Making CO2-Powered Race Cars

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Making CO2-Powered Race Cars

When I was a kid, messing around with CO2 cartridges for use in rocket propulsion was strictly verboten. I had a friend who proved the caution a worthy one when he blew off part of a finger trying to stuff ground match heads into an empty cartridge.

But as with many things that are dangerous, C02 propulsion can be made relatively safe with adults in the room who know what they’re doing. In this project video from The Q, they show how they made rocket cars, a race track, and a rocket car firing mechanism.

YouTube player

There are some problems here. The bottle cap wheels, while clever, don’t do much for the smooth travel of the vehicles and the angled carts on the vehicles (especially the heavier, dual-cart truck) doom them to a front-lifting, unstable trajectory. That said, it would be undeniably fun to build a track like this and experiment with tweaking all of the variables until you got consistently stable results.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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