Virtual Car Competition Rules

General Rules

  1. The car body and wheels must be designed using Virtual Car and generated as a rapid prototype using templates generated by Virtual Car. This means:
    • You must use the same number of layers and wheels as Virtual Car has printed.
    • Each layer and wheel must be cut out the same shape as the corresponding template that was generated by Virtual Car.
    • The size of the spring chamber must be the same size that Virtual Car prescribed for the length of the spring you are using.
    • All templates must fit within the 7.5" by 10" printable area of a standard sheet of paper. This means that your vehicle can be no bigger than 7.5" x 10" in side view, but can be any width (number of layers) necessary.
    • The vehicle must be powered only by a wind-up spring of the type seen in class.

  2. Innovations consisting of additional parts, novel body materials or spring materials, clever mechanisms, etc. may be included as long as the innovations can be accurately modeled by Virtual Car and do not violate its design assumptions. Seek the approval of the instructor if you are unsure.
  3. You may use novel drive mechanisms that cannot be modeled by Virtual Car, as long as:
    • the sole power source is a wind-up spring,
    • the instructor or TA has approved it,
    • you derive the physical calculations for propulsive force, traction, time to 15 ft, and distance, and present them in an appendix to the report.

  4. You can use as much spring material as you wish, as long as the resultant car size does not exceed the limit in rule (1).
  5. Pelletized styrofoam (the kind that is formed from little pellets that flake off all over the place) has been banned by the racing committee.
  6. You may build as many vehicles as you wish, but only one vehicle can enter a given event.
  7. In each event, the vehicle will be placed on the track and released by lifting a single finger from the top of the vehicle. No forward force or directing motion may be used to assist the vehicle.
  8. The first-day prototype may not be entered in any competition.
  9. The instructor and TA may modify, delete, or add new rules when necessary to maintain the spirit of the competition!

Additional Rules for Speed and Distance Competitions

Speed Competition:
  1. Teams will race according to a strict schedule that will be announced by the race judge.
  2. Teams that are not ready at the time they are scheduled to race will forfeit the race.
  3. Vehicles are raced two at a time.
  4. The first vehicle to reach a finish line 15 feet away without leaving the track wins.
  5. The race may be retried if:
    • neither vehicle reaches the line without leaving the track
    • a vehicle interferes with its opponent
  6. On the second try, if there are additional problems, the judge will award the race to the vehicle that is judged as closest to winning.
  7. The judgement of the judge is final.
Distance Competition:
  1. The distance measured is a straight line distance from the starting point to the point where the car stops.
  2. Each vehicle will be tested for distance once, but it can be retried if the vehicle fails to go straight or leaves the track.