There are many approaches to building a mousetrap car. Ultimately the design should reflect
the performance requirements. Students usually take two approaches to designing a car that
is required to travel the greatest distance possible.
Construction Hints and Tips
Other items to consider:
Building a basic mousetrap car:
See materials section for the items you will need. For a first time builder we highly
using ice cream push up axles and cylinders. Ice cream push ups are sold in
grocery stores. Each push up has an axle and one wheel. You will need two axles
and four wheels.
Step 1-Attach two craft sticks to the posterior end of the mousetrap (See pict 1)
Use glue or duct tape to attach the sticks to the mousetrap. The craft sticks make
the body longer allowing the back wheels to be set further away. This permits you to
increase the mechanical advantage by using larger diameter wheels. Make sure there is
a good amount of space between the craft sticks. You will need this space to wind
the string around the axle. Balsa wood or any other light weight wood may be used for
this purpose. If you use balsa wood, you will need to cut a slot to access the axle.|
|Step 2-Tape a soda straw to the anterior end of the mousetrap. The straw should be
wider than the mousetrap. The soda straw acts as a housing in which the axle from
the ice cream
push-up may spin.|
|Step 3-Attach a straw to the end of the craft sticks. Cut away the inside material
between the craft sticks leaving two short straw pieces.|
|Step 4-Extend the lever arm of the mousetrap by attaching a 5-8 inch dowel rod or pencil
to the arm using duct tape.The extension must remain rigid (not bend) after it is taped.|
|Step 5-Attach two of the ice cream push up wheels to larger wheels such as cd's.
Duct tape works well for this. These wheels will be the back or drive wheels of the car.|
|Step 6-Slide an axle through the anterior straw and attach the two small ice cream
push up wheels. Slide another axle through the posterior straws and attach the larger wheels.|
|Step 7-Attach a string from the end of the lever arm. The string should extend just past
the drive axle (posterior axle). The string should not be tied to the axle. If it is, it
will act as a break.|
|Step 8-Hold the string tightly against the drive axle and begin wrapping the string.
This will pull the mousetrap lever arm back. You may need to pull it back as you wind it up.|
|Step 9-Set the car down and release the lever arm.|
Return to Mousetrap Cars.