Engineering GoalsEngineering design focus on problems through the application of creative thinking using scientific and mathematical principles.
We start by clearly defining the problem – like how to adapt a mousetrap car for distance – and formulating different ideas and approaches to a solution.
We create designs based on these ideas, selecting the approaches that are most likely to succeed and easy to implement.
Our designs lead to the construction of prototypes, which are then tested to ensure effectiveness.
The final goal of our design process is to develop the best product out of the many tests and trial & error conducted.
Brainstorming of Mousetrap Design
Mouse Trap Design A (Elgin's)
I wanted to use as much recyclable materials as possible. Therefore I decided to use a plastic bottle as the body of my car. The cardboard was used as we usual have left over cardboard from foolscap.
For a mousetrap car designed for distance, the drive wheels' circumference needs to be as large as possible. Initially I thought of using record disks, but was not able to meet the requirements of the rules. CDs are great in terms of weight and circumference, but do not have the friction to run across the floor. Thus, I cross-sectioned 2 long balloons and wrap the circumference of the CDs. The rubber provides the necessary friction needed for the car to drive itself forward.
Apart from the huge circumference needed for a mousetrap car designed for distance, extended leverage is also important. For this I decided to resource popsicle sticks from the last engineering project (bridge-making) to extend the leverage by the hammer (the U shaped structure on a mousetrap).
Since the huge circumference of the rear wheels are already huge enough to drive the car forward, I chose not to work so much on the front wheels and choose a 2-cm diameter lego NXT wheel.
Mouse Trap Design C (Minh's)
It had to be stable and have good leverage. I thought of a good size for the leverage and had 4 wheels as it would be stable and having them. I had to compromised on the friction between the wheel and the ground so that the design would be stable. The leverage is reasonably long and could cause good enough tension to the string that it would move pretty far but unfortunately I compromised on the weight by a bit so I chose lightweight materials so that it could balance out that the compromise.