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Mousetrap Racer Essay
“The objective of this contest is to design and build a vehicle which will travel as far as possible along a track. Apart from incidental gravitational energy, the spring energy from a standard mousetrap will be the sole source of power. No other energy source (electric, stretched rubber band, compressed spring, etc.) is permitted
The objective of our car design is based off maneuvering the turn. The body of our car is a circle of 10½ inches in diameter, and has a circumference of 39.97 inches. Our goal if for the car to be angled just right toward the wall of the straight corner. If angled right the car will hit the wall and bounce just enough to leave the wall. We deciding having a bumper would help the car make the turn off the wall. Marshmallows have a soft, memory foam like texture. Exactly what we wanted. For the car to make it past the wall like planned it has to bounce . We decided it needed a bumper that would absorb the energy from the hit, and have enough force to bounce off the wall. It isn’t all up to the bumper. Having the two singly attached wheels with the ability to make a 360 degree turn is just as important. If the car comes in with the force we need for the car to bounce off we plan it will work the same with the wheels. When the car hit’s the wall we want an effect that will trigger the wheels to turn and direct the car away from the wall, and transfer the energy from the hit to help its forward motion along the long stretch to the end point. There for we decided to use marshmallows for the bumper on the car. Also, creating a low amount of friction when in contact with the wall unless it drags unplanned. The marshmallows will be evenly distributed around the car. Installing a thin wire through them and connecting all together. Using glue or some sort of hook to connect the ring representing a bumper around the car.
Our goal is to reduce the amount of friction possible. Starting with the base of our car; a piece of circular ½ in plywood. We decided the more open it was the less heat there would be produced. There would be fluent air circulation, and it would help take some weight off the car. The wheels were a problem. The rear wheels which would be on the ¼ dowel rod or axel are going to either be wooden or regular sized tennis balls. The reasoning for the tennis balls is they are light and have a wide track. When we are considering friction we were thinking both for the good and bad points. The car design we created would need more of a wider wheel to produce enough friction to move; otherwise it would spin out, and wouldn’t go anywhere. Though, it doesn’t produce a high amount of friction it should produce enough to start, and go some where. The solution to not having to much friction to set off the wheels, and not have to much led back to the tennis balls also, either way with the hairy material or not we could make it work. With the circular base we designed a rectangular hole. Then at the ends we planned to cut out two circles one at each end. Being a little bigger then the tennis balls so they could come up through the base so quarter of the bal would be visual from the top view. This limit’s the amount of friction by both air movement, and free moving space for the axel. Both limiting the amount of heat produced while the wheels, and axel are in motion. Another way we designed to reduce the amount of friction is with the bumper. When in contact with the wall our marshmallow bumpers would absorb the energy, and cushion the nock from the wall back to the straight stretch to the end point. With there squishy, memory foam like texture they would produce a very low amount of friction (unless it was to drag or rub unplanned); versus wood or rubber.
The engine of our car is solemnly off the snap of a general mouse-trap. The mouse-trap will be located in the front of our car. By extending the lever with an 8½ in extension it gives us the power to create a simple machine. At the end of the extended lever arm there will be a 1 inch metal loop attached. This loop holds the fishing line. First, on the axel there will be a small thread spool glued in the center with a little hitch to start the fishing line on. Opening the mouse-trap using the extended lever arm we will take the end of the fishing line and tie a small loop. Hooking it onto the small hitch we can then wind it up around the thread spool. Using the thread spool creates more of an effect on the power, and acceleration of the car as the mouse-trap shuts. Pulling the lever arm the axel is forced to spin, and takes off. To rigger this to happen we would use a pencil to represent the mouse walking over the small table. When that happen the mouse-trap begins its snap effect. Unwinding the fishing line from the thread spool sending the car into motion.
By reducing the amount of friction from the wheels and axel, to the bumpers, and body frame we plan to have a good chance of maneuvering the turn, and making it to the end point. Even so, qualifying for Winder. The goal can’t be achieved without trying our best, and thinking through every scenario.
The car design we created has one axel. Using a piece of ¼ dowel rod to connect the two rear wheels. The rear wheels are lightweight tennis balls. Having a low amount of friction, and solving the scenario of having to much friction to move. The regular sized tennis balls are wide, and will have just enough grip to take off when the mouse trap is set off. The way this works comes down to the body of the car. Having a rectangular cut out hole in the rear of the car with two openings on both ends large enough for the wheels to show through a little bit. This gives the wheel room to move freely; also allowing air to move through an open rather then closed in area to prevent heat created from the movement of the wheels, and axel. The front wheels of our car will be singly attached allowing the wheel to freely turn 360 degrees if needed. Hoping for an effect similar to the schooners in gym. Spaced 2½ inches apart, being close enough to correspond with each other when coming off the wall to make the turn. Connecting the axel to the car with an extension off the bottom made of wood. The axel will be seen from the top of the car through the rectangular hole. A McDonalds straw will be placed around the axel. The plastic will decrease the amount of heat produced while the wheels and axel are in motion. The wheels will be underneath the car, not being visible from the top view of the car.
Article posted October 19, 2011 at 07:50 AM •
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