Empowering Student Innovation for a Clean Energy Future

The Windshield Viper

Amery, Kai, and John

Junior Solar Sprint – Blue Division

Hello! Our team is from Cornerstone Learning Community Tallahassee, FL! Our group includes:

Amery Keller (8th grade), as the Head of Graphic and Visual Arts (2nd year)

John Marty (8th grade), as the Constructive Mechanical Engineer (1st year)

Kai Okui, (7th grade), as the Logic and Creative Mechanical Designer (1st year)

(left) Amery, (center) John, (right) Kai


Photo and Basic Info

Our car is inspired by the red African Bush Viper (see image below). We designed our car with the red, spiked scales of this specific snake. We used alcohol markers and gold paint to add more highlights to our car. We have a mechanism that allows us to move our solar panel lower or higher depending on the sun’s placement in the sky. (The two triangular metal pieces shown above are the prototype version of the final mechanism). With all this in mind, we decided to name our car “The Windshield Viper”.

African Bush Viper
The Windshield Viper


Car Details


  • Wheels x3
  • Gears x4
  • Battery Pack x1
  • Motor x1
  • Metal Adjuster Pieces x6
  • Bolts x2
  • Bolt Nuts x2
  • Rubber band seatbelt x1
  • Solar panel x1
  • Comb Binding x2
  • Rubber Band (on the wheels) x5
  • paint
  • pizzazz x100


Length: 25.0 cm

Height: 7.0-8.0 cm

Width: 16.3 cm

Height with solar panel: 8.0-15.2 cm

Mass (without solar panel): 222.50 g

Solar panel mass: 86.96 g

Gear Ratio: 20:40

Front wheels: 1.5 cm

Back wheels: 1.5 cm


Car Pictures

Front of car
Back of car
Right of car
Left of car
Top of car
Underbody of car


Car Pictures

Our design process has been a wild one! We ran into many roadblocks, and although some decisions were easy, others were not. Over time we learned our strengths, and we all knew which problems or for who. Towards the end, we all were super focused on finishing and polishing the project.

Design Log

Here is our design log from early December to mid-April. We unfortunately didn’t have time to work on it for a few weeks, so that is why the last few entries are so much later than the others.

DateTime SpentActivities
December 2, 20221 hourWe came up with the design for the car’s frame and chassis.

December 16, 2022
1 hourWe secured the chassis and built the frame.
January 6, 20231 hourWe double-checked to make sure that everything was as planned, and then we through around some ideas of the tilting of the solar panel.
January 13, 20231 hourWe added the back wheels and refined the motor position and sticked a “Canada” sticker to the bottom of the car. Irrelevant, but entertaining.
January 20, 20231 hourWe added the battery pack and tested its speed.
January 27, 20231 hourWe finally got around to implementing the tilting of the solar panel. We primed the car for painting with white paint.
February 3, 20231 hour 10 minWe started painting snake scales on the car, with alcohol markers and paint. We had pretty much finished, but we needed to test a bit.
February 10, 20231 hourWe had to change our one-wheel drive to three, because the drive was too weak, and it didn’t move at all.
April 2, 20231 hourAt the race, we made some adjustments to try to fix the drift, but we had no luck.
April 6, 20231 hourWe adjusted the car gear ratio from 30:40 to 20:40, and we created the fins for the Dual Fin Comb Binding Alignment System.
April 13, 20231 hourWe added the Dual Fin Comb Binding Alignment System (DFCBAS), which helps steer the car even if it is misaligned.
The design log

Here we have our Chassis drafts for our car. We worked for one class period on drafting, then we got to work building our frame for our chassis.

Chassis and Solar Panel Adjustment Sketches
Solar Panel Adjustment Sketches
Car sketches

After our sketches were done, we started making our car and designing it.

Below is an image of the pre-paint car.

Sketches for painting


Car Videos

Video of car running with wire

Car Tests
Car features/explanation video
PowerWeatherTime (sec)Distance (ft)Speed (ft/s)
SolarFull Sun4.6824.55.2 ft/s
SolarFull Sun4.37255.7 ft/s
BatteriesFull Sun4.95255.1 ft/s
Car test results

Thank you so much for taking the time to review our website! It means a lot, and we are ever so grateful!


The Vipers

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