Rubberband Car Project


Rubberband Car1

In 2010, at 47 years of age and a moment of insanity according to my wife, I enrolled in the Batchelor of Engineering Technology degree at the Wellington Institute of Technology. A part of this course was design and drawing.

One of the projects we undertook for this course was to design and construct a rubberband car. The project was a lot of fun (yes, even at 47). The objective of this project was to learn various design and drawing principles by actually designing and constructing a rubberband powered car.

We were free to come up with our own designs subject to four contraints: one relating to dimensions, the second relating to performance, the third relating to payload and the fourth relating to standards. The car was not to exceed an overall width of 150mm and wheelbase of 300mm. With regards to performance, the car had to be able to complete the following course.

car performance course

The lead up to the incline was 1 meter, the incline was 1 meter and the follow on was 4 meters. The third constraint was that the vehicle had to be able to carry a payload of 150g being the approximate weight of the accelerometer we were going to use to collect data. The final constraint was that our design and our process had to meet ISO9001 quality standards.

I was pretty impressed with the variety of designs and models people in the class came up with.In my case, I decided to make this model for my two year old nephew. This gave me a real purpose for undertaking this project and helped to narrow down my design options. As such, this meant that I had some additional constraints to consider:

  • No small pieces.
  • No toxic elements.
  • Rubberband(s) needs to be contained to prevent injury in case it breaks.
  • Must be able to be pulled apart and put back together again; activity focused.
  • An adult must be able to replace the rubberband(s) easily.
  • Must be capable of handling knocks.
  • If the axel is to rotate, it should not be exposed.
  • No sharp corners or edges.
  • Must be colourful.
  • Able to be handled by small hands.
  • Able to be wound up by small hands.

Continue to The Design Process

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