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”
No Tesla turbine? I was hoping there was a Tesla turbine. How about a Tesla turbine?
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…
“It’s made by Tony”.
I’m just imagining one guy in his basement making hundreds of these things.
Tomy :-). Of course, UK readers of a certain age will remember this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU-tuY0Z7nQ as a reply to Fiat’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fXV6KzhBbM
+1 for more Tesla Turbine
Fill it with hydrogen…
First things first…
1: Design a sparkplug that can be 3D printed.
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.
I think I got something similar in a box of Freakies cereal back in the 70s, minus the gearing.
Yah, balloon racecars used to be a frequent thing in party goodie bags, surprise bags etc… pure exhaust propulsion.
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.
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.
Round here they seem to like sampling pairs of shoes with their laces tied together. Unless they actually grow up there.
They also seem to have a acquired taste for model rockets.
[typo] Mathias Mandel should be Matthias Wandel
Oof a double typo at that. Both were my mistakes. Fixed, thanks!
Does anyone else think this car sounds like Darth Vader pleasuring himself?
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.
That’s no moon…. it’s a symbolic testicle….
Makes you wonder if Spaceballs knew more of the backstory than we did at time of release.
I’d like to see it run on CO2 carts.
Yah, did that for a highschool toy design project, using a Telco motor back in the late 80s…. still got a couple of the motors somewhere.
They were semi popular for model aircraft back in the day http://gasparin.cz/page.php?page=co2/motors/motors&lng=en#copower but better small electric motors and batts have eaten their lunch now.
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