Kyosho Beetle 2014 Conversion to Hybrid Ceramic Bearings
Hello fellow RC enthusiasts and welcome to the post.
As the title suggests, I will be replacing my Kyosho Beetle 2014 steel ball bearings for the much lighter hybrid ceramic ball bearings.
For many people (like myself before this research), bearings are something that are a necessity in thousands of items we need to use every day and yet, very few people understand the many complexities of them and they are simply taken for granted. Anything from your car to a hairdryer, they all need bearings and they sometimes need to be replaced. They naturally become worn over time, or have their life expectancy reduced by neglect or being used in conditions they were never designed to be used in.
There are many different types, grades and styles of bearing, but for the purpose of this post, I will be talking about the style of bearing in the picture above.
These style bearing's are sized by the following specification (either inches or mm):-
Yellow - inner diameter.
Red - outer diameter.
Green - width.
The bearing to the left is unshielded, whereas the bearing on the right has a metal shield. It could also be rubber or plastic, depending on it's intended use.
I am sure every RC enthusiast is familiar with this style of bearing as it is heavily used in our hobby. However, in recent times a new type of bearing has been developed but was far too expensive to use in the RC hobby world until recently. I am talking about the ceramic bearings that can now easily replace our stock ball bearing races in the sizes we need. The bearings we require (for our hobby), are called hybrid ceramic bearings. This is because the inner and outer race ways are still made of high grade hardened steel, but the balls inside are either made from Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) or Zirconia (Zr02) materials that are both harder than the steel races. There are other types of ceramic bearing, as shown below.
The above picture is a full ceramic bearing, consisting of a ceramic inner race, a ceramic outer race, ceramic shield and ceramic balls. However, this type of bearing cannot be used for our requirement and it's a good thing too, as this single bearing is £35, wow.
Above is another picture of a full ceramic bearing, except this has no shielding. Again this type of bearing isn't designed for RC applications, which is an absolute pity because these are without doubt the best type and also the most expensive.
Ceramic bearings, what's the point.
Metal bearings have been a staple diet of industry for decades. However, bearings over the last couple of years have started to use ceramics such as Silicon Nitride and Zirconia. These materials are harder than steel, they are also lighter, have a longer life span and require virtually no lubrication in certain circumstances/conditions. As they are a little lighter and spin a little more freely, the car is therefore faster and run times should be increased. Happy days. The only negative I can find from this project is the expense of these bearings compared to the standard steel bearings. Which takes me on perfectly to why I chose to convert my Kyosho Beetle, rather than any other car in my humble collection. It was down to price! It only has 12 bearings, which is rather a small quantity for any RC car of this calibre. I am not throwing shade on any RC manufacturers with that comment.
Above is a diagram from the official Kyosho Beetle manual, identifying the 12 replacement (hybrid) bearings required for this project. As you can see, the diagram not only indicates the quantity needed, but also the precise dimensions for each bearing. As the price of each bearing is quite a bit more than standard steel bearings, I did a lot of research and found that prices fluctuate on a large scale, so I visited the crusty old (Fle) EBay and found these, as exact replacement parts and at a decent price.
Bearing BRG001 5x10x4
4 of the bearings below.
And finally 2 (above) of these to make up the full set of the required 12 bearings for the Kyosho Beetle 2014. Each bearing will cost £2.79. Believe it or not, they are cheaper than branded standard bearings from their respected manufacturer, but they should be better than them in terms of run times, speed and maintenance.
The cost of each bearing is £2.78.
The cost of replacing the 12 steel bearings for hybrid bearings required for this car would be £33.48.
The pictures are the actual bearings from RCBearings Ltd, I will be buying and installing over the next week or so.
Above is a picture of my Beetle, in which the new bearings are going to be fitted.
That is all for today my fellow enthusiasts. Please stay tuned.