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Know anything about CO2 racers?

Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by Lucius Molchany, Mar 28, 2023.

  1. My daughter made this CO2 racer in high school and I painted it for her.I wonder how the cartridge is pierced at the start of a race? IMG_20230328_093124261.jpg IMG_20230328_093128805.jpg
  2. Marcosmadness
    Joined: Dec 19, 2010
    Posts: 373

    from California

    There is a spring loaded tool that pierces the end of the CO2 cartridge.
    Deuces, seb fontana and Pete Eastwood like this.
  3. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,488

    dan c

    that's a new one to me, but i remember some kids building model race cars powered by "jet-x" engines that were mainly used on model planes. you'd put a "fuel tablet" and a fuse in the engine and then light the fuse...
    Deuces and chryslerfan55 like this.

  4. TA DAD
    Joined: Mar 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,004

    TA DAD
    from NC

    I still have the tool to puncture the cartridge in my tool box. You know the magic drawer that has every odd clip/clutch adjustment piece etc. How sad is that, I am 63 and that thing is from Elementary School. We ran them in the hallway !
    Lepus, Deuces, Just Gary and 2 others like this.
  5. 1952henry
    Joined: Jan 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,221


    Daughter built one last year in 7th grade. I just have a piece of wood with hole in it. Put sharp nail against cartridge through hole. Hit with hammer and off it goes.
  6. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 3,222


    I thought you meant the little CO2 engines like model planes once used... Those relied on you keeping the prop still until you launched it. Was having some confusion figuring out how a model car would do that
  7. When I was about 10, in the early '50's my uncle gave me a car that he had made of balsa wood. Was designed for a Co2 cartridge but I didn't have access to one. It seemed logical to me that a firecracker would do essentially the same thing, soooo, I gave it a try. Never did find all the pieces.
    dan c, Lepus, Deuces and 8 others like this.
  8. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 3,663


    Flying balsa wood! LOL! Thanks for the chuckle with that image in my mind! Bet it surprised you at the time.
  9. Hotrodderman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 154


    I remember in Jr high School Almost 47 years ago, I made one in science class and we ran them down the hall way, Yeah and no one got hurt, bad. :cool: I am glad they are still doing things like this.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2023
    Deuces, TA DAD and chryslerfan55 like this.
  10. My son rattle-can sprayed a "Winfield fade" paint job on his CO2 racer.:):cool:
    Deuces, 210superair, Budget36 and 3 others like this.
  11. It seems like a larger puncture would give you more thrust but for a shorter time. And a smaller puncture would provide less thrust but for a longer time. There might be some wiggle room to adjust for track circumstances. :p
    Budget36 likes this.
  12. millersgarage
    Joined: Jun 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,239


    the eyelet underneath is in the wrong orientation. As i remember there are two, one in front, and one in rear, so the car follows a string or wire.
    it's been ages since I made one. We had a "track" with a starter board. You put 2 side by side, the board swung down and punctured the cartridges at the same time. Off they went
    lurker mick likes this.
  13. I built a plastic kit of a slingshot dragster about 40 years ago, it had a cradle at the back for a CO2 cartridge, 2 eyelets underneath which had a string through them, and I remember it said to have a cushion at the other end to stop it smashing into a million pieces. I didn't want to destroy my model (it had all the neat decals on it, like Moon, Isky, etc) so I never ran it with the cartridge, so it just went on the mantlepiece.
  14. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 8,616



    We got involved when the guy with a box full of tethered cars came to our elementary school for a show and tell afterschool. The tethered cars were gas powered airplane motors and they took off after starting them and hanging on until the starting wave or “go” was announced.

    At first, the guy put them in several circles and let the kids hold on as he started the motors. When we let go, the cars went super fast around and around. They kept going until they ran out of gas. Then the next group went over and helped get them ready for the circle run again.

    After a few circle runs, the guy stretched out some wire on a long straight run and had a makeshift drag race with two cars. We each got to hold on to the cars that were started for us and when the “go” was announce, we let go. That was exciting as they just took off and made a noise all the way across the playground into a giant grass field at the end. The guy must have known how long they would last going straight on the wire. No damage at the end of the straight line runs.

    Those airplane motors were noisy and expensive for us, so we just watched the older guy’s stable go back and forth. That was more exciting than watching it go around in a circle. So, how does a guy with a hobby get to use a school grounds for a model car display? The supervisor/coach of the afterschool activities knew the model car guy. He told his friend that several of “his” team athletes are interested in model cars and gas powered cars.

    So, for an after school activity, his friend brought tethered cars, and some straight wire to showcase drag racing with gas motors, plus CO2 models. After the first go around with gas powered cars, he was told that they did not meet the school activity rules. We were disappointed about the activity.

    Then about few weeks later, the same guy came back for another display of his latest builds. It was a streamlined Bonneville style racer with a bottle stuck inside under the rear fin. I guess he did not want it to hit the end of the attached wire, he ran the longer wire all the way to the grass and it was held tight with a string. So, if the bottle did not empty and slow the race car down, the car would go off of the wire and hit the string. Usually, he timed long runs so the car slowed down before the abrupt end.

    We tried to make our own CO2 racers, but with little money we were able to buy a couple of metal cartridges. The “streamlined” racer was a block of balsa wood we had laying around from other projects. We did not have a long wire for setting up a drag racer, but had ideas to keep it going straight. We embedded some of our dad’s fishing lead sinkers into the bottom area of the nose… hoping that it would keep the forward motion going.

    Ha, when we let it go, it took off for about two feet and then started veering off course, ending up with a crazy looking block of balsa wood, going around in large circles until a tire caught and flipped over. It did not matter if the wood got damaged, it was just a block of balsa wood. But, we were now done with CO2 racing for the time being…

    Whoosh was the only sound that surprised us when we saw the professionally done CO2 racer. And… no complaints from the surrounding neighbors and the school administration, either. That was some display.

    Many years later, after high school, we always wanted to know if our 1 second+ modified, powerful, (electric motor drag racing) slot car tubing frame dragsters were faster than the sleek CO2 streamliner. That would have been a great race. YRMV
    D type likes this.

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