UCF, Sure am! The hood design is the school emblem. I think I came here the night I painted it, so that was the main reason for the tag I suppose.
You may be able to reduce friction and increase electrical conductivity of the "shoe" if you can cut the aluminium foil into thin strips for making contact with the track. This is akin to how brushes work in a motor, more guaranteed contact area with less normal force.Presentation pushed back to Monday because some of the groups aren't close to ready. I'm basically done. My original spring system for the shoe failed. It consisted of a trimmed 3x5 index card folded into a spring with a metal plate on the bottom. It seemed ideal because the index card would be study enough not to bend during forward motion, allowing me to more percicly pinpoint the contacts in relation to the permanent magnet. However, the added friction was eating up 2/3 of my forward motion. I thought about it for a few seconds and figured if that was too heavy...a gum wrapper would work. Before I found the gum I decided if a gum wrapper will work, why not alluminium foil? So I have foil hot glued to a popcicle stick and it works wonderfully. I have 2 strips running the entire length of the track and a 3rd strip I'm going to cut up into pieces for both sides. Still working out where I should cut but the system works as well as I would have hoped. I'm getting massive motion from both push and pull. I could easily travel the length of the 3' track utilizing only one or the other. Won't see both together until I'm ready to cut up pieces of track and wire everything together at once, but any acceleration boost is just icing on the cake when you don't technically even need it. I can't wait to see it happen. Right now I still just have 2 full length tracks for the same shoe and electrical tap blocking current to dial it in before I start sawing...but it clearly works. Taking the project with me to school again tomorrow, hoping to get the rest of the group on board.
My biggest issue right now has nothing to do with electricity or magnets. I need to properly align the axles of the car. It likes to drift to one side and other random issues of that nature. I compromised some of the factory pinewood derby front axel grove sticking a magnet under the nose of the car facing down in the experimenting phase. I knew I was doing the damage when I did it and planned all along to repair it later. With the electromagnetism part of the project all but wrapped with a bow, doing that sort of routine maintenance is my next real goal. I'm going to go all out and wet sand the nail axles for optimal friction reduction, repaint the car (the same way but touch-up for all the chips and burs from playing hard), etc. etc.
I couldn't be happier with my results or position of timing still 5 days from presentation day. The only thing that would make it cooler is if I did a Sonic the Hedgehog style loop-de-loop where the car has so much centrifugal force from the forward motion of the magnets that it can travel upside down. I think I will do that in my own time just for the sake of doing it, but for the graded presentation I'm just going to keep it flat.
Think I got this one in the bag fellas!