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Fred931's avatar

What is the best "engine" for a power tool drag racer?

Asked by Fred931 (9409points) October 4th, 2010

My engineering class’s project this year is to create a power tool drag racer from scratch and we have to go get our own tools as well. A drill won’t have enough speed, but a Dremel tool won’t have enough power, either. I don’t know of much else we could use since I’m no power tool expert, so is there anything that can give out a fair balance of speed and torque?

There isn’t really a budget here, but be sensible; I won’t pay $500 for something I’ll use once. It also has to be a corded device because of how the “race” works.

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8 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Fred931 How about this it has ⅓ horse and 22,000 RPM.

funkdaddy's avatar

About how much will the whole thing weigh? You may not know exactly at this point, but for example will it have a driver? Will you be using a certain size/weight of wheel and tire? Are there any constraints?

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Get a belt sander. Hand held one.

YoBob's avatar

You should be more concerned with power rather than speed. You can add a gear box that will take a powerful low rpm motor and spin a wheel at a higher RPM. However, a high RPM motor won’t do you much good if it doesn’t have enough torque to handle the load you want to put on it.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, belt sander all the way.

Fred931's avatar

I was in a tight situation when I posted this, so I didn’t have time to add that the vehicle has to ride on any number of wheels and the power tool must transport power to any combination of the wheels through a gear-, belt-, or chain-driven system (or anything else that will work).

I was overexaggerating when I said my budget was $500; it’s more like $100, @Tropical_Willie.

I really like the belt sander idea, but I can’t just extend axles out from the two cylinders and call it a day because of the required development of a drivetrain. I could definitely take the motor out if it has plenty of torque, but so does a drill, and I could gear the speed on a drill up at least 1:3, depending on how big the gears can be to still fit in the vehicle. How does using gears to increase the speed on a motor affect the torque?

marymaryquitecontrary's avatar

This sounds like a rather sick and dangerous project of questionable educational value. Since students can pick their own tools, the effort goes into picking rather than actual engineering. A much better project would be for each student to receive an identical spring-mousetrap and use that as the energy source for a car. Then we can compare enineering solutions, not shopping skills.
But anyway, my choice would be a circular saw. With a coarse blade still in place, it will careen across the floor at high speed, ripping up the floor tiles as it goes. Dangerous as hell, but hey, that’s the assignment, and if there’s no specific objection to ruining the floor, it’s fair game.

Fred931's avatar

@marymaryquitecontrary
Remember, the power tool’s “ligaments” can’t be touching the wood-built thingamabob; only wheels. Power has to be transmitted to those wheels through a student-designed drivetrain. Everything done has to be thought through in a design process and B.O.M. There really is educational value in this project. My teacher is a rather sick and dangerous one, but he teaches a mean physics class. Which I’m not a part of. Thank goodness.~

I’m edging towards a handheld drill, because I know that’s a very high-torque motor and I can gear it to a higher speed, and if original torque is better than original speed, then that’s pretty much the end of it.

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