A physics lesson turned into a world record-shattering event at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich.
As part of this year’s Take Your Child to Work Day Ford made (and completed) a world record attempt with a Hot Wheels car track loop that exceeded 12 feet tall.
Dynamometer technician Matt West, gave rise to the idea after building increasingly large Hot Wheels loops with his six-year-old son, Blade, at their home in Monroe, Michigan.
“It started as part-fun, part-physics lesson with my son at home,” West says. “We built one in our playroom, and then built a five-foot-tall loop in our backyard. When people at Ford heard what we were up to, everyone thought it would be a great way to get young people excited about science and engineering by trying to break the world record on Take Your Child to Work Day.
“In a world where kids are inundated with TVs and tablets, I thought teaching my son with actual moving vehicle models would be so much more rewarding, and then it took on a life of its own.”
West’s attempt shattered the old record of nine feet, nine inches tall when he and the team successfully made a Mustang Hot Wheels car complete a 12-foot, six-inch loop.
West and Blade had some expert help, including John Jaranson, technical expert in interior systems, and Grant Compton, computer-aided design engineer, and the team created the loop using computer-aided design software called CATIA, which is often used for car design.
Once designed, the team enlisted the help of Will Brick, general manager of TechShop Detroit, a membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio, to bring the digital design files to life. Jaranson is a member of TechShop, thanks to Ford’s relationship with the company, a part-time instructor who helps other members utilize the available tools. The team cut the sheets of plywood using a water jet cutter.