CIRIN: A Remote Controlled Rubber Band Racing Car

We’ve all had those rubber band racing cars as kids and were left in awe at how fast they go.  Well now a bunch of students have gone a step further and have designed a remote control rubber band racing car.


It’s called the Cirin, and is the creation of students Max Greenberg, Sameer Yeleswarapu and Ian Cullimore of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.  They created it to compete in the school’s Formula E Race, an annual event in which teams from around the world race their custom made rubber band powered miniature cars against one another.  Rubber bands and remote control cars sound like something that could occupy kids for a few hours, but apparently this combination can keep grownups interested as well.


Made of 3D printed nylon, carbon fiber, and machined aluminum, the Cirin combines the style of the 60’s era Formula 1 race cars with the bone structures of a bird’s wing.  This results in an impressive weight-to-strength ratio and what’s amazing is that almost no screws and fasteners are used.  What makes it go?  Just one 16 foot long rubber band, wound into eight inch loops between a pair of eye bolts that are contained with a carbon fiber tube.  The band is manually wound by removing the nose cone, and then held tight until go time.  When wound up, a servo motor holds the gears steady until the green race flag drops and a neodymium magnet allows the nose to snap back into place.  Running solely on a rubber band’s energy, Cirin can cruise for 500 feet and reach up to 30 miles per hour.


The creators of Cirin were all former engineers pursuing second degrees at Art Center and brought their technical skills to bear on the project, but were careful not to be overly formal in their application.  “This allowed us to approach problems using our intuition in a way that yielded holistic solutions, not confined to some box labelled engineering or sculpture,” says Greenberg.


The precision gears, electronics, and carbon fiber components cost over $500, not including the frame which was sponsored by Solid Concepts, a 3D printing service.

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