Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – April 27, 2017

On several occasions, I have showcased cars from Andy Holzer. Here are a few of his amazing creations.

Turbine Car


For my 2011 car I chose the Chrysler Turbine. Back in 2001 I pulled up to a stoplight. Another car pulled up beside me, and to my surprise it was a Chrysler Turbine car. I knew about the Turbine car as my dad had a model of that car in his display case when I was growing up. I rolled down the window to listen to the car, figuring the motor had been replaced, or the car was some sort of replica. But to my surprise the car made the turbine whistle as it drove away.

The Turbine car came in second in the pack open race and second in another race put on by a local motorcycle shop.

DeLorean DMC-12


For my son’s 2011 car, Noah decided to build the DeLorean DMC-12. Noah was in Boy Scouts, so he had to race in the open class with his old pack. Noah decided he wanted to build the stock DeLorean, not the time travel version. He used a Hot Wheels DeLorean as his guide to draw his plan. The DeLorean came in 4th place in the pack open race.

1959 Cadillac


On Christmas Eve as we were leaving my sister’s house, my nine year old niece came up and asked, “Can you help me build my pinewood car?” (At this point it was Christmas for me!) Of course I said yes. I asked her if she had the kit and the rules. She said she was going to get the kit the next time she went to her Wednesday church class. I told her mother we needed the kit (assuming it was an Awana kit), the rules, and if she could find out what kind of track the race was going to be run on.

We brought my niece to some hobby stores to look at cars to build. She liked a lot of cars from a ’63 Thunderbird to a 2002 Camaro, but in the end she chose a 1959 Cadillac. I told her the ’59 Cadillac could have come from the factory in a pink color. My niece told me she hates pink; she wanted the car to be black with a white top.

When she received the kit she called me and said the car needed to be completed the next Wednesday for the weigh-in. This left us only seven days to complete her car. We arranged for her to stay over for the weekend and also for the school holiday. When she arrived she drew up her plans for the car using some pictures and a die cast model of a ’59 Cadillac:

The kit she had received was not an Awana kit, but a Maximum Velocity kit. The MV kit has excellent wheels and axles included with the kit and of course a very nice pine block (I would recommend this kit to anyone having a derby that does not require a specific kit, very good parts). Her block had been “pre-cut” by someone at the church so all we needed to do was finish it (yea right).

The rules said we needed to use the block included with the kit so we glued the precut block to another MV block and trimmed all of the precut from the block.

At her Awana race she placed 1st for speed and 1st for design.

Vespa Scooter


In January 2010, just after the weekend of my son’s last official Cub Scout pinewood derby race, a friend sent me a link to a race at a local motorcycle shop. It turns out the race was the same day as our pack pinewood derby so it had already passed. I thought to myself this would be a cool event. I found some online pictures of the event and I was hooked. Fast forward to January 2011 and the event was happening again.

Being that the derby was sponsored by the motorcycle shop I decided to see if I could build some sort of motorcycle car. I had done some drawings trying to make a motorcycle with a sidecar work; to keep the plans in scale proved to be difficult. Motorcycles have large wheels and when trying to stretch to the pinewood dimensions I would have an extremely short car (or bike).

I was having trouble making the Vespa narrow enough to fit over the wheels (1/2 inch wide centered). I decided I could just not make this plan work. One day I was down in the shop and I spotted some old PWD wheels (pre 1980 narrow wheels). I figured I possibly could make these wheels work with the Vespa. So I modified the plans to use the old wheels:

The rear axles are drilled at 2.5 degrees camber. The front axle was bent 2.5 degrees. I ran the Vespa down the test board and adjusted the drift. Now it was time to run down the 20 foot BestTrack. These were nervous times for me as I was not sure what would happen on its maiden run. It is a very tall pinewood vehicle; I made sure I had pictures of the Vespa taken from all angles (in case of a disastrous crash).

My son Noah was at the lever ready to release the Vespa, and I was at the stop section. On its first run it went to the rail and down the incline, just after the curve it went to the left and fell from the track. Turns out the wheel replacement peg I made was too short (probably a good thing to test before the first run). The Vespa was OK with no damage. I made a longer peg and tested it before the second run.

The second run it went to the rail and down the track without any trouble, I just wanted the Vespa to be able to finish the races without taking out any innocent cars in the process. I was off to the races.

The Vespa was indeed fast, it took 1st place in the stock class. The only car it lost to was the Turbine Car (once).

If you interested in Andy’s technique for building these detailed cars, check out his article in Volume 9, Issue 9 Here.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 7
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Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Shop Talk: Shaping Wood with Hand Tools

Many years ago I made a few pinewood derby cars with a rocket-shaped fuselage. Since then, I have been asked many times if the car body was shaped on a lathe, and if so, how did I deal with the wheel struts? When I tell them that the car was hand shaped from a block of wood, they think I am kidding with them. But I soon convince them that I am being serious.


The Rocket – Extended Wheelbase
 


The Missile – Extended Wheelbase

Although I am not the most talented of woodworkers, I have found that with the right tools, and a good technique you can accomplish more than you would think. Oftentimes, just a little shaping (or more, as in the case of the cars above), will really set your car apart from the rest of the field. So, today we will discuss some tools and techniques for putting some pizzazz into your car.

Rough Cut
For any car, you must first cut out the rough shape with a saw. In the case of the Missile pictured above, the body is first cut out with all sides flat and square, and initial cuts are made at the front axle strut and at the rear of the car (Figure 1).


