Sunday Afternoon Project: Building a Mouse Trap Car

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After a horrible couple of months of high humidity and scorching heat, we have finally had our first taste of fall weather and we decided to find something we could do outside, for a change. After thinking about a few projects, we decided on a mouse trap car.

Many of you will recall making a mouse trap car – either as a project in physics class or maybe in another after school group. Mouse trap cars teach elasticity, inertia and automotive propulsion in its simplest form. There are as many ways to build this type of car as you can imagine (here’s one set of plans), with a variety of materials, but the only general requirement is the use of a standard mouse trap as the sole source of propulsion. Schools and clubs often use the mouse trap car as a source of competition, with awards given for speed, distance and accuracy.

Our car cost less than $3 to make, not including some materials that we found around the house (including those clear plastic blanks from a CD spool for wheels). It took just a couple hours to build, including glue drying time. This one worked pretty well, but we’ll have to try some different wheels to see if we can get a straight drive.

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