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Brett's_daddy

Pinewood Derby Cars

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Hi all,

 

My son is in Cub Scouts and it's Pinewood Derby time! I finally got sick of using coping saws and other various hand tools to try and make his cars and found a really nice condition used band saw I picked up for $45...super excited to use this and be able to do more detailed cars than traditional wedge shape. Any how, does anybody know where I can get cheap tungsten car weights? I don't want to spend like $25+ on a $5 car :laugh7:. Also, any tips and tricks you may have to help us win our race would be very much appreciated!!!

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Graphite on the wheels for less friction. 2nd place in my 1990 pinewood derby! That was a fun time.

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Thanks, we have done that too along with filing down the axles with fine grit sandpaper so there's no burs.

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Attach a small gasoline powered motor to the back. Schuylkill County pinewood derby 1983 (disqualified).

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13 minutes ago, Gundog said:

Attach a small gasoline powered motor to the back. Schuylkill County pinewood derby 1983 (disqualified).

Yeah...hard pass on that, my son would like to win...not be DQ'd :hahaha-024:

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Youtube can be your friend for all the little things that make a pinewood derby car run faster. The things I remember from helping out my nephew with his car are the axles being polished smooth, setting the car up to run slightly against the rail rather than bumping back and forth on its way down the track, and running on 3 wheels by setting an axle pin slightly higher than the 3 others.

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When I helped (built) my step sons Pinewood derby car. I made it along the lines of the old time F1 race car (simple but cool shape). I used lead egg weights drilled a slightly smaller hole then the egg weight and forced fit them. Painted it emerald green metal flake and added number decals to each side and the front.  Took it to the post office to make sure it weighed right at the max.  Dry graphite powder on the wheels and axles for sure. 

 

Image result for early race cars pictures

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When my son was in Cub Scouts we did 4 Pine Car derbies together.

 

The first car his mother and I basically built for him as he was a Tiger Scout and at that age I didn't want him handling the tools. We did Ok but there was a lot we had to learn to do it better.

 

The rest of the cars he built and decorated himself with only a little help from us. None of them looked professional or won any races but that wasn't the point.

 

When my son asked me if I thought his design would win I asked him if he did any research into pine car derbies? Did he go to a test track and see what his time was and then work on getting that down? I told him be rest assured there were kids and dads out there that did. After that race he started to do some of those things I mentioned but like most kids his attention span was short. He got the message that a win does not come without effort and he had no excuses if he didn't want to put in the work.

 

It was a teachable moment about competition that he took into the sporting, academic and eventually the working world.

 

You get out of kids what you put into them. Doing all the work does them no favors IMO.

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24 minutes ago, NYWayfarer said:

When my son was in Cub Scouts we did 4 Pine Car derbies together.

 

The first car his mother and I basically built for him as he was a Tiger Scout and at that age I didn't want him handling the tools. We did Ok but there was a lot we had to learn to do it better.

 

The rest of the cars he built and decorated himself with only a little help from us. None of them looked professional or won any races but that wasn't the point.

 

When my son asked me if I thought his design would win I asked him if he did any research into pine car derbies? Did he go to a test track and see what his time was and then work on getting that down? I told him be rest assured there were kids and dads out there that did. After that race he started to do some of those things I mentioned but like most kids his attention span was short. He got the message that a win does not come without effort and he had no excuses if he didn't want to put in the work.

 

It was a teachable moment about competition that he took into the sporting, academic and eventually the working world.

 

You get out of kids what you put into them. Doing all the work does them no favors IMO.

Totally agree! I'm not sure i want my son running the band saw but I do ask him what design he wants and I'll sketch some drawings on paper or even on the wood and ask him what he likes, what he doesn't like or wants to add and I'll keep drawing until it looks like what he envisions and we'll cut it out and sand and paint it. He's only 8 so I'm not going to let him run power tools yet but he can sand/paint the cars. Above all else, i tell him this is his car, his design and it's up to him after it's cut out to make it look like what he wants it to.

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I remember doing mine, I also got 2nd... only to my brother

 

  1. if you only have three wheels touching there is less friction
  2. try to put the weight in the back so the weight is on the slope part longer
  3. put the block of wood in the oven to dry or out so you can put more weight in back
  4. Sand the nails (axles) and put graphite in them to reduce friction
  5. Curve the back of the car for arrow dynamics
  6. make sure it runs completely straight and adjust until it does

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