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Moustrap Car Racing

It’s one month later and time to test our designs.

My eldest had the idea to let the cars ‘fight’ and I suggested mounting a wedge-shape onto the front of it to knock other cars over (I used to watch BattleBots) but alas, we didn’t devote enough time to this project during the month and now there is no time.

2-mousetrap prototypes under construction

Somehow adding a second mousetrap failed to result in the higher level of performance I was expecting from our mousetrap cars.  When raced most of them didn’t move at all.  In some cases I could point to obvious problems: too much friction on the wheels, mousetrap not securely fastened.  But my prototype which was just the original, working model with a new mousetrap added, also didn’t move.  Clearly more research is needed.

Here are some photos of the lineup.  No video because I can’t edit the children’s faces out of them.

Starting Lineup

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Mousetrap cars

I lead a 4-H club that is mostly devoted to hiking, kayaking and general outdoorsy stuff, but we sometime dabble in some kid-size engineering projects. In the past we’ve built pop-pop boats and a pumpkin-hurling trebuchet. This week I built a prototype mousetrap car.  The kids tested and critiqued the design and will have a month to build their own version and race them when we meet again.

I’ll get some video of the race next month.  I was able to get the still shot on the right because my duct tape construction method was failing and so the boom arm was no longer exerting enough force to move the rear wheels.

Back in 2002 I was backing up my computer to CD – this seems like a good use for that stack of old backups.