Today we will be building a mouse trap powered car. If you are not familiar with them or have never even heard of one which you probably did not yet until now. It is basically a cardboard or any light solid material cutout that has 2 sets of wheels but it is relying on a mouse trap yes you heard it right a mouse trap to power our car. Though this may seem simple there is a lot more to it than that you have to think carefully what shape the cardboard is going to be to provide the lowest weight possible, how are your wheels going to spin, etc. This is a fun project to do if you want to venture into potential energy or to put it more simple spring/elastic force and how it can power stuff.
Step 1: Materials and Equipment
For this project you will need certain tools and adult supervision. You will need a box cutter to do a good lot of cutting. A hot glue gun it says it in the name a glue gun. Some pliers to cut things. A drill so you can drill holes into your things. Scissors so you can cut certain things. X-acto pens optional; to do accurate cuts. Zip-ties: to hold you stick to your mouse trap. A mousetrap to power the car. Corks to put at the wheels. 4 CDs to act as the wheels. Dowel and skewer sticks to make your car. A cardboard to make your car base. Duct tape.
Step 2: Choosing Your Cutout
My cutout for my base had a goal of being very light weight. For this you will need to use the box cutter. You should start with a plain medium about 11 x 20 inches which is what I have done. This was not my final cutout though I just did this so I could do everything I needed to and have enough space. After I wa fully done I cutout the box into the shape I had predetermined for it. You will tell that they look very different from start to end.
Step 3: Adding the Back Axle Holder
For this step I had a very different way of putting my back axle for my wheels though turned out to be more effective. First grab your dowel stick and place it at the back of the cardboard, then put a popsicle stick on each side and have the stick in between but leave a little more extra space so the stick can rotate smother. I had to place two sticks on each side of the stick. Then I took it out of place and glued the popsicle sticks that I had placed on the sides to the cardboard. Since the stick would get out of place, I placed another set of popsicle stick on top of the previous and glued them with the hot glue gun.Then I afterwards cut a stick in half with my pliers and put it across both of the popsicle stick but on top though MAKE SURE TO ONLY GLUE ONE SIDE TO ONE OF THE POPSICLE STICKS OR ELSE YOUR AXLE WILL NOT SPIN.
Step 4: Making Your Front Axle Holder
For this we will need to extend outwards with two dowel sticks. You will place one on each side of the cardboard and glue them there. One skewer stick in the center as well , Then to make your front axle, you need two place and glue two popsicle sticks on each side of the end of each dowel. As well as for the skewer. Afterwards just get 3 popsicle sticks and cut them in half with your pliers. Then you will glue them one by one in stacks under the full sized popsicle stick that you previously glued to the DOWEL STICKS ONLY. Do this for each side. Then get another 3 sticks and once again cut them in half. But this time you will place 3 halfs right next to each other and glue them together To the dowel sticks ONLY. (x2). This will create like a little raft. This time you need to place the raft horizontally and glue it (x2). The. You will place and glue a popsicle stick across the middle holding both little rafts together as well as the popsicle stick under the skewer. The front axle will be made with a skewer stick. Get a straw and cut it in half. Flip your car upside down and place and glue one half on each little raft.
Step 5: Preparing Your Mouse Trap
For this you will need to have one skewer stick and cut it in half and then tape it together. Also need to take out the hooks and the bait holder on the actual mouse trap with some pliers. NOT the ones that hold the strings down. After you’ve taped both half get a dowel stick and place it on top of the skewers. But make sure to place it at half ways. This addition of a dowel stick is so the string can go back more and so the car can have more power. Put your mouse trap straight. After you have your completed stick place it on the right side of the mousetrap rod and get some zip ties and zip tie it to the rod. After place some additional glue around the zip ties. Then with your scissors ( still don’t know why it’s isn’t easier than with pliers) cut the left over plastic on the zip ties all the way down. After you’ve done preparing you’re mousetrap glue it on the center of your cardboard.
Step 6: Making Your Wheels and Axles
For this you will need adult supervision this is if you are not one. You will grab 2 corks and evenly cut them in half with a box cutter. The we will use our drill to drill a hole halfway into our cork half’s. For the back axle we will be using the thicker dowel stick which means you have to ring the one drill that is the right size. For the front axle we will be using a skewer stick so you will need a thinner smaller drill. 2 half’s will have the bigger dowel hole and the remaining 2 will have the smaller skewer holes. Then you will grab 4 CDs and glue a cork to the outside of one (x4). After you have your CDs and corks glued you will put one dowel “wheel” onto the dowel stick and glue the around the outside of the hole. Then pass the stick thru the axle holder and insert the other wheel and glue it as well. You will do this for the front axle just that it has the smaller skewer stick.
Step 7: Adding Your Hook to the Front Axle
You will grab a piece of the hook you took off the mouse trap and shape it into a hook with some pliers. Afterwards glue it onto the middle of the front axle.
Step 8: Adding Your Sting
Yo will grab a pice of string that is long enough to go from the end of the stick on your mousetrap to the hook. After you will tie up a little circle at the end on the side that is going onto the hook. The other side shall be tied around the end of the stick hot glued and the duct taped around to prevent tension from the string coming off.
Step 9: Cutting Out the Extra Unoccupied Space on You Cardboard
Try to cut out as much cardboard with out damaging the car frame. This is too keep the car as light as possible.
Step 10: Decorating
I used orange duct tape to decorate my car all around. If you are going to decorate then try not to do to much so you can keep the weight low.
Step 11: Conclusion
So you probably now what a mousetrap powered car is by now I suppose. It requires a lot more than the simplicity that is in its name. This was a very fun project to make. And very long Instructable to write. Overall I was very satisfied with my results in speed and distance with my car and I felt happy about that. This project had a lot of critical thinking to make and messed up several times but did the best to explain it to you. I hoped this helped you construct your mouse trap car. Have fun with your car.