Bad Ideas on Power Wheels

You all knew that hackerspaces are wont to harbor the strange and crazed among us. But did you know that these self-same strange and crazed are also wont to think that taking tiny toy cars, meant for toddlers at just 6V and 2mph, to turn into 40V and 20mph monsters is a REALLY GOOD IDEA?

We do, and we did. Above you can see Vanity, the car that AHA officially raced at the Detroit Maker Faire 2011 Power Wheels Racing Series Championship Cup. Vanity was the brainchild of Professor Michael Flynn of and the product of the hard work of Canaderp, Simplepi, Nib, and Tightly. Above you can see Simplepi at the helm of Vanity during the Drag Race Contest. Sadly, we were unable to get her moustache to stay on.

Vanity competed against a fierce field of competitors. With cars being fielded from i3 Detroit, OmniCorpsDetroit, Sector67, Duct Tape and Zip Ties, CCCKC, Pumping Station: One, Milwaukee Makerspace, LVL1, HackPGH, Blag Frog Racing (who helped with some serious mods for the Endurance Grinder), and Hive13 we were up against stiff and much better-prepared competition. We were, in fact, the only competitors racing with stock drive train, wheels, and steering. We ran 40V to the motors, and as such it is no wonder that the right motor almost caught fire during the 7th lap of the Road Race. Perhaps that we got pummeled on all sides by other teams’ cars didn’t help, but I am glad, in retrospect, that we installed a bunch of bumpers. Since we’re in retrospection, having the throttle be a vertical rotary knob that you had to actuate with your toes was not the best plan.

We never technically finished the races, so technically we never lost anything more than the Drag Race. Some last minute 5th-wheel modifications by Prof. Flynn and George of Rocks and Robots saved us for the Endurance Grinder Race and ran us at 20V, which we also didn’t finish (made 7 laps in 42 minutes, woo!). However, now we and a bunch of new people are excited about this sort of thing, so we intend to soon have more making of small things that move in ridiculous ways. Long live the bad ideas on high-powered wheels!

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About Xander

Hacker, inventor, entrepreneur, artist, sleep-deprived.
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