Figure 1 – Missile After Sawing

Shaping
Then the shaping begins. My preferred tool is a special wood rasp, called a “4-in-Hand” (aka, a “Shoe Rasp” or a “4-in-One” Rasp).


Figure 2 – 4-in-Hand Rasp
Source: www.traditionalwoodworker.com

A rasp is a rough file; and the 4-in-Hand rasp is a combination of four rasps, a coarse and fine flat rasp, and a coarse and fine curved rasp. The flat file sections of the tool are used for creating exterior curves, while the curved file sections of the tool are used for interior curves. So, with this one tool, you can perform a wide variety of shaping operations.

For the shaping operation, the wood must be immobilized with a clamp, but the wood must be accessible on all sides. One way to accomplish this is with a combination of clamps, such as is shown here.


Figure 3 – Combination Clamping

For the Missile pinewood derby car, the coarse flat file is used to remove most of the excess wood, leaving behind a generally cylindrical fuselage. Then the fine flat rasp is used to finish up the shaping. The result is shown in Figure 4. The red color is Bondo, a car body filler which was used to fill a few spots where a saw cut was too deep.


Figure 4 – Missile After Rasp Work

Sanding
After the rasp work, 60 grit sandpaper is applied to finish the shaping. Finish sanding is accomplished with 120 and 220 grit sandpaper.

Sometimes, detail needs to be carved into the car body. On the Missile car shown above, the grooved transition from the fuselage to the wider back must be created. For this type of job, I use either a small flat or triangular-shaped file. The edge of the file cuts into the wood allowing you to create the desired shape. Just be careful as it will cut into the wood very easily and quickly. Figure 5 shows the sanded version. Additional Bondo was used in a few spots.


Figure 5 – Missile Ready for Painting

A Few Tips
In building these cars, I learned the hard way that shaping the wheel struts is a bit tricky, as the wheel struts cannot take too much force (or they will break). To minimize the risk of breaking a strut, increase the strength by inserting a spare axle into each axle slot/hole. Once shaping is complete, pull the axles out with a pair of pliers (gently twist and pull).

By the way, if you are interested in making the Rocket or Missile car, complete plans are available on our web site in “Advanced Car Plans” and “Advanced Car Plans 2”.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 7
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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – April 14, 2017

‘Mater – Richard Larson


Mater took first place for design in the Outlaw competition. However, the car meets specs (exactly 5 ounces) and could have run in the stock races. He wasn’t fast, but ‘Mater was happier running backwards.

Bugatti and Camaro – Aaron Shain and Jim White

Here are two of the twelve cars my Grandson (Aaron Shain) and I built for the 2011/2012 Pinewood Derby race season. The white car is based on a 2012 Camaro and the red/black car is based on a Bugatti Veyron. The Bugatti uses an extension plate under the car’s front end so it is seven inches long for races.

Cannon – Ryan McLaughlin


The Cannon took first place in design in our Awana Grand Prix. Ryan wanted something different so he came up with a cannon firing. We had someone with a lathe do a rough shape which was then sanded to its final look. The Awana block was cut down and new axle holes drilled. Sides were mounted and a wood burner was used to add some detail. The base was stained while the cannon received a faux patina look.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 6
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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – April 7, 2017

Starfighter – Thomas Stein

This car is called “Starfighter”, and sports a Tamiya 1/100 scale F-104 Starfighter. We used a coping saw to cut the block, and a battery-powered high-speed rotary tool to make a channel for the plane to rest in. It’s glued in place with Gorilla Glue. We used the Pro Body Tool, Wheel Bore Polish, Wheel Alignment Tool, and Pro-Axle Guide to tune up the car.

Midnight – Robert Berry

This is my son, Sammy’s car, which he made after testing different shapes in a wind tunnel for his science fair (patterned after a wind tunnel featured in a previous Pinewood Derby Times article). The car is smooth on the bottom and mostly hollow. He took first place in the science fair and also first place in our Pack race. Unfortunately there was no District or Council race for him to compete in.

Mini-Turbine Cars – Joe Bilyeu

I came across some unusual cars which have mini-turbine engines. My friend Russ and his brother, who worked for Rockwell on the Atlas program, built and designed these cars. I took them to our pack derby race and the boys loved them. The engines have turbine fans at the front and rear, with solid fuel in the middle.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 5
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Looking Good: Techniques for Finishing Your Car

Have you seen a car on the staging table that caused your jaw to drop from admiration? The paint job looks like it came right out of a custom body shop, and other details like decals and accessories look fabulous. You ask yourself: “How did they do that?”

I won’t kid you – I oftentimes ask that question as well. Clearly, some folks know how to take the finish work to a level beyond most of us. However, I can share with you some basic techniques for putting a nice finish on your car. The main tasks to be addressed are filling, sanding, priming, painting, and decal work.

Filling
It is very difficult to create a car of any intricacy without a gouge or nick that is too deep to sand out. For small defects, the simple cure is wood putty (or “Bondo” – a car body filler). Press enough of the product into the defect to completely fill the defect with some excess. If desired, you can smooth the putty with a finger dipped in tap water. Allow the putty to dry thoroughly. If the putty sinks or cracks, apply more putty and let it dry again.

