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  1. #1
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    How to make tire chains

    This isn't a step-by-step tutorial but tire chains are simple enough to make that I think most people will get the idea.

    I used jack chain from Lowe's because it is fairly easy to open the chain loops up with two pairs of pliers so you can disassemble the overall length of chain into the sections of chain you'll use. Likewise, it is also easy to crimp the loops closed when assembling the tire chains.

    I made my tire chains 7 links long for the cross-chains (I have 9 cross chains per tire) and 18 links long for the two side chains. I placed the cross chains every other link on the side chains. Hopefully the pictures do a better job of explaining this.

    Jack Chain from Lowe's:



    Overall picture of one tire chain:


    Detailed picture of the top of the tire chain:


    Detailed picture of the bottom of the tire chain:


    Tire chain installed onto a wheel (I just zip tied the ends together for ease):


    Front of wheel:


    Rear of wheel:


    Finished product:

  2. #2
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    great post thanks!..

  3. #3
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    Fantastic! Cheap, easy and great results! I think I'll be picking up some of that chain tomorrow and see if I can make some chains for my Rok Loks. Thanks for the great info.

  4. #4
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    Does having the chains help with traction that much in winter?

  5. #5
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    I forgot to mention a few things...

    I picked up 26 feet of the chain and had 16 inches left over.

    Also, if someone wanted the cross-chains not to wrap around the tire as much I'd say to cut the cross-chain length down to 6 links wide (mine are 7 links wide) and then just add more links (and possibly more cross-chains) to the two side pieces as needed. At least my 7 x 18 links gives a starting point.

    *edit* Honestly I really do think they help out a bunch. I mean, if you run through thick powder you will bottom out on the chassis no matter what but to gain traction going up fairly steep inclines and light powder (low enough that you won't bottom out) I do think they help out. It seems like the tires spin less and actually hook up with the ground better. But of course everyone has different experiences.
    Last edited by Omega-Tron; 12-13-2010 at 09:00 PM.

  6. #6
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    I used 24 link long "rings" with a cross link every three links; 8 cross chains each 6 links long. 1/2 inch jack chain. Home Depot had by far the lowest price. I paid $17 with tax for 30 feet and had chain left over. I painted the endlinks with a sharpie white oil paint pen for inside locking link and red for the outside so I can keep track of what goes where when I install.

    Haven't tried it in snow because no snow here. predicted 60 degrees F tomorrow. First snows used to come in September here. We just had 1 inch fall all season so far!!!

    Chains on Baja Bug, no snow, post number 210:

    http://traxxas.com/forums/showthread...Em-Here!/page6
    Last edited by H2Ohaze; 12-13-2010 at 10:58 PM.

  7. #7
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    I thought about weaving something through the cross chains to get a paddle effect or multipul zip ties on each indavidual cross link cut the tails and with the nub thats left chains with spikes great on icy hard pack the chains really helped on mine it gave me more side bite as the crushers don't have alot
    Mountains cant stop me
    they have tried

  8. #8
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    Hi Omega-Tron what size did you use
    slash revo vxl x4 rally x2 ped 2wd slash vxl rus

  9. #9
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    I don't know what OP used, but here are my measurements...


    Oh yes, these guys have a high price but they give dimensions:

    http://www.1st-chainsupply.com/chain...singlejack.htm

    Unfortunately I am positive that I bought #14 jack chain from Home Depot. But it doesn't meet the "A" and "B" spec in the table. When I measure my chain with calipers I get 0.072 inches for chain diameter=A and 0.715 inches for length=B. In mm it's really close to A=1.8 to 2 mm and B=18mm.

    Or another way: if I measure the length of one link outside to outside it falls just under 7/8 inch long. 22 mm on the nose.

    It looks like I used under 24 feet. I had a lot of experiments, so I bent off a lot of single links, so maybe I had another foot or two of waste---> maybe 22 feet is all that is needed with my 24/6 link pattern. BTW, bending with two needle nose pliers at most is very easy to do. Not much strength needed.

    Also, this is for the stock tires.

    Or you can buy them from this guy:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/RC-Snow-and-ice-...36179fd4f#shId
    Last edited by H2Ohaze; 12-14-2010 at 10:06 AM.

