By Mike Garrison
Whether it's wheel nuts, wings, tools, tracks, trinkets and/or anything in between, the LiveRC staff gives their testimonial and review of each every Thursday morning!
When it comes to wrenching on anything in the R/C world, its seems as though an "extra set of hands" is something we are all commonly searching for. One particular area of maintenance which requires tedious, and often frustrating, work is differentials. Whether you are working on 1/8-scale or 1/10-scale, ball or gear diffs, they all require a lot of parts (most of which are entirely too small). Viking Design Works, the brainchild of Erik Voelke, has 3D printed their version of an "extra set of hands" to help relieve your diff rebuild fury.
Product intro from Viking Design Works designer Erik Voelke:
Viking Design Works - Differential Service Station
The Viking Design Works Differential Service Station was designed with the intention of cleaning up the diff rebuild process by strategically holding your differential outdrives, gears, diff balls, screws, pins, and even your iPhone for those looking to pump the beats while wrenching. Essentially, this nifty tool allows you to free up both hands for a more precise, less frustrating, and more organized service. The Differential Service Station features an angled backing plate for easily installing diff balls, while also simplifying thrust bearing assembly by holding the the thrust bearing screw vertically and independently. The station also features two 1/8-scale outdrive holders, in addition to the two 1/10-scale outdrive holders. The overall design of the Differential Service Station was inspired by that of the iconic Stealth fighter plane.
What is the best way to test a tool designed to aid in differential maintenance? The answer; put in the hands of a racer who hates diff rebuilds and maintenance more than anyone on this planet, and ask him to try it out - that's ME. After procrastinating the initial start of the diff rebuild for well over an hour, I decided to dive in. As I carefully disassembled my diff, I placed its various parts in the appropriate holders within the Differential Service Station. Truth be told, a lot of my personal frustration when building diffs is my own lack of organization, and the overwhelming amount of tiny parts scattered across my pit table.
While Viking Design Works did not eliminate any tiny diff parts, the fact they created a tool which organizes them all into one concise area did eliminate a bit of my anxiety. Replacing diff balls is EXTREMELY frustrating when you encounter that one rogue ball who decides it's not his time to serve, pushes his way through the gear, and rolls off the table for a better life. Unfortunately for the diff balls, the Differential Service Station doesn't allow that to happen so easily. Placing balls in the diff gear is simple (or as simple as putting balls in a diff will get) thanks to the gear holder not allowing the balls to fall through. Thrust balls are almost as simple using this tool, as the station holds the thrust screw upright for you, so your full focus can be put toward properly installing the thrust washers and balls (as opposed to balancing the screw in one hand, while doing the rest with the other). All of my screws were kept neatly in place with the built-in screw holders, and when I was finished rebuilding, I spun the tool around, propped my phone into the built-in phone holder, and re-watched the LiveRC recording of the A-Main that I wasn't fast enough to qualify for...so I rebuilt this diff during the race instead.
I did not have a gear diff handy to test in the Viking Design Works Differential Service Station, but my assumption is that if it relieves frustration and anxiety for ball diff maintenance, it can only do that - and then some - for gear diff maintenance.
- Holds every part of the differential on most diffs, freeing up both hands entirely.
- Does not allow diff balls to fall through and "run away".
- Keeps maintenance area and parts clean, organized, and compact.
- For longer screws, the built-in screw holders on the side can be a bit shallow.
The Viking Design Works Differential Service Station is a lightweight, compact, and innovative little tool that without a doubt helps in differential servicing and rebuilding processes. Is it mandatory, or a "must have" tool? Not for those with spare hands and/or don't feel the frustration and anxiety during diff rebuilds that I do. For racers like me, however, the $18 is well-spent keeping the process clean, concise, and a little less crazy.
Beacon Rating: 4 out of 5
- If you limit yourself to Atkins bars, you WILL lose weight - as you will never eat again.
- There is chocolate AND peanut butter in these bars (I haven't found it, but it's there).
- If you feel you have too much money in your wallet, these are an excellent way to waste a cool $13.
- I ate an entire bar, am still hungry for bacon, and have not lost a pound.
- When left in the car, they melt.
- Tastes similar to that of used clay compound tires covered in rotten tire sauce.