For large defects (e.g., a hole drilled the wrong place), cut a piece of wood to fill as much of the defect as possible and glue it in place. After it dries fill any remaining voids with putty, and let it dry.

Next, it is time to proceed to …

Sanding
As you probably know, sanding involves smoothing the car, starting with a coarse grit paper and progressing towards a fine grit paper. A good grit progression is 60, 120, 240, and 400. This can of coarse vary, but the ultimate goal is to create a very smooth finish, free of defects and scratches.

Sanding flat surfaces is greatly simplified by using a sanding block. A sanding block is designed to hold 1/4 of a sheet of standard sandpaper. It has a padded surface which helps make the finish very smooth. When selecting a sanding block, try to find one that can be easily held by your child (not too wide or heavy).


Figure 1 – Sanding Block

For sanding concave (inward curving) shapes wrap some sandpaper around a piece of wood (or your finger). A dowel rod or a piece of broom stick works well for sanding concave curves.


Figure 2 – Concave Curves
 


Figure 3 – Convex Curves

For convex (outward curving) shapes, use a sanding block, or just hold the paper in your hand and use fingertip pressure to sand the desired area.

After the sanding is complete, remove all dust with a vacuum and/or soft rag. Then create a handle for painting. Two alternatives include:

  • Inserting a dowel rod into a weight hole
  • Inserting a long wood/dry wall screw into the bottom of the car – you might be able to insert the screw into a weight hole so that the screw hole doesn’t show, but be careful to not go all the way through the car.

Next, I recommend masking off the axle slots (if you have axle holes, then insert round toothpicks into the holes. This makes future axle insertion much easier.

Painting – Priming
Before priming, locate a place for the car to dry. We have a piece of wire strung under a shelf in the shop, with some binder clips attached to the line. When we use a screw as a paint handle, the binder clip can be clipped to the screw, allowing the car to hang upside down to dry. If you use a dowel rod as a handle, drill an appropriate sized hole in a workbench, or in a heavy piece of wood. The dowel can then be fitted into the hole while the car dries.

When spray painting, make sure to wear eye protection and a breathing mask. Then cover the hand that will hold the car with a plastic bag, secured with a rubber band. Paint in a well-ventilated, dust and wind free location. Also watch out that the over spray doesn’t get on something important (cars, walls, etc.). We have large plastic garbage cans, so we flip up the lid and use it as a backdrop for painting. Optionally, a large box can be set on end to serve as a backdrop.

The selection of the type of primer is important. I have had the most success with a “high-build” or “filler-primer”, such as that offered by “Rust-Oleum” and sold at auto parts stores. This type of primer tends to fill in the pores of the wood, minimizing the number of primer coats required. If the sanding job is done well, generally three to four coats are sufficient.

When spraying the primer, keep the can moving and apply light coats. If you go too heavy, you will get runs that must be sanded out.

Let each primer coat dry, then sand with 600 grit paper and recoat. If you find a spot that doesn’t fill in well, you can apply a little wood filler or Bondo, sand, and continue priming. Once the car body is completely smooth, you can proceed to applying the color.

Painting – Color
There are many types and brands of spray paint. I strongly recommend acrylic lacquer paint such as “Dupli-Color – Perfect Match” (auto parts store item). This type of paint dries quickly, and can be recoated at any time. Watch out for brands that “can be recoated within 1 hour or after 24 hours”. What happens if you recoat after, say, three hours? Trust me on this one, you don’t want to know.

I also suggest avoiding enamel paints. Enamel paints generally take a long time (many days) to cure, are very susceptible to finger prints, and act like a graphite magnet.

Generally two or three color coats will be sufficient. After the last coat allow the car to dry thoroughly. Then proceed to adding decals, pin striping, etc., and finally apply clear coats.

Decorations
Decorations are certainly not required, but that can really dress up a car. They also have a practical use; they can cover up any defects in the paint job. We’ll discuss dry transfer decals, stick-on decals (includes stickers) and pin-striping. All of these products are available at Maximum Velocity. .

Dry-Transfer Decals
Dry-Transfer decals are available in lots of designs, many of which are targeted at pinewood derby car builders.


Figure 4 – Dry Transfer Decal

The best dry-transfer decals are very thin and do not have a clear edge. Thus, they blend in to the paint such that you have to look closely to see that the design is actually a decal.

To apply dry-transfer decals, cut out the desired design, place it on the car in the desired location, hold it down, and use a soft pencil with a rounded tip to scribble over the entire decal (you will actually be scribbling on the transfer material, not the actual decal). After scribbling over the entire decal, carefully lift up on the transfer material. If the decal is not completely detached from the transfer material, scribble some more and try again. After the transfer material is removed, take the provided tissue-like paper and rub it over the entire decal.

Stick-on Decals
Stick-on decals, as well as stickers are also good choices. These apply much easier than dry-transfer decals, but make sure you put it where you want it. As you know, stickers like to attach themselves where you don’t want them!


Figure 5 – Sticker Decal

My daughter used stickers to decorate her Diamondbacks car; she found the stickers at a team shop. I believe that team stickers exist for every professional team, as well as most college teams.


Figure 6 – D-Backs Car
 

Home Made Stickers
Can’t find what you want, or on a budget? Make your own stickers! Find a photo, a logo, or most anything on paper. Cut it out, apply some glue, and place it on the car.

