Toy Car Pumps the Wheels with Balloon Power

We’ve had our eye on [Greg Zumwalt]. He’s been working on some very clever 3D-printed mechanisms and his latest prototype is an air engine for a toy car. You can supply the air for the single cylinder with a compressor, or by blowing into it, but attaching an inflated balloon makes the system self-contained.

Last week we saw the prototype of the engine by itself, and wondered if this had enough power to drive a little train engine. We were almost right as here it is powering the front wheels of a little car.

This isn’t [Greg’s] first rodeo. He’s been working on self-contained locomotion for a while now. Shown here is his spring-driven car which you pull backwards to load the spring. It’s a common feature in toys, and very neat to see with the included 3D-printed spring hidden inside of the widest gear.

That print looks spectacular, but the balloon-powered prototype tickles our fancy quite a bit more. Make sure you have your sound on when you watch the video after the break. It’s the chuga-chuga that puts this one over the top. [Greg] hasn’t yet posted files so you can print your own (it’s still a prototype) but browse the rest of his designs as you wait — they’re numerous and will bring an even bigger smile to your face. Remember that domino-laying LEGO bot [Matthias Wandel] built a few years back? [Greg] has a printable model for it!

21 thoughts on “Toy Car Pumps the Wheels with Balloon Power

    1. Because I had one of these when I was 8 and had it apart enough times that it had to finally be reassembled with “Araldite” because the screws stripped, so single cylinder air powered cars are a bit old hat for me…

      1. Though I’m fairly sure some high school science methods of evolving hydrogen back in the day you could fill a balloon from…. which makes me think it would be interesting to do that, and have a homebrew fuel cell, running modern high efficiency motor.

  1. Those little compressed air powered Air Hogs planes were pretty awesome. They seem to be very attracted to trees though. The hardest thing to print would probably be the valve.

    1. Evolution, lacking sustenance from the Charlie Brown generation from kites, the Kite Eating Trees developed a taste for airhogs… I hear lately they’ve taken to sampling quadcopters.

    1. With how far up his legs burned, pretty sure he lost his todger too….. which would explain a lot…. and he went in for phallic star destroyers and look how big my balls are space stations after that.

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