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How To Make A Car

How To Make A Car
  •    News
  •    March 31, 2017
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How To Make A Car

A former NASA engineer explains how you can use science to succeed at your next pinewood derby. For seven years, I worked at NASA on the Mars Curiosity rover. It is just like a pinewood derby car, except it has six wheels, it’s nuclear powered and it shoots lasers. My Cub Scout son and I decided we would take the science principles I used while building stuff at NASA and apply them to making his pinewood derby car. Take a look at some of those science principles in this video and check out my list of the most important steps for making fastest pinewood derby car possible. Seven Steps for Making a Fast Pinewood Derby Car 1. Max out your pinewood derby car’s weight at 5 ounces and make sure the heaviest part is about 1 inch in front of the rear axle. This is the most important step. Science shows if you do this correctly, you will beat a pinewood derby car built exactly the same — except with the weight toward its front — by 4.6 car lengths. It works because the farther back the weight is, the more potential energy you have because your center of mass is higher up on the track. (Don’t put it too far back, or your pinewood derby car will become unstable and pop a wheelie.) 2. Use lightweight wheels. This is illegal in some races, but if it’s not in yours, this is a must-do step that will give you a 2.1-car-length advantage at the finish line versus a car with normal wheels. It works because heavy wheels take away from the kinetic energy (the energy something has due to its motion), which makes the pinewood derby car slower. 3. Use bent polished axles. Bending your axles with a bending tool will make the wheels ride up against the nailhead, which creates less friction than if the wheel is bouncing around and rubbing against the wooden pinewood derby car body. See video for details. 4. Railride. Railriding means you steer your pinewood derby car into the center guide track just enough that you keep the car from bouncing around. This helps reduce friction and saves energy for speed. See video for details. 5. Create a pinewood derby car that is reasonably aerodynamic, meaning its design cuts down on drag caused by air. No need to get crazy here, but simply having a wedge-shaped pinewood derby car instead of the standard block out of the box will equal a 1.4-car advantage at the finish line. 6. Ride on three wheels by raising one wheel off the track. (Check the rules to make sure this is allowed in your race.) You will move faster if you have to get only three wheels rotating, giving you a 1.1-car advantage over an identical pinewood derby car riding on four wheels. 7. Use lots of graphite. There isn’t a big difference in types of graphite, so buy the cheap stuff and use as much as possible. Be sure to get plenty around each wheel and on the axle. It works! After my research, my son and I wanted to do one final test to prove that this is a good list. So we built a simple pinewood derby car using this list in 45 minutes, and we beat the fastest pinewood derby car in our local race by two car lengths. Turns out, science works! Meet Mark Rober Mark Rober worked as a mechanical engineer at NASA for nine years. During this time, he worked on Curiosity, a car-sized robot that left Earth in 2011, landed on Mars in 2012, and has been exploring, conducting experiments and sending back pictures ever since. Now Mark makes high-tech Halloween costumes. Click to email (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)MoreClick to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window) Related
how to make a car 1

How To Make A Car

Stick to the Schedule Follow the maintenance schedule in your car’s owner’s manual. It spells out when to take care of every service for the life of your car, including routine oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and more major service such as timing-belt replacement. Even missing one oil change can contribute to premature engine wear or cause damage, and reduce the chances of your car remaining reliable for long. (Visit our guide to car maintenance.) If you’ve neglected following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, it’s not too late to get with the program. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle and take care of any apparent problems, no matter how minor. Then introduce yourself to your owner’s manual and start fresh. Even if your vehicle doesn’t make it to 200,000 miles, it will definitely last longer with proper ongoing care. Following the maintenance schedule has gotten easier over the years because longer-lasting components and fluids have increased service intervals. Today, it’s common to go 10,000 miles between oil changes, and some spark plugs don’t need replacement for 100,000 miles. Consider using what is often called the severe-use or extreme-use maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. Most drivers who need to follow such a schedule do a lot of city driving; live in a very hot or cold climate, in mountain regions, or near the ocean; make a lot of short trips; tow a trailer; or drive in dusty conditions. If that description sounds like it includes a lot of drivers, it does. The difference between the regular maintenance schedule and the severe-use schedule can be significant, with severe-use oil-change intervals being much shorter, sometimes twice as often. Intervals for other services also change accordingly under severe-use guidelines. Many new models from a wide variety of carmakers make it even easier to stay on top of maintenance, with sensors that take into account your mileage and driving habits to determine the optimum time for maintenance. They monitor the miles driven since the last service and record data such as how much stop-and-go driving is done, the engine temperature during each trip, and the time the engine spends operating at higher speeds. The system then calculates how quickly your oil is breaking down and alerts you when service is due, and can even adjust a car’s complete service interval to compensate for the severity of use. Don’t overmaintain your car; that can be a waste of money. Watch out for dealers or repair shops that add maintenance work not called for in the owner’s manual. That can add hundreds of dollars to a routine service bill.
how to make a car 2

How To Make A Car

Follow the maintenance schedule in your car’s owner’s manual. It spells out when to take care of every service for the life of your car, including routine oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and more major service such as timing-belt replacement. Even missing one oil change can contribute to premature engine wear or cause damage, and reduce the chances of your car remaining reliable for long. (Visit our guide to car maintenance.) If you’ve neglected following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, it’s not too late to get with the program. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle and take care of any apparent problems, no matter how minor. Then introduce yourself to your owner’s manual and start fresh. Even if your vehicle doesn’t make it to 200,000 miles, it will definitely last longer with proper ongoing care. Following the maintenance schedule has gotten easier over the years because longer-lasting components and fluids have increased service intervals. Today, it’s common to go 10,000 miles between oil changes, and some spark plugs don’t need replacement for 100,000 miles. Consider using what is often called the severe-use or extreme-use maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual. Most drivers who need to follow such a schedule do a lot of city driving; live in a very hot or cold climate, in mountain regions, or near the ocean; make a lot of short trips; tow a trailer; or drive in dusty conditions. If that description sounds like it includes a lot of drivers, it does. The difference between the regular maintenance schedule and the severe-use schedule can be significant, with severe-use oil-change intervals being much shorter, sometimes twice as often. Intervals for other services also change accordingly under severe-use guidelines. Many new models from a wide variety of carmakers make it even easier to stay on top of maintenance, with sensors that take into account your mileage and driving habits to determine the optimum time for maintenance. They monitor the miles driven since the last service and record data such as how much stop-and-go driving is done, the engine temperature during each trip, and the time the engine spends operating at higher speeds. The system then calculates how quickly your oil is breaking down and alerts you when service is due, and can even adjust a car’s complete service interval to compensate for the severity of use. Don’t overmaintain your car; that can be a waste of money. Watch out for dealers or repair shops that add maintenance work not called for in the owner’s manual. That can add hundreds of dollars to a routine service bill.

How To Make A Car

How To Make A Car
How To Make A Car
How To Make A Car
How To Make A Car

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