How to Design a Rubber Band Car

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Rubber bands can power a model car.
Rubber bands can power a model car. (Image: Rubber Bands image by MrGreenBug from Fotolia.com)

Making a rubber band car is a science project that teaches about potential and kinetic energy. Using some common household items, you can design a rubber band car that relies on the rubber band as its source of power. This project also teaches about motion and can be used as part of a teaching lesson in both the classroom and at home. The car, once completed, can move at different speeds depending on how much you wind the rubber band.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-inch-by-6-inch piece of corrugated cardboard (cut so the holes from the corrugation are visible along the long edge)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • 1/8-inch-thick wooden skewer
  • Duct or masking tape
  • 2 faucet washers, 1/4-inch
  • 2 CDs
  • Poster putty
  • 1 rubber band
  • Pencils, pens, or markers

Cut out a notch on the 5-inch side of the cardboard. Using a ruler, make sure the notch measures 1.5 inches deep and 2 inches wide. Make marks with a pencil to ensure you cut the right size notch.

Slide the skewer through the cardboard as close to the outer edge as you can so there is an even amount of skewer sticking out on each side. This will be your car's axle.

Wrap a small piece of duct or masking tape around the middle section where your skewer hits the notch. Twist the tape that sticks up to create a catch for your rubber band.

Place a washer in the center of the CD where the hole is. Carefully push the CD and washer onto the axle you made in Step 2. Using poster putty, put the CD, axle and washer together. Make sure to press the parts together tightly to make sure it stays. Repeat the steps for the wheel on the other side.

Secure the rubber band to the opposite end of the axle with tape.

Tape the other end of the rubber band (the non-taped end) and attach it to the catch by wrapping it. Wind the axle a few times. As the rubber band unwinds, you are producing the energy for the car to go. The more you wind the rubber band, the more energy is available for your car's wheels—and the farther and faster your car goes.

Find some flat ground, wind your rubber band and let your car fly.

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