[Josh, Ryan, Uchenna] Final Project Report & Video: [Arduino Drag Race]


team member contribution
Josh Coding, Construction
Ryan Design, Construction
Uchenna Construction


For our project we made a drag racing game, which consists of two identical tracks. After learning that we were going to be presenting our final projects at the Exploration Place we decided that we wanted to ensure it was interactive and would be something that kids could enjoy. Building upon that we decided kids would probably like something to do with toy cars. The way it works is upon pressing a button the car “drives” or is pulled along the track until reaching the finish line.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2f0Peqqfws


List of Parts Used:

  • Foam Track: 16×5.5 inches (x2)
  • Foam Support: 16×2 inches (x8, 2 of which have holes for the motors)
  • 16 Red LEDs
  • 16 Green LEDs
  • 4 Motors
  • 4 Plastic Rods (used as spools)
  • 4 Strings
  • 2 Matchbox Cars
  • 2 Arduinos
  • 2 Breadboards
  • 2 AC Adapters
  • Wire

Arduino File: button

InkScape File: inkscape file

  • For our project we created a drag race using the Arduino. The way that it works is there’s two identical setups both consisting of a foam track, a matchbox car, and two buttons.  Upon the start of a race each player presses the racing button, which causes the car to be pulled forward along the foam track via a string attached to a motor for half a second. We designed it such that your car will not move again until the button is released and pressed again. This is to create a more interactive experience. You keep pressing the button until one of the cars pass the finish line. After the race is over each player must press the reset button which is located at the rear of the foam track attached to the bread board. This button must be held until the car has returned to it’s starting position.


  • How We Built It:
    • We first went into InkScape and designed the race track
      • The race track consists of a foam rectangle with the dimensions of 16 x 5.5 inches
      • Each race track is held up by 4 foam supports, 2 on either side of the track. The dimensions of these are 16 x 2 inches
        • Two of the foam supports have 2 holes each where the motors are placed
    • After we finished designing the race track in InkScape we a foam cutting machine to cut out each of these items
    • To create a spool for the strings we took a plastic rod cut it then drilled a hole in the center so that we could connect it to the motor
      • We then attached the plastic rods to our 4 motors
      • Then we soldered wires to each connector of the motors
      • We then took a piece of string and attached it to each rod using electric tape
    • We then used hot glue and glued the 4 foam supports on the bottom of the race track
    • Then we pushed 16 LEDs (8 on both sides along the length of the track) through the foam
    • We then soldered wires to each end of every LED, and to differentiate which end was which, we used two different colored wires, red for positive and black for negative.
      • After finishing each LED soldering we took the two wires and stuck them in the end of a power drill to twist them together, so that everything is kept tidy
    • Then we stuck the motors through the holes in the foam supports
      • We cut a slot on the track approximately 2 inches from each end of the track for the string to slide through
    • We then used hot glue to attach the string to the car
    • Then we soldered some wires to the two racing buttons
      • Cut a hole for the button to fit through on the track
    • Lastly upload the code to the Arduino as well as connecting all the wires to the breadboards 
    • Race!




Flow Chart:


  • Looking back on our project we feel that overall it was a fun experience and worked as we intended.
  • Things that didn’t work initially:
    • LEDs weren’t functioning (due to a lack of power) when wired in series. As a result we changed them to be wired in parallel to obtain the desired effect.
    • The pulley system we designed wasn’t without problems. Initially we used a rubber band instead of string (which were attached to the motors) and the rubber bands created too much friction and the motor did not have enough power to pull.
    • Even after we changed to the string as our method of moving the car, it wasn’t perfect. We had to mess around with it a lot, so that when it spooled around the plastic rod it didn’t bunch up in such a way that it didn’t allow it to either return properly, or continue moving forward.
  • Things we would do differently:
    • Design a different method of moving the car along the track. Even though we got it working, it doesn’t work 100% of the time, and sometimes requires some assistance moving the car.
  • Now that the project is finished, aside from designing a different method of moving the car, we feel that we could also have changed the location of the motors to perhaps reduce the amount of resistance and friction created by the string sliding against the foam track.
  • If we were going to expand on our project:
    • We would add staging lights to signify when to go
    • We would add either a sound or a flag at the end of the race to signify who won
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