Pin Striping
I am a big fan of pin striping; it is relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, and can really dress up a car. Pin striping is long, thin, colored tape that has an adhesive backing. It adapts well to curves in the car and can be mixed and matched, both in color and in width.


Figure 8 – Yellow Pin Striping (1/4 and 1/8 inch)

To apply pin striping, unroll a piece longer than you need, pull it taut and then apply it to the car. Use a piece of tissue paper (not Kleenex, but the kind used in gift bags) to press down on the pin striping. This will eliminate any air bubbles and ensures that it is pressed down well. After the pin striping is in place, trim the excess off the ends with a sharp knife (hobby knife or razor knife). If the pin striping will be placed on the front and/or back of the car (as in Figure 7), wrap the pin striping under the car and trim it off underneath. This makes for a much cleaner finish.

Finish Coat
All decorated? Now it is time to protect your investment and give a deep glossy look. Applying multiple clear coats will not only improve the appearance, but will (mostly) protect the car from finger prints, graphite and minor scratches. Make sure to select a clear coat that is compatible with the paint you used. If you used Dupli-Color for the color, then use Dupli-Color Clear Coat. I recommend at least five coats of clear. Fortunately it dries very quickly, so you can apply the coats in a fairly short period of time.

Conclusion
I have barely covered this subject as there are certainly other options for painting and decorating your car. If you have a technique you would like to share, please send it to me, and I’ll try to include a number of reader ideas in a future article.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 5
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Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – March 24, 2017

Tiptoe Through the Tulips – Bob Richardson

My wife Carol wanted a car to represent a painted pony. Our church has a family wide pinewood derby race each year, so with lots of ideas flying around I found a plastic horse that would fit on the platform. She named it “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”. I drilled small holes in the three touching horse’s hooves, then anchored them to the base with sewing pins and bent them under. The car was amazingly fast and took first place in the women’s division. The wind resistance called for lots of help from 2-1/2 degree negative slanted axles, and good wheel prep. Amazingly, the center of mass is about 3/4 inch, and the car is set up for rail riding.

Batmobile – Paul Garner

This is my 9 year old son’s (Jeremy) car we built for this year’s Royal Ranger race. Our troup’s rule is you can only use the kit provided, no extra wood, action figures, etc., can be added. Other than paint, the only things that can be added are weights and decals. We are allowed to do anything to the block, axles, wheels, and axle placement as long as it’s not an added part. This batmobile is basically a modified wedge design with the thickest part of the body being 1/2 inch thick. Both axles were recessed 1/8 inch deeper into the body, and the front axle was moved back 1/2 inch to make room for the nose. The four fenders were made out of the remaining 3/4 inch of the block. Even the jet engine was made by rounding the pieces that were cut from between the fenders. I lathed the inside of the wheels to the center of the hub, then drilled the 6 holes between the spokes. My scale only registers in 1/10 ounces, and I couldn’t get a reading on the wheels after reducing their weight. They were made square and round, and the axle dowels and screws received the appropriate treatment as well. My son Jeremy picked the design, pulled the handle on the drill press for every hole and fender, did 90 percent of the sanding. He also assembled, painted and fine sanded between coats all by himself. I was very proud of the work he did. We were allowed one test run before registration to see if the car needed any adjustments. It ran 3.285 on our 32 foot aluminum track. Unfortunately, another dad picked it up off the staging table 10 minutes before the race and dropped it on the wheels. The official allowed me to look at it, but it messed up the hub of two wheels. I got it to roll straight, but it had that “bump, bump, bump, bump” on the flat spots in the hubs. Our best time was 4.015 after that, but it was still enough to take 3rd place out of 45 cars. (Editor’s Note: make it clear during registration that the cars cannot be touched once they have been turned in for registration, and have an official posted at the staging table at all times.)

Wii! – Steve Urban

Here is a picture of my 10 year old son, Kade Urban’s, 2011 Pinewood Derby Wii car, it was voted “Coolest Car” at this year’s race. record.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 4
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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – March 17, 2017

Space Buggy & Flash of Night – Jim White

My grandson (Aaron Shain) and I built these two cars for his 2011 racing campaign. I hope Aaron’s hard work pays-off at the finish line.

American Flag & Ben 10 – Scott Moran

My oldest boy (Shane – 11 years old) designed the American Flag car. My youngest boy (Matthew – 8 years old) designed the Ben 10 car. Shane took 1st and Matthew took 2nd in their pack. The boys cut their cars, sanded the body, applied the wood putty, and primed and painted the cars with my airbrush equipment (the high shine comes from using PPG Deltron basecoat clearcoat). I could go on and on about the paint jobs because they did an awesome job. I have been custom painting and airbrushing for 25 years and my wife and I taught the kids to write their names with an airbrush.

Midnight – Lee Klinghoffer

This is my first foray into Pinewood Derby car-building since I was 11 — now I’m 48. I entered this in my son’s pack race in the “Open” category. It weighed in at 16.1 ounces! Everything else is stock except for the homemade speed axles. I cut 2 v-shaped grooves in them and polished to a high sheen. The car took 1st Place and a new track record.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 3
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Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 16, Issue 12 – March 8, 2017

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 12
March 8, 2017

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Humor

– Product Showcase – 7% off Orders of $70 or More
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Speed Prayer
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

Last Issue of the Season
This is the last issue of the Pinewood Derby Times for the 2016-2017 season. The new issues (Volume 17) will begin in October 2017. You will automatically continue to receive the newsletter in the fall, as our mailing list will remain intact.  If your e-mail address should change before then, from the NEW e-mail account simply send a blank e-mail to: pinewood-derby-times-change@mail-list.com
with your OLD e-mail address in the ‘Subject:’ line.

