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Crumple Zone Crash Test Car

Print one car, then print + test + iterate crumple zones to crash into a wall. CO2 cartridge provides the power.


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This CO2-powered crash test car lets you design and iterate crumple zone bumpers in order to protect a passenger egg from injury. Use a CO2 car launcher from someone like Pitsco or Kelvin, wheels from a Lego Technic motorcycle (I got mine on eBay), and create a flat wall for the car to crash into (I put a board against paint cans). The car is guided by monofilament, and I put the wood wall at 50' from the launcher. At that distance, a 12 gram CO2 cartridge will shoot the car fast enough to break an egg without a well-designed crumple zone. Use a slo-motion camera app to capture and analyze the destruction. See "CO2-Powered Eggmobile" on YouTube for my 2 min. video. My students copied and tinkered "Bumper Posts" in Tinkercad. This way, the connection to the car is consistent and correct, but the crumple zone element is their own invention.

Pitsco launcher: https://www.pitsco.com/EZ-Start-Gate
Kelvin launcher: http://kelvin.com/kelvina-hotshot-raceway-a-co2-dragster-launcher-1-lane/

Materials and methods

I print the axles with brim. After they print, I use an exacto to shave the parts that contact the car body down a little so they are as round as possible. You also need to shave the ends of the axles so that they fit in the Technic wheels. The front axle breaks about every 10 launches, so print extra, and print them at high quality. You may also need to shave the opening where the CO2 cartridge goes because it spreads just slightly on the print surface.

I use paint cans to tension the filament and to support the board (see video).

Be sure to follow good safety procedures regarding the CO2 cartridges, and the crash zone.



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Mini 20150127 093625RCCM published this design ago