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Working Air Bag Suspension


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#1 91blaze

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:08 PM

I thought it would be fun to make a model with working air bag suspension. Has this ever been done before? If not, would it be possible?

#2 MAGNUM4342

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:11 PM

I think it would be possible to do, it just wouldn't be able to be self contained. Myself, I would make the airbags out of silicone or thick balloons. Just not sure how I would do the hose or valve system. HHmmmmmm???

#3 JamesW

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 05:54 PM

Actually, it HAS been done. It's been a WHILE since I seen the pics/vids though.

#4 M0par Jim

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 06:33 PM

Go into the Big Rigs area of the forum here, look for "Mack Superliner" page 4 I think it is, has some working air bags.

#5 91blaze

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 04:55 AM

No, what he did is put springs inside the "airbags" to make them act like suspension, which I have seen done before. What I was thinking about was using very low pressure air to actually make the airbags inflate to raise and lower the vehicle, like in the 1:1 cars.

#6 MachinistMark

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:57 AM

wont work.

#7 91blaze

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:01 AM

Why not?

#8 Bartster

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:06 AM

wont work.

....l'm Definitely not the one for the job, but it sounds like a challenge ?!

#9 moparmagiclives

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:23 AM

Why not?

What scale are you thinking ? Odds are the air line to fill it will be bigger then the air bag scaled down for anything smaller then 1/8 to 1/12 scale. Even at that scale, 1/8" tubing will be VERY noticable running out the back of the model and will take away from the overall effect. I would recomend the old "T" and "O" take on it from the lowrider scene and keep the voltage low so the rise and fall are a little slower to mimic air bags.

#10 Bartster

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:26 AM

l can't stand it. l'm gonna do some experimenting!

#11 SSNJim

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:33 AM

I've never seen it done either, but the two biggest things that come to mind are: first, to work in the largest possible scale (1/8 would be easiest); and second, finding something to use as an airbag. The air system wouldn't be all that difficult. Suitable small tubing, tanks and connectors shouldn't be too hard to find. Finding something that would be useable as an airbag would take some thought. Maybe some sort of medical tubing? Doesn't some of that have a small inflatable balloon at the end to hold it in place? A small balloon or telescoping tubing (think shock absorber) inside some O-rings or faucet washers?

I'd also build a mock-up out of scale-sized scrap plastic, wood or something to work out the mechanics before hacking up a Pocher kit to try ideas out.

I don't know if any of this will be useful, but at least there's a few ideas and things to think about. Good luck!

#12 91blaze

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:57 AM

What scale are you thinking ? Odds are the air line to fill it will be bigger then the air bag scaled down for anything smaller then 1/8 to 1/12 scale. Even at that scale, 1/8" tubing will be VERY noticable running out the back of the model and will take away from the overall effect. I would recomend the old "T" and "O" take on it from the lowrider scene and keep the voltage low so the rise and fall are a little slower to mimic air bags.


You're right, the tubing would probably be the hardest to find. What's this "T' and "O" you talk about?

#13 M0par Jim

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:00 AM

The o-rings will be hard to use as they are mostly stiff very stiff,.. now the thing you can do is like what I did on the Makc Superliner project, use the basices of something, then put a ballon rubber around the two ends and seal it to the bases with some kind of glue. Then hook up the fittings to the bases top where the springs would mount to the chassic and run the air lines through the floor pan or along the chassic of the msaid model. But getting a air compressior tank to hold that small amount of air will be the even more funner part of it all, not the air line hoses.

#14 91blaze

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:21 AM

The o-rings will be hard to use as they are mostly stiff very stiff,.. now the thing you can do is like what I did on the Makc Superliner project, use the basices of something, then put a ballon rubber around the two ends and seal it to the bases with some kind of glue. Then hook up the fittings to the bases top where the springs would mount to the chassic and run the air lines through the floor pan or along the chassic of the msaid model. But getting a air compressior tank to hold that small amount of air will be the even more funner part of it all, not the air line hoses.


Actually, you could use a normal tank, just have to use a regulator set to a very low pressure. If you think about the real cars, they only use a small amount of their stored air, not all of it. But, where would you find air hoses at such a small scale. In this instance, I'm talking about 1/25, not 1/8 or something big.

I still want to know what this "T" and "O" thing is that Shane mentioned.

#15 moparmagiclives

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:45 AM

Do a google search for model hydrolics or t and o sliders, it's been aroun for a long time. The air tank and lines are not the issue, because it's not going to be on board unless you spend some big money some where. It's a neat idea, but I think it's too much work for the amount of travel your going to get for the sale of it being "air"

#16 91blaze

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:03 AM

I looked around and found something I could use. Basically I could have a spring inside the air bags like the Mack, then you use floss wound on a motor shaft to collapse the bags. Would that work?

Here's the sight I found. I searched "t and o" but didn't find anything so i searched "model car hydraulics" and found this: http://www.jevries.c...necontroled.htm . Seems to be the best solution.

I could use a small RC car for this so no wires show.

Edited by 91blaze, 22 June 2012 - 10:04 AM.


#17 george 53

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:19 AM

Ask "Mr. 1/16th" Santiago Hernandez. He's built a functioning airbag systen in 1/16th if I'm not mistaken. He's a member here.

#18 Psychographic

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 01:25 PM

But, where would you find air hoses at such a small scale.


Strip the wire from some small gauge insulated wire and you have some tiny airlines.

#19 RobRus

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 01:39 PM

I have given this some thought also since I am working on a 40 ford that is lowered.

The idea I came up with but have not tried is to mold the airbags using silicone. The bags should be hollow with the bulge of the bag being thinner than the rest of the mold. Then I thought of running the lines from the bags to a small tank just as they would in real life.
I would then use a medical syringe connected to the tank to raise or lower the suspension.

Since the volume of air you would need to move the suspension up and down would be very small just the action of pushing the syringe plunger in and out should be enough to activate the suspension.

The problem I can see with this is the suspension (not the bags but the actual suspension) has to work with little or no resistance or the car will not go up or down very well.

After giving it some serious thought I decided not to do because I didn't think the effort would be worth it.

But that is the idea I was thinking of using.

#20 moparmagiclives

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 01:48 PM

I looked around and found something I could use. Basically I could have a spring inside the air bags like the Mack, then you use floss wound on a motor shaft to collapse the bags. Would that work?

Here's the sight I found. I searched "t and o" but didn't find anything so i searched "model car hydraulics" and found this: http://www.jevries.c...necontroled.htm . Seems to be the best solution.

I could use a small RC car for this so no wires show.


I think your on the right track, but for the r/c part. Your going to have to get four seperate speed controls if you want front/back/side action. It's very doable and you can get some very small controls but at 60 to 100 bucks a pop, man thats a pricy shot in the dark. I say run your wires under the car and through a display stand.