We have many of the articles planned for next season, but we are always looking for your input.  So if you have an idea for an article, please send it to me at:
info@maximum-velocity.com

I would like to thank all of our readers and contributors. Your input is greatly appreciated and certainly contributes to the success of the newsletter. I wish you all a blessed summer.  See you in October.

Expanded Car Showcase
Instead of including a Feature Article, this edition contains an expanded Car Showcase.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We will be putting more items on clearance, and will have an end of season special offer in early May. At that time we will send out a short notice to our subscribers to let you know more about this sale.

New Videos from DerbyWorx
Recently DerbyWorx teamed with BSA to make a video series. Both BSA and DerbyWorx versions were made.  Here are links to the DerbyWorx version. The videos are geared towards people new to pinewood derby racing.

1. Body Prep
2. Wheel and axle prep
3. Final Assembly

MV Basic & Wedge Car Kits
If you are planning a race and are not required to use a specific kit type, our MV Basic or Wedge Car Kit are just what you need. These attractively priced kits are equipped with:

Quality Block – Unlike the blocks provided by some organizations, our blocks are soft, northwestern pine blocks, cut precisely to 7 inches long, 1-3/4 inches wide, and 1-1/4 inches tall. These dimensions, as well as the axle slots accurately duplicate the dimensions of standard pinewood derby blocks from BSA and PineCar.

Simple Axle Preparation – Don’t worry about filing off flaws, or losing hub caps. Our Speed Axles have no burrs or crimp marks, and install without hub caps. With or without polishing, they are ready to go. We supply five, so you have a spare.

Quality Wheels – Forget cheap, out of round wheels. Our MV wheels are top-quality wheels. You will not be disappointed with the quality of these wheels.

So, if your organization does not mandate a particular kit type, consider our MV Basic Car Kits or MV Wedge Car Kits.

Can We Help?
If we can help you in any way with your pinewood derby project, or if you have any feedback regarding this newsletter, please contact E-Mail Us.


Humor

Two buddies were out for a Saturday stroll. One had a Doberman and the other had a Chihuahua. As they sauntered down the street, the guy with the Doberman said to his friend, “Let’s go over to that restaurant and get something to eat.”

The guy with the Chihuahua said, “We can’t go in there. We’ve got dogs with us.”

The one with the Doberman said, “Just follow my lead.” They walked over to the restaurant and the guy with the Doberman put on a pair of dark glasses and started to walk into the restaurant.

The waiter at the door said, “Sorry, Mac, no pets allowed.”

The man with the Doberman said, “You don’t understand. This is my Seeing-Eye dog.”

The waiter said, “A Doberman pinscher?”

The man said, “Yes, they’re using them now. They’re very good.”

The waiter said, “OK then, come on in.”

The buddy with the Chihuahua figured he’d try it too so he put on a pair of dark glasses and started to walk into the restaurant. He knew his story would be a bit more unbelievable. Once again the waiter said, “Sorry, pal, no pets allowed.”

The man with the Chihuahua said, “You don’t understand. This is my Seeing-Eye dog.”

The waiter said, “A Chihuahua?”

The man with the Chihuahua said, “A Chihuahua?!? A Chihuahua?!? They gave me a Chihuahua??


Product Showcase
Last Edition Sale – 7% off Orders of $70 or More

Now is your chance to stock up before your pinewood derby event, or for next season!

Through March 21, 2016, you can get 7% off any order of $70 or more. To take advantage of this limited time offer, use coupon code MAR8NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Vintage Jeep – Christian Hays

Back in 1977 my father and I were restoring a Ford GPW. So that was the inspiration for this car. Now I’ve got another ’42 Ford GPW that my boys and I are restoring. Crazy how you repeat things with the next generation!

Expecto Patronum – Dan Baker

Inspired by Harry Potter, this car won first place in the Tiger den and Pack races. At the district race, it won first place for all Tigers and third place overall.

1937 Bugatti & Metro Car – Pat Baldwin


I host a corporate pinewood race every year that raises money for a deserving charity. This event seems to grow bigger every year with the number of racers and supporters. There are trophies for the fastest racers, but what has become the most coveted award is the “Best in Show” trophy. This award is based on votes cast by those in attendance. Every year we are surprised at the detail and creativity that racers come up with for their cars. Here are two of the most interesting:

2015 Best of Show Winner- 1937 Bugatti
2012 Best of Show Winner- Phoenix Metro Car

The Yellow Submarine – James McAllister

For his last year as a Cub Scout my son Rich wanted a car that honored this new band he discovered called the “Beatles”. I told him they sounded familiar and that I had an idea for a car. I downloaded “The Yellow Submarine” movie for us to watch. He did most of the cutting and sanding and all of the painting himself. Funny how many Cub Scouts got it right away and how many younger parents had no idea what it was. For the record, that movie gave me nightmares as a kid!

