Introduction: The Incredible Tow Mater

Most of us use cars in our everyday lives, and kids have been known to play with cars and admire them during their toddler age. Disney noticed this and they inevitably made their famous movie that is broadly known as Cars all over the world. As of 2017, there have been 3 movies. Each of them has featured the most widely known tow truck that is loved. His name is Tow Mater, or Mater for short.

Tow Mater meets Lightning McQueen in the first movie and they become instant friends. Although the first movie teaches Lightning McQueen about friendship, the second movie displays the friendship of these two characters.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to make a Tow Mater of your own, and this project is lenient to your materials as most of them are common household objects. Our Tow Mater will include LEDs on the headlights, rear lights and on top of the car. The wheels will also rotate, giving the car the ability to move around just like the actual Tow Mater

Step 1: Materials

5 LEDs (1 orange, 2 yellow and 2 red) Note: If orange can not be obtained, yellow if fine.

4 Wheels, they can be from toy cars or rubber things that are spherical

3 feet of ¼ inch Balsa wood

1mm thick cardboard, you should use around one medium sized box

18 inches of white or yellow string

2 wooden skewers and 2 straws

5 1k resistors

1 foot of ⅛ Balsa wood

A slide switch (SPST - Single Pole Single Throw)

1 battery connector

A roll of Stranded Wire

9 volt battery

Safety Glasses

Soldering iron

Solder tip cleaning sponge

Step 2: Measure and Cut

You will measure individual pieces of cardboard and cut them using an x-acto knife. All the dimensions will be posted below

Name of part Length Width

Skewers 9 cm N/A

Wheels 4 cm 1.5 cm

Straw 6 cm N/A

Fenders (cut as noted in diagram) 11.5 cm 5.5 cm

Bed of truck 11 cm 8cm

Bumper 9 cm 2.5 cm

Bottom of truck (Cut as noted in the diagram) 11.5 cm 9 cm

Top of truck 7 cm 4 cm

Sides of top (Cut diagonally, like a parallelogram) 6 cm 5 cm

Engine hood 5 cm 3 cm

Headlights (Go on top of front portion) 5 cm 1 cm

String 52.5 cm ⅛ inch

Wood 29 cm ¼ inch

Step 3: Glue

  • This front of the car must remain separated from the back of the car

  • Where the top stops, keep that separated from the back half as seen below

  • Glue all the pieces of the front together and do the same for the back

  • Do not connect the front and back

Step 4: Wheels and the Winch

  • Use the straw you previously cut and glue it across the wheel cuts on the bottom
  • Put a skewer through the straw, the wheel will go on the end of this
  • Glue the wheel to the skewer
  • Follow the diagrams below
  • Glue the pieces of wood down following the diagrams
  • Glue the pieces of string to the wood in a fashion that follows the diagrams below

Step 5: Putting Everything Together

  • Put the skewer inside the straw with only one wheel on
  • Next attach the other wheel and glue the skewer so the wheel can move but is still in place

Step 6: Designing the Circuit

  • You will need 5 LEDs and five 1k Ohm resistors in parallel. Make sure the headlights and siren are yellow and the taillights are red
  • Follow the screenshot below to help
  • At first, we tried doing this in series but this hinged on the resistors overlapping
  • However we could not, due to the fact that the resistors were overlapping which can not happen in real life

Step 7: Soldering the Circuit

  • You will use 60/40 stranded wire to solder everything together
  • Make sure nothing comes apart after you are finished, if the wires are not connected then the circuit will not function
  • Finish it off by wrapping electrical tape around all exposed wire to ensure no short circuits
  • Wash your hands after using solder, as it contains led. Be careful about ingesting the smoke and make sure to wear safety goggles

Step 8: Installing the Circuit

  • Put the circuit inside Mater complete with the yellow headlights and siren and red taillights. Cut a hole anywhere on the truck as a hole for the SPST switch.
  • You can put everything in while the two parts of the truck are separated, then you can finalize by putting the switch through a cut hole anywhere on the truck

Step 9: Finishing Touches

  • You should paint the entire body except for a few spots brown
  • Painting the bottom is optional
  • You should use burnt umber and then mix in orange and a tad of white Paint the eyes lime green with a black circle around them
  • Use white on your project as shown below

Step 10: Reflection

Next time we would add more electronic components and special features. For example, we could use a motor for the winch or a 555 timer for the LEDs. If we could change anything we would have painted all parts during the same day so everything was the exact same color.

Step 11: Reflection

We favor the paint-job as well as the eyes and the teeth of our project. The life like features as well as the lights incorporated into this project make our Tow Mater unique. We also purposely made the teeth crocked and jagged, because Tow Mater has this realistically. Tow Mater also has the winch as well was the eyes which are a mix of green, black and white.