copyright © 2018 jillian bak

formulaE

a rubber band-powered rc car competition
summer 2015 i was chosen as one of six community college  students to work on a team to design, engineer, & build a rubber band powered race car in 14 weeks. the car needed to participate in a drag race, hill climb, and figure-8 against teams from china, pasadena city college, hotwheels, and axial racing.

parameters.

16 feet of rubber band
2 remote controlled servos
commonly accessible materials
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prototype #1

laser-cut mdf chassis/wheels
acrylic pipe

what we learned: chassis was too rigid, bearings and servos were not attached properly, braking system needed, car was too heavy to gain speed, tires need texture to get traction

prototype #2

brass rods attached by 3D printed joints
aluminum pipe
increased flexibility
more accurate steering
tires with grip
added brake mechanism

what we learned: low center of gravity was beneficial, brake needed improvements, servos can get overloaded and fry, bearings need to fit perfectly in order to maximize speed

final design.

carbon fiber rods attached by 3D printed joints
carbon fiber pipe
reduced weight
protective bumper added

what we learned: have spare parts to swap out when car crashes, carbon fiber can shred and tear the rubber bands