Dawn of Justice – Dennis Pemberton

Here is the Batmobile from “Dawn of Justice”. We used the Awana block, with 1/2 inch pine for the sides. We cut out the profile and plan views, ground out side intakes, did a little sanding, then glued sections of sheet plastic to represent the armor, wings, and cockpit. Because of its color, it’s hard to see details, but the layering of plastic sheets give it a very menacing, armored look. It is very short, but there were no stability problems from the short wheelbase. The paint job got some orange peel (actually a lot of orange peel), but the judges thought it was a cool texture – it won the Design award.

Mach 5 – Jason Neufeldt



Mach 5 was entered in our 2017 Awana Grand Prix. This was Maggie’s (my daughter, 5 years old) first year racing in the Grand Prix. When my son entered Awana, I asked him if he wanted his car to look cool (design), or be fast. He said, “I want it to be super fast Dad!” So we have always gone for speed, not looks. Six years later I asked my daughter the same question/ She said, “I want it to be really cool Daddy!”  I said it may be slower than other cars honey, is that all right? She said, “That’s okay Daddy.” (So sweet). Well, it wasn’t slow. Maggie had been watching an old TV show called “Speed Racer”.  I told her it was a show that I watched as a little boy. So, she really wanted the Mach 5 as her car.

The Mach 5’s main body is the pine block, and the fenders are made out of balsa wood. The windshield is made out of a two liter Coke bottle. The cockpit is partially from a plastic model. Our goal was to make the finished car’s total weight to be 1.5 ounces, but ended up at 2.01 ounces. Then we added 1/4 inch tungsten cubes.Her car did have a mishap and flipped over and broke the back fin, and keep ramming the stop at the end. So it does have some battle wounds from the race.

She ended up beating the four year in a row Champ (her brother Luke). We were all surprised how fast her car was. To top it off, she won first place in Design and came home so proud of herself. My son was a very good sport and he had fun too.

Black Widow Velocinator – Randy Blodgett

This was the very first car my son and I built. It never lost a race, winning den, pack and district.

Green Machine, White Out, and Dirt Late Model – Adam Lamb



These are my son’s cars from this year’s race. The “Green Machine” took third place in the outlaw race, and the “White Out” car took first place in the outlaw race. The American flag wrapped “Dirt Late Model” took second in his den race.

Brick – Tomy Jones

I made a “Brick” car this year. It looks like a brick in shape and color, and feels like a brick in texture.  I wasn’t going for speed, but I won anyway, First Place Expedition Ranger Division.

Space Racer – Kelly Jones

My space racer with an alien driver has an orb with randomly flashing LEDs.  I designed, built, and embedded the circuit in transparent resin. It took first place.

Share Your Car With Our Readers

Do you have a car you would like to “show off” to our readers? If so, send us a photo of your car along with a description of any special features to:
info@maximum-velocity.com

Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640×480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of this car:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera’s zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Also, only one car per subscriber per year please. Thanks.


Pinewood Derby Memory
Speed Prayer

We were having our Royal Rangers Pinewood Derby at Roanoke Valley Cathedral of Praise and we held a Powder Puff race for the girls. One girl had a car that barely made it to the end of the track the first heat. The next time she was called to race her car she started toward the track but then knelt down, put her hands under her chin and prayed for just a few seconds. When she got up and started toward the track again she dropped her car. I was standing beside the Pastor and I told him, “That will really finish off her car now; it won’t even make it to the finish line.”

The girl picked up her car and put it on the track and when the cars were turned loose her car flew down the track beating the other three cars easily. The whole place let out a cheer so loud you would have thought the winning touchdown had just been scored in the Super Bowl! I looked over at the Pastor and said, “Well God just let me know He can, and still does answer prays fast!”

George Gobble
Roanoke, Virginia

Do you Remember?

If you have a pinewood derby story that is funny, unusual, sad, heart-warming, etc., please send it to me in an e-mail. Don’t worry about literary polish. We will edit as needed before publishing. Also, please read our submission policy.

If your story is used, you will receive a $10 coupon in May of 2017.


Q&A

Q: I was looking for any advantage I could get and was curious whether putting graphite on the tread area would help reduce the initial friction the car has to overcome. It makes sense putting it inside the hub and tread edge where it would make contact with the rail.

A: There is no benefit to putting graphite on the tread surface, but on the inner edge and inner hub of the front dominant wheel you  do want graphite. Mostly, you want to lube in the wheel bore. Fill the bore with graphite, insert the axle, spin several times, add more graphite (without removing the axle), spin some more, add graphite, spin, add, spin, etc. Do this for 5 minutes per wheel, always ending with spinning. Then put the wheels on the car and don’t add any more graphite.

For more information regarding graphite on the tread, please visit:
Pinewood Derby Times Volume 8, Issue 2.

Q: I’m trying to build the fastest PWD car that will still fit within our Pack’s rules. I already own all your polishing kits. I recently purchased your 4080 Pro-Stock wheels. Would you recommend that I do any prep work to the wheels such as smoothing the lathe marks on the outer wheel tread a bit or polishing the inner wheel bore with your pipe cleaners and wheel bore polish?

Also, several of the pinewood derby books recommend running in the wheels/axles using a Dremel and a felt wheel once the car is all built. Would you recommend this step if I’m using the Pro-Stock wheels and grooved axles, or is it likely to do more harm than good?

A: You can polish the bores with the Bore Polish, but I don’t recommend sanding the tread, as you could knock the wheels out of round.

I don’t recommend using a Dremel as it is very easy to damage the bore. Instead, I recommend lubing off of the car using the procedure described in the previous question.

