2010 Agricultural Technology Contest

March 27, 2010


Power Tool Drag Race

Contest Description and Rules:

Please direct questions to:

Dr. Dean Olson
Agricultural Engineering Department
University of Wisconsin-River Falls

This year, all vehicles must be powered by a 120-volt Router for the official competition.

Students are encouraged to participate in an exhibition class using previous year vehicles to obtain experience.

The purpose of the Power Tool Drag Racing competition is: Student Competitors will design and build a vehicle powered by a handheld power tool to run down a track in the shortest time. The vehicle is driven by a power tool that is connected to the drive train by a transmission. The vehicle can be constructed from any material, but must fit within the vehicle specifications listed. Power tools must have the trigger locked in to place. The tool will be started remotely by a switch operated by a student competitor. A vehicle will be stopped by 18 inches of couch cushion foam at the end of the track. It is up to the competitors to build a vehicle that will not be harmed by our foam cushioning system.

The track will be set up like an NHRA drag strip with the finish line being 24' from the start line. The track surface is painted OSB plywood. This competition will be run as a timed event. The start of the race will be based on a drag strip light system (three amber, one green, and fault lights). The vehicle will be powered up upon the pushing of a start button, and in the event of a false start a time delayed start will be imposed (0.5 seconds penalty) adding to the overall run time. The finish line will use a laser beam installed at a height of 4" which needs to be broken by the front most part of the vehicle. Once the vehicle crosses the finish line the time will be stopped and the vehicle will be de-powered. The times will be displayed to the nearest one-hundredth of a second. Three times will be recorded and the best of the three times will be used to determine a winner.  All three runs must be completed during the allotted time for the competition. Only hand tools and/or 120 volt/battery power tools can be used for repairs (Please: no welders or grinders. Light repairs only). Participants MUST be present to run their own vehicles.

Vehicle Specifications

  • Power tool Selection
    • One 120 V Router  (Only Routers will be allowed in the competition. Other tools may participate in the exhibition class.)
    • The power tool electrical system must remain unaltered and casing remain intact (i.e. No removal of motor from casing).
    • Power tool must be grounded or double insulated
  • Vehicle Restrictions
    • Drive wheels must be 6-8" new non-pneumatic, lawnmower wheels.
    • Limit of 4 drive wheels.
    • The wheels must be unaltered with the exception of mounting to a drive train or an axle (i.e. welding, keying to the axle)
    • The drive train cannot be a direct drive and must use some form of transmission to transmit power from the tool to the drive wheels (i.e. No direct attachment of wheel to the drive shaft of the respective power tool).
    • Must fit in a 24" long x 16" wide x 24" high box including the cord that is attached to the power tool.
    • 35 lbs max weight
    • Frame of the vehicle may be made out of any material
  • Track Specifications
    • Track is 22.5 inches wide by 24 ft long.
    • Tracks sides and center divider are 8 inches high.

The event coordinators reserve the right to prevent any vehicle from participating due to safety issues. Safety issues that will be addressed are potential electrical hazards or severe lack of structural integrity. The event coordinators are not responsible for any damage that may occur to the vehicles or for potential injuries to the participants. Safety glasses must be worn at all times by competitors. A-B-C fire extinguisher will be on site (supplied by UWRF).


  • Three prizes will be awarded. First place, second place, and the most creative design will receive a prize. All categories are judged based on the judges’ discretion.
  • In the event of a tie the following procedure will be used:
    • Second fastest time of each competitor will be used.
    • Third fastest time of each competitor will be used.
    • If a tie is still occurring at this point a coin toss will be used to determine the winner.
  • Most creative car from the drive train standpoint will win a trophy.

Basis for Creativity is as follows:
Complexity of transmission design
Estimated cost to build (no price lists needed)
Overall appearance

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