Picture of Propeller-Powered Car

This car can travel up to 40ft on a smooth and flat surface!

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Step 1: Materials

1/8" Bamboo skewers
Craft sticks
Craft cubes
Long rubberbands
Masking tape
Hot glue

Step 2: Make the wheels

Picture of Make the wheels

Step 3: Make the propeller shaft

Step 4: Assemble + launch

Picture of Assemble + launch

Step 5: No-Glue Variation

Picture of No-Glue Variation

The no-glue variation uses the same building system as the Geometric Shapes lesson. The low triangular frame is built by using a normal craft stick and two smaller pieces, each approximately 1/3 the length of a normal craft sticks.

The tip of the propeller is taped, which keeps the metal hook in place and allows the user to wind the propeller counter-clockwise. Winding the propeller counter-clockwise propels the car in the direction of the narrow end of its triangular frame.

Step 6: Tips and troubleshooting

  • Remove any thin strands of dried glue before operating the car. "Hot glue strings" get tangled in the axle or propeller shaft.
  • Make sure the skewers (axles) are straight. These are mass produced and can be severely warped.
  • More rubberbands isn't always better. Too much energy can cause the car to spin wildly out of control.
  • Wide-set wheels are more stable than narrow ones. A narrow car may flip over from the torque generated by the rubber band.
  • The rubberbands may become loose over time. You can breath new life into old bands by unhooking them and tying one end into an overhand knot. Now the remaining band is shorter (and tighter) than before.

Please be sure to take video or photos if you do this project with your class and post it in the comments :)
Have fun teaching!

PranayC7 months ago

Please answer me . I have to make it fast

PranayC7 months ago

Hello,I am living in India so I could not get the material mentioned above specially propellers and wheel .So can you suggest within 2 or 3 days


I am teaching an after school hands-on learning program for grades 5 and 6. Your projects look great for our purpose.

Where do you acquire the propellers, wheels, and other small plastic parts for your models?


WYE_Lance (author)  christine.hess.527 months ago

There is a whole page in this Instructable dedicated to materials, including links to the propellers and wheels.

jeff.smith1 year ago

Another cool project Lance, I can already imagine the competitive fun my classes will have racing these things across the school gym. Huge thanks!

lilchumy1 year ago
Really cool please check out my instructable on how to make a compact rubber band motor.