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John and Alec write -

“This is a toy that my sister and I used to make and have races with. My Son just made one in about 10 minutes… Lots of fun !”Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.



  1. RonGiuntini says:

    Wow. I have not seen this since I made them in the 1950′s. My neighbor and I used to race fleets of them. I remember my mom having several prematurely empty spools. We used a small slice of soap instead of a piece of candle. Also used stubby little pencils instead of the long matchstick so as to give it a more “tanky” look. The length of the pencil resulted in different models of artillery. Used a toothpick on the other end, and notched the spool to hold it in place instead of the method shown here. This one is just as good, and kids should have fun with them during a rainy day, or in the backyard. Good one….

  2. figgalicous says:

    I had to wiki this, there is no mention of HOW it achieves locomotion. He should have made an instructable for it. I myself was born in 1982 & have never heard of it. Gripes aside, I’m going to teach my younger brothers how to do this.

  3. ceBlaze says:

    First time I saw that was on Mr. Wizard. Good ol’ Mr. Wizard. I made so much stuff from that show

  4. kord says:

    Isn’t there a possibility that a fire could start if it goes over an abrasive surface? The choice of using a match is a bit odd, considering the relative rarity of wooden matches nowadays.