Record Setting MouseTrap Vehicle




For my engineering design class our first project was to design and build a mousetrap vehicle.
-Must travel 35 feet
-Must carry a load of atlest 300 grams
-Can not use rat traps
Race Day Results:
Run 1- 300 grams, 5.6 seconds
Run 2- 300 grams, 5.25 seconds

Run 3- 700 grams, 5.3 seconds  (RECORD)

Run 4- 300 grams, 4.01 seconds  (RECORD)

The 2 records were for two different things. The one from run 3 is for vehicle value, which is the load / time.  The vehicle value we got was 132. It was 40 points over the old record.

The record from run 4, was for speed, our professor said in her 20 years of teaching, she never saw a time below 5 seconds. So on our final run i went for broke, and won.

Step 1: Materials

You can find these materials anywhere or purchase them for a very cheap price.

-light weight wood strips
-5/16" X 5.75"  threaded rod
-1/8" X 5.75"  threaded rod
-2 standard mousetraps
-2 records
-2 CD type lids
-4 1/8" nuts and washers
-6 5/16" nuts and washers
-Metal and plastic zip-ties
-Tiny nails
-Wood Glue
-Fishing Pole
-Fishing Line
-2 5/16" Wing nuts
-1 5/16" square nut
-Duct Tape
-2 1/2" pipe connecter thing
-2 3/8" pipe connecter thing
-Hack Saw
-Electrical Tape
-Adjustable Wrenches

Step 2: Frame

See the picture below. If you have any questions, just ask and ill be glad to help.

Step 3: Axels

First grind the pipe connecter things so they are basically smoooth. Then drill the appropriate size holes in the frame. Then slide them into the holes and glue.

Next just slide the threaded rods into their holes.

For the rear axel, you have to add somethings while sliding the rod in. First add one wing nut then a washer, then the square nut, the second washer followed by the second wing nut.

Then WD-40 the hell out of it.

Step 4: Arm

This step isnt exactly hard but its not easy. Cut a slit in the end of the fishing pole, make sure its slit far enough and wide enough to slide over the mouse trap arms. Then take short skinny strips of duct tape and wrap the pole tightly. Then add both plastic and metal zip-ties.

Then take the fishing line and extend the arm out and make the string about 1-2 inches past the rear axel. Tie a knot around the tip of the fishing pole and then duct tape it.

Step 5: Wheels

Once the axels are all set, slide a nut then a washer followed by the wheel, then washer followed by a nut. make sure these are very tight.

For the records i put electrical tape on the edges so at the start it doesnt spin out.

Step 6: Test

SAFETY GOGGLES! and maybe a helmet..

To wind the string:
-Tie a knot around a small nail, and use a thin piece of duct tape.
-Place the nail into the slots in the washers and turn.

Because of the fishing pole, the arm bends alot, so please be extremely careful.



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    20 Discussions


    3 years ago

    What the max distance that it was able to go.

    Please answer as quick as possible.

    P.S I love you design and layout

    - Marlene


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe i am commenting too late because you have posted it 5 years ago, also here is no comments in last 3 years but i have questions about this project. Your car was almost made to reach high speed. I am going to make this to travel longest distance. Plus, i must use only one mousetrap. Can you give me an advice? :>


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm following your design, (great by the way) but we aren't allowed to use fishing poles, so what would i use instead if speed and less distance was my objective.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I would say, if its allowed, to use a plastic rod, or a bendable wooden rod. You may have to test a few out and see which works best for your situation.

    Dont forget to post how you did? Good luck!


    7 years ago on Step 2

    How did you get this frame? Or how did u build it? I have a physics project due thursday and I bought all the materials listed here but it didnt say anything about the frame in the materials list. Im stressing out about this so could u pleease email me where i could get a frame like this?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    its funny how similar our cars look. i made mine for an engineering project too.


    7 years ago on Step 6

    you say to place the small nail into the slots of the washers, but what slots are you talking about ? i am trying to picture it

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    if you look at the second picture in the materials step, you can see the 2 washers with the notches for the nail

    Krissy Jo

    7 years ago on Introduction

    My teacher is having us build mousetrap cars that have to travel at least 10 meters or about 30 feet. My partner and i have decided to make ours based off of yours, since it is so wonderfully designed. But i am in charge of getting the materials and building the frame. So my question is what size should the records be? Because i know that there are different sizes and that would most likely effect the speed and distance.

    1 reply
    boston09Krissy Jo

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I used the standard 12 inch records. But if you were able to get the smaller records, and use them for the front wheels, that would make it look awesome.

    Good Luck


    7 years ago on Step 5

    you say you used electric tape, correct me if im wrong cos i might be but doesnt electric tap only stick to its self?

    3 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 5

    Yes I did use electrical tape, and it does work. I've actually never heard that electrical tape only sticks to itself. Thanks for posting


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    ahk i must be thinking of something else :P
    i am doing a mouse trap powered car and i am only allowed to yours would go with out any weights on and only one mouse trap?


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Without the fishing rod how do you think your car would work? I have to make one for a physics class but we're only allowed a single mouse trap and nothing else that could add to its potential work.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6

    i think it will, i had to make on in physics too, and it work just fine. let me know how it works out


    9 years ago on Introduction

    thanks, but we asked our professor if we could and she said it was okay to use. And we all knew that it would be an advantage bc we are engineering majors, it was a way to use what we have and bend the rules(no pun intended)