Instructables
Recently in Physical Science, we were assigned to construct a mousetrap-powered car.  After a great deal of research, I had a basic idea of what I wanted to make.  The end result is what you see.  This mouse trap car is more for speed than for distance, although it's performance seems to be between the two.  It goes a decent distance, and it travels at a decent speed.  While being lightweight, This car is also quite sturdy.  It's fairly easy to make, so give it a shot if you're interested!
 
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Step 1: Materials

There are a few specific items that you'll need for this project, but you can probably use similar items if you aren't able to find balsa wood, copper tubing, etc. in the sizes that I used.  So, here's what you'll need for the project:

* 1 Victor mousetrap
* 1 pool noodle (try to get one with an inner hole that has a small diameter)
* 1 long piece of balsa wood (You will need two 8" lengths of this balsa wood.  I cut mine from one piece of balsa wood that was 1/4" thick and 1" wide)
* slender copper tubing (the diameter of mine was 5/32", but you can use a close size)
* 4 small screw nuts (these must fit over your copper tubing, ideally as close a fit as possible)
* 1 wing nut (like the others, this nut must also fit over your copper tubing)
* JB-Weld
* wood glue
* electrical tape
* string, yarn, twine, etc. (just make sure you can tie it and that it can wind easily)
* (optional) corner braces or similar item (as many as needed--I used two)

Tools:
* a pair of pliers
* hacksaw or knife (to cut pool noodle with)
* (optional) miter box (for clean, square cuts when you cut the pool noodle)
* pipe cutters or something else to cut copper tubing
BrightW3 days ago

where did you buy all the supplies from? Trying to make this for my project! That's in 2 weeks

pianoplayer457 months ago

How long did it take you to make this car?

geek27 (author)  pianoplayer457 months ago

Since I made this years ago, I can't remember now how long it took! But, if I were to estimate, I'd say you could probably make this in a couple hours' time if you had the materials and the instructions (of course, you would need to wait for the glue to dry, though)

max20018 months ago

Really well done! This is the best design I've found so far. My son has to make one for a D&T project and we're going to try your design. I'll let you know how it goes!!!

bergiemoore2 years ago
That's a LOT of electrical tape (not to mention time.) Do you think putting a wade of hot glue there and attaching the wheels would work? Or paper that was glued? I haven't made your car, so I'm asking if you think something else than e.t would work.
geek27 (author)  bergiemoore2 years ago
I wouldn't think that hot glue would work very well--you'd probably make quite a mess, you'd be rushing to glob on all the hot glue, and once you stick the wheel on, it probably won't be centered with the axle. That means that when you finish all four, the wheels will be crooked on the axles and your car won't work as well.

Paper might work if you make sure that it's glued to the axle well. Really, the point of using electrical tape is to build up the diameter of the axle so that the wheels fit snugly. Electrical tape is convenient because is will probably never come off your axle unless you peel at the end of it. Using paper would bulk up the diameter of the axle evenly, but it might be harder if you work with glue instead of using electrical tape.

So, unless using electrical tape is too expensive, that's what I would recommend. I don't remember using too much electrical tape when I did this project--certainly not an entire roll. It might look like more than it really is, since the diameter of the axle is quite small compared to the diameter of the roll that the tape comes on.
tornagen2 years ago
great idea!
penglish12 years ago
Can you list all the materials that i need because im going to the store Monday thanks!
geek27 (author)  penglish12 years ago
At first, I was going to ask you to check my step that lists the materials, then I looked at it, and the horror sunk in--

I have no idea when this happened!  Apparently, I deleted all of the text that I wrote for steps 1, 3, and 5.  Now, I'm not sure if I'll be able to rewrite these or if I'll be able to get back to you quickly, because I'm really, very busy this weekend.  But, I'll try--thanks for pointing it out!
Madrias3574 years ago
Mousetrap cars are fun!  I remember doing this for our Physical Science class, along with Newton's Third Law of Motion a week later with rubber band powered fan cars.

The only problem was our class was very immature and took instead to leaving the mousetraps (our last step of installing) in people's chairs or on desks so we'd snap ourselves with them.
geek27 (author)  Madrias3574 years ago
Ah, thanks for being the first one to comment!  Of course, that happened in our class too.  People would plant mousetraps under other people's binders.  I suppose it is to be expected though... fun anyways!
I was the first to get my hand stuck in one.
ow...
can you please help me with a mouse trap car with skateboard wheels i don't know how to move it and its due on friday please reply by tommorow THANKS!
geek27 (author)  braneyy3 years ago
Sorry, I usually try to reply to my messages quickly, but I just got home from vacation, and I didn't have access to a computer for the past week.

This car was built to be pretty light. The body's made out of balsa wood, and the wheels are made out of foam pool noodle. I haven't held a skateboard wheel all on its own, but I imagine that it's pretty heavy, or at least considerably heavier than foam noodle. The mousetrap might not have had enough power to move the heavier skateboard wheels.

Sorry I couldn't get back sooner!
Is fast this car?
geek27 (author)  peaceandlove3 years ago
Well, I'm having a hard time comparing my mousetrap car's speed to the speeds of other mousetrap cars since I did this project (and researched other mousetrap cars) a little more than a year ago. I wrote to another user:

"But, I could give you an estimate of how far it traveled. The goal of the school project was that the mousetrap cars travel at least ten feet. I know that my car went ten feet easily, and consistently. However, it didn't go much farther. I would estimate that the maximum distance it went would be around 15-20 feet."

So, obviously, the mousetrap car didn't really travel that far.  I don't think that it necessarily slowed down a lot either, so I'm pretty sure that it didn't get going that fast.  I had meant for it to accelerate fairly quickly (as opposed to making it go a great distance), and I think that it went decently fast.  It is a bit faster than all of those "distance" mousetrap cars, though.
This car is not a car for a poor persona
geek27 (author)  aliceisavamp3 years ago
I'm going to guess that what you just said is a compliment and say, "HECK NO IT AIN'T FOR A POOR PERSONA!"
bye bye bye
How far did your mouse trap car travel????
geek27 (author)  Bashful Brunette3 years ago
Unfortunately, I never got to measure that. I was planning on it, but I ended up turning my car in (it was for a school project) and never getting it back...

But, I could give you an estimate of how far it traveled.  The goal of the school project was that the mousetrap cars travel at least ten feet.  I know that my car went ten feet easily, and consistently.  However, it didn't go much farther.  I would estimate that the maximum distance it went would be around 15-20 feet.

That distance really isn't all that impressive compared to many mousetrap cars you can find on the internet, but it got the job done, which was to go only 10 feet.