Want Answers?

Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, e-mail us your question.

We answer all questions by e-mail, but not every question will appear in the Q&A section of the newsletter.


Back Issues

Are you a new subscriber, or have you missed some of the previous newsletters? Don’t miss out; all of the issues for Volume 5 through Volume 16 are posted on our web site Here.

Issues from Volumes 1 to 4 are available in four formatted documents, ready for immediate download. To find out more, Click Here.


Newsletter Contributions

We welcome your contributions. If you would like to contribute an article, a web site review, a speed tip, or a pinewood derby memory, please e-mail us.

Please read our submission policy.


Subscription Information

The Pinewood Derby Times is a free e-newsletter focused on pinewood derby racing. It is published biweekly from October through March.

If you haven’t already done so, please forward this issue to your pinewood derby friends. But please don’t subscribe your friends. Let them decide for themselves. Thanks.

If this newsletter was forwarded to you, why not subscribe to receive this newsletter. There is no cost, and your e-mail address is safe, as we never sell or share our distribution list.

To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to
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You will receive a confirmation e-mail. Reply to the confirmation e-mail and you will start receiving the Pinewood Derby Times with the next issue.


Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times
E-Mail: mailto:info@maximum-velocity.com

(C)2016, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or place this newsletter on your web site without explicit permission. However, if you like this newsletter we grant permission, and encourage you to e-mail it to a friend.

Maximum Velocity disclaims any personal loss or liability caused by utilization of any information presented in this newsletter.

The Pinewood Derby Times is not specific to, and is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, YMCA, Awana, or any other organization.

(R)Maximum Velocity is a registered trademark of Maximum Velocity, Inc.

(R)Pinewood Derby and Regatta are registered trademarks of Boys Scouts of America.

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All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

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Shop Talk: Drilling Small Holes – March 3, 2017

If your pinewood derby race rules allow axle holes, then you have likely drilled the holes using a drill press, or a Pro-Body Tool or Pro-Axle Jig(1) from Derby Worx. For Cub Scout axles, a #44 bit(2) is recommended, while a 3/32 inch bit is typically used for Awana axles. For a few other kits, a #43 bit works well. But regardless of the bit size, have you considered the best type of bit to use? The type of bit, as well as the technique used, both affect the accuracy of the result. In today’s shop talk we will discuss the various types of drill bits and some techniques to help improve accuracy.

Small Drill Bit Types

The most common  small drill bit types are high-speed steel (HSS), carbide, and cobalt.

HSS

HSS drill bits are flexible and strong.  They are inexpensive and used where long-term durability is not important. Most drill sets are HSS. The flexibility of the HSS bit is helpful in minimizing broken bits, but the flexibility is a hindrance where accuracy is concerned. For drilling axle holes with a Pro-Body Tool/Jig, a HSS bit is fine, as the tool minimizes the flexing of the bit; but when drilling holes with a drill press the flexibility really hinders accuracy.

Carbide

Carbide drill bits are extremely hard, so flexing is virtually eliminated. However, because they do not flex, they are prone to breakage if careful technique is not applied. Carbide bits often come with a shank larger than the bit. So if you purchase one, make sure to get one that is long enough to drill axle holes – many Carbide bits are too short for drilling axle holes.

Typical Carbide Bit

(Source:  www.carbidespecialties.com)

Cobalt

Cobalt bits(3) are also extremely hard, so flexing is virtually non-existent. But Cobalt bits have a big advantage over HSS and Carbide bits — Cobalt bits have a “split point” tip that is specifically designed to keep the bit from “wandering” (i.e., not entering the wood at the location you want).

Wood is a relatively soft medium, but it is not consistent in density. Depending on the grain, wood will change from a hard to soft density over a small fraction of an inch. This change in density affects the way the drill bit goes into the wood. The drill bit will seek to go into the softer part of the wood. With a HSS bit, the bit may wander seeking a soft spot, and then when it has entered the wood it will tend to flex away from the hard grain. This results in inaccurate holes. Carbide bits also wander, and if they wander when in a drill press, due to the rigidity of the bit either the wood will move, or the bit will break. It seems odd, but I have broken more carbide bits when drilling into wood than any other type of bit.

Cobalt bits, with their split point, are virtually wander-free.  Like other bits, once the bit enters the wood it will want to follow the softer grain, but this can be compensated for with proper drilling technique.

Cobalt Split Point vs. Typical Bit

Drilling Technique

When drilling into wood, there are three techniques that greatly improve accuracy. First, expose only the amount of the bit needed to drill the hole — leave the rest inside the drill chuck. This minimizes the opportunity of the bit to flex (or break). Second, run the drill at full speed (1,500 rpm on a drill press)(4), but enter the wood slowly. This helps to make a clean entry hole, and minimizes drill bit wander and flexing. Next, drill about half way in, pull the bit out enough to clear the debris from the drill bit flutes, and then finish the hole. The pine sap limits the ability of the flutes to clear the debris. If you don’t clear it, it can jam up, resulting in an inaccurate hole and/or an overheated bit.

Pro-Body Tool

When drilling holes with a Pro-Body Tool/Jig, make sure the tool is clamped tightly to the block and the block is clamped in place. Then, making sure that the bit is parallel to the hole in the tool, spin the drill up to speed and enter the wood slowly. Drill about halfway in, pull the drill bit back to clear the flutes, and then complete the hole.

