Tips to make a great racer

Elijah Shapiro flies in last year's soapbox derby, organized by Open Source Gallery. The fun returns on Aug. 7.

Making a racer isn’t as easy as putting a box on wheels, so Monika Wuhrer of Open Source Gallery shared some tips:

1. The most important component are the wheels. “Good wheels make the car,” said Wuhrer. The rear wheels should be larger than the front wheels, and spin straight.

2. Steering is more important than speed. “It’s the ones who manage to get through the course without missing anything that win,” said Wuhrer, Drill a hole in the middle of a 2-by-4, then connecting that to the axle and base with a screw. You’ll steer by pushing with your feet on either side of it.

3. Make sure you’re comfortable. Use cushions and packing from computer boxes. If you crash, you’re going to need it.

4. Always be fashionable. “Some cars may be slower, but they’re super cool because of the ideas that got put into it.”

5. Be able to stop. Use a piece of wood, screwed to the side of the car, that can drag along the ground. — Meredith Deliso

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