DIY Guide: How to Make an RC Boat Rudder

DIY Guide: How to Make an RC Boat Rudder

If you’re an RC boat enthusiast, one of the essential components that you need to pay attention to is the rudder. The rudder plays a crucial role in your boat’s maneuverability, helping to steer it in different directions and keep it on course. While you can purchase a rudder kit, making one from scratch is easier than you might think. By using a few basic tools and materials, you can create a custom rudder that will fit your boat’s specifications and give you better control out on the water. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to make an RC boat rudder. Whether you’re new to RC boat building or an experienced hobbyist, you’ll find everything you need to know to create your custom rudder that will help you navigate the waves with ease.

Materials and tools needed to make an RC boat rudder

Before you start making your RC boat rudder, you need to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A sheet of plywood
  • A metal rod or wire
  • A Dremel or rotary tool
  • Sandpaper of various grits
  • A ruler, pencil, and compass
  • A drill and screws or glue for installation

Choosing the right materials for your RC boat rudder

When it comes to choosing the materials for your RC boat rudder, there are several options available. Here are some factors to consider:

  • The size and shape of your rudder – this will determine the amount of wood and metal you need
  • The boat’s weight and speed – heavier boats may require thicker and sturdier wood and metal
  • The type of water you’ll be using the boat in – saltwater may require rust-resistant metal
  • Your budget – some materials may be more expensive than others

You can find most of the necessary tools and materials at your local hardware store or online retailers like Amazon or eBay. Some websites, like R/C Groups forums, offer DIY guides and tips from experienced RC boat builders to help you make your rudder.

What is the best material for a boat rudder?

When it comes to materials for a boat rudder, here are the most common options to consider:

  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Bronze
  • Carbon fiber
  • Plastic/nylon

Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Stainless steel is durable but heavy, while aluminum is lightweight but not as strong. Bronze is strong but susceptible to corrosion if not properly maintained. Carbon fiber is lightweight and strong but expensive. Plastic and nylon are affordable but not as strong as metal or carbon fiber.

The best material for a boat rudder depends on the specific needs and budget of the boat owner. It’s important to consider factors such as the size of the boat, the type of water the boat will be used in, and the amount of use the rudder will see.

For more information and product options, visit boating websites such as West Marine, Defender, or Overton’s.

Choosing the right shape and size for your RC boat rudder

The shape and size of your rudder depend on the type and size of your boat, as well as the water conditions you’ll be operating your boat in. Here are some tips to help you choose the right shape and size for your rudder:

  • The larger the rudder, the more responsive your boat will be
  • The shape of the rudder should be semi-circular with a sharp trailing edge for maximum efficiency
  • The depth of the rudder should be about 10-15% of the boat’s length
  • The weight of the rudder should be as light as possible to reduce drag and improve performance
Boat Length (inches) Rudder Depth (inches)
10-14 1-2
15-19 2-3
20-24 3-4

It’s important to keep in mind that these are just general guidelines, and the ideal shape and size of your rudder may vary depending on your specific boat and water conditions. You can consult online communities and forums like Model Boat Mayhem or RCGroups to get more feedback and advice from other boat enthusiasts.

How Big Should a Rudder Be?

The size of a rudder primarily depends on the vessel’s size and the conditions it operates in. A properly sized rudder ensures better maneuverability and stability for the ship. Factors like speed, wind, and water flow affect the size and shape of a rudder.

In general, a larger vessel needs a larger rudder, and it should be proportionate to the ship’s size. A rule of thumb is that a rudder should have a surface area of 1.5% to 2.5% of the total wetted surface area of the vessel.

However, ships operating in strong winds, shallow waters, or with high-speed requirements would benefit from a larger rudder. Conversely, smaller boats may have smaller rudders, usually proportionate to their size.

It is essential to consult with a naval architect or a marine engineer to determine the appropriate size for the rudder based on the specific requirements of the vessel design.

For more information on ship design and engineering, you can visit websites like or

Where to find resources and guides to make a RC boat rudder

There are various resources and guides available online to help you make a RC boat rudder. Here are some websites and forums where you can find helpful information:

Model Boat Mayhem

Model Boat Mayhem is a forum for model boat enthusiasts. It has an extensive archive of threads on building and modifying various boats, including rudders. They offer help and advice for newcomers and professionals alike.


RCGroups is a forum with a vast community of RC hobbyists, including boat enthusiasts. They have a dedicated sub-forum for boats, which includes topics on building, modifying and repairing boats.


YouTube is an excellent resource for video tutorials on making and installing a RC boat rudder. You can find step-by-step guides on cutting, shaping, and installing a rudder. Some YouTubers even provide templates and measurements to ensure you get it right.

