Lightning McQueen

This is the guide from the original GBG chapter, distributed at their workshops. _McQueen_Step_By_Step.pdf (2.6 MB)

Here is a construction guide for Lightning McQueen used by Go Baby Go Central Ohio. We made several changes from the original. First, we add a charger port to the rear of the car, so parents don’t have to remove the seat to charge the battery. That’s a nuisance when there’s a PVC frame and padding in place, and has been a popular feature. Also, we attach the Big Red Button using a jack. That way alternative switches can be tried, and changes made as the child’s needs change. Plus some different construction approaches.

Lightening McQueen cars typically say 12-24 months. Can anyone give me an idea of the age range they have used it with?

Lightning is fairly tiny, but a good car for a little one. We find that most kiddos grow out of it by age 3 - but it is a really tight fit for many two-year-olds as well.

Hi there is there any safety concerns for having the wires connected to the metal of the toggle switch without soldering them?

Possibly. Depends on what type of switch you are using. Some have screws to hold the wires on, but even then you should put heatshrink tubing over the connection. Our current preference is to use disconnects (AKA quick-connects) on switches designed to accept them, and then put heatshrink tubing over that. This seems easier for volunteers and more reliable than previous approaches we have tried. Let me know if you need pictures on how to do this.
– Doug

Yes I would love pictures of the heatshrink tubing. We current have the wires affixed by screws on the toggle switch. Is it possible to start a fire or shock someone like that?

No, there is no risk of shock. I suppose there is always a fire risk, but again that’s very unlikely. I have trouble thinking of how it could happen. The most probable scenario is that the wires will loosen and the car will run erratically or not at all. That one we have seen. The volunteers have trouble getting the screws tight enough, and they can loosen over time.

Here is a picture of how it looks when the heat shrink tubing is applied. Like I said, I try not to use screw terminals any more – this car is in for a refurb.

Here are some more suggestions:

  1. Don’t just make a “hook” with the trimmed end of the wire and slide it under the screw. Rather, trim the wire twice as far and make a complete loop (like a lasso) around the screw by twisting the trimmed wire. You can see how this was done on the nearest screw in my picture. There is a little bulge of wire below the terminal.
  2. Never solder onto a switch with screw terminals. Some manufacturers don’t use a plastic that’s sufficiently heat resistant.
  3. Put thermal glue around the switch body when you are done. That helps keep the switch from loosening and turning on the car body.
    Hope this is helpful!
    – Doug

thank you very helpful!

I like using crimp ring connectors like these for screw connectors. Remove the screw and reinsert it through the ring. Choose the appropriate size/color for the wire guage and please use a ratchet crimp tool rather than the cheap crimp in the handle of regular wire strippers.

If you can get switches with spade connectors (like this) then the crimp spade connectors work well and you don’t have to worry about the screws coming loose. Just make sure the spades are the same size. The most common width is 0.25".