Introduction: Robot Racer

Picture of Robot Racer

Hi, Welcome to my instructable !

In this instructable i will show you how to build a Robot Racer !

The robot racer is a fast, fun, easy-to-build elastic band car.

The car uses recycled tubes, bottle tops and even recycled elastic bands.

If you skim through this instructable and like it, it is entered in the Klutz Competition and i really need your vote !!
Thanks and i hope you enjoy the instructable !

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
Materials :
  • 1 Cardboard tube
  • 1 Elastic band
  • 4 Bottle Tops
  • 1 Kebab/Barbecue skewer

Tools :
  • Craft knife / Scissors
  • Dremel (only if tube is really thick)
  • Glue Gun
  • Ruler

The tube can be a recycled toilet roll tube, my tube originally held a roll of kitchen foil

Post-Men drop elastic bands all the time when their doing their rounds, have a look on the pavement/sidewalk when you next go out

The bottle tops need to be larger than the tube so look on milk bottles or cleaning products !

I got my kebab skewer from my kitchen but any thin rod will do !

Step 2: Cutting the Tube

Picture of Cutting the Tube

The length of your Robot Racer is up to you,

You don't want it to be huge because then it wont go very far !

My tube is 18cm / 7.1 inches long.

Once you have decided on the length of your Robot Racer, mark it out on the tube using a pencil and cut it using either a craft knife or scissors depending on the thickness

Step 3: Drilling the Holes

Picture of Drilling the Holes

Now we are going to drill the holes for the wheel rod (axle) to go through.

If you have a thin tube you can use the rod itself to poke the holes. My tube was quite thick so i had to drill the holes.

If you are going to drill you will need to find a drill bit that is slightly larger (1mm larger is good) than the stick you are going to use.

Making the hole slightly larger means there will be less friction on the rod and the car will go further. !

Use a ruler to make sure the holes are in line.

Step 4: Making the Wheel Rod's (Axle's)

Picture of Making the Wheel Rod's (Axle's)

The rod needs to be long enough to go through the tube and out to the wheels on either side, therefore its length depends on your tube size.

My tube is 3cm wide and my axle's are 8cm.

Measure the rod against your tube, then mark out the length with a pencil and cut

Step 5: Creating a Racer Design

Picture of Creating a Racer Design

If you want the same design as me use the second image below, remember the image is the right size for MY tube, so..

1 measure your cardboard tube
2 open up an image editing program like photoshop or gimp
3 create a new blank image with the same dimensions as a flat version of your tube
4 stretch the image to fit

If you want to be really creative you can create your own design, either cover your tube with white paper and draw your design on, or follow steps 1,2,3 above but then create you own design !

Here are some free image editing programs just incase you don't have one :


Gimp (Mac version)

Hope that's useful it took me ages :P

Once you have your design print it !

Step 6: Adding Racer Design

Picture of Adding Racer Design

We want to add the design before we glue the wheels on and put the axles in.

Now you have printed your design, cover the tube in glue, line up the design and carefully stick it on !

Use your wheel rods to poke through the paper and then insert then into the holes you have made.

Step 7: Preparing the Wheels

Picture of Preparing the Wheels

We need to find the center of our wheels so that we can drill a hole exactly in the middle, if the hole is off-center the car will wiggle about funnily. My bottle-tops had a little lump in the middle so this was easy for me :P.

To find the center of a circular bottle top, have a look at this instructable

Using the same drill-bit as earlier carefully drill a hole in the center of your bottle top.

Step 8: Gluing the Wheels

Picture of Gluing the Wheels
Now the holes are drilled in the bottle tops we can glue them to our car.

I used a glue gun to attach my wheels, you could use any glue but i chose to use a glue gun because its strong, fast and easy !

Now simply plug the wheel rods into the bottle-tops (wheels) and glue, apply a generous quantity of glue to the area around the hole. We want a strong bond so nothing is loose. Repeat this for all for wheels.

Things to remember :
  • make sure all the wheels are facing the right way
  • make sure the rods are actually in the racer, you cant put it in afterwards :P
  • make sure they are straight when they are gluing

Step 9: Rubber Band Mechanism

Picture of Rubber Band Mechanism

Ok, now on to the most complicated part of the instructable !

Basically one end of the rubber band is attached to a fixed rod and the other end is on the rear axle,
when the car is pulled back the elastic band is wound up and then when you let go it zooms off.

Steps for the front, fixed rod;
1 Cut another small section from your skewer, (same size as the height of your tube)
2 Drill a small hole in the front of your car, on the top.
3 Insert the rod into the hole
4 Loop one end of the elastic band around the rod
5 Apply glue to the end of the rod to secure it in place

Steps for the back axle;
1 Use a paper clip with a hook on the end to grab the elastic band
2 Loop the elastic band around the axle
3 Your done !

Step 10: Robot Driver

Picture of Robot Driver

If you want to add a cool Robot head like on my racer, head on over to my paper instructables robot instructable

Once you have made the head use glue to mount it to the racer !

Step 11: Customisation

Picture of Customisation
Ok, congratulations on building your Robot Racer

Now we can have some fun racing it around and customizing !

Here are some ideas :
  • Rubber bands on back wheels for traction
  • Nose cone on the front
  • Streamers on the back
  • Off road tires (notches in the wheels)
  • Different racer designs
  • Different elastic band strengths

Step 12: Thanks !

Picture of Thanks !

Finished !

