Homemade designs to build a rubber band-powered car

Written by daniel westlake
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Homemade designs to build a rubber band-powered car
Quality materials and a solid design make all the difference in your rubber band car. (rubberbands image by Richard Seeney from Fotolia.com)

A rubber band car is a great car to play with when constructed correctly. They are easy to power and incredibly fast. These cars can be constructed out of household materials and, of course, strong rubber bands. You can use the creation of this car as an educational project because you can learn and teach how a car operates, as well as observe how these types of materials will hold up while racing. Making multiple rubber band cars is best because they can race against each other.

The body

Cut notches in a 125 by 150 mm (5 by 6 inch) piece of corrugated cardboard. Notches should be 50 mm (2 inches) wide and at least 37 mm (1 1/2 inches) deep. This area is where you will attach your axles. Use shish-kabab skewers you can buy at a grocery store and stick them through the front and back of the body of the cardboard. Both should be an equal distance from the front and back of the cardboard body. Make sure the skewers stick out equally on each side, because this is where you are going to attach the wheels. Make sure the skewers rotate freely. Twist it within the cardboard until it does. In the middle of the axle, wrap a small piece of tape to make a catch for the rubber band. Make sure it is thick enough to catch the rubber band when you can attach it later.

Make the wheels

Wheels will be made from your spare CDs. The skewers should be run through the middle holes in the CDs, with washers on the outsides of them that fit the skewers. Attach these skewers to the washers, using poster putty to join the washer to the outside of the CD and the skewer axle to the CD itself. The wheels and axles should now rotate together smoothly. Do not test this out until the putty on the wheels has dried entirely.

Attach the rubber band

Cut your rubber bands so they are strips. One end of the rubber band should be taped to the front of the cardboard at the front of the car. Make sure the rubber band goes above the front wheel axle so that it does not rub against it while it is moving. The other end of the rubber band should be attached to the tape in the middle of the back axle securely. Turn the back wheels in a counterclockwise direction, which will wrap the excess rubber band strip tight around the back axle. Your rubber band car is now literally wound-up. When it is set on the ground and released, it will shoot forward, propelled by the rubber band's tension. The tauter the rubber band, the faster the car will go.

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