Empowering Student Innovation for a Clean Energy Future

Division: JSS Blue (7-8)
School: Milwee Middle Team Size: 4

The Swamp Chompers 🐊

Our Team

Team Name: The Swamp Chomps

School Name: Milwee Middle School

Location: Cocoa, Florida

Our Names: Liam E (8), Ishaan R (8), Jesus R (8), Miguel Z (8)

Our Purpose: We made our car an alligator to represent the state of Florida if we go to national competition. We feel that the ferocity and cleverness of an alligator properly represents both our team’s character and our school.



Photo: This photo depicts the angled view of our car.

Photo: This photo depicts a front view of our car (as if an alligator is coming directly at you).

Photo: This photo depicts the back view.

Photo: This photo depicts the top of the alligator, showing the top of the scales and eyes.

Photo: This photo depicts the bottom view of an alligator, you can see that the pattern resembles the belly of an alligator.

Photo: This photo depicts the alligator facing right.

Photo: This photo depicts the alligator facing left.

Photo: This is the angled picture of our box.

Photo: This is the top of our box, showing the name of the alligator’s habitat, “The Swamp”.

Photo: This photo shows the alligator in a swamp-like habitat. The river is flowing on the right, while the trees are on the left.

Project Log

DateTaskTime SpentTeam membersObstacles encounteredModifications
3/20/2023Began brainstorming ideas of how to make the car what it will look like1hrLE,IR,MZ,JRTrying to figure out layout of car and gear ratio as well as themeMade a sketch of a outlook of what the car should look like
3/21/2023Cut out wood and painted car, attached tail1 hour 30 minsLE,IR,MZ, JRSome sizes and shapes didn’t work for the tail.Added supports beams with the tail to hold solar panel
3/23/2023Attached spacers, and wheels and axles. Attached motor1 hour 30 minsMZ,LE, JR,IRHad to figure out what was the place to put the axles where the car is balancedGlued spacer and motor, as well as adding rubber bands to wheels
3/27/2023Made and attached eyes and scales. Attached eyelet.1hr 15minsLE,MZ,IR,JRHad to sand eyes to lay flat on the base the carDecided to add clay scales for detail as well as make a place for ping pong ball
3/28/2023Painted box as well as finished painting car 2 hoursIR,JR,LE, MZScales were coming off, due to poor attachmentReattached clay scales
3/30/2023Added more detail to the box with feature making a more alligator shape1hr 30minsIR,JR,LE, MZHad to see what parts of the box need more detailAdded teeth and letters for the box
4/3/2023Began to work on inside of box, 3d printed new wheels2hrIR,JR,LE, MZHad trouble on what size to make the wheelCreated an outlooks for what the inside of the box will look like, designed new wheels
4/4/2023Attached 3D printed wheels to axle. 1hr 30minsMZ,JR, LE, IRAxle piece kept sliding into wood pieceFixed axle so it would not slide into the wood when running
4/6/2023Tested our car with and without the solar panel, added new battery pack2hr 30minsLE, IR, MZ, JRScale kept coming off, and painted shedded off the scaleRepainted the scale, and glued it back on
4/10/2023Made 2 drawings, edited the website, tested with and with the solar panel (battery)1hr LE, IR, JRHad to redo the drawing because the angles were offCorrected the angle of the alligator head and wheels on the drawing
4/11/2023Beautified our website, and made 1 more drawing, tested our car without the solar panel1hr 30minsLE, IR, JRSome trouble with formatting our websiteReformatted and aligned the text so that our website looked good
4/12/2023Began to make a script for  video, recorded a little late1hr 30minsLE, IR, JR, MZHad to figure what to say and how to say thingsCompleted intro as well as 2 of our partners parts.
4/13/2023Filmed video1hr 30minLE, IR, JR, MZSnout piece broke offRe-glued snout piece.
4/14/22Filmed and edited video 1hrLE,IR,MZ, LEAudio issues in the videoRe-shot some parts of the video.

Design Process

Design Process StepsWhat our team did
Define a Problem“Design a solar powered car that is fast, durable, and innovative.”
Generate ConceptsWe were originally thinking of making the car front wheel drive but upon further research, we changed the design to back wheel drive (to make the car go quicker). Gear Ratio: 10:50, we used this gear ratio to allow the car to accelerate faster. While making the car aerodynamic, the car’s front looked like an alligator head, so we made our car an alligator. This was convenient because the back support looked like an alligator tail.
Design a Solution We used drawings to communicate ideas through our team members as well as to help us come up with better designs.
Build and Test SolutionWe used cardboard for the tail and balsa wood to hold the panel in place. The panel rests across the beam and we have a slot in the front for the front of the panel. We also put rubber bands on the wheels to make the wheels have more traction, to make the wheels grip on the track, therefore making the car travel faster. To get the optimal amount of sunlight, we adjusted the degrees that the solar panel was resting to match Florida’s sunlight. We also designed our box to look like an alligator. The inside of our box looks like a swamp.
Evaluate SolutionWe tested our solution by running our car on a track, we tested both battery power and solar power on our car. We observed that our car ran unevenly, so we straightened out the axles.
Present SolutionWe will present our solution (car) on April 22, 2023 at the Energy Whiz Competition.

Design Drawings

Drawing: This is one of our concept drawings, showing the top and the side.

Drawing: This drawing shows the top and the bottom of our car.

Drawing: This drawing shows multiple views of our car, and is the final drawing of our completed design.

Drawing: This is one of our first drawings, outlining what we are later to build.

Drawing: This is the 3D model of our 3D printed wheel. We 3D printed our wheel because our old wheels were too small (the gear was touching the ground.

Car Specifications

Width: 10.25 cm

Length: 28 cm

Height: 12.75 cm

Weight: 214g

Wheel Size: 4.5cm (diameter)

Gear Ratio: 5:1

Motor Specifications:

Rated Voltage: At 1.5 volts, the amperage is .12 under no load. At maximum efficiency, the amperage is .53. At 3.0 volts under no load, the amperage is .16. At maximum efficiency, the amperage is 1.55.

No-Load Speed: (RPM): 5200 rpm

Torque: Stall torque is 130 g•cm, 12.7 mN•m

Shaft: Shaft diameter is 2 mm. The outside dimension of the motor is 24.2 millimeters

Operating Voltage Range: 1.5 to 3.0 VDC at 330 mA


-Wheels (Recycled)

-Balsa wood frame (Recycled)

-Motor (Recycled)

-Paperclip eyelet (Recycled)

-Balsa wood Beams (Recycled)

-Cardboard Tail (Recycled)

-Ping Pong Ball Eyes (Recycled)

-Axle (Recycled)

-Spacers (Recycled)

-10 tooth gear (Recycled)

-50 tooth gear (Recycled)

-Battery Pack with switch (Recycled)

-Alligator Clips (Recycled)

-Clay Scales (Recycled)

Total Cost: $0.00

Test Results:

Test 1 (Solar)Test 2 (Battery)Test 3 (Solar)Test 4 (Solar)Test 5 (Battery)
Distance Traveled20m20m20m20m20m
Time Elapsed14.89 seconds9.62 seconds12.98 seconds13.27 seconds9.83 seconds
Speed1.34 m/s2.07 m/s1.54 m/s1.51 m/s2.03 m/s
CommentsThe wire was too long and was rubbing up against the wheelCar runs at a fast speed, but unevenlyCar runs faster after we tied the wires together, car runs straightThe solar panel is easily removed when we need to cut the connectionWe observed that the car runs faster on batteries than on solar power
IdeasTie the wires together to make them shorterStraighten out the axles to make the car run straightWe can glue the wheels down to secure them


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