  10. #10
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    Great Info Thanks !

    If the lil summit is like a Real VW Pipe buggy or dune buggy, we would use chains on good year terra tires, in Brush and mud. just had to watch the speed (would break the chains and they would go flying) , but worked great . another words not for just snow . could try them in Dirt , grass and mud. it helped the full scale buggy's. Mean rooster tails of flying vegetation

    Thanks again for the info, very talented creation.

  11. #11
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    cheers for the info H2Ohaze. i am looking now as i want to make some for my slash 4x4.
    slash revo vxl x4 rally x2 ped 2wd slash vxl rus

  12. #12
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    BTW I just got a idea to make these lighter , if you wanted . you could make them , like some of the full scale type that run a cable around the perimeter loops on the sides . then only use chain for the cross sections. Home depot and lowes should have small cable say around 1/16 or 1/8 . then in a fishing store they should have crimps and a crimper tool . The Fishing store's for Ocean fishing sell to make leaders with SS wire. anyway just a idea.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the write up May try these when I get to GO to the snow....
    Wouldn't you like to know...

  14. #14
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    About the best I can do is tape-measure measurements so I hope these help:







    Also, make note that I'm STARTING at the 1 inch line on the tape-measure, not at 0.

  15. #15
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    cheers for that. i just hope i get some snow to try them out on.
    slash revo vxl x4 rally x2 ped 2wd slash vxl rus

  16. #16
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    One last tidbit: the guy at 1st Chain Supply (see my link to measurement table above) didn't recommend getting vinyl coated chain (Home Depot had black coated for same price), he thought it would flake off quickly. But he also thought that the zinc plating on the standard "silver" chain would come off after awhile. He advised me that expect to get rust and have to replace at some point in future.

    Too bad, the Vinyl comes in different colors like yellow, etc.

    Finally are predicting some snow here into Thursday, 3-6 inches. Might get a chance to try it out. I have my chains mounted to an old set of stock tires, quick change.
    Last edited by H2Ohaze; 12-15-2010 at 10:27 AM.

  17. #17
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    This has been a great thread. I went down to Lowes and picked up some materials to make my own chains. Steal zink-covered #12 Jack chain.

    The setup I went with was 22 link long rings with a 1/8" Quick Link lock (sold in the same section as the chain). 6 link long crossthreads (8 total crossthreads, every 3rd link) which seems more than an adaquate length across. The quick links are about the size of 2 jack links, and allow the chains to be put on and taken off easily.

    What I did notice is how HEAVY these chains are! I geared down (well, back to stock haha) in anticipation of how this is going to strain the Titan 775. Have a feeling that the chains will give improved grip on hard packed or icey surfaces, but will sink in lightly packed snow. We'll see, a foot of snow is on the way this weekend!





    Last edited by Earwig; 12-15-2010 at 07:36 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earwig View Post
    This has been a great thread. I went down to Lowes and picked up some materials to make my own chains. Steal zink-covered #12 Jack chain.

    The setup I went with was 22 link long rings with a 1/8" Quick Link lock (sold in the same section as the chain). 6 link long crossthreads, which seems more than an adaquate length across. The quick links are about the size of 2 jack links, and allow the chains to be put on and taken off easily.

    What I did notice is how HEAVY these chains are! I geared down (well, back to stock haha) in anticipation of how this is going to strain the Titan 775. Have a feeling that the chains will give improved grip on hard packed or icey surfaces, but will sink in lightly packed snow. We'll see, a food of snow is on the way this weekend!
    I'll have to check out that quick link/lock, although as I said, I have my chains on an old set of tires which I can just swap in fast. I don't really know if there is a standard length tied to "#14", "#12" etc...just that my Home Depot chain doesn't match a major supplier's dimensions (1st Chain Supply). In the end, it may be good advice to just get three or four extra feet in case you have to play around with number of links. I do know with my setup that it pretty much puts the 8 cross chains nestled comfortably between the treads, except for maybe one strand or so which has to "loop" slightly around a center tread.
    Last edited by H2Ohaze; 12-15-2010 at 07:15 PM.

