Ex-NASA Engineer Shows How to Design a Winning Mousetrap Car
Follow these design principles to create a winning mousetrap powered car design.
Mark Rober makes really good YouTube videos. The ex-NASA Engineer is funny, goofy, but above all, really really smart. In one of his latest videos, he shows you how to make a super mousetrap powered car.
You might remember from high-school learning the principles of basic physics and then making a car like this yourself. Rober shows you how to win the mousetrap challenge as well as carefully explaining the principles behind it.
The underlying principle of mousetrap cars is mechanical advantage. A basic principle that you see in everyday things like pulley systems, ramps, and car jacks.
You use this principle in your mousetrap car, only in reverse. Rober goes and meets one of his friends and mentors Al, who is a high school physics teacher in Texas.
Al currently holds the world's record for the longest mousetrap powered car. Rober quickly learns that to have a winning mousetrap car you need a design that will deliver the smallest force over the longest distance.
Lesson number two is to reduce friction. In the case of mousetrap cars, friction happens where the wheels meet the ground and where the axle meets the car body. These are the two spots that you need to take care of.
Using ball bearings on the axles really improves the car's performance. The final principle you need to address is making your car light - this one is pretty intuitive, just don't make your car too big.
Watch the rest of the video to get the down and dirty on how to precisely apply these principles to get yourself a winning mousetrap design car or just to learn a bit more about the fascinating world of mechanical advantage.
Via: Mark Rober