DIY Wind Power Cars

Hey guys!! It may be fall, but winter is definitely close by. So, what have our little entrepreneurs been up to…They have been building DIY Wind Power Cars and you can too!!

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Materials:

  • Styrofoam (4″ x 6″ x 1″)
  • Wooden Skewers
  • Straws
  • Scotch Tape (the wider and stronger kind)
  • Double Sided tape
  • AAA Batteries
  • AAA Battery Clip
  • 1 DC Motor (1.5-3V)
  • 1 Fan
  • 1 Toggle Switch or an Single Pole Single Throw Switch (SPST)
  • 4 Plastic Wheels

Procedure:

  1. Take the styrofoam and place tape all the way around so that it covering the entire piece.
  2. Cut 2 straws to four inches each.
  3. On one long side of the styrofoam tape the straws on either end. Leave about 1/4″ of space on each side.
  4. Cut 2 wooden skewers to 4 1/4-1/2 inches each. Shave off a little at each end to allow for the wheels to fit firmly.
  5. Take one wheel and put it on each of the wooden skewers.
  6. Put the skewers through each of the straws and on the opposite end put the other plastic wheels on it. Make sure your base can move easily and nothing is detaching.
  7. Flip over the base and two pieces of double sided tape on either end.
  8. On one end place the battery clip on it. DO NOT PUT THE BATTERIES IN YET. There is a chance that the batteries can short circuit.
  9. and on the other end place the DC Motor with half of it hanging off. Make sure that the leads of the motor are facing toward the ceiling. Tape the top of the motor to the styrofoam, so that it is sturdy.
  10. Attach the black wire from the battery clip to one of the leads of the motor. Polarity does not matter. Be careful with the leads they can easily break.
  11. Attach the red wire from the battery clip to the red wire of the toggle switch. Using electrical tape will secure the connections.
  12. Attach the black wire from the toggle switch to the other lead of the motor. Tape down the switch if necessary.
  13. Place the fan on the motor and put in the batteries.

Flip the switch and watch your car DRIVE OFF!!!

How this works

When the toggle switch is turned on, the circuit is complete. The electricity flows from the batteries through the switch to one end of the motor. The current flows out the motor and back to the battery. Inside the motor, the coils start rotating due to polarity changes within. Thus, the motor starts rotating and the fan spins. The fan takes the surrounding air and moves it, making the wheels of the car turn and the car move forward.

Building and the Obstacles We Faced

We learned through several trials and hours of experiment the best way to build this car. Our starting vehicle had swivelling tires, a heavy body, pieces falling off and overall a car that would not move. The styrofoam was an extremely hard surface to work with. Directing placing the double sided tape would not work, so the scotch tape had to be applied first to allow for a flat surface. Next, the wheel and axles turned out to be one of the reasons as to why the vehicle would not move. The axles had to be as close as possible to the styrofoam to make sure there wasn’t room for unnecessary movement. Lastly, the heavy body was the MAIN reason for the failure of the first car. We had previously double layered the styrofoam and the vehicle would not move. Over time, we realized that the heavy body had caused too much pressure on the wheels, pressure too great in comparison to the energy generated by the motor. In end, we were able to create a fully functioning car and so were the ENTREPRENEURS!

The entrepreneurs and I had lots of fun making these cars. There were obstacles, but we overcame them. After we finished, all the entrepreneurs raced their cars. Laughter and joy filled the air as the cars raced down the hallway. The DIY Wind Power Cars was a great activity and I cannot wait to see what comes next. Check back to see the COOL activities we do at GGKLI’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club.

This activity was inspired by http://researchparent.com/homemade-propeller-car/ For more information about GGKLI’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club click here!

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