Baking Soda Powered Toy PVC Car(just a Concept)




About: Maker | Open source ❤ | Engineer

Hello everyone :)

In this instructable I’ll explain how I made Baking Soda Powered Toy PVC Car.This project mainly consist of two parts.

1) A toy car made from PVC.

2) fuel-mixture chamber which generates pressure for the motion of toy car.

Recently I had completed PVC class,and I decided to come up with some PVC based idea. I used neutralization process to power the toy car.

What is neutralization ?

Neutralization is a chemical reaction in which an acid and a base react quantitatively with each other.

I used baking soda and vinegar for neutralization process(for the motion of toy car). If you just browse about baking soda !

Best of all? It’s cheap

Thanks for taking a look! :)

Step 1: Inspiration

One of my favorite quotes from my favorite movie “Spare Parts” is

The first rule of engineering is … never build …anything with real material ..until you build a proof of concept.”

I went through different ideas and I concluded to make a toy car from scratch.Next question was what material I need to use to build it ,I got an idea of making a toy car from PVC and it should run by some other kind of forces.So I reverse engineered the rocket propulsion mechanism (Newton 3rd law) into my toy car .Some action that is needed for the reaction .After a bit of brainstorm I could come with a idea of PVC fuel mixture chamber.The reason behind making a completely PVC used toy was it is cheap ,non corrosive ,structurally it is very strong and main reason is that what I learnt from PVC class that I can do practically.

To make some reaction on the chamber I started to browse on internet and I could find that the reaction between baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (dilute acetic acid)generates carbon dioxide gas. The interesting thing is that I had used the same chemicals for volcanoes at my school level science projects.

Step 2: Materials+Tools


  • ¾ inch diameter PVC pipe
  • 1.5 inch diameter PVC pipe
  • ¾ inch PVC elbow joint-4 pieces
  • ¾ inch PVC T-joint -2 pieces
  • 1.5 inch PVC end cap -1 piece
  • 1.5 inch PVC ball valve -1 piece
  • PVC cement
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Sandal
  • I used steel bars from an old mini drafter as axle (to connect wheels)
  • Zip ties


  • Hack saw blade

Step 3: Model Design

Toy PVC Car:

When determining distance and pipe length of any project.we have to accommodate for the amount of space joint and fitting will take up along the span of pipe we creating .The two main values we need to consider is overall length and insertion depth.

Overall length refers to the total length of joint along one connection axis insertion depth refers to the distance that the pipe will plunge back into the fitting when making your connection.

You can find segment length by the following formula

Segment length=[Desired length-(total length of fitting*no.of fitting)+(insertion depth *no.of fitting ports)]/desired number of segments.

Fuel mixture chamber:

The model design of fuel mixture chamber is given on the above image.

Step 4: Design Into Reality

Toy PVC Car

There is a reason that I converted sandal into wheel for the PVC toy car.I have fond memories of something called”*ujala –vandi”,when we had spent our summer vacation in our native places.

**vandi means vehicle in Malayalam , ujala is a cloth whitener band .**

It is a very popular home-made toy in the Kerala village house holds.I would like to include a small description of construction of “ujala –vandi”

It is usually made up of ujala bottle with sandal as wheel .A stick is inserted through the neck of the bottle,we hold it and walk/run around.

Feeling nostalgic :)

Construction of axle

To join two wheels I used steel bars from an old mini drafter.

Insert wheels into the PVC chassis:

Make holes on the edges of chassis of PVC made structure.

Fuel mixture chamber :

Fuel mixture chamber final look is given on the above image.

Note:I have added a small description to all photos

Step 5: Baking Soda +Vinegar –what Hppens Inside Chamber!

Baking soda and vinegar react chemically because one is base and the other is acid.Baking soda is a basic compound called sodium bicarbonate.vinegar is a diluted solution that contains acetic acid.

The reaction process

NaHCO3+HC2H3O2 ➡️ NaC2H3O2+H2O+CO2

The carbon dioxide escapes the solution as bubbles.the bubbles are heavier than air,so the carbon dioxide collects at the surface of the container or overflows it.

Some other uses of baking soda :

The carbon dioxide released by thee baking soda and vinegar reaction has other uses besides making a chemical volcano . It can be collected and used as simple chemical fire extinguisher .Because carbon dioxide is heavier than air ,it displaces it.This starves a fire of the oxygen needed for combustion.

Sodium bicarbonate, the “official” term for baking soda, helps regulate pH. If baking soda mixes with either an acid or an alkaline substance it has a neutralizing effect on it. Baking soda is perfect for neutralizing acidic odors and maintaining a neutral pH which is perfect for doing things like boosting your laundry detergent’s power. It also has a gentle abrasive ability to help scrub. In a nutshell, the uses for baking soda are many: It deodorizes, neutralizes, and cleans all without the toxic mess of most commercial products. Ah, yeah.

Step 6: Extending Length of Zip-ties

I used zip ties to connect fuel mixture chamber and PVC toy car .but the normal length was not sufficient to tie it by using 2 zip ties I solved the problem of less in length.

Step 7: Final Assembly

Step 8: Finally !

Conclusion:The reaction process produce carbon dioxide ,so it generates maximum pressure on the chamber and it tries to come out .The effect of released pressure can make a small movement on the toy car.

Before making above mentioned fuel mixture chamber i tried with some other design of fuel mixture chamber .The design didn't work properly .I would like to add some making images too .

have fun!

Thank you



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    10 Discussions

    Nate Lu

    1 year ago

    Voted for all of your contests. :D This is a great project!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Want a cool trick to pressurize the tank tough going trough the hassle of slamming the lid on? so fill the chamber with vinegar and leave a bit of space. then make a tin foil Boat and fill it with baking powder, manage to make it float on the vinegar so that the vinegar and baking soda dont touch, place the lid on and when ready shake it hard. Voila!

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    I wish car should move but your design has flaw, add small tube on exhaust side, just make baking soda tablets or balls by adding small amount of flour, fill your chassis with vinegar first and quickly add tablets sealed it and hope it will work try it.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    I accept that there is flaw in the fuel mixture chamber.
    Thank you for your suggestions:)


    1 year ago

    i do not see the car movement from your video..
    To make the CO2 burst energy efficiently drive the car, you may want to consider facing the "muffler" at declining angle towards the road.
    Then also put another ball valve in between "vinegar chamber" and "baking soda chamber".
    Only after this valve is opened, the burst reaction will be initiated. (See my sketch below)
    what do you think?

    CO2 vehicle.png
    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    yes you are correct ,the exhaust valve need to be small to produce maximum thrust.In my case you can observe that the the exhaust valve is same size as the remaining part of container.
    really I could not move it due to design faults,I accept that .
    Thanks for your valuable suggestion :)