AMS Spring 2023

You Can Now 3D Print a Rubber Band Powered Car

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propellThe ideas of inventing, innovating and “making” are usually tied to individuals with an extreme creative side to them. Over the course of history, only those with will power, determination and intelligence have typically been the ones to bring unique new creations into reality. However, with the advent of 3D printing and the increasing adoption rate of desktop 3D printers within people’s homes, we are starting to see more and more unique ideas come to fruition, many of which would have never had seen the light of day previously.

For one man, named Heri Suprapto, all it took for him to try and come up with a new idea for a toy car, was a mere challenge from a buddy of his. That friend put a seed into the head of Suprapto, pushing him to create a vehicle that could use rubber bands and propellers to move about. Typically when we think about vehicles which use some sort of propeller, we picture an airplane, a motorboat or a helicopter, but Suprapto elected to do something a bit out of the ordinary, and create a rubber band powered, propeller driven car.

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“Initially I made a model of a helicopter because I felt it would be easier,” Suprapto tells 3DPrint.com. “I then went on to create a car model. Going from the helicopter to the car basically just required me to add four wheels.”

Using Autodesk 3ds Max to model his vehicle, he went through four iterations of the design before settling on his fifth and final version as the one to ultimately print and share with the world. The model is made up of 10 separate 3D printable pieces, which take a total of about 2.5 hours to print out. All in all, the design works very well, as you can see in the video below.

propell5The most difficult part of designing and iterating upon this toy car, was trying to get all four of the wheels angled and running in the exact same direction.  Thankfully Suprapto was able to accomplish this.  The mechanics of the car are quite simple. The propeller, which is attached to a rubber band is twisted, allowing tension to build up. Then upon its release, the propeller “unwinds” spinning in the opposite direction and propelling the car forward, at quite a rapid rate.

Suprapto, who hails from Semarang, Indonesia, tells us that his car can travel about 4 meters in one go. As for the speed at which it travels, he doesn’t know, but after watching the video below, it certainly is very fast.

Currently the design for this car, along with instructions for 3D printing, post processing, and assembling it, are available on Thingiverse, for anyone to recreate free of charge. What do you think about this unique creation? Discuss in the Rubber Band Powered Car forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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