Mousetrap Kinetic Sculpture Construction 2010

Click on a thumbnail sketch to see the full size picture.

Mousetrap Concept

With the 2009 death of Rex it became urgent to create a newer better Kinetic Sculpture Racer. Well, "better" make be a stretch. But it will be newer.

Mousetrap was inspired from a Kinetic Sculpture Racer from about 10 years before called Cheese Whiz. CW consisted of two inner tubes with plastic mesh strung between them. The inner tubes were filled by plywood. There was a pipe between the two sheets of plywood. The racer was an 8 year old girl. The race was in Port Townsend. She didn't complete the race. That was far too much work for the poor girl. But it was still inspiring.

I loved the simplicity of the idea. But I felt we needed a marathon racer to pilot it. There was nobody like that on my team. Then I thought the pilot could wear roller blades and not have to be such a good racer. Alas, I failed to recognize how much friction the vehicle would provide. It's slow! But it's still inspiring, so it's not a complete loss.

Construction in 2010

I don't have pictures of the several scale models and the tests that we ran. Pam and I spend a lot of time on those proof of concepts before we scaled it up to full size.

Pam with a pontoon inner tube. The outer bublik [pontoon] has a zipper to allow us to install the inner tube. We were unable to get a zipper that would open all the way, so we had to make the inner tube with a break in it. Pam Anna Lynn Anna Lynn and Colleen joined Pam and me in fabricating the bubliks. Colleen
Anna Lynn Anna Lynn We used a special fabric which sticks to itself when you iron it. When done carefully it makes a pretty good seal and is air tight. Anna Lynn
Unfortunately it is very hard to get it to seal well. These inners leaked and had to be fixed. inner tubes Antonio and Jose Antonio and Jose model the pontoon. [left]

Once bublik with spokes. [right]
Anna Lynn We used this photo for our trading cards. DaVinci Woman Mousetrap Colleen inside the fully assembled Mousetrap in my living room

Testing and Training

I don't have pictures of the several scale models and the tests that we ran. Pam and I spend a lot of time on those proof of concepts before we scaled it up to full size.

We bought some used roller blades and began endurance training. Anna Lynn skating Anna Lynn It got pretty hot in Corvallis in July. Anna Lynn is cooling off in the downtown fountain. Anna Lynn Anna Lynn and Colleen Anna Lynn and Colleen model the mouse ears we made.
Mousetrap land test with Anna Lynn. Mousetrap Mousetrap Colleen is testing it just before the water test. Mousetrap This is the boat ramp into the Willamette River.
Well it floats. And it's stable. Mousetrap We took it back home to study it. Mousetrap We quickly learned that we couldn't get the vehicle to move while wearing blades. She would have to run in it. Oh dear! Mousetrap
We did more extensive float testing at Fern Ridge Reservoir. Colleen and Anna Lynn Mousetrap Mousetrap Mousetrap What Colleen and Anna Lynn determined is that Mousetrap was difficult to move in the water. Mousetrap
Colleen's dog, Violet, had a wonderful time. She found a ball somebody had abandoned and played catch with some kids she met. Violet Violet This boy almost managed to stand up. balancing Violet


Here are a few of the design documents for Mousetrap. As I find more of them I will post them here.

Calculating stability in the water Calculating Balance Spreadsheet
Hub design/Cost of materials Hub Cost

No mice were harmed making this Kinetic Sculpture Racer.

Unless otherwise noted, all pictures above were taken by Allen Brown.

Copyright 2011 C. Allen Brown

Last modified 8 Aug 2011