  19. #19
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    To the OP - I wouldn't use that zip-tie to hold your chains together. Speaking from experience here - the plastic gets cold FAST , and becomes extremely brittle. I did something similar and ran outside for a grand total of ~5 seconds before the plastic zip tie busted and chains came off the tires. I suggest doing it right, and opening/joining those two chain links. Then it will be solid!

    Another idea to reduce weight is to use a lighter guage of chain for the outside loops. I've got #12 jack chain across the tire tread, and use #16 chain for the outside loops - works great, and is definitely lighter than using all #12 stuff.
    Two Rusty VXLs, M2Ks 18/83 - Tag! You're it!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega-Tron View Post
    This isn't a step-by-step tutorial but tire chains are simple enough to make that I think most people will get the idea.

    I used jack chain from Lowe's because it is fairly easy to open the chain loops up with two pairs of pliers so you can disassemble the overall length of chain into the sections of chain you'll use. Likewise, it is also easy to crimp the loops closed when assembling the tire chains.

    I made my tire chains 7 links long for the cross-chains (I have 9 cross chains per tire) and 18 links long for the two side chains. I placed the cross chains every other link on the side chains. Hopefully the pictures do a better job of explaining this.

    Jack Chain from Lowe's:



    Overall picture of one tire chain:


    Detailed picture of the top of the tire chain:


    Detailed picture of the bottom of the tire chain:


    Tire chain installed onto a wheel (I just zip tied the ends together for ease):


    Front of wheel:


    Rear of wheel:


    Finished product:
    I just want to thank you for your post ! I made chains for my summit today and it work superbly well ! I am very surprise how it increase traction in snow !
    Don t Go Fast if you are out of Control !!!!

  21. #21
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    I haven't had any trouble yet with the zip tie method. I know it's not the prettiest but it has worked so far. I'm not against the quick-release clips that other folks have mentioned. I just didn't see any when I was buying the chain (I also didn't look very hard either, I admit).

    My buddy just bought an E-Maxx that we will be making chains for so I'm interested to see how we come out on his truck. I definitely want to try using shorter cross-chains that don't wrap around the tires quite so much. If they work out well I may re-build my Summit's chains. It's certainly been some trial and error (as this was my 2nd version already when I made this thread).

  22. #22
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    After many iterations of chains on my own cars, I can tell you this - you WANT the chain to wrap around the sidewall a bit. If you make it so that the chain mostly just covers the tread, and you've got a nice big outside loop of chain - while it looks sweet, it will NOT stay centered on the tire very well, and you'll have to adjust it frequently. If you make the chains go all the way across the tread and down onto the sidewall a bit, so that the outside loop is basically as big as the rim/wheel, you will have far less troubles overall. I speak from experience here... take it or leave it.
    Two Rusty VXLs, M2Ks 18/83 - Tag! You're it!

  23. #23
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    I'll definitely take any advice, that's why we're here.

    That was my thought when I built the chains for my Summit; I've just seen other people run shorter cross-chains and I wondered if it was to keep the chains further away from the suspension bits (mostly the front wheels since the chains can get fairly close to the steering rods when the wheels are turned.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolynsbass View Post
    After many iterations of chains on my own cars, I can tell you this - you WANT the chain to wrap around the sidewall a bit. If you make it so that the chain mostly just covers the tread, and you've got a nice big outside loop of chain - while it looks sweet, it will NOT stay centered on the tire very well, and you'll have to adjust it frequently. If you make the chains go all the way across the tread and down onto the sidewall a bit, so that the outside loop is basically as big as the rim/wheel, you will have far less troubles overall. I speak from experience here... take it or leave it.
    What design worked for you? Such as link size, number of links for both circle and X-chains, and number of X-chains?
    Thank you.

  25. #25
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    I don't have a summit, but I run 2.2 Mashers on my Rustlers. The chain info won't really help, since the tire size is dramatically smaller than the Summit tires. However, one tip I have (maybe I mentioned it elsewhere) is to use a smaller guage of chain (#16) on the outside loops, and heavier chain (#12) on the actual tread portion. This provides some noticable weight savings, and still is very strong. (Well, I sometimes bust an outside loop when I get one wheel stuck, but only on 3S lipo, and with the diffing action, the wheel that busts a link is going approximately 90-100 mph or more!)
    Two Rusty VXLs, M2Ks 18/83 - Tag! You're it!