I hope you enjoyed reading/building my instructable !

If you do make this please please please take a pic and post in the comments


almcgo (author)2009-10-17

please comment cuz i find that most of the comments i leave dont get replied to. ^hurry^ ^please^ ^LOL^

cuz i find most of the comments i leave dont get replied to. ^hurry^ ^please^ ^LOL^

=SMART= (author)almcgo2009-10-18

no you dont have to :)

My computer will not let me watch the video can you guys tell me what the video is about?

ZorahS1 (author)2017-02-09

can i use a paper towel roll

RitamB (author)2016-12-13

nice and too easy...

SepticeyeCaleb (author)2015-12-03

can you use rubber bands

msterrie (author)2014-07-18

Very cute!

ToTheArk408 (author)2014-06-25


Jan_Henrik (author)2014-06-24

So sweet!! :)

ahmed elgawesh (author)2014-01-14

very simple and nice :) ,

but was it body only ??,

if it was complete robot i want to know more about it's content

Goober1250 (author)2013-11-13

Hi tots cool

marsadmarsad (author)2011-07-22

hey it's really good ..... i tried it ....... working well

mmorris5 (author)2011-06-18

it good

premaldesai (author)2011-05-11

I agree, I could not understand the rubberband mechanism as well. It, didnt work for me at all...

sk8r kid 7 (author)2011-04-08

Will you please make a video dont understand.

sk8r kid 7 (author)2011-04-08

I don't understand what you mean at the end part on the rubber band mechanism.Nice video though!

Can someone please explain in DETAIL how to hook the rubber band to the axel, been trying for a while with no luck.

very much appreciate your help!

agarwal (author)2011-04-03

i like your car and now im playing with that so please give some mor ideas to me as im in a project of making a future magnetic car

will0w222 (author)2011-01-25

or you could add a motor lol jk rofl

soggymushrooms (author)2010-11-08

What do you mean by "hook it around the axle"? Plz help!

Michaelgoode (author)2010-10-25

Awesome, would it work if i added 2 or more elastic bands to the drive mechanism

wat. (author)2010-09-08

Good! I liked it!

leo111 (author)2010-09-08

I will try it with my boy

hellking (author)2010-01-10

what is cardboard tube?can you show me?

dudejetfighter (author)hellking2010-07-27

the cardboard tube when you finish a toilet paper roll, or paper towel roll, or gift wrap

Robotech112 (author)2010-01-06

You could also add more wait to the back for better traction

henry0045 (author)2009-09-17

how will this thing work???

itsthatsguy (author)henry00452009-10-07

The rubber band, it works off of elastic energy, when the car is pulled back (or the wheels spun in reverse) The rubber band that was added in step 9 is fixed in plase, the rubber band wraps around the rear axel which causes tension, when the wheel is released (you let it go) the rubebr band pulls backward unwraping the rubber band which causes the wheel to spin.

mehrnaz (author)itsthatsguy2009-10-18

Im still unsure how this works. Is the rubberband tied to the back axle? is it twisted in anyway. Ive just tied the rubberband like a loop around the back axle and the front stick(thats protruding from the body of the vehicle,(and it doesn't seem to work. PLEASE HELP
please be as descriptive as you can in the instructions

M4industries (author)2009-10-18

What camera/editing software do you use? it looks like HD

almcgo (author)2009-10-17

hey do u cut the rubber band bfore u put it on???i will do this instructible as soon as i can.^^cuz^^ ^^its^^ ^^awesome^^ ^^!^

GianniMora (author)2009-09-29

could i use the tubing from paper towels

wilt360 (author)2009-08-25

this really cool im gonna make a lamborghini

DungMachine (author)2009-08-22

this is freaken awesome!!!

OBar (author)2009-08-21

That's a nifty little toy! Maybe even put a model rocket motor in the aft end, use a long screw through the body about 1 1/2" from the end to keep it from just shooting through the body...Just an idea.

DungMachine (author)2009-08-21


DungMachine (author)2009-08-21

this is really really cool. (author)2009-08-12

So simple and so cute...thanx

Heywasup (author)2009-07-10

I made one( not as good as yours) but mine is black with red flames wheels are a bit uneven and im workin on the rubber band part!

arhillbilly (author)2009-07-09

Hi, It would be really helpful to have a good closeup of the rubber band attachment mechanism on the drive axle. Great instructable!

hanjx (author)2009-06-28

i like it (: haha i got d and t project and i need to find three different kind of cars!!! wth -.- but you helped me with one thanks a lot dude (:

playahboy (author)2009-04-19

awww it looked sooo good

=SMART= (author)playahboy2009-04-22

what do you mean "looked" lol

hanjx (author)=SMART=2009-06-28

lol he meant his english is lousy =X lol jkjk

finnrambo (author)2009-05-15

I'm glad you won this thing is FRIGGIN AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

=SMART= (author)finnrambo2009-06-12

Thanks :P

finnrambo (author)=SMART=2009-06-22

a litte bit late I posted like a month ago

Madrias357 (author)2009-05-16

Made one of these for fun, using straws before the dowel rod, and a piece of PVC pipe for the frame. Used soda-bottle caps for the front wheels placed all the way forward, and milk-jug caps for the rear wheels. Though, on mine, the band broke, so I'm trying to get a way to make it work again. I'm thinking Battery time...

Rfinley01 (author)Madrias3572009-05-18

Thats gonna be awesome with batteries, tell me if you do that, Good Luck!

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