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Project: SLASH/6

SLASH/6

Intro & Vitals

Inspiration struck like lightning in late November of 2009, and only three days after I pulled the wheels off of a box-stock RTR Slash chassis, this monstrous, but low-budget conversion was complete and ready for its maiden drive.

Length 31 inches Weight 7 lbs. 9 oz. without battery
Width 14.5 inches Motor Traxxas Velineon 3500kV 540-size BL for 1/10th scales
Height 9.25 inches Battery Standard single 7.2V sub-C or 7.4V LiPo pack (2x in parallel optional)
Wheelbase 20.5 inches Speed 31mph as equipped

SLASH/6

 

Chassis

As you can see above, calling this thing a Slash is no gimmick. It truly is one of Traxxas's 1/10th scale 2WD short course trucks, with an extended chassis. The conversion process began by cutting the truck right in half, horizontally across the battery tray, and then hacking & Dremelling the side "wings" off the chassis tub. What was left behind looked like SLASH/6halves of a Stampede chassis, narrow & rectangular, much easier to work with. I then cut & mounted 1 1/4" x 1/8" aluminum angle pieces on each side, running as far fore & aft as I could reasonably go. These were bolted on with 3mm hardware at 8 locations along their length. A slot to mount the steering servo was cut into the right side. I then added three 3/4" x 1/8" crossmembers from the bottom. The center one of these is specifically to mount a standoff to receive the battery hold-down strap. The other two help provide a little bit of support for the batteries in the 7" gap between the ends of the original chassis halves. The battery strap is fashioned from the same 3/4" aluminum and is held in place with body pins that go through the original front strap tie-down point, a new one in the center, and a third screwed into an unused ESC mounting point. There's more than enough space for two 6-cell batteries, and in fact if I relocate the center post I can even fit two flat 7-cell packs; maybe even more. All in all, only two source pieces of new material were used for the whole conversion -- the 1 1/4" angle and the 3/4" bar -- and both were purchased from a local hardware store.

For the SLASH/6's wheels & tires, I used the New Era 17mm hub adapters from the \BACKSLASH plus another set of those familiar OFNA "MT split" 3-spoke offset wheels, originally created for the Dominator. Instead of the narrowest, lowest-profile tires possible (as seen on the \BACKSLASH), here I went for width and some increased height for a better scale appearance. Always a fan of reuse and low costs, I fitted the 8-year-old Pro-Line Bow Tie MT tires first seen on the Ultimate E-Maxx: Spyder and later used on Mad Jedi. Again keeping expenses down, I left the stock plastic Ultra Shocks on, but added Traxxas Big Bore shock caps to solve the only problem these otherwise excellent dampers have. Up front I fitted Losi blue 3.8lb/in springs, and on the rear I used old Duratrax Maximum MT stiff progressive springs, again from the Ultimate E-Maxx: Spyder. Because they're progressive I don't know what their rate is, but I just wanted something stiff and these felt pretty decent.

Body

Of course, the body is what really pulls the whole thing together. It is a Pro-Line Desert Rat conversion body for the HPI Baja 5B (it came out before the 5T was announced). Though the Baja is 1/5th scale, this particular shell does not fully cover the buggy's wheels and it's a little short in the wheelbase department as well, hence the reason I've designated my conversion as a 1/6th scale, not a 1/5th. It's plenty big, though, without being so huge that it requires a total suspension conversion and drivetrain-shredding huge tires for the truck to look decent. It's a hefty piece of work though, made of super-thick 0.080" Lexan and weighing over 1 1/2 pounds painted & trimmed. It soaked up more than 3 cans of spray paint! This shell normally costs about $125 new, but I went on eBay and found "factory seconds" with very minor blemishes for about $75.

Mounting the behemoth shell on what was originally a humble little 1/10th scale platform was a lot easier than you may expect. In fact, I used the stock mounting hole positions, so you can saw a Slash body in half like I did with the chassis, extend it, and it will fit. If you're into that sort of thing. What I did need was more rigidity and height, so up front I used another piece of my 3/4" aluminum to just lay a reinforcing plate across the stock mount. I replaced the stock posts with some $3 Duratrax posts and cut trimmed them to the needed height. Out back, the situation was a little more dicey. The stock rear body mount unit is actually quite flimsy, and instead of Frankensteining it up with beams & plates & brackets, I took some of the remainder of the 1 1/4" angle stock an fashioned a rigid duplicate of the exact same size, minus the vertical nub portion. Another set of Duratrax posts sealed the deal, and the body slid on almost like it was designed to be there.

