I’ve been wrenching on my Traxxas Rustler a lot more lately. I’d much rather be out bashing than working on the car, but I found one thing that helped make it easier.
It’s an upgrade to my workbench.
Recently, I picked up a magnetic pit mat from CowRC, and I love it. So I wanted to review it and share my thoughts on why I think it’s an essential part of your RC workbench.
CowRC Magnetic Pit Mat: Overview
I ordered the large screw catcher work mat. Since my cars are all 1/10 scale, I wanted something big enough to work on the entire car but not so big that it would dominate my workbench.
I’ve got a 4′ Gladiator workbench that’s 25″ deep, so I wanted something that wouldn’t take up the entire width of the bench. I also wanted a pit mat that left me space on either side for my tools or cleaning bottles without needing to put them on the mat itself.
CowRC makes their pit mats in four different sizes:
- Micro: 9″ x 12″
- Mini: 12″ x 18″
- Standard: 19″ x 24″
- Jumbo: 24″ x 30″
Their online store is a little confusing because they name the mat sizes differently. The Jumbo is actually an XL, the Standard is actually a Large, etc.
That aside, the Large Pit Mat is the perfect size for both my workbench and my 1/10 scale Rustler. The car fits inside perfectly, with enough room for the magnets to catch any screws that accidentally drop while I’m working.
Magnetic Vinyl Surface
It didn’t take long for the magnets to do their thing. As I was taking the tires off, one of the wheel caps slipped out. It bounced once and was immediately caught by the magnet, potentially saving me from hunting around on my garage floor.
Unfortunately, the white vinyl background shows every little piece of dust, dirt, and bits of grass that drop off the car.
It’s not a huge deal. This is a workbench, not a showroom, after all. However, I see this being a struggle to keep clean in the future.
CowRC says their pit mat is covered in “exclusive, stain-resistant white vinyl.” They recommend wiping it down with soap and water after each use, but a mild, vinyl-safe cleaning solution would also be OK from time to time.
However, certain things will stain the vinyl, so be careful when using Loctite or tires with traction additives. Finally, the surface is prone to scratches, so never cut anything on the mat’s surface, and gently clean up any carbon fiber dust and shavings.
My magnetic pit mat is surrounded by thin foam pads, although you can get the mats without them. I like the foam because it keeps everything on the mat’s surface and won’t let screws or small parts slide off.
The foam has several configurable pockets that act as their own small storage compartments. You can use as many or as little as you like.
I opened up the two large outer ones on my pit mat, which is more than enough space for any project I’ve done so far. I also removed half of the ones in the middle to make a cool little design, but that’s more for looks than function.
The foam is 1/4″ thick, and that’s thin enough to not be in your way but thick enough to stop any smaller screws from sliding around or bouncing out. It feels like good quality dense foam, so I expect it to last for a while.
The mat is heavier than I thought it would be, which gives it added stability when you’re working, so it doesn’t slide around.
Is the CowRC Magnetic Pit Mat Worth It?
The CowRC magnetic pit mat is about $20 more expensive than the Traxxas pit mat, and about double the price of the generic pit mats you’ll find at most hobby stores.
So is it worth it?
Until recently, I never thought I’d need a pit mat. I’m fortunate enough to have a dedicated workbench that I can leave permanently set up for my RC cars.
But I changed my mind when I had a couple of small upgrade projects going simultaneously.
As much as I tried to keep things separate and organized, stuff got misplaced. So the CowRC’s dedicated compartments really appealed to me.
The magnets are a huge plus and the biggest selling point for this mat. Sure, regular mats may be cheaper, but they won’t save you from hunting for the screw you dropped behind your cabinets.
Overall, I love the CowRC magnetic pit mat. It’s something I never thought I’d need, but I’m so glad that I have.