mousetrap car and vehicle propulsion theory

mousetrap cars

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Here are some good ideas to get you started from the Masters


Making a Big Wheel

bigwheel

Here two students are making a big wheel for a record setting distance mousetrap car. The bigger the drive wheels the greater the travel distance! This wheel is made from foam board that can be purchased from a local craft store. Making the wheel is "TRICKY" not to mention DANGEROUS! First the circle is drawn on the foam board with a compass. Second, the wheel is ruff cut a close to round as possible. Third, the wheel is mounted onto a bolt with large washers for support. Next, the wheel is turned with the drill held tight by a vise or another person. Carefully, a sharp knife is bumped against the edge of the spinning wheel. The razor blade is bummed on the side of the wheel that is spinning down away from the knife. Use a SMALL pressure and angle the blade down or into the work. This will round the wheel. Lastly, the wheel is touched with sandpaper.


Decreasing Rotational Inertia

wheels

Here, a student is removing mass from the inside of a CD that will be used as a wheel for a mousetrap car. By decreasing the rotational inertial of your mouse trap car's wheels, your vehicle will be able to accelerate at a greater rate. This student is actual making this wheel for a long distance car. The less rotational inertia in the wheels the smaller the pulling force that will be required to move the vehicle; therefore, the vehicle can have a longer lever arm which will translates into more string around the axle and a longer pulling distance.


Getting Compact Disk to Fit a small Axle

spacers

CDs make great wheels for mousetrap vehicles but the problem is finding a way to attach the CD to an axle. Here a ¼ L sink washer is fit into the wheel and a brass axle is pressed into the washer. The sink washer can be purchased from a local hardware store or ordered from Doc Fizzix.


Getting Better Traction

The designer of this mousetrap car had a unique approach for increasing traction. A balloon was cut such that the top and bottom were removed. Then the balloon was stretched over the mouse trap car's drive wheels. You can also try gluing rubber bands on to the wheel in order to increase traction.


Adjustable Steering

Steering is by far the most difficult problem that students have with their mousetrap car. Here a student made an adjustable front wheel. By turning the screw on the top of their mouse trap car's frame, the front wheel can be repositioned into any direction. Once the correct alignment is found the screw is tightened and off you go, (STRAIGHT). This idea can also applied to a pair of rear wheels mounted on a big wheeled project.

 

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