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Wind-Up Car

Giant-sized variation of the little wind-up toys.
  (+11, -5)
(+11, -5)
  [vote for,

Like wind-up toys that spew sparks and lights, the Wind-Up Car would have a flat tape spring with a stop-cog so you can wind up via pedals, set a lever to "let go" and start the car moving. The spring would be 6 ft. diameter, laying flat under the passenger cabin, large enough to keep you moving without pedalling constantly. Braking mechanisms built into the clock-work would simulate "gears" or ranges of speed, which you'd shift.

The driving experience would be opposite of normal cars -- your primary function would be braking rather than accelerating.

The Wind-Up Car would use a battery and alternator to provide the amenities we're used to in normal cars, windshield wipers, etc.

danrue, Aug 18 2000

ExerCar http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/ExerCar
Wind up car would be some exercise, but not as much as the ExerCar. [danrue, Aug 18 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Rubber Bandit http://www.rubberbandit.org/
Forget those sissy cars. This is a full-scale, human-piloted, rubber-band-powered (wind-up!) *airplane*. [egnor, Aug 18 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Flywheel Powered Cars http://208.245.156....e/output.cfm?ID=835
(From Discover magazine.) Flywheels aren't quite springs, but they're close, and toy cars used them often enough... [egnor, Aug 18 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Clockwork lawnmower http://www.halfbake...ockwork_20lawnmower
Similar idea [hippo, Aug 18 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

*Baked* Da Vinci's Car http://www.guardian...604,1202187,00.html
Sorry dude, but it appears someone beat you by about 526 years. [MrDark, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Thanks for the great links! ...although I don't know that I'd agree that an *airplane* would be superior to a car -- a car would definitely be safer, and probably more practical. :0
danrue, Aug 21 2000

       I'd hate to be sitting on top of that sucker if ever it broke.
Alcin, Aug 30 2000

       The energy used to wind the spring would come from people, so that you would spend just as much energy winding the card as you would pedalling the car while you are driving. This idea is not practical, no human can come close to providing the energy needed to move a car at highway speeds for any reasonable distance.
12345, Sep 28 2000

       The ExerCar is basically intended to provide the driver with exercise, while the Wind-Up Car is intended to remove the direct association between the driver's efforts and the vehicle's power.   

       Once the spring was wound up, the Wind-Up Car would rarely become fully unwound... Pedalling would be prophylactic -- keeping the gears tight... and you could/would pedal while at a stops too.   

       I imagine a pulley and wheels system that would provide more winds than you'd get from, say, a bicycle.
danrue, Oct 03 2000, last modified Mar 02 2001

       if the mechanism worked off the bumps in the road and the people weight , pressure on seats,combined with a flywheel / spring to store the energy so the more people in the car and the bumpier the road the more action to the rachet to wind the spring/spin the flywheel speed ideal for families with fighting kids you could also gain energy going down hill
trorb, Oct 03 2000

       trorb: except that then any Michigander's car would suffer spring snapping/spontaneous combustion/anything else associated with too much potential energy.
nick_n_uit, Mar 02 2001

       As long as you only wanted to go in a straight line, you'd be fine...   

       Of course, when you COULDN'T go in a straight line and had an accident, the suddenly released flywheel would make a helluva mess...
StarChaser, Mar 03 2001

       If the spring came loose, what would it be like? They say you shouldn't change the spring on your Victrola because you can get cut. I wonder what happens when some untrained person changes the mainspring on a car? Let's see, the average gas tank is 15 gallons, and there are 60 kWh's of energy in a gallon of gas. That makes 900 kWh. I would think a clockwork spring could unwind in less than one second. Let's assume the spring takes a full second to unwind. That would mean a release of power equivalent to 3.24 megawatts. You probably can't get that by setting the gas tank on a conventional car on fire. Perhaps we could make a 3D movie simulating this occurence.
Amishman35, May 09 2002

       By winding a spring, you are storing potential energy for later use. There are other ways to do this. Cars could be fitted with large water towers and paddlewheels. Pump the water up the tower on the downhills and let fly on the up. Or, maybe large, dachsund shaped ballons can be attached to the top of the cars, and cars make a wet phbbbbbt... sound going uphill.
drdan, Aug 21 2002

       Birmingham UK : They have a transport system that runs off a giant flywheel which spins up the vehicle ; as in it "charges" up the car ; whick then has the inertia to go running till the next flywheel to power up - This could be good, real good [ais
Brainman, Mar 11 2003

       Ha. The rubberbandit domain has been bought by a porn wesbite.
rapid transit, May 20 2003

       Editors, maybe you should delete [Egnor]'s Rubber Bandit link. It's now linked to some kind of porn/webcam.
FloridaManatee, May 21 2003

       I'm new to this site and wasn't aware that so many of you share my interest in wind up spring powered cars and such. My entry: Human and Giant Spring Powered Shopping Cart. Submitted 8/25/03   

       Great ideas from danrue! I am positive this is an invention that could be made. Lighter materials would have to be used to construct the vehicle. Perhaps motor cycle frame-work, plastic body components,aluminum alloy parts?   

       Also I have been thinking about an ExerCar concept for more than twenty five years. I have made many drawings of such a car.   

       My suggestion to people working on this concept: "Don't think on such a grand scale" This type of car should be built in small custom batches. Available only to eccentric inventors and one-of-a-kind,car collectors. There is too much 'red tape' to cut thru when trying to get a new concept out to the public- at-large.
Cosmo, Sep 03 2003

       I still voted for this simply because it is such a great idea. I toyed with the idea myself a good 6 months ago, but didn't know that it would be on here, too:) You wouldn't necessarily need to wind it up yourself. One could use an air compressor or a heavy stream of water to drive a turbine, after which the water can be restored or broken down further into hydrogen and oxygen if so desired. The turbine could either store electricity in a battery, or wind up many springs, which would store potential energy (an idea I like better) for either mechanical use or to generate electricity in a generator in order to drive a motor. If it was the latter, perhaps it would create a loss of energy as it transforms, but maybe not (if efficiently produced).
MrDark, May 13 2004

       By the way, this would allow for combinations to be created, such as additional solar and wind power, which could be used to charge a battery or the spring itself while the car is out. Or, if you don't like using springs, maybe there'd be some sort of way to store the energy... maybe through static charges or magnetically? Just thinking here...
MrDark, May 13 2004


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