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Propeller driven car project   

In this project students design, make and test a propeller driven model car.  All testing is done using the PowerAnchor which doubles as the power source and central point which the cars travel around.  The propeller is connected directly to the motor which is powered by the PowerAnchor (some soldering is required).  The car itself is made either by vacuum forming over shaped blue modelling (alternatively, the blue modelling foam itself can be used as the chassis).  Axles and wheels are added and then the testing and fun begins.  


View Gallery for Helicar Project

A full range of design activities are included in the student notes and the teacher’s notes help to guide through the delivery of the project.  These include:  
  • Information sheets on experimental car design
  • Homework questions
  • Research tasks
  • Concept sketching
  • Orthogonal drawing
  • Class test 
  • Working with materials
  • Detailed design brief 
  • Record of testing 
  • Evaluation     
The project pack also includes a 20 minute classroom DVD on some of the background of the project and the processes involved in making a Helicar.   
Content covered in the project:   
  • Experimental cars
  • Propellers
  • EfficiencyAerodynamics 
  • Terminal velocity
  • Vacuum forming 
  • Working with blue modelling foam
  • CNC milling and CAD (optional)



Our aim is to support teachers with all the resources needed to successfully run this unit of work in their classrooms. We provide all the materials and the less common equipment as well as teaching notes and student sheets. 

Helicar is ideally run with a vacuum former and schools with CAD/CAM capability will be able to extend the project in ways that bring rigour to the design process.  Schools without this equipment can also run the Helicar project by hand forming the modelling foam and using this as the chassis.


Materials and Equipment

  • Scalpels  
  • Cutting mat  
  • Blue modelling foam
  • Rasping file  
  • Vacuum former (preferred)            Find out More
  • Motors


  • Vacuum forming plastic Release agent - vaseline 
  • Drill with 2mm bit 
  • Soldering irons and solder     Wheels   
  • Propellers
  • Power Anchor Find out More


  • Axles 
  • Modelling foam
  • PowerAnchor 
  • Black sticking vinyl  
  • Hot wire foam cutter (optional) Find out More
  • CNC router (optional)   Find out More

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