how to to make a wing nut brake
How do wing nut brakes work?
Wing nut brakes are the most widely used brakes for both Science Olympiad Gravity Vehicle and Mousetrap Vehicle, and for good reason too. They are cheap to make, easy to understand, and perform exceptionally well.
But on a more conceptual level, how do brakes work? Well, look at the brakes of real cars. To brake with a car, you push a break pedal, which opposes the rotation of the car’s wheels.
Using this idea, we can understand how a wing nut break works. Put simply, a wing nut is located on the axle of your car which, after a certain distance, will oppose the rotation of the car’s axles.
In actuality, the wing nut lies on a threaded rod. As the car begins to travels forward, the wing nut travels along the threaded rod until the wing nut hits a set of stationary hex nuts, stopping the vehicle from moving any further.
To make a very simple wing nut braking mechanism you will need the following items:
- A Threaded Rod
- A Wing nut
- 2 hex nuts
Watch our video below to find out how you can construct your wing nut brake.
wing nut brake improvements
If you are using a simple braking mechanism, then you may be experiencing that your vehicle is frequently skidding or unintentionally moving after the wing nut hits the hex nuts. This is because you car has too much energy when it begins to brake, causing your car to disperse that energy in unintended ways.
To make your vehicle brake better, you have to find some outlet to disperse the extra energy. The most basic improvement to the standard wing nit brake it to put a spring on the threaded rod in between the 2 hex nuts and the wing nut. As the wing nut travels along the threaded rod, it presses the spring, slowing the car down and dispersing energy, allowing you to brake better.