Pinewood Derby Racing

Discussion in 'Life After Brown' started by 705red, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. 705red

    705red Browncafe Steward

    My oldest who is 7 decided to join th Boy Scouts several months ago and he is loving it.

    We just got his chunk of wood, 4 nails and 4 wheels and he i to make a car out of it. Really?

    I was never a Boy Scout and have heard of pinewood derby racing, but I really could use some advice so at least he doesn't take last place. lol
     
  2. tarbar66

    tarbar66 Member

    I am sure the Cub Scouts have some information on their web site. The looks of the car are not that important. Just make sure the car's weight is as close to the maximum weight as possible. Make sure the nails(axles) are smooth, any high spots are smoothed out on the wheels and I don't know if you are still allowed to use a lttle powdered graphite or not for lube.

    It has been 20 some years since we had a boy in Cub Scouts.
     
  3. dilligaf

    dilligaf IN VINO VERITAS

    Don't you worry Red, Klein will be here shortly to tell you everything you need to know. :wink2:
     
  4. ideliver2u67

    ideliver2u67 20 Down

    I have built a couple derby cars, and its fun. In fact, I have had friends bring their chunks of wood and kid to me for help. If you got a vision, its easy. I made mine look like formula 1 cars. I just looked online and there are plenty of sites to help you getting started. Make sure you put the bulk of the added weight towards the rear, not to far though. This will make it fly. Lubricate the axles. And when painting it, I sprayed mine, i mean the kids, and just before it dryed, I hit again with a spray polyurethane. It crackled the paint, took second overall in the race, and first in paint. If you wanna get fancy, buy a regular model car from the store, use the decals, and any other parts you feel go with the theme. Just have fun with it, if you mess up, buy another kit from a craft or hobby store.
     
  5. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, and make sure you use a CANADIAN chunk of wood. These go much faster than US chunks.
     
  6. rod

    rod retired and happy

    All I can remember about the Pinewood Derby was that the car was suppose to be built by the kid (with some help from the parents) but as usual some of the entries looked like they had been designed by Chip Foose or Harley Earl and built by professional engineers.
     
  7. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    I was raised in Akron, so we hosted the Soap Box Derby.
     
  8. rod

    rod retired and happy

    Is the Soap Box Derby anywhere as big as it used to be? I was always amazed when they would find some kid cheating with electro magnets or some other gizmo.
     
  9. ideliver2u67

    ideliver2u67 20 Down

    I always let the kid help, but after all the major cutting was done. Give them the options of what it should look like. Start the major cutting, and the kid can do the sanding, and decorating. What are the officials thinking, are you gonna let a kid use power tools, or handle a sharp knife? Besides, I always got carried away with detail. As I am sure alot of fathers do, we dont want our kids to get laughed at. lol They get a much better reaction to a GREAT looking car.
     
  10. ideliver2u67

    ideliver2u67 20 Down

    I always let the kid help, but after all the major cutting was done. Give them the options of what it should look like. Start the major cutting, and the kid can do the sanding, and decorating. What are the officials thinking, are you gonna let a kid use power tools, or handle a sharp knife? Besides, I always got carried away with detail. As I am sure alot of fathers do, we dont want our kids to get laughed at. lol They get a much better reaction to a GREAT looking car.
     
  11. PT Stewie

    PT Stewie "Big Fella"

    Here is the deal ( I was a cubmaster and a scoutmaster) The joy is in the making of the car and dad helping.Try and let your son do as much as possible and unless he is an extreamley gifted woodworker the car should look like it was carved and painted by a seven year old.When you get to the big night (derby) it will be obvious that some parents used lathes,seven coats of lacquer,front weights and various other things that are beyond a 7 year olds ability.Let the shape and color be your sons idea. Just help him safely do it (knife or other carving tool).Kids are smart,he will know why some cars look professionally done.(Hint) use graphite for the wheels he won't come in last place . Scouting is great. I had the joy of seeing some of the 7 year olds that I fed cookies to at the first den meeting at my house turn into fine young men who I accompanied on a 12 day back trip through the southern rockies on the Philmont Scount Ranch.The boys ran the trip , read the maps,carried all the food, and did all the cooking,and took care of the old geezer.The idea is let the boys do it from the start,
     
  12. moreluck

    moreluck golden ticket member

    I have no clue....left Ohio in 1975 !! God, I'm Old!
     
