Altoids Danger Demolition Racer




Altoids Danger Demolition Racer screams 20 feet or more across the floor with rubber band power. Knock down card houses or K'nex robots.

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Step 1: Prep the Can

The Altoids tin is strong and light and makes a good chassis for this air car.

You will need a balsa wood rubber band airplane - the kind with the red propeller is best:
Guillow Sky Streak

You can buy these at most toy shops, hobby shops, discount stores, or drugstores for a dollar or so.

But you probably have a broken one already at home !

Hold the Altoids tin on the airplane's body and mark the tin at the center of the motor hook.

Do this on both ends of the Altoids tin.

Step 2: Punch Holes

Use a standard paper punch.

Punch a hole at each end of the can.

The hole should be centered on the marks you made in the last step.

Step 3: Bend Paper Clips

You will need 4 large wire paper clips like the blue clip in the picture.

Bend all four of them open so they look like the yellow clip in the photo.

Bend two of them so they look like the red clip.

These two red clips will be the front wheel struts.

Step 4: Attach Wheel Struts

Duct tape the two wheel struts to the Altoids tin bottom.

Use beads or plastic bottle caps for wheels (see intro photo).

Milk jug caps work great. Just poke a hole in the center with a small nail or awl.

Bend the wires to hold the wheels in place.

Step 5: New Engine Mount

Now you will make a replacement engine mount. Normally the propeller holder fits on to the end of the airplane body.

If you want to save the airplane stick and not have to cut off a section, you can use a paper clip to hold the propeller in place.

Gently squeeze the small loop on the paper clip with pliers.

This is so the loop will fit in the grooves on the propeller holder.

If your propeller holder does not have notches, you can use a 2 inch piece of the original balsa airplane body, or popsicle sticks, to attach it to the Altoids tin.

Step 6: Attach Prop

Angle the propeller hook through the punched hole in the Altoids tin.

Fit the squeezed paper clip into the grooves on the propeller holder.

Duct tape the propeller holder and paper clip to the bottom of the Altoids can.

Bend the front wheel struts up.

Step 7: Attach Back Strut

Angle the small loop of an open paper clip through the hole in the back of the Altoids tin.

Loop the rubber band through the clip and the propeller hook.

Pull the paper clip back to fit tightly in the hole.

Duct tape the paper clip to the Altoids can.

Bend the paper clip to make the rear wheel strut.

Step 8: Zoom !

Close the lid.

Wind the propeller clockwise as you look at it from the front.

Start with 50 winds.

Hold the Altoids tin on the floor while also holding the propeller.

Let go of the propeller first, once it is whizzing, let go of the tin.

It should go screaming 20 feet or more across the floor.

  • Bend the wheel struts until the beads roll smoothly
  • For bottle cap wheels, use tiny beads as washers
  • Try different size rubber bands
  • Do not use near pets
  • Works best on smooth floors
  • Experiment with a cardboard rudder for curved runs

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    31 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with 007, try bending the wires.

    Are you using beads or wheels, I wonder?

    Beads work well because they do not wobble like a wheel. And if they do not turn evenly, it does not matter, because they slide smoothly

    In fact you can build the propeller-car without any wheels or beads and it will still work on a flat, smooth floor, using the paper clips as skids.


    Very nice! I happened to have a small motor and made a motor-powered car based upon your design.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Does it actually fly? I think it will be to heavy


    10 years ago on Introduction

    ya add the wings that came from the air plane kit. the wings r light weiht and long

    thing 2

    10 years ago on Introduction

    this is cool nice work!!! :-) now go have some coffae (kof-ay) ~D|


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm definitely doing this next time I go pickup some stuff at Walgreens :P


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Easy, simple, new creative twist on old rubber band stuff. I like.


    10 years ago on Step 8

    Wow! Your simple design overcame our biggest challenge, the pull of the rubber band displacing the propeller support. I didn't know about Instructables back when we built our propeller car or we would have done some things differently. Thanks for the posting.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks - your propeller car looks like it works great. Why not build both and race 'em? I use Altoids tins because they are light and strong. And paper clips so I would not have to break my rubber band plane stick.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I'll have to give that a try and post the video results! That is if I haven't used all my Altoids tins for geocaching. v/r Kuhldad


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This looks great! Does it tend to turn to left due to p-factor (greater lift on right down-stroke blade from higher angle of attack)? I guess you could also make it turn by bending it's "landing gear". Thanks for posting. This will make a great Cub Scouts project!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    The P-factor is certainly an issue. But luckily the gyroscopic force of the Cub Scout beads used for wheels tends to overcome it ;)