Final Project Plans: Mousetrap Car

My final project is about completely redesigning a mousetrap car that I made 5 years ago in high school. I decided that the main goal is to make the car go beyond 200 feet, which is a distance that my old design did not even come close to accomplishing. I’ve done some research and found that the best design for a long distance mousetrap car is one with a long lever arm. The lever arm needs to be long but not too long in order to avoid making the car too heavy and increasing friction with the ground. I decided to make the lever arm 12 inches long based on an experiment that I found online.

The next step after coming up with a design is to obtain the needed materials. Luckily, I was able to find most of the crucial parts and components online and have already ordered them. I will still need to obtain a hand drill, a saw and glue in order to put the project together.

This is the design that I am planning to integrate, which is simple but will be effective in achieving the long distance goal that I set.

As an alternative, I was considering a three wheeled design with the same lever length, which would look something like this:

I’m also planning to attach some black cardboard cutouts to the two wooden planks that make up the car’s body to make its side view resemble a Batmobile. I might think of a way to overlay some carboard pieces so that it’d end up looking like this.

Carboard is also lightweight so I think adding it to the design won’t increase friction that much.



Experiment on different lever arm length



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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hey Thuc, I also build one of these mouse trap cars in high school. It is definitely a fun physics problem where there are some real scientific takeaways. Have you consider enlarging the wheels to get more distance per one rotation of your drive axle. I would also ensure that the axle can freely rotate for the car to carry its momentum once the mousetrap arm has hit the chassis.

  • Erik Skooglund
    March 21, 2021 10:24 pm

    Hey Thuc, this looks like a cool project! I remember building these in high school as well. It will be cool to see how much better you can make the car now that you are a ME student. I am curious how you intend to integrate the cardboard shell design in such a way that it will not interfere with the motion of the lever arm.


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