  13. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    Use liquid graphite on the axles.

    Cut the body of the car into an aerodynamic "wedge" shape with as little air resistance as possible. Drill holes lengthwise through the body of the car to improve airflow. Sand and paint to make it as smooth as possible.

    Drill a few small horizontal holes in the sides of the car, as low as possible, and fill them with lead fishing weights to lower the center of gravity and compensate for the weight of the wood that you have removed. Use a postal scale to get the weight up to the required limit.

    If you have access to a drill press, predrill the holes that the axle-nails go into and make sure they are perfectly horizontal and aligned with one another. Crooked axles will cause drag, pull the car to one side, and slow it down. Getting the wheels installed properly and running true is the #1 priority.

    Have fun!
     
  14. 1989

    1989 Well-Known Member

    I've made a few of these. The last one I made looked like the Starsky and Hutch car. I found it helpful drilling out the bottom center and filling with solder then cover with wood filler so it looked nice.

    I would make it a little heavier than regulation. At the weigh in I would bring a dremel to drill out the excess weight.
     
  15. scratch

    scratch Least Best Moderator Staff Member

    The wheels and axles are key to winning. Dry graphite is the only lubricant allowed. We would polish the axles or use a very fine grit sandpaper to get the axles as smooth as possible. You also need to to smooth the wheels down too, the molds for them and the axle nails are a little rough. Five ounce weight limit, use as much as possible. We would weigh all the cars on a digital scale. Some of the cars looked professionally built, which is ridiculous. The boy should paint and decide the shape of the car. We used to have a seperate race for adults. I have built or helped build dozens of these things. I won Best Of Show in an adult division, I got pretty good with a Dremel tool. I need to post a few pics of them.
     
  16. scratch

    scratch Least Best Moderator Staff Member

    Here is some, I wish I had dusted them off. The first pic was built and designed by boys, the other two pics show mine. We were the Flaming Arrow Patrol, hence the design on that one. The Indy car won Second Place in the adult race, the arrow car won Best of Show. And by the way, looks can be decieving, the black car was the fastest. I once saw somebody put wheels on just a block of wood and it won! We used to hold our District Finals in the local mall as a recruitment event.

    The Pinewood Derby was always a lot of fun, I'm sure you two will enjoy yourselves. Great way for dads to spend time with their sons, and teach them how to use tools.
    IMG_2258.jpgIMG_2260.jpgIMG_2264.jpg
     
  17. 705red

    705red Browncafe Steward

    Scratch, thank you for taking the time to show those pictures. I feel a lot better now, every site I have looked up shows these perfect cars. I wold not know where to begin to make some of these cars.

    Im letting him make the design, I will use the tools and do the wheels, everything else will be his doing.
     
  18. rod

    rod retired and happy

    There ought to be a law against a website selling these almost completed Pinewood Derby cars. That is so totally going against what the program is all about. If I was a Scoutmaster I wouldn't let one even enter a race.:sad-little:
     
  19. scratch

    scratch Least Best Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Pine wood Derby Racing

    I couldn't believe the stuff I saw on that website, I wouldn't allow any cars like that either. The whole purpose of the Pinewood Derby in the first place was to teach boys about how to work with wood. Its been ten years since I have messed with those cars, I couldn't believe some of those products I saw on there. Like I said, our races got so competitive, we had to start letting the adults build their own and race against each other. Its easy to spot whether the boy or the father built the car.
     
  20. PT Stewie

    PT Stewie "Big Fella"

    We did the same thing too. Had a special race for the parent made cars.We switched to the the space derby for a few years,which I think was more fun.The boys make propeller driven rockets that fly across the space suspended on large test fishing line.The setup is a lot easier to maintain and store.[​IMG]