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A poster for Science of Speed 2: Design for Speed that shows the 14 phases of the unit.


A poster showing the steps of the design loop process.


A poster for Science of Speed 2: Let’s Get Moving that shows the five phases of the unit.


Drawing sheets used for designing your car that show views from front, top, back, and side.


Design for Speed is a six-week unit that challenges students to apply STEM knowledge and design skills. Students engage in competitive engineering with the goal of creating the fastest and most eye-pleasing balsa wood or basswood dragster. They first develop a car concept and then build it. After a battery of tests and a speed test of their prototypes, they head back to the drawing board. Students analyze their cars for drag, mass, lift, and conformity to specifications, all with the aim of making the fastest car in the room for the culminating Day at the Races event. An aesthetics competition provides an added dimension and entices students who have an artistic flair.

Extensive web support is included such as online data tracking and exclusive access to instructional videos for each phase of the activity. Teacher familiarity with tool use and woodworking methods is required. The dragster launcher is sold separately.

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The principles of the science of speed – aerodynamics, thrust, friction, Newton’s laws of motion, and so on – are at the heart of many of the most exciting applied physics and engineering projects. Let’s Get Moving, the three-week introductory unit for the Science of Speed 2 program, teaches these concepts through several projects: a pop can engine, a balloon rocket, and air-powered bottle racers. Students not only build their vehicles, they also test them and interpret data for the purposes of reengineering. Each project successively builds on the others, and at the end of the unit, students are ready to move on to the next phase in the Science of Speed process.

The unit can stand alone and comes with everything you need to successfully complete the activity. The Science of Speed 2 program comes with extensive web support such as exclusive access to instructional videos for each phase of the activity.


A must-have for teachers embarking on the Pitsco Custom Cruiser Vehicle Design activity. This book takes you through the entire activity including design concepts, CAD drawings, clay modeling, vehicle construction, and testing. Contains many helpful suggestions for implementing this activity in your classroom.


Don’t let students wing it – have them design CO2 dragsters using engineering concepts. This guide starts the process by teaching them about the engineering design process. As they work through the activities and design their own dragsters, students will learn about:

  • Specifications
  • Newton’s laws
  • Identifying and minimizing friction
  • Bearing surfaces
  • And much more!

Using the knowledge gained, they then complete two challenges that test their ability to evaluate and make design changes to improve their vehicles.

Student materials in the guide are reproducible for distribution in your classroom. Use this guide as a supplement or use the series as the base for an engineering design course.

Equipment and materials needed to complete guide activities include the Pitsco EZ Build Dragster 32-Pack; basswood and balsa wood dragster class pack; Go/No Go Gauge; Roll Test Ramp; dragster parts such as plastic wheels, axles of various materials, brass rods, straws, washers, axles, and Precision Bearings; caliper; drill press or drill; coping saw; long-nose pliers; Phillips screwdriver; metal saw; tubing cutter; digital scale; bench pulley; measuring tape; modeling clay; sandpaper; graphite and Teflon lubricant; and standard classroom tools and materials. Note: This list is for all activities; individual activities don’t require all listed materials.


Students start designing their own CO2 dragsters, produce a foam prototype of their dragsters, and then create a finished Custom Cruiser model. The culminating activity is to deliver a polished presentation about the process of creating the Custom Cruiser.

Through these activities and challenges, students learn about and apply several concepts:
  • Thumbnail sketches
  • Scaling
  • Orthographic drawings
  • Drafting and tools for drafting
  • Modeling

Student materials in the guide are reproducible for distribution in your classroom.

Equipment and materials needed to complete guide activities include the Pitsco Custom Cruiser 25-Pack, digital scale, measuring tape, Roll Test Ramp, drafting board, T square, 30°/60°/90° triangle, compass, drafting pencil or lead holder, French curve, sandpaper sharpener, freehand hot-wire cutter, acrylic spray paint, hand drill with 1/8" bit, carving tools, drill press, band saw, safety glasses, digital camera and digital video camera, photo- and video-editing software, presentation software (PowerPoint), plastic wheels, straws, steel axles, modeling clay, expanded polystyrene foam blank, drafting tape, balsa wood sealer, and standard classroom tools and materials. Note: This list is for all activities; individual activities don’t require all listed materials.


This super-handy tool is great for making prototypes and shaping items from polystyrene foam. The hot cutting wire quickly melts through the foam material for a clean, perfect cut. There is no dust or residue left behind. You’ll find it incredibly easy to cut intricate shapes from the soft, white foam provided in Pitsco Dragster Kits, as well as denser expanded polystyrenes.

When in the vertical position, the cutting wire makes perfect square cuts. The cutting wire can also be tilted to achieve a wide range of angled cuts. Wire temperature can be adjusted for optimum cutting performance when using various types of foams.

The Free Hand Foam Cutter’s base is made of durable, laminated phenolic material. Package includes cutter, control box, power supply, and 100 feet of extra cutting wire.


This small foam cutter is ideal for creating shapes. Simple to use and economical, the Aero Viz Foam Cutter’s hot cutting wire easily makes precise cuts in 1" polystyrene foam. Students can create any shape they can imagine for testing in wind tunnels or for other projects. Just 5.5" L x 5.5" W x 4.5" H, the foam cutter fits on student desks or other small work surfaces. Comes with 32-gauge Nichrome wire and four foam blocks. Requires a standard wall outlet for power. Replacement Nichrome wire sold separately.


With clay car prototyping, custom cruiser and dragster shapes can be accurately modeled before the construction process. Watch as Dr. Zoon gets his hands into the clay modeling process.

Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series on custom cruisers.


Take a ride into history or into the future – you decide as you design your custom cruiser vehicle! Dr. Zoon provides some ideas and pointers for the process.

To learn about production, finishing, and testing of custom cruisers, check out these Dr. Zoon videos: Dragster Production: Hand Tools; Dragster Production: Power Tools; Dragster Finishing; and Dragster Testing.

Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on custom cruisers.


This program makes it easy to use your CO2 race system for the Shockwave. First, learn to build the Shockwave Car Kit. Then, see how to attach its launch system to your race system for a foolproof race. Along the way, learn about the history of electric cars.


Manufactured to suit the exacting requirements of the auto industry and product designers. Can be carved or extruded and slicked to an extremely accurate, glass-like finish. The clay will hold fine detail, can be shellacked and painted, and is reusable. Two-pound package.


A dense, yet lightweight, expanded polystyrene foam makes this material much sturdier than white Styrofoam. It’s great for wings, prototypes, vehicle bodies, intricate shapes, and many other applications. Available in 1" and 2" thicknesses. Sheets are sized 11.5" x 23.5". When the foam sheets are purchased in a package of 10, a sheet of template material is also included. Colors might vary.

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From $3.65
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