Introduction: Propeller-Powered Car

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

Please message me to report broken links. All of these materials are used in my other Instructables for kids, so your purchases can be used across multiple projects.


Propellers with plastic mount
Wheels
Straws
1/8" dowel
Craft sticks
Craft cubes
Long rubber bands
Paperclips
Masking tape
Hot glue gun with safety nozzle

Hot glue sticks

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!

Comments

zeeshan012 made it! (author)2016-05-17

what is this thing in the red spot? I can't find it any where. And u also don't mention in the material list. Plz tell me ...

LanceMakes (author)zeeshan0122017-09-04

It's not a separate piece, it's part of the pre-assembled propeller. There's a link for the propeller on the materials page.

kswagg99 (author)zeeshan0122016-11-30

they are called eye hooks

JeffH222 (author)zeeshan0122016-11-14

LOOKS LIKE A SIMPLE EYE HOOK TO ME. QUITE CHEAP AND CAN BE PICKED UP AT WALMART OR HARDWARE STORES IN VARIOUS SIZES. THOUGH I THINK ONE COULD USE A PAPER-CLIP FOR ITS FUNCTION IN THE BUILD THOUGH

zeeshan012 (author)2016-05-17

yes i made it but without that thing..

jazo65 (author)zeeshan0122017-09-02

Hi. What did you use instead of the eye hook? Thanks

Jakob8866 (author)2016-08-11

ughhhh

T0BY (author)2016-01-06

Great idea!

olgamawougbe (author)2015-09-16

What is the size of the craft cubes used? Thanks!

LanceMakes (author)olgamawougbe2015-09-16

The materials list is updated with a link to the correct craft cube size

olgamawougbe (author)LanceMakes2015-09-16

Thank you - looking forward to trying this project with fourth graders as part of a module on Variables.

ecoexplorers (author)2015-08-25

You are awesome! I LOVE your instructables and can't wait to try some of these out with my 4th graders!

PranayC (author)2015-01-05

Please answer me . I have to make it fast

PranayC (author)2015-01-03

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

christine.hess.52 (author)2014-12-20

Greetings,

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?

Thanks

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

jeff.smith (author)2014-06-06

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

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm a writer, maker, and educator who's on a mission to better the world through hands-on engineering projects. Pledge on Patreon.com/LanceMakes
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