How to Make a Mousetrap Car Go Fast

Written by sara mcart
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How to Make a Mousetrap Car Go Fast
This simple mousetrap can power your race car. (mousetrap image by Brett Mulcahy from

Building a mousetrap car is a grade school standard, with the final projects pitted against each other in heavy competition. The goal is to power the car using a mousetrap to see how far it will go when the trap is released. Speed is a key factor. There are a few ways to speed up the car to get greater distance.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1/4-inch-thick wooden bars
  • Ball bearings
  • Bearing grease
  • String

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  1. 1

    Remove anything from the car that is not needed to maintain the structural integrity of the vehicle to make the car as light as possible. Do not paint the car or add decals to it.

  2. 2

    Decrease the overall vehicle weight by a using 1/4-inch-thick wooden bars to build the frame instead of a 1/2-inch-thick bars. The car does not have to be very heavy; less weight is always better.

  3. 3

    Install ball bearings between the axle and the wheel. Grease them well. Although this step is more expensive, it will be a powerful step toward increasing the speed of your vehicle.

  4. 4

    Attach the mechanism of the trap to the axle with thin string. When the trap pops, the axle will spin. Build a section of the axle where string connects to power the axle that is significantly thicker than the rest of the axle. This will act like different gears in a transmission. The axle will be significantly thicker than the string.

  5. 5

    Wind the power string of the car string so that the first turn is around the thickest part of the axle and works its way down to the thinnest part of the axle. The "transmission" will also work to prevent wasted energy and make the mousetrap car go faster.

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