How to Make a Coffee Can Racer

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Recycled coffee can racers are based on a simple wheel-and-axle design. Moreover, the items needed to make them are easily found in most homes. Once built, a coffee can racer acts like a wind-up car. Children and adults alike can spend an exciting afternoon together constructing and racing these neat contraptions.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee can
  • Can opener
  • 2 plastic coffee can lids
  • Nail
  • Rubber band
  • Large paper clip
  • Tape
  • Bead
  • Pencil
  • Remove the bottom portion of the coffee can with a can opener.

  • Punch a hole into the middle of each of the plastic lids with the nail.

  • Hook a large paper clip onto the rubber band.

  • Push the rubber band through the hole on one of the coffee can lids. Keep the paper clip attached to the rubber band on the outside of the lid.

  • Tape the paper clip flat onto the lid to keep it from pulling through the hole.

  • Place the lid on one end of the coffee can.

  • Pull the rubber band through the coffee can and through the hole of the other lid. Set this second lid in place on the coffee can.

  • Push the rubber band through the hole in a bead. Slide the bead down the rubber band so it sits against the lid.

  • Pass a pencil through the loop in the rubber band on the opposite side of the bead.

  • Adjust the pencil so it sits centered against the bead. The pencil should be shorter in diameter than the coffee can lid.

  • Twist the pencil around the lid to wind the rubber band inside.

  • Set the coffee can on a flat surface, and release the pencil to send it rolling.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint your coffee can racer in your favorite color. Acrylic paints usually work best on metal. Add a racing number or a unique logo that represents you. Create distinctive designs, draw pictures or add stickers.
  • Create heats with your friends based on both distance and speed. Try racing on different surfaces, indoor and outdoor, or uphill. Create a coffee can trophy for the best overall racer.

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References

  • Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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