Products and Design

Monsters of Scale: Hetmanski Hobbies RC Monster Trucks

RC Monster Truck

Hetmanski Hobbies is an incredible place to discover parts and mods for your RC monster trucks and scale vehicles. Kevin Hetmanski, the shop owner and designer, is no stranger to the RC hobby, having spent 31 years in the RC world — and working at Horizon Hobby as a product developer. You might also recognize the name Hetmanski from his work for RC Car Action magazine, where he’s the Sr. Editor. Needless to say, the man knows his stuff.

Over the past year, Kevin has been adding a lot of new designs to his Shapeways shop, and as amazing as they are on their own, the best way to discover them is to see them in action. So we asked Kevin to show us a few of his personal trucks that use many of the shop’s goodies.

KOC 2.0

Kevin has been passionate about solid-axle monster trucks since the release of the Tamiya Clod Buster in 1987. It’s the truck considered by most to be the original RC monster truck, and it was the beginning of a journey that would start with project trucks. After building and modding several existing trucks, he decided that he needed to take things to the next level. Hetmanski then decided to design and build his own truck to get the performance he was looking for. In 2007, he created the King Of Crushers — using several poorly handmade parts. Still, despite its hand-hewn roughness, the truck’s performance was fantastic when compared to what was available at the time.

In November of 2015, Kevin was invited to the Monster Jam World Finals in Las Vegas to be a part of their very first RC monster truck race. For years, he had wanted to build a new and improved version of the KOC. This was the perfect time to make the KOC 2.0 monster truck a reality.

After 40 hours of computer time, the result was a truck that performed above and beyond the original KOC. This time, Kevin used a 3D CAD program to make the design come to life, enabling Kevin to cycle things like the suspension and steering to make sure they worked — before actually making a single part.

Unfortunately, the truck wasn’t finished in time for the Vegas event. Issues around getting the more complex aluminum parts made for the drivetrain meant that the build could not be completed. That’s when Kevin discovered Shapeways. After tweaking the design of some of parts, he had them printed through Shapeways. Finally, the truck came together.

3D printed pieces on the KOC 2.0 include axle caps, bearing blocks, and the transmission housing in the chassis, as well as exhaust headers and a rollcage for scale looks. With less than a month before another big race, the 4-link Nationals in Ohio, Kevin was a bit worried about the printed parts holding up. But, after some test runs, he was happy to find that everything was sound. The KOC 2.0 was ready to race!

The 4-link Nationals race weekend arrived, and with barely any time behind the wheel, Kevin got ready for the qualifying round. Thankfully, the truck performed well, qualifying at 11th place out of a total of 56 trucks in the class. With 3D printing still new to Kevin, his confidence in the printed parts only grew during race day.

Round after round, the KOC 2.0 proved its mettle. At the end of the day, Kevin had placed fourth overall. The performance and potential of the KOC 2.0 were now battle-tested — and proven.

Now, Kevin will work out the rest of the kinks, make a few tweaks, print more parts, and make sure that the monster truck can handle whatever his backyard (at least) can throw its way.

Yeti MT 3.0

Kevin embarked on his second big project after seeing the Axial Yeti rock racer for the first time. The rear end of the Yeti, with its tubular chassis, reminded him of a monster truck. And just like that, the Yeti MT idea was born. First, he put two rear sections of a Yeti together to create a solid-axle monster truck that performed very well when bashing, but needed some upgrades for racing. Version 2.0 featured a much stiffer carbon fiber chassis and a few other aftermarket parts to improve performance. That version worked much better, but after racing it at the RC Monster Jam World Finals, more updates were made to create version 3.0.

Kevin took the Yeti MT 3.0 to the 4-Link Nationals in Ohio to compete in the new 2.2-inch tire class. The truck obviously needed 2.2-inch wheels and tires to run this class. Kevin wanted to take the truck’s looks to the next level with a new set of wheels, so he turned to Shapeways again, this time designing a full set of 3D printed wheels and caps. These new wheels have a lot of detail and look exactly like those on full-sized monster trucks. Kevin added a little paint to bring out the detail and bolted them on after gluing up some Pro-Line Destroyer tires. The Yeti MT 3.0 also sports a 3D printed roll bar (painted to match the body paint), as well as a set of 3D printed exhaust headers.

At the 4-Link Nationals, the scale accessories did their job, and Kevin managed to win Show-N-Shine in the 2.2-inch class. Score!

What’s next?

Kevin is always designing parts for projects that are featured in RC Car Action magazine. Designs for his personal vehicles also find their way onto Hetmanski’s Shapeways shop. He’s always working on something, and he tells us that his next big project will most likely be a 1/10-scale Grave Digger monster truck using 3D printed parts to make it look as close to the real truck as possible. The chassis will be handmade, the axles will look just like the ones on real Monster Jam trucks, it will have larger versions of his 2.2-inch wheels, and much more. And of course, after the truck is done, all 3D printed parts will be available on Shapeways.

Make sure you also follow the Hetmanski Hobbies Facebook page to keep up with future parts, projects and race results!

Kevin Hetmanski and his KOC 2.0 truck

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