How To Optimize Rubber Band Motors For Wright Stuff

what is wright stuff

Wright stuff is a competition where students are tasked to build a model plane that is powered by a rubber band and propeller. Many science and engineering competitions, such as Science Olympiad and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, host wright stuff competitions to help teach basic physic concepts to students.

In this post, we will describe how to optimize the rubber band motors of your device for the best results.

how to optimize rubber motors

Rubber Band Width

To fully optimize the rubber band motors for your Science Olympiad Wright Stuff plane, you need to adjust the width of your rubber band motor.

If you increase the width of your rubber band motor, the amount of torque your plane initially has in its flight. If you are competing in a smaller flying venue, then it is probably better to go with a wider rubber band motor because you should be able to reach the top of the ceiling with a low number of motor turns. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to put fewer than the maximum turns on the motor, it is important to limit this factor to prevent your plane from getting damaged from ceiling obstacles.

Additionally, You don’t want to have excess rubber on your plane because it will unnecessarily increase the plane’s weight. Therefore, increasing rubber band thickness will reduce the length of rubber band required to reach the ceiling, in turn, reducing the amount of excess weight.

Conversely, if you reduce the width of your rubber band motors, then the torque of your plane will decrease. Although it may seem better to use wider rubber motors because of increased torque, it is actually, better to use a thinner motor if you are competing in a high ceiling venue. When you use a thinner motor, you increase the number of motor turns that can be wound into the motor, which, in turn, will increase time in which the plane is able to fly.

Rubber band length

In addition to the width of the rubber band motor, you should also focus on the length of the motor.

When you adjust the length of your rubber band motor, it is important to place the motor on your plane and tune the length of the motor to ensure that the plane’s center-of-gravity is unchanged. 

As a general rule, it is best to start with making a rubber band motor that is roughly 1.5x the length of your plane and then adjust the motor from there.

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