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Q1: Mousetrap Car

In the hallway outside of the Innovation Zone will be a mousetrap car racetrack with a launch line. Your goal is to stop the car inside a blue zone which is about 13.0 m / 43 ft. away from the launch line. The car must travel within a 2.5-m wide lane. Any attempt in which the car breaks the plane of either side boundary line will be declared a fault and will not be measured. The car may be launched from no more than 50.0 cm behind the launch line. The car will be judged according to the following rubric. Your final grade will be an average of your two best runs.

Criteria and Constraints:

  • Each team will enter one mousetrap-powered car, built by both team members.
  • No commercial mousetrap car kits.
  • The car shall have a minimum of two wheels in contact with the testing surface at all times.
  • The sole power source of the car shall be a mousetrap as a part of the car.
  • The trip mechanism should be removed.
  • Only a string or cable may be attached to the bow for transmission of energy. (no elastic/rubber)
  • The bow must remain unaltered and not extended in any way.
  • The mousetrap may be screwed, hot glued or taped to your car.
  • Maximum dimensions: 40.0 cm x 20.0 cm x 20.0 cm.

Grade Distance
4.0 Actual Stopping Mechanism: Stops in zone twice in a row.
3.5 Car is completely in the target zone
3.3 Any part of the car is in the target zone
3.1 50.0 cm zone
3.0 100.0 cm zone
2.9 150.0 cm zone
2.8 200.0 cm zone
2.5 2nd blue zone
2.3 Midway between blue zones
2.0 1st blue zone
1.5 Car moves forward
1.0 Built a resemblance of a car.

Helpful Hints:

  • CD's are far and away the best wheels and 4 wheels is usually the best.
  • Fishing line is the best cord to use.
  • Make your car light (balsa wood might be good)
  • Balloons stretched over your wheels are good traction.
  • Your cord should come loose from your axle after the pull is complete so the car can coast.
  • When the bow is tight it should be right next to the axle.
  • The axle spinning freely in it's socket is crucial. Eyelets generally don't work the greatest.
  • A stopping mechanism would be genius!