Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Mousetrap-powered Cars Work

        Auto | Unusual Cars

Fun with Mousetrap-Powered Cars
A student at Northfield School of Arts and Technology holds his mousetrap-powered car.
A student at Northfield School of Arts and Technology holds his mousetrap-powered car.
Photo courtesy of Artechschool

If you're in school (or perhaps if you teach school), one obvious way to have fun with this is to hold a mousetrap-powered car contest. A contest is also a great way to inject some fun into groups that meet regularly, such as scouts and other clubs for youth. Who knows? You might even make it an annual event.

In addition to seeing whose car can go the farthest distance, you can award the fastest car, the most-creative design, hold multi-lane races and so on.

Once you understand the basic principles that make mousetrap-powered cars work, you can experiment with different configurations to make your car go farther or faster. You might try different sized wheels, a different number of wheels and different axle thicknesses.

You can even beef up part of the drive axle and wind the initial length of your string around it to provide a lower "gear ratio" for a more spirited launch. Wind the rest of the string around the skinny part of the axle to get your car into "high gear."

Shoot a video of your mousetrap-powered car and post it to YouTube, where there's a thriving community of Victor-powered vehicle builders. You might be inspired by other builders' designs and pick up some handy engineering tips for building your next model.

For more information about mousetrap-powered cars and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.


More to Explore