Members: Nathan (Captain) – 4th grade, Amelia – 1st grade, Francisco – 3rd grade, and John – 5th grade
Water Bottle – Solar panel – 2 Back Wheels -1 Front Wheel -Golf Ball – Battery shack – circuit board – plastic straws – Back metal axle – Front metal axle – Velcro – Wires – tape – rubber band – paper holder – Motor
Construction and design improvement:
- From the very beginning, the team wanted to design a unique car. We planned to include recycled materials as much as possible. Every part or component of our car was once part of another car or had a totally different use. Nothing was bought this year, nor even the solar panel. We recycled or reused all parts of the car.
- We used a recycled water bottle as the body/chassis of the car. It was a good choice not only because we are reusing the bottle which is great for our planet, but also because it is very easy to work with. We could use scissors or another tool to open as many holes or cavities as needed.
- To guide the metal axels we used 1-inch pieces of straw, then attached the wheels to the axles.
- We taped the wires and used hot glue to fix the motor and the straw to the chassis (plastic bottle)
- In the beginning, we used rubber bands to attach the panel to the chassis. It worked well but the panel had some blocked parts by the rubber bands. What could we do to avoid this but at the same time keep the free rotation of the panel so it could be oriented toward the sun in a race?
- We decided then to use velcro instead of rubber bands to attach the solar panel to the bottle/chassis and it worked very well!
- The original design was with 3 equal wheels but the friction on the front wheel made the car run too slow so we decide to change it to a much thinner wheel and it made the car run a lot faster!
- We tried the car in the school hallway using batteries because that day it was raining outside. We realized The car went to the left, so we adjusted the front wheel. We cut the plastic and released the pressure on the front axle. It greatly improved the direction of the car.
- The battery holder was held to one side of the bottle using rubber bands. It was very convenient when we run the car inside the school. It was really easy to add or take off the batteries from the car thanks to the rubber bands system.
- We used a cup to hold the passenger or golf ball in place. We needed to tape it inside the bottle and added some velcro to the cup and that way hold the ball and wires in place.
- We added a switch to select the path of the electricity, coming from the solar panel or the batteries.
- We tried the car several times and after every addition or change. That gave us the possibility to improve little details that made our car better.
- The team worked on the car and on the website to get ready for the EnergyWhiz Event at Cocoa Beach on April 30, 2022
- Finally, we added the fish line guide using hot glue on the bottom f the chassis.
This is a video where our team explains more about our car and shows it in action!