How to Build a Battery Operated Toy Car

Written by josh turner
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How to Build a Battery Operated Toy Car
Building a toy car offers a way to bond with friends and family. (silver dream 17 image by DMITRY BOKOV from

People have loved and enjoyed toys cars for many decades and there are several different types and designs of toy cars. Building your own battery operated car can be a fun and exciting way to turn a love of cars into a mutual bonding experience with friends or family. In order to build a battery operated car, you will need to combine elements of slot cars, models and construction. By bringing all these elements together, you can build a small battery operated toy car to enjoy alone or in the company of others.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 8-inch by 10-inch piece of Masonite
  • Wood saw or cutting tool
  • Hex wrench
  • Plastic zip ties
  • Electric drill
  • Various drill bits
  • Various hex wrenches
  • Four 1/2-inch wide by 3/5-inch diameter slot car wheels
  • Four 3/32-inch diameter plastic tube clips
  • Two 3/32-inch metal axles
  • Rear end gear and electric car motor set with attachable motor box
  • Small "On/Off" electrical switch
  • 9 volt battery terminal and battery
  • Electrical tape
  • Model or slot car body
  • Black marker
  • Utility knife

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  1. 1

    Choose a car body. You can buy a model or a slot car body at most hobby stores.

    How to Build a Battery Operated Toy Car
    You can use a model or slot car body for the body of the car. (sporty model car image by Ray Kasprzak from
  2. 2

    Set the car body on the Masonite and outline the bottom with a black marker.

  3. 3

    Cut out the outline with a wood saw or cutting tool. Make sure each side of the cutout is 1/16 inch larger than the car body so it can snap on to the Masonite.

  4. 4

    Cut out a 7/10-inch wide by 3/5-inch long rectangle in the Masonite corresponding to each wheel. Mark the centre of the longer (7/10 inch) side on the Masonite; this will be the axle mark.

  5. 5

    Screw the 3/32 inch diameter plastic tube clip into the Masonite so the clip lines up with the centre of the axle mark. Drill pilot holes if necessary. Make sure the clips are directly across from one another in a straight line.

    How to Build a Battery Operated Toy Car
    Use 3/32 inch diameter plastic tube clips to keep the axles in line. (Wire Tacks image by Hedgehog from
  6. 6

    Cut a 1-inch by 1-inch hole between the rear tube clips. Set the rear end gear in the hole between the clips, and pass one 3/32-inch axle through one clip, the rear end gear and the second clip. Adjust the axle leaving 1/8 inch on either side. Tighten the rear end gear with a hex wrench. Pass the other axle through the front clips in the same manner.

  7. 7

    Place the slot car motor in the motor box. Adjust the box and motor so the rear end gear and motor gear connect. Turn the motor post to make sure it will turn the rear end axle easily. Once the gears mesh smoothly, screw the box onto the Masonite. Make sure it matches up with the outline.

    How to Build a Battery Operated Toy Car
    Make sure the motor gear and rear end gear smoothly interlock . (gears image by Stanisa Martinovic from
  8. 8

    Screw the "On/Off" switch into the bottom of the Masonite. Drill a small hole in the bottom, and pull the positive and negative wires through the hole.

    How to Build a Battery Operated Toy Car
    Connect the "On/Off" switch to the bottom of the car. (on/off swiitch image by Chris Roselli from
  9. 9

    Strip 1 inch off the ends of the motor wires with a wire stripper. Splice the positive motor wire to the positive switch wire. Splice the negative wires. Connect the positive battery terminal wire to the splice. Connect the negative wires together in the same manner. Wrap the areas of connection with electrical tape. Make sure the connection point, battery terminal and motor are on top of the Masonite, and the "On/Off" switch is on the bottom.

  10. 10

    Find out how far the wires will reach across the top of the Masonite, and pull back about 2 inches of slack. Mark the new area. Set the 9 volt battery on the mark, and cut a 1/2 inch slit into the Masonite on either side of the battery. Thread the zip tie into one slit around the battery and through the other slit. Pull the zip tie tight holding the battery snug to the Masonite. If the battery still feels loose, attach another zip tie in the same way.

  11. 11

    Turn the "On/Off" switch to the "Off" position. Connect the battery terminal to the battery.

  12. 12

    Attach the wheels and clip the car body onto the Masonite. Paint and customise the body with decals to your preferences.

Tips and warnings

  • You can find pre-built chassis at hobby stores and on the Internet. Wrench and screwdriver sizes will vary depending on the style of hardware you use. It is best to have a variety of sizes when starting the project.
  • Use caution when dealing with power tools. Always wear the proper safety equipment.

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