This is my guide on how to build a mousetrap car that is meant to travel long distances. Remember that this is just a guide, so if you have any ideas that you want to try feel free. Overall this cost about $25 and takes 3 to 4 hours to complete, but most of that time is waiting for glue to dry.
Step 1: Materials
Here is the list of items I used to build my car with the quantities in parentheses. These can all be bought at Wal-mart
- 1/4" rubber/faucet washers (4)
- CDs (4) I bought a 5-pack.
- Duct Tape
- Jumbo craft sticks (75-pack)
- Mouse trap (2) I bought a 4-pack
- Straw (1)
- String (Smallest size you can find)
- Super glue
- Wood Glue
- Wooden dowels 3/16" (2) I bought an 8-pack
- (Optional) Small balloons
Using the wood glue; Glue two mouse traps together. The front is where the metal trap is and the back side is the big, red V.
Caution: Mousetraps are dangerous, handle with care.
Glue five craft sticks on the bottom of the mouse traps starting at the back.
Flip back over and glue a craft stick on each side of the mouse trap while leaving the width of one stick on the back side.
Flip back over and glue craft sticks so they line up with the two on the top. Leave ½ to 1 inch hanging over the front.
Cut the top, front stick so only an inch sticks out making it level with the stick below it. Cut a craft stick into fourths and use the ends to fill in the space between the two sticks.
On the back side, Glue the craft sticks so they are three sticks thick while two more sticks are added to the length. Start by placing a stick at the end of the stick already attached to the mouse traps. Then put a stick on top so it over laps both of the sticks below. Add another stick on top the overlaps both below. These steps are numbered in the picture. Repeat this process again to get the required length. Repeat on the other side.
Add Cross sections where necessary to hold the body together. I added two with a V like one at the end. The reason for this is because it would be close to where the axle would be and I didn't want my string to rub against anything. I also put one of my supports on top and bottom while I put the other on bottom. I then glued three sticks together and used that to connect my supports. I used scissors to cut the end of two craft sticks into V shapes and glued those on the bottom of the three stick thick support and to the bottom of the two body sticks.
Cut the sticks in the back so the one that stick out the farthest matches the one below it.
Take a wooden dowel and glue it to a craft stick. Then put duct tape on the back of the stick making sure that it isn't thicker than the metal bar of the trap and attach it to the mouse traps. It may be helpful to use a stick to prop the trap open. If you take off the spring part you will run into the problem of putting it back on after the tape is on.
Cut the straw into fourths. Glue these near the end of the sticks and cut the straw so it doesn't hang over the edge. On the back make sure that the straws line up with the end of the wooden dowel that is attached to the traps. You may also want to put duct tape over the straws for the added strength.
Now we have to put wheels on it. Glue the rubber/faucet washers in the hole on the CD using super glue. Once again it may help to add duct tape on the outside over the washer. If you have a balloon try to fit it around the CD and then but off anything that isn't around the edge of the CD
Take two of the wooden dowels and cut them so they are an inch or two longer than the widest point of the car. Then you can take the dowel and slide it into the washer if it doesn't fit scrape off some of the edge with the scissors as shown. You may want to add a little super glue on the end of the dowel, but if you do remember that once it is on it doesn't come off. I found that the washers grip the dowel well enough to not need the glue.
Slide the open end of the dowel through the two straw pieces and then attach the other CD. Do this to both the front and back.
Take the scissors and make a notch on the end of the dowel for the string to catch on. Cut off the string so it reaches from the back axle to the end of the dowel when it is all the way forward. Tie one end of the string in a slip-knot. Slip the knot over the dowel and tighten it while making sure it is over the notch. Then wrap duct tape around it to keep it in place.
Now everything is built and it's time to test it. Wind the string around the axle while making sure the string overlaps a few times then just turn the axle and it will wind the string the rest of the way. Set it down in a long, open area and let go of the axle and see how far it goes