How to Build the Fastest Co2 Car

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Racing Co2 emission cars--more colloquially known as C02 dragsters--has been a staple of shop, science, and design classes for decades. Not only does the process give children and teens hands-on experience with the principles of design, aerodynamics and wood working, it's fun and exciting to see your dragster beat out the other contestants in your race.

Things You'll Need

  • C02 Car wedge
  • Two axle rods
  • Four C02 dragster wheels
  • C02 Canister
  • Pencil
  • Paper or sketchpad
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Steel wool
  • Polishing compound
  • Dry powder lubricant

Sketch out a design for your C02 dragster. Remember, the single most important factor in your dragster's speed is the weight of your car. In pure speed terms, the race won't last long enough for aerodynamics to play more than a passing role, so the key to speed is designing a car with as little weight as possible while still keeping enough strength not to shatter under the strain of the C02 propulsion.

Let your C02 block sit out in a warm, dry place for a minimum of a week. Alternately, you may put it in the oven at a very low temperature for a few hours, making sure to check on it every twenty minutes or so. A C02 block is a wedge-shaped piece of wood with a precut hole for a C02 cartridge. Letting it sit draws the moisture out of the wood, therefore reducing its weight without sacrificing the wood's strength.

Draw your car's design onto a C02 car block.

Cut the C02 block to conform to the design you drew on it using a jigsaw. If you have to carve out sections to accomplish this, carefully use a hammer and a chisel for this purpose.

Sand down your dragster until it's smooth all the way around.

Paint your dragster using a high gloss paint. You'll want to put on a minimum of six coats--waiting until each coat is perfectly dry--then lightly sanding it smooth between each coat. Once the final coat is dry, give it an additional coat of sealant such as polyurethane. While only one coat is needed, two to three will make your car shine. Done right, this will give your car a gorgeous finish as well as a slightly reduced wind resistance.

Drill out holes near the front and rear of the car to slip the axles through. You need the axles to spin freely, make sure the drilled hole are slightly larger than the axles, and that you sand down the area around all four holes.

Scrub down the axles using steel wool and polishing compound until they shine. This will make them spin more freely.

Coat your axles with a dry powder lubricant, such as graphite, then insert them into the holes you drilled in your dragster.

Attach the wheels to your axles.

Place the C02 canister into place only immediately before the race. Before that, carry it around in your pocket. Your body heat will warm the canister, putting its contents under greater pressure, which will give your car a greater initial burst of speed.

Pierce the back of the C02 canister with your needle, and watch your dragster soar ahead of the rest.

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