The Traxxas Nitro EngineBy: Arianna Weinshel, Charlie Simmons, Jacob Sim

For this project our group decided to reverse engineer a Traxxas Nitro Engine. We chose this object because we felt that it resembled a car’s engine and wanted to find a way to improve the original model. After taking apart the engine, we listened to a user of the product and learned that issues were found in the design.

We first began taking apart a Mac laptop and decided that the design was too complex and that is when we switched to a nitro fuel remote controlled car engine. We took apart each piece, keeping track of the screws, dimensions, and materials. Finding the main issue in the design to be air ventilation within the engine’s head. the engine head runs at too high of a temperature making it both dangerous to use and limiting the lifespan of the engine itself. Our task was to improve the original design of the head, keeping in mind the financial aspects that would be accommodating towards all households.

RC cars as well as other remotely controlled vehicles are powered by similar engines to the Traxxas 2.5cc engine that we reverse engineered. They are one cylinder nitro methane powered engines. Compared to electric motor powered cars, the nitro engine produces far more power and is more practical because you don't have to waste time recharging the batteries. With the extra power that they offer there are also some downsides which is where we found our ideas. In our research we found that the main problems are in the temperature of the engine and the noise that they make. As a group, we decided to look more into cooling the head which is where most of the heat is found in the engine. When taking apart the engine we noticed that the head is attached to the engine with five screws which makes it easy to attach and detach allowing for a better head to be fitted with little hassle. With the addition of the fan to the new head we are providing a product that is cheeper than engine replacement and allows for a better running engine.

The first idea was to build a small fan that would be placed on top of the head, leaving a half a centimeter of space for the ignition wire to connect to the glow plug. Having a fan would pull the heat away from the metal in the engine head and blow it up and out of the car ultimately cooling it. In our decisions we decided to keep the original structure of the head while making it a little larger allowing for a larger amount of surface area to disperse heat. We needed to find a material that can release its heat more easily to make the cooling process more efficient. We then researched metals that had low specific heats and high conductivity. By combining both aluminum and copper, an aluminum alloy is created that will improve the design with the intentions on cutting down on the cost of manufacturing expensive metals and allowing heat to be distributed properly. Not only will the engine head be made from different metals but the dimensions will increase to hold a larger amount of surface area. Two centimeters will be added to the original model from the center of the head, thereby increasing efficiency. The fan that we have designed fits directly on top of head, and we have decided that it would be best to be an attachment that can be added to any engine in order to increase its compatibility. The fan will hook up to the on board battery and will have four blades that will increase the flow of air coming through the engine cooling it. the fan will be the same diameter of the head and bring the hot air from within the head up and away from the car through the groves in the head.

Another idea that we thought of for circulating the hot air was water-cooling. water cooling is one of the best ways to cool engines and is what is found in most cars because it works very well. despite its efficiency there were a number of problems that arose. One being the fact that the RC car is very small and the multiple components of a water cooling system would be hard to fit on board. there would need to be room for a holding tank of water and then a pump is needed to pump the water to the head, and the most drastic problem is the fact the the head design would have to be extremely altered because the initial design is air cooled. This is an expensive and complex idea that we can not cover at this time while also considering that water has a hard time releasing the heat after retaining it. Also, we did not have time to cover the issue that the engine has regarding its loud noise. If we had more time we could think of more ways to cut down on the sound produced.

The last idea that we had that could increase cooling efficiency was to redesign the plastic body that goes over the car, so that it could maximize air flow to the engine. like modern super cars the body lines would be specifically designed to move the air to the engine cooling faster. Air scoops and indentations would be the main funnels of air similar to real cars.

With these new modifications people could use this engine for longer periods of time as well as for more years, and the design could be implemented daily. families can spend less money by not replacing the engine every few years and by buying our fan and head add efficientcy and longevity to the engine. Overheating would lead fewer engines to be replaced and increase the user’s safety. These Traxxas engines were designed for adult use but similar to biomimicry these ideas can be combined in other objects. Throughout history Chinese fans were used to cool humans and this invention is similar to the movement of birds, insects, leaves, and the flow of wind.



Traxxas nitro engine similar fan design

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