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How Mousetrap-powered Cars Work

        Auto | Unusual Cars

Building a Mousetrap-powered Car
Assorted mousetrap cars used for the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME) Olympiad
Assorted mousetrap cars used for the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME) Olympiad
Photo courtesy of WillMcC

You can make the building of a mousetrap-powered car a truly do-it-yourself affair by scrounging up parts from around your house and maybe the local hardware store. Or you can find a kit that has all the parts and instructions included. If you go that route, look online or try your local hobby shop. You can even build one from LEGO elements!

If you build it on your own using one of the many instructional guides available online, there's a good chance you'll need some (if not all) of the following:

  • One regular mousetrap
  • Up to four CDs or DVDs to use as wheels
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Wooden popsicle sticks
  • A piece of foam core poster board
  • A ruler
  • Retractable utility knife
  • Barrels from an inexpensive pen (such as a Bic)
  • Small diameter metal tubing
  • Pliers and wire cutter for shaping and trimming metal pieces
  • Optional: Washers, rubber stoppers and graphite powder

One exceptionally clear set of instructions for how to turn these materials into a working car is available here. But whether you decide to build your own or do it from a kit, be sure to check that you have all the parts and tools you need, then read through all the steps before you dive in and start putting those pieces together. And remember to be smart about safety when using tools such as hot glue guns or knives with your projects.

Once your mousetrap-powered car is built, then what? Don't just let it collect dust on a shelf -- go to the next page for ideas on how to have fun with it.


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