CO2 Crumple Zone Eggmobile

by Shacksandbeans, published

CO2 Crumple Zone Eggmobile by Shacksandbeans Dec 7, 2016
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673Views 187Downloads Found in Physics & Astronomy


This CO2-powered crash test car lets you design and iterate crumple zone bumpers in order to protect a passenger egg from injury. Use a CO2 car launcher from someone like Pitsco or Kelvin, wheels from a Lego Technic motorcycle (I got mine on eBay), and create a flat wall for the car to crash into (I put a board against paint cans). The car is guided by monofilament, and I put the wood wall at 50' from the launcher. At that distance, a 12 gram CO2 cartridge will shoot the car fast enough to break an egg without a well-designed crumple zone. Use a slo-motion camera app to capture and analyze the destruction. See "CO2-Powered Eggmobile" on YouTube for my 2 min. video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liyXWWYGgdg My students copied and tinkered "Bumper Posts" in Tinkercad. This way, the connection to the car is consistent and correct, but the crumple zone element is their own invention.
Kelvin launcher: http://kelvin.com/kelvina-hotshot-raceway-a-co2-dragster-launcher-1-lane/
Pitsco luancher: https://www.pitsco.com/EZ-Start-Gate

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Ultimaker 2








The axles need brim, but not the other components. I use an exacto blade make the axle shafts round where they will contact the car body, and I shave down the ends so they fit into the Technic wheels properly. Also, the axle rings are important in order to reduce friction between the wheels and car body. They also help reduce play between the wheels and body. Finally, you may also need to shave the opening where the CO2 cartridge goes because it spreads just slightly on the print surface.

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This is a great project! I am looking at introducing it this quarter in my 3D print class for Middle School kids. I can faintly see fish line or something similar guiding the car. What did you use, and how do you attach it to the car?

Hi Angie,

Thanks! I'm about to do the project for the fifth time, and I'm really happy with it.

You're right, there is a monofilament that keeps the car running straight. If you print the car, there are two holes on the underside for threading the monofilament line through. I put the launcher and the impact board 50 feet apart, and I anchor the filament to paint cans on either end. Also, if the CO2 cartridge is a little loose in the car, you can put a wrap of painter's tape around it to take up any gap. The axles will need a little exacto trimming to fit the wheels, and be sure to print extras of them since they tend to break if the wheel hits the impact board. Essentially, once you print the car body and get wheels that work, the rest is pretty easy. Just search for "CO2 Bumper Posts" in Tinkercad, have the kids watch some videos to learn about the physics of car crashes, and let the fun begin. With older MS kids, you can also have them calculate the car's impact speed and things like that, too. The Thingiverse and YouTube video descriptions have further info with specific products and other stuff.

Please let me know if you have more questions, and please share your students' experience if you like. I'm @morrill_rob on Twitter.



Thanks for the info! I tried uploading the file into cura to print the car body but it keeps giving me a message to save the gcode. The file shows that it is a .stl. Any ideas why Cura doesn't want to accept the file?

HI Angie,

Sorry--I'm only just seeing your message now. Also sorry that you're having trouble. I just downloaded the file from Thingiverse and successfully loaded it into Cura, so I'm not sure what the issue is. What printer are you using? Here's the same file via YouMagine. You could try downloading it from there and see if it makes any difference: https://www.youmagine.com/designs/crumple-zone-crash-test-car

What an awesome class project! Thank you for sharing the idea and examples. Great video too

Thanks! A lot went into it, so I appreciate your feedback. My fifth graders are enjoying the crumple zone challenge.