SLASH/6Power

Powering SLASH/6 is an interesting topic of discussion. For an RC of this size, a lot of folks would be thinking dual 1/8th scale Mamba Monster brushless systems, each with at least a 4000mah 4S Lipo stack to itself. Sounds good. That'll be $600 for the BL combos and another, oh, $350 for the batteries. Suddenly the real deal HPI Baja 5T doesn't seem so expensive anymore; in fact, it would have been cheaper.

Screw that mess! How about we start the project with a lightly-used Slash with a VXL system pre-installed, $250 on eBay for the whole truck, shipped, ready to run, and call our power problems done. I like that. I like that a lot. To make things even more appealing, how about using a plain ol' 7.2V NiMH pack to power it. Just one of them. Or, if you want to get fancy, we'll go with a basic 7.4V (2S) Lipo. Now we're talking!

In my specific case, I used a Mamba Max (1/10th scale) ESC because it's what I already had, coupled with the Traxxas Velineon / VXL motor, and powered by a 4000mah 7.4V hard-shell Lipo pack. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but geared 18/90 this truck pushed 31 mph on the radar. Sound slow? For sake of reference, that's a hair faster than the original HPI Baja 5B. Faster. In my videos I was running an unnecessarily conservative 15/90 ratio and even running in grass & sand, the most punishing environments for power systems, my motor barely hit 115 deg. F, while the controller was around 95 deg. F. That's what racers call "ice cold," and it means the system was so far from breaking a sweat, it was questionable whether it even knew it was working.

Summary & Future Plans

In case you missed it the first time, I'll say it again. This entire design and conversion, from a box-stock Slash and an idea, to 1/6th scale SLASH/6, took three days (not including paint, though). Like with the \BACKSLASH before it, I focused on making huge changes to the look & feel of the truck at a reasonable cost and with easy-to-duplicate modifications. If you're a budget-minded builder with a Dremel, power drill, and hacksaw, you can put together your own SLASH/6 for well under $475, including the cost of a lightly used donor truck! If you already have a VXL-powered Slash or Stampede, it'll be less than $225 to have yourself a 1/6th scale electric truck! If you get bored with it, get a new Slash chassis tub for $15, and you can convert right back to truck form. Get a different body, new tires, and a wing & mount set, and you have yourself a \BACKSLASH! The posibilities with the Slash platform are incredibly vast, and I hope I've inspired you to try a conversion or two of your own, whether using some of my ideas, or coming up with your own!

Now, speaking of trying stuff, I've got a few more things to try with the SLASH/6, myself. First off, I'm going to install Rustler a-arms at the rear to slightly widen the truck, and I'll probably do the same up front, using the rear arm mod I pioneered years ago on the Ultimate Stampede. I also need to experiment with gearing to see just how much performance I can safely get out of the VXL motor, and I might even try my 3S pack for kicks. I've considered trimming some unneeded material off the chassis, but given that the body is the heaviest part of the conversion, a few ounces trimmed from the chassis probably won't make much of a difference. Maybe I'll mount up a camera and get some onboard footage. Maybe put 5B body panels on it? Or how about if I add another transmission and make it 4WD?

While I figure out where to take this project next, enjoy the photos & videos below of its original form. If you have any questions or comments, or come up with your own SLASH/6-style conversion, head on over to my Traxxas Slash forum and post away!

Dec. 26, 2009 Update!

You asked for me to press forward with the Baja buggy conversion, so I did! Check out SLASH/6b, the 1/6th scale Traxxas electric buggy!

Videos

All footage was shot & edited in HD resolution for your viewing pleasure.

SLASH/6 video 1
Initial unveiling (HD)

(also available in standard definition)
SLASH/6 video 1
SLASH/6 in Action (HD)

(also available in standard definition)
SLASH/6 video 1
SLASH/6 Walkthrough

Photo Samples

This is just a random sampling of the full gallery of images. To see them all, visit the full SLASH/6 Photo Gallery.