Etsy and eBay

Etsy and eBay also offer templates and rudder kits for novice boat enthusiasts. These kits come with a pre-cut rudder, metal rod or wire for the pivot point, and sometimes even a pre-drilled hull to make installation easier.

By following these resources and guides, you can make a RC boat rudder that works well and enhances your boat’s maneuverability.

How to Make a Homemade RC Boat?

Follow these steps to make your own RC boat at home:

  • Get a reliable RC boat kit with all the necessary components like a motor, controller, battery, and propeller.
  • Design your boat using paper or software to get an idea of its appearance and structure.
  • Cut the pieces of the vessel according to the design using balsa wood or foam.
  • Assemble the boat parts with glue and align the motor, propeller, and battery inside the hull.
  • Attach the RC controller and make sure it is connected correctly.
  • Finally, test your boat in a safe water body to evaluate its speed, maneuverability, and stability!

For more detailed instructions and visuals, refer to websites like Instructables or RC Groups that have step-by-step guides with images, videos, and helpful tips. You can also find affordable RC boat kits on e-commerce sites like Amazon or hobby stores.

Choosing the right material for your RC boat rudder

Choosing the right material for your RC boat rudder is essential for its durability and effectiveness. Here are some common materials used for RC boat rudders:


Plywood is a popular choice for RC boat rudders as it is easy to find and work with. Marine-grade plywood is preferred as it is resistant to water. However, plywood rudders are prone to warping with exposure to water.

Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber rudders are lightweight and strong, making them a popular option for racing boats. They are also resistant to water and corrosion. However, they can be expensive.


Aluminum rudders are durable, light-weight and rust-resistant. They can also handle rough conditions well. But, they are not as common, and they can be challenging to shape.


Plastic rudders are affordable and resistant to water damage. They are also effortless to shape. However, they are not as durable as other materials, and they can break easily.

It’s important to consider the material’s advantages and disadvantages, your budget, and your desired outcomes when choosing a material for RC boat rudders.

How important is the rudder on a boat?

The rudder on a boat is an essential component that helps the boat to steer and maintain its course. Without a rudder, the boat would be unable to turn or stay on a straight line, making it difficult to control.

Here are some key points about the importance of the rudder:

  • The rudder is responsible for directing the boat’s movement and steering it in the desired direction.
  • It helps the boat to turn and avoid obstacles, such as rocks or other boats.
  • The size and shape of the rudder can impact the boat’s overall performance and stability.
  • A well-maintained rudder can improve the accuracy and ease of steering the boat.

If you’re a boating enthusiast looking for more information about boat maintenance, safety, or accessories, check out websites like BoatUS or West Marine for helpful resources and products.

Where to buy RC boat rudders?

If you don’t want to make a rudder yourself, or don’t have the tools and knowledge to make one, you can purchase one instead. Here are some places to buy RC boat rudders:

Online retailers

There are many online retailers that sell RC boat rudders, including Amazon, HobbyKing, and Tower Hobbies. These retailers offer a large variety of rudders in different sizes and materials, making it easy to find one that suits your needs.

Specialty stores

Specialty stores that cater to RC enthusiasts are a great place to buy RC boat rudders. These stores offer a wide range of rudders, and you can get professional advice on the best rudder to buy for your boat.

Local hobby shops

Local hobby shops are another great place to buy RC boat rudders. These shops often sell more than just the rudder and can carry other parts and materials you may need. You can also get advice and opinions from the staff on the best rudder to buy for your boat.

When buying an RC boat rudder, it’s important to consider the size, material, and compatibility with your RC boat. Research different retailers and read product reviews to ensure you are getting the best rudder for your needs.

Where can you find a rudder?

If you’re looking for a rudder, you can find one at:

  • Marine supply stores like West Marine, Defender, and Jamestown Distributors
  • Online retailers like Amazon or eBay
  • Boat salvage yards or boating forums where other boaters may be selling used rudders

Make sure to do your research and compare prices before making a purchase. Additionally, it’s important to make sure the rudder you choose is compatible with your specific boat model.


Making an RC boat rudder is a relatively simple process that requires a few basic tools and materials. By following the steps outlined above, you can create an effective and functional rudder that will improve your boat’s maneuverability and performance on the water. However, if you don’t have the time, patience, or tools to create one yourself, there are plenty of retailers both online and offline that sell high-quality rudders.

When making an RC boat rudder, it’s important to take your time and pay attention to detail. Don’t rush the process, and use the correct tools and techniques. Sanding the edges and surfaces of the rudder is a crucial step to ensure the rudder has a polished look and functions correctly. Additionally, finding the right metal rod or wire for the rudder’s pivot point is essential, and make sure it fits snugly.

Overall, an RC boat rudder can enhance your boat’s performance and take your hobby to the next level. Whether you decide to make one yourself or purchase one, having a well-functioning rudder will allow you to navigate through the water more smoothly and improve your overall experience.