May 5, 2006

C02 Dragster: Return of Firebird (Firebird II)

I recently completed a C02 Dragster for Engineering I Class. These cars were to be scratch built custom in 30 days, follow strict rules and regulations, and have a good design to reduce the largest amount of drag. The car could weigh no less than 55 grams, but no more than 175 grams. The design of the dragster, the weight of the dragster, and a bit of luck, will determine a overall good score in performance.

The Cars came in kits, manufactured by Pitsco. The Body Blanks themselves are made of basswood, which in my opinion is really easy to work with. To start out, I drilled the holes (which could be no more than 10mm from the bottom of the body blank) for the axels, perfectly straight with the help of a jig fixture. I then had to reem the holes to help make sure the axel could spin somewhat easily. Then I proceeded to cut out the sides of the dragster, and begin sanding. After a week or so of sanding and carving, it was time to gouge the bottom of the car, where most of the fat was. Gouging itself is not difficult, however after long sessions of work, it can take a toll on your hand, depending on the type of gouge. Me, I got Blisters and Chafing on my hand; it was really hard to write for the next day or two. Originally I planned to have all four wheels on the inside, however I could not fit them in (I was afraid of cutting through the roof) so I gouged as much as I could, and put the wheels on the outside. I primed it with sanding sealer, painted it, then added a top coat of lacquer to protect the paint. Insert the screw eyes so the car will travel along a fishing line, and we are ready to race.

I decided to paint with a black undercoat (sigh, it's so overused, but what can you do on a limited budget and a limited number of paints?) With a "kandy" red effect as a stripe near the powerplant housing and on the wheels. Pretty neat paint job I would say, it looks really nice.

So I inserted the small C02 cartridge, and off we went on the track. It took my Dragster 1.833 seconds to travel down the length of the classroom, about 30-40 feet. I am very proud of my dragster and my design, and I have learned a lot from this project, myself, and my car. It definetly deserves a spot on my bookshelf, a coveted position among my other projects and models.

To learn and see more Click Here

The Return of Firebird

Length: 267mm
Wood Type: Balsa
Weight (Body): 89.6 grams
Weight (Car): 118.6 grams
Wheel Type: Standard Pitsco
Wheel Design: 4-Wheeled Car
Wheel Placement: Rail, Exterior
Body Interior: Semi-Hollow
Body Width: 42mm
Nose Design: Diamondback Head Design
Recorded Time: N/A (12th of 16th Place)
Actual Speed:
Launch 1: Successful
Launch 2: No relaunch
Body Color: Black
Wheel Color: not painted
Axel Color: Steel
Pin Stripe: Mica Red


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- Norman