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Help building Flying Mouse Trap Vehicle


AGSniper
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So for our school project we are supposed to build a mouse trap vehicle which starts at a platform approximately a meter-1.5 meter off the ground and go as far as it can (in terms of x axis) without hitting the ground.

 

The only power allowed is the mouse trap spring.

 

So far my idea is to build a mouse trap car which releases mass amounts energy at first therefore containing lots of potential energy. When it launches off the platform, it will have hang glider wings which allow it to "glide" down as far as it can before hitting the ground.

 

The only problem I have is what material the hang glider should be made out of. I'm thinking balsa wood but i don't know if it'll work well.

 

I am also open to any other suggestion. I thought about a catapult, and a spinning mechanism, and other stuff and decided this idea was the best.

 

Also the mouse trap has to travel with this so called "vehicle".

 

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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Something similar has been discussed before:

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=38612&highlight=mouse+trap

 

This is a different problem however. I would suggest you use the mouse trap spring to launch a very small glider. Any light weight materials with some physical stength would work. Balsa wood would work great. So would styrofoam, which might be better. There is also no reason not to use a combination of materials (you might need to add small weights to get the best glider).

 

Edit: You could even try paper to make your glider (it would be cheaper and quicker than carving balsa or styrofoam); at least to get a good idea of the size and dimensions for your glider.

Edited by SH3RL0CK
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I haven't thought of styrofoam I think I'll give that a try.

 

The problem is that the mouse trap has to travel WITH the device, so the mouse trap will be attached to the car which will have the hang gliding wings attached above the car.

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That changes things; for one you will need some kind of strong frame to support the mouse trap spring and any other mechanical parts you need. This will necessitate a larger "wing" surface.

 

I see two choices in how to convert the energy of the spring to mechanical motion:

1) use the "snap" to quickly launch a glider, or

2) let the spring slowly unwind, through some gears and a propeller to provide energy for lift.

 

Option 1 seems easiest to build, but I'm not sure it will provide the best horizontal distance.

 

One thought I do have is that the spring itself should be carefully selected. Springs can wear out and lose their ability to store energy; as such I would recommend that you use a new spring in the device once you have it working the way you want.

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I was thinking in terms of powering a car with the spring of the mouse trap (because I have 1 meter distance of launch platform) and when it hits the air, there will be a gliding mechanism (wing or hang glider wings) that will help it glide along with the energy from the car.

 

And yes I will be using a new spring constantly as I know they wear out over time.

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Would the effectiveness of the springs be related to temperature (i.e. could the springs store more energy if cold)? Once you have settled on your design, I wonder if you could increase performance by putting the glider in the freezer? This might be worth looking into...


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Another thought I had was to consider making wings out of thin plastic material...such as seran wrap. If you can keep these in tension with an appropriate frame, you can probably reduce the weight/(wing area = lift) ratio.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm doing the same project (more or less) but mine's in the Engineering Thread. I have to build a car and etc. As for your problem tho... what about tissue paper? It's extreamly light, has a lot of serface area and can be reinforced with balsa wood to keep it strong under the pressude/forces/weight? you can find them online and in hobby shops if you want. I was thinking that if you used a really small servo, and reversed it you might beable to get a little more out of the spring. What if you cut away from the mousetrap base to allow the spring to travel farther? and if you look at the side of a Victor mousetrap, the actual trap/arm thing forms a square shape. There is a small pin sticking out of the side that you might be able to weld a longer arm onto. the trap wouldn't travel very far, but whatever prop you attached would have a lot of starting tourqe.


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oh.... and how about a helicopter?

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