump. 

Try Out Some Ramps Before You Build

If you’re not sure how wide you want to build it, try out your buddies’ ramps, or check out the local skate park to get an idea of what size ramp you feel works best. Take along your measuring tape and get some quick numbers so you can go home and sketch your idea.

Supplies You Will Need to Make Your Own RC Truck Ramp

Making an RC ramp only takes a few basic supplies. If you are lucky, you may already have some of them in your garage (or a friend’s garage if they are willing to part with them).

We are going to provide you with the supplies that you will need to make a basic, stationary ramp. We will also give you a few added supplies that you may want to add if you want to spice things up a bit. Remember, if your ramp will stay outside, then you will want to purchase treated wood, or you will need to seal or paint it to protect it.

  • 1 – 4×8 foot sheet of ½” or 3⁄4” plywood
  • 1 – ¼” plywood or thin paneling (needs to be slick, not seamed)
  • 2 – 2x4s; 8 foot lengths (or 1-16 foot 2×4)
  • Screws – flat top
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Pencil

Optional Supplies

  • Sandpaper
  • Gorilla Glue (or another industrial-strength adhesive)
  • Sand (or textured paint)
  • Paint or Stain

10 Steps to Building Your RC Truck Ramp: A Step By Step Guide

Now it is time to get started. Give yourself plenty of space to work. Wear protective eye covering and make sure that you measure twice and cut once to avoid making any mistakes. Most importantly, enjoy the project.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: protect your eyes, hands, and lungs when working with saws and wood.

  1. Decide on Your Design and Draw It – For a basic ramp, you can easily cut your thicker plywood at a diagonal. This will provide you with a ramp that is 4 feet high and 8 feet long, leaving you with a ramp length of just under 9 feet. If you want a bit more design, curve the ramp edge slightly, this will give you more lift and allow you to lose less speed as your RC Truck moves up the ramp.
  2. Cut Your Plywood – Once you have settled on your design, you will want to cut the thicker pieces of plywood. Cut slowly to make sure that your two halves are closely matched. This will provide you with a more even ramp.
  3. Cut Your 2x4s Into 2 Foot Lengths – You should end up with a total of 8 sections of 2x4s. In this design, the finished ramp will be just over 2 feet across. You can definitely increase the ramp width by increasing your 2×4 length and increasing the amount of paneling or thinner plywood you pick up.
  4. Frame Out Your Ramp – This step will be easier with a spare set of hands. Set up your ramp sides and attach your 2×4 cross boards at each of the three corners (two on the ramp and one on the base).
  5. Fill in With Remaining 2x4s – Space the 2x4s out along the ramp length and attach them with the screws, using two screws in each end to secure them. If you want more base stability, you can choose to add one of the 2x4s to the center of the base of the ramp.
  6. Cut Your Ramp Surface – We found the best way to cut the ramp surface to the appropriate length is to set it across the ramp frame and mark where it needs to be cut. This does mean that you are marking from the bottom unless you want to flip the ramp back and forth. Unless you have adjusted the design, you will need to place the paneling across the width of the ramp to have enough to cover the ramp length.
  7. Square and Secure the Ramp Surface – Screw the paneling into the plywood on each edge and the 2x4s across the width of the ramp. Depending on the width of your paneling pieces, you may need to place 3 or more screws to secure it to the frame.

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Note: If you want to stop here, you can. But keep going if you want to add the optional supplies to finish your ramp a bit.

8. Sand the Edges – To finish off your ramp, use sandpaper to sand the edges and the seams between the paneling. This will help to ensure that you will not get splinters when moving your ramp.

9. Paint Your Ramp – If you have purchased untreated wood, or just want to add a finishing touch to your ramp, paint all of the surfaces. This is extremely important on the bottom edge, where your ramp comes into contact with the ground. This is the area most prone to rot. This is especially true if you plan on leaving your ramp outside for any length of time.

10. Create Some Traction on the Ramp Surface – For extra traction, you can glue sandpaper strips or full pieces to the ramp surface; this will give your RC Truck some extra traction as it climbs the ramp with the added benefit of more protection to help the decking of your ramp last longer. 

You can also use textured paint or sprinkle some sand on the surface of your flat paint as it dries. This will add give the same effect: something for your tires to grip as your truck climbs the ramp.

Additional Options for Your RC Truck Ramp

We mentioned that the options are endless when building your own ramp, so we thought we would give you a few additional ideas that you may want to consider to amp up your ramp building or just add to your ramp collection if you choose.

Double Duty Ramp

For those times when you need a simple ramp that can be adjustable, with a few additional supplies, you can turn a standard ramp into a double-duty loading and jumping ramp.