  26. #26
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    These instructions are JUST what I need. Thank you SO much, Omega Tron!

  27. #27
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    +1 #16 @ the W-mart 20 feet $6.ish, need two pack's ($13.00). Extra weight on wheels is huge deal.

    Op the last pic looks like the RF chain is kind of loose I could be wrong tho..
    Would you go flip my truck back over??

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlHenderson View Post
    These instructions are JUST what I need. Thank you SO much, Omega Tron!
    Glad to see that you used the search function.





    Oops spoke to soon.

  29. #29
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    Awesome pictures and write up.

    I wonder if spiking the tires would work? Say, put some screws through from the inside?
    Bash OR crawl? No, the Summit does it all!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by GusinCA View Post
    Awesome pictures and write up.

    I wonder if spiking the tires would work? Say, put some screws through from the inside?
    Trucktrail made some spiked tires for his E-Maxx. Post 39: http://traxxas.com/forums/showthread...highlight=hike
    Last edited by snowslider; 10-08-2011 at 12:23 PM.
    This is a signature.

  31. #31
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    Here's mine !!
    Thx for the tutorial, it was very easy !! Now waiting for the snow






  32. #32
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    Nice! ^
    This is a signature.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by H2Ohaze View Post
    I don't know what OP used, but here are my measurements...


    Oh yes, these guys have a high price but they give dimensions:

    http://www.1st-chainsupply.com/chain...singlejack.htm

    Unfortunately I am positive that I bought #14 jack chain from Home Depot. But it doesn't meet the "A" and "B" spec in the table. When I measure my chain with calipers I get 0.072 inches for chain diameter=A and 0.715 inches for length=B. In mm it's really close to A=1.8 to 2 mm and B=18mm.

    Or another way: if I measure the length of one link outside to outside it falls just under 7/8 inch long. 22 mm on the nose.

    It looks like I used under 24 feet. I had a lot of experiments, so I bent off a lot of single links, so maybe I had another foot or two of waste---> maybe 22 feet is all that is needed with my 24/6 link pattern. BTW, bending with two needle nose pliers at most is very easy to do. Not much strength needed.

    Also, this is for the stock tires.

    Or you can buy them from this guy:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/RC-Snow-and-ice-...36179fd4f#shId

    $25 shipping, you must be MAD.
    Traxxas T-Maxx ABMOD 33
    Traxxas Dual 700HO Summit

  34. #34
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    I use a hair tie on the outer rim side and make my chains a little loser. When the chains spin they get bigger and ack like a paddle. Works way better in the snow and i have 6 months of that stuff to deal with! yuck!
    dewalt 14.4

  35. #35
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    question for all the tire experts...

    My summit came with the stockers (little beat up). I am currently attempting to seal them off so that water wont get in and i can take the summit a few extra places.

    question:
    If i get another set of stockers since they do so well in crawling, would making some tire chains for the "spare/sealed" set suffice for winter?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godspeed View Post
    question for all the tire experts...

    My summit came with the stockers (little beat up). I am currently attempting to seal them off so that water wont get in and i can take the summit a few extra places.

    question:
    If i get another set of stockers since they do so well in crawling, would making some tire chains for the "spare/sealed" set suffice for winter?
    For sure that way you could leave the chains on that set and have the other set for good conditions.I toyed with the idea of getting rims no tires and running some screws through from the inside to make spikes for ice saw it done on a revo and they were racing them.Wouldn't wanna be a corner marshal at those races."Man down in the corner
    some get some tape this guy is leaking all over the place"
    Mountains cant stop me
    they have tried

  37. #37
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    i saw a post on here with those....i'd call my car the "Aerator"
    or put a sticker that says "Free body piercings" lol

  38. #38
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    Snow Chains

    Here's a video to show you how they work in the snow !!


  39. #39
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. 87 GN's Avatar
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    I like the vid...
    Would you go flip my truck back over??

  40. #40
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    Thanks for watching !!

    Quote Originally Posted by 87 GN View Post
    I like the vid...

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