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Balloon car designer Amy Holst writes:
BV1: it doesn't go far, and it doesn't go fast, but it's a smooth, quiet ride.
The BV1 is a refined version of my second prototype. Prototype number one didn't move (too heavy). Prototype number two zipped right along, so I decided to keep that basic approach.
BV1 is a jet propulsion design which uses a Y shaped fitting to funnel the air from both balloons out the back of the vehicle. My only goals for the chassis design were to make it lightweight and keep the balloons away from the wheels. I used foam core for the chassis which included a raised mounting platform for the Y fitting and fenders to keep the balloons from dragging on the rear wheels as the car raced down the course. The wheels were hollow plastic pieces from a "Giant Checkers" set I purchased for $1. I punched holes in what I estimated to be the center of the checker pieces, and they spun easily around fixed axles which were pieces of small diameter aluminum tubing.
To keep the wheels on the axles, I superglued my thumb to my finger. That wasn't my intent and didn't achieve my objective. After ripping them apart, I glued small pieces of slightly larger diameter aluminum tubing on the ends of the axles. This worked to keep the wheels on the axles.
I had wanted to develop a more sophisticated design, but I was out of budget and schedule, and I couldn't slip the launch date, so I just had to go with what I had. In retrospect, I would have waited till the last minute to blow the balloons up so that their elasticity was as high as possible.
The contest was great fun and I was happy to have participated.