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CO2 Dragster Design Event

Design Constraints

Event Coordinator: Tom Greene at:

Level of Competition:    High School

View CO2 Dragster Design Form

Description of the competition:

Students design, build and race wooden cars powered by released CO2 gas.  The vehicles will be designed and built using the following rules (mostly derived from the Technology Student Association Dragster Design Challenge).  Honors will be awarded to the top vehicles based on two categories; speed, engineering design.

Vehicles that fail to meet the specifications will be disqualified.  

Rules of competition:

1a.       One individually produced dragster per student.

2a        Four cars per school maximum in each level of competition (4 MS/ 4 HS).

3a        Students can utilize any tools or machines to build their vehicle.

4a        All cars must have a finish coat (dry prior to registration).

5a        Students will not be allowed to tune or make repairs after registration.

6a        Standard 8gm Pitsco CO2 cartridges will be supplied at race time. 

Material Requirements:  

1b        One piece all wood construction.  No add-ons or wood glued together.

2b        Paint and decals can be used as long as they are not considered body strengthens.

3b        A vehicle must have 4 wheels, each of which must meet front and rear wheel regulations/dimensions.

4b        All wheels must be made entirely from plastic.

5b        A maximum of 8 spacer washers may be used.

6b        A maximum of 8 axle clips may be used.

7b        Axles and bushing can be of any material.

8b        Lubricants can be used as long as remnants are not left on track or people.

9b        All wheels must roll.

Specific Tolerances: Max Min
Dragster Mass (all components except CO2 cartridge)* 170 g 65 g
Dragster Body (length) 305mm 200mm
Dragster body (height at rear with wheels) 75mm 56mm
Dragster body (width at axles – front and back)* 42mm 35mm
Dragster body (width including wheels) 80mm ---
Dragster body rail style car (cross section diameter)* --- 5mm
Power plant (depth of hole) 52mm 50mm
Power plant (housing thickness around entire housing)* --- 3mm
Power plant (housing diameter) 20mm 19mm
Power plant center line (from body bottom)       35mm 31mm
Axles (diameter) 3mm 3mm
Axles (length)   70mm 42mm
Axle bearing (diameter) 4.5mm 3.5mm
Axle hole (diameter) 4.5mm 3.5mm
Axle hole (position above body bottom) 10mm 5mm
Axle hole (position from either end of body) 100mm 9mm
Wheelbase 270mm 105mm
Spacer bearing (diameter) 9mm 7mm
Wheels, front (diameter) 37mm 32mm
Wheels, front (width of greatest diameter) 5mm 2mm
Wheels, rear (diameter) 40mm 30mm
Wheels, rear (width of greatest diameter) 18mm 15mm

“*” Specifications that often lead to a vehicle being disqualified


Track Note:

The exact length of track will be determined by space available.  Unlike the TSA rules, a guideline is not used to secure dragster to the track.  The lane is 6 inches wide with a      1-inch tall wall on each side.  There may be bumps where sections fit together.

  An Impulse race system, which uses a student’s reaction time to launch their vehicle, will be connected directly to the finish gate.  If a race time is not recorded, event coordinators will determine if the car should race again.  If the cars design is a factor, it will not race again. (Example: light mass of vehicle causes it to fly off track.)