How to make a Rubber Band powered Car - Air Car
How to Make a Rubber Band Car
Rubber band cars are a fun way to learn about motion, propulsion, and energy. They are also fun to play with and race. Once you know the basics of building a rubber band car, you can experiment with you own design and construction. You can also build a bunch of rubber band cars and race them to find out which one is the best!
Making the Frame
Paint a sturdy, 12-inch (30.48-centimeter) cardboard tube.Pick a tube that's sturdy, like the kind found in rolls of aluminum foil. Paint it using acrylic or tempera paints, then let it dry.
- Consider making the tube look like a race car. Add a stripe, lightning bolt, and number!
- If you aren't good at painting, you can decorate the tube with duct tape or washi tape instead.
Punch two holes at each end of the tube for the axles with a hole puncher.Make sure that the holes are level and straight across from each other. If you are having trouble making them even, wrap a rubber band vertically around the tube, then use the long, straight line as a guide. Be sure to take the rubber band off when you are done!
- Don't poke the holes too close to the ends. About 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) away from each end would be ideal.
Insert the dowels through the holes.Slide the 6-inch (15.24-centimeter) dowel through the first set of holes, and the 9-inch (22.86-centimeter) dowel through the back. The shorter dowel will be the front of your car, and the longer dowel will be the back.
Adjust the holes, if needed.The dowels should be able to spin freely inside the holes. If they don't, take the dowels out and make the holes a little bigger. When you are done, put the dowels back through the holes.
Making the Wheels
Hot glue a 1-inch (2.54-centimeter) wooden spool to the back of each CD.Draw a line of hot glue around the clear, plastic circle at the center of a CD. Quickly press the top of the wooden spool into it. Make sure that it is centered. Repeat this step for the other three CDs.
- You can use old, scratched up CDs or blank ones.
- Hot glue sets up quickly, so work one spool and CD at a time.
Hot glue a button to the front of each CD.The button needs to be big enough to cover the hole in the middle of the CD. Use a standard 2- or 4-hole button, not a shank button with a loop on the end. The button will cover the hole and keep the wheels in place.
- If you can't find any buttons, cut circles out of thin cardboard, and use those instead.
Wrap some rubber bands around the wheels.Slide two rubber bands onto your first wheel so that they make an X shape on the front. Repeat this step for the other three wheels. This will give your wheels some traction.
- The rubber bands should be wrapped tightly around the wheels. You may need to wrap them more than once.
Cut some straws down to make the stoppers.These will go between the wheels and the cardboard tube. Place the wheels onto the ends of the dowels. Make sure that the cardboard tube is centered, then measure the gap between the spool and the cardboard tube. Cut a straw down to fit those measurements. You will need four pieces total.
- Your first/front set of straws should be about 1-inch (2.54-centimeter) long.
- Your second/back set of straws should be about 2¼-inch (5.71-centimeter) long.
- You can use plastic or paper straws. Consider using a color that matches your car.
Add the stoppers between the wheels and the cardboard tube.Take the wheels off of the dowels first. Place the short stoppers onto the short dowel, and the long stoppers onto the long dowel. Place the wheels back onto the dowels and test the fit. If the stoppers are too long, take everything off and trim them down again.
Attach the wheels.Once you are happy with the fit, take the wheels off and add a drop of white craft glue into each spool. Place the wheels back onto the axles, and let the glue dry.
- The wheels should fit snugly onto the axles. If they are too loose, wrap some masking tape around the end of the dowel to thicken it.
Adding the Rubber Bands
Make a rubber band chain using 3 to 4 rubber bands.Slide a rubber band halfway through another. Pull the end of the rubber band back through the loop. Tug on it gently to make a slipknot. Repeat this step until your chain is about 3 to 4 rubber bands long. You want the chain to be about the same length as your cardboard tube.
Loop the chain around the front axle in a slipknot.Tuck the end of your chain behind the axle so that it sticks out by about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters). Pull the rest of your chain through that loop. Gently tug on it to tighten the slipknot.
Attach a paper clip to the other end of the rubber band chain.It does not matter if the chain is hooks around the smaller or larger loop on the paper clip.
Feed the chain through the tube and adjust the length, if necessary.Drop the paper clip down the tube. Grab it with your fingers, then pull it out the other end. The rubber band chain should be about the same length as the cardboard tube. If it is too long, you will need to take off one of the rubber bands in the chain.
Attach the chain to the end of the tube with the paper clip.Pull the rubber band chain taut and point the paper clip towards the mouth of the cardboard tube. Slide the paper clip onto the end of the tube.
Use the car.Pull the car back until the rubber band is tight. Let it go and watch it go-go-go!
QuestionDo I have to use rubber bands to make a rubber band chain?TheThinkingPanda ZhaoCommunity AnswerIt would be a good idea, but if you can't, one will work OK. A longer chain will make it go farther though.Thanks!
- If you don't have a cardboard tube, you can use a water bottle instead—simply cut off the bottom and take the cap off.
- If you can't find CDs, you can try using just the wooden spools instead. You can also try using wooden wheels, and sliding them right onto the dowels.
- Experiment between using different types of wheels, taping weights to the front or back of the car, and different lengths of rubber band chains.
- Make several cars and race them with your friends!
- Be careful with the hot glue as it can cause blisters and burns. Consider using a low-temp one over a high-temp one.
- If they dowels are too long, as an adult to help you cut them down.
Video: How to Make a mini Rubber band Car - (Homemade Toy) - Tutorial
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