How to Make a Rubberband Powered Car for Physics

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A rubber band car is simple to make, and it's a great way to see how energy can be stored and converted from one form to another. You can build a fully functioning rubber band car with a few common items that you probably already have around your home. It's a safe and simple project that is perfect for kids of all ages.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 compact discs
  • 5 by 6 inch piece of corrugated cardboard
  • 2 faucet washers
  • Poster putty
  • Rubber bands of various lengths and widths
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Wooden skewer (thinnest available)
  • Cut a 5-by-6-inch piece of cardboard along its corrugations to make a centered notch that is 2 inches wide and 1 3/4 inches deep on one of the 5-inch sides. This will serve as the rear of the vehicle.

  • Wiggle a wooden skewer through the cardboard where the notch was cut. Keep the skewer close to the edge, and make sure that equal lengths are sticking out of each side of the vehicle. This will function as your vehicle's axle.

  • Wrap a small piece of tape around the middle of the axle at the point where it cuts across the center of the notch to create a catch for a rubber band.

  • Place a washer in the center hole of one of a CD and slide them both onto one end of the wooden skewer. Use poster putty to secure the washer, CD and wooden skewer together tightly. The CD should rotate with the skewer; it will function as your vehicle's wheel. Repeat this step for the second CD to complete wheel construction.

  • Tape down one end of the rubber band to the top of the car, opposite the side that has the axle.

  • Wrap the unattached end of the rubber band around the catch that was placed on the axle in Step 3. Turn the axle in a reverse motion until the tension on the band is at its maximum level without breaking.

  • Place your vehicle on a flat surface and release the axle when you are ready to propel your car.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't use one of your favorite CDs. It probably won't be playable after you use it for this project.

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References

  • Photo Credit elastici image by Max Ferrero from Fotolia.com
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