You will need to purchase a piano hinge. These things are not super cheap, so check second-hand shops and look for some on broken furniture to save some money. You will also need to purchase a smaller hinge to fit a 2×4

  1. Attach two pieces of plywood together with the hinge.
  2. To the underneath side, you will attach a 2×4 with a hinge to one piece of plywood.
  3. On the other piece, use 2×4 slats for an adjustable height ramp.
  4. To secure the 2×4 to the opposite side, you can cut a groove into each piece of 2×4 to hook it in or add a slide bolt to lock it into place.

Viola, you have a ramp that is adjustable as a mountain or jumping ramp or can be laid out flat to use as a loader.

Mini Ramp

When all you want is a quick and easy ramp, you can use a smaller piece of plywood or scrap wood.

  1. Cut the wood in half and secure the pieces together with hinges (or a piano hinge if you can get one).
  2. On the underneath side, attach a small eye bolt to each side of the ramp on one side.
  3. On the other attach hooks.
  4. Attach a length of chain to the eye-bolts on one side.

When you want to use your ramp, simply attach the chain on each edge to the corresponding hook, and you have a mini ramp that is foldable for easy storage.

Going Overboard With Ramp Building

If you have some extra time and plenty of supplies, you can easily build several jumps and connect them together to get your own ramp obstacle course. Some ideas include:

  • Two ramps placed together with the small end can make a skateboard type ramp where you can run back and forth.
  • Two ramps with the higher ends facing and a bridge between them can make for a mountain climb ramp with a down ramp. This is a great way to get some extra speed if you want to get some height before taking on a big jump.

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Ramp Jumping When You Don’t Have Room For Your Own

We realize that not everyone has a huge yard or convenient lot that they can place an RC ramp. While all of the options above can be moved to any location desired, that may not be an option either. So how can you jump your RC?

  • Think Outside the Box – There are ready-made ramps in plenty of places that you can use to step up the fun with your RC. Think of ramps that already exist. Some options include;
    • Skate parks – Some skate parks are open to RC jumpers to use in off times or when they are closed to skaters. We suggest that you avoid using them when there are skaters present to avoid causing injury or damage to your RC or injure a skater.
    • Wheelchair Ramps – Ramps that are made to give easier access to those in wheelchairs or with mobility issues can be utilized as a great ramp for your RC. These ramps are usually lesser inclines, meaning they will be a great long-jump ramp.
    • Dirt Tracks – In some areas, you will find tracks designed for dirt bikes. These tracks often have intricate jumps and ramps that are designed for dirt bikes. That makes them great options for your RC. They can offer a variety of jumps and obstacles you may have a hard time finding anywhere else.
    • Find Some Empty Space – As long as you abide by local ordinances and laws, you can find parks and fields in public spaces that you can jump your RC. To ensure that you can spice up your fun, if possible, consider making one of the mini ramps mentioned above that is easily portable and can fit in any vehicle folded flat.
    • Network – RC hobbyist are a unique group of individuals and usually enjoy spending time together in groups. Reach out to your local groups to find people that can help you. When you join together with others to enjoy a hobby in common, you may find that they will be able to give you some great advice on where to jump your RC.

If you are really lucky, you may make friends with someone who has space or ramps that they are willing to let you use with your own RC vehicle. This may take time. However, you can gain some great insider information.

What About Building A Simple Ramp?

Building a super simple ramp for super cheap is certainly an option. If you are just starting out then it might be a good way to go. In the video below you can see how Back Stamp Racer built a ramp for under $10!

Final Thought

As you can see, there are endless options for building your very own RC Truck Ramp. Whether you want a simple ramp to jump or go for a more complex ramp system, you can save a ton of money by doing it yourself.

We hope you have found this article helpful in building your ramp. Keep in mind that jumping your RC has the potential to cause damage at extreme heights. Always make sure you test the height before jumping at full speed.

If you have some dirt in your yard but money is tight you can often get away with making a dirt ramp or making basic ramps with just a piece of plywood and a brick or block underneath. The issue with these simplistic ramps is they can get knocked over or hitting it at an odd angle can cause the wood to fall off the blocks and you can wreck your RC vehicle. 

Ultimately you have to decide how much time and money you are willing to put into your ramps. Making a ramp makes a great weekend project and it is simple enough that it could be done together with a child or just some buddies having a good time. 

Matt Robbs

I love to spend time with my wife and 3 kids. There is no better way to get them off the couch and outside than for us to grab the RC cars or boat and enjoy the sunshine!

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