Drill Press

When using a Drill Press, use an accurate fence to stabilize the block and set the offsite from the bottom of the block. Squeeze (or clamp) the block to the fence, then enter the wood slowly, clear the flutes at the half-way point, then complete the hole.

Final Thoughts

Drilling accurate axle holes is a challenge which can be greatly simplified by using the right equipment. When selecting equipment, the type of drill bit is one decision you don’t want to overlook.

(1) While there are other drilling guide products available, these two Derby Worx tools are the most popular tools on the market today.  You can find them Here.

(2) Drill bits are available in four size classifications.  The first class, the type in most people’s tool box, is “fractional” (1/16, 3/32, 1/4, etc). The second size class (most popular outside the US) is “metric” (1mm, 2mm, 3mm, etc). The third class is “numbered”. Numbered bits have very small increments and range from “80” (.0135 inches) to “1” (.228 inches). The #44 drill bit used for Cub Scout axles is 0.086, which is about halfway between the 5/64 and 3/32 inch fractional bits. The final drill bit class is “letter”.  These bits start after the number “1” bit and range from “A” (.234) to “Z” (.413)

(3) The #44 bits sold by Maximum Velocity are Cobalt Split-Point drill bits. You can find them Here.

(4) For Dremel type tools, run on a low to medium speed.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 2
Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter
(C)2016, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.
Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 16, Issue 11 – February 22, 2017

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 11
February 22, 2017

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Lube for Performance
– Humor

– Product Showcase – BSA Speed Axles – 1 Cent
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Always Thinking Ahead
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

New Tungsten Part
We made a special purchase of some micro tungsten cylinders, and are selling them at a price per ounce that is lower than any  other tungsten on the market today. These cylinders work great for fine tuning of your car’s weight. They are sold in one ounce packages and can be found Here (Part 15046).

Reduced Price on Selected Parts
We have just reduced the price on our Formula One kits, and on our Tungsten Side Weight System.  Both of these items are being closed out. You can find both products on our Inventory Clearance page Here.

Call for Photos
The next issue will have an extended car showcase.  We have quite a few photos, but could use more. If we don’t use them in the next issue, we might use them in Volume 17.

Send us a photo of your car along with a description of any special features to: info@maximum-velocity.com

Please include your full name, the name of the car, and a description of the cars feature and how it performed. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640×480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of this car:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera’s zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Thanks.

MV Basic & Wedge Car Kits
If you are planning a race and are not required to use a specific kit type, our MV Basic or Wedge Car Kit are just what you need. These attractively priced kits are equipped with:

Quality Block – Unlike the blocks provided by some organizations, our blocks are soft, northwestern pine blocks, cut precisely to 7 inches long, 1-3/4 inches wide, and 1-1/4 inches tall. These dimensions, as well as the axle slots accurately duplicate the dimensions of standard pinewood derby blocks from BSA and PineCar.

Simple Axle Preparation – Don’t worry about filing off flaws, or losing hub caps. Our Speed Axles have no burrs or crimp marks, and install without hub caps. With or without polishing, they are ready to go. We supply five, so you have a spare.

Quality Wheels – Forget cheap, out of round wheels. Our MV wheels are top-quality wheels. You will not be disappointed with the quality of these wheels.

So, if your organization does not mandate a particular kit type, consider our MV Basic Car Kits or MV Wedge Car Kits.

Can We Help?
If we can help you in any way with your pinewood derby project, or if you have any feedback regarding this newsletter, please contact E-Mail Us.


Feature Article
Lube for Performance – Getting the Most out of Graphite
By Randy Davis

Graphite seems so simple that it shouldn’t require much discussion. But surprisingly there are many factors relating to graphite that most people are not aware of. Since graphite is the most common lubricant used for pinewood derby cars, and since lubrication is one of the major keys to performance, it is of great benefit to the car builder to fully understand the ins and outs of graphite.

This article will discuss several pertinent topics relating to
graphite including:

1. What is graphite?
2. How graphite lubricates
3. Graphite quality
4. Graphite additives
5. Graphite application
6. Graphite break-in
7. Cautions:
a. Graphite with alcohol
b. Graphite packing
c. Too little graphite
d. Excess break-in

What is Graphite?
Graphite is a naturally forming, crystalline form of carbon.(1) Graphite forms into thin “flakes”  that naturally slide on each other to produce a lubricating effect. Graphite is sold by “mesh” size, which determines the size of the flakes. Larger mesh sizes mean smaller flakes. A common size for pinewood derby use is between 200 and 300 mesh.

Common misperception: Graphite is the same as pencil lead.

Fact: Pencil lead is very fine graphite powder mixed with clay. Pencil lead is unsuitable for lubrication.

How Graphite Lubricates
Graphite naturally adheres to porous materials (such as pinewood derby wheels), but naturally slides on slick materials (such as polished axles). In addition, the graphite flakes slide on each other. Consider a spinning pinewood derby wheel and a fixed axle; the graphite will slide on the axle (and on other graphite flakes), and if enough graphite is present, the axle will not touch the plastic wheel.

Common misperception: Graphite needs to stick to the pinewood derby axles to work right.

Fact: Graphite sticks to the wheel bore, and builds up a coating sufficient to keep the metal axle from touching plastic throughout the race event.

Graphite Quality
Here is a common conversion I have with customers:

Me:  Do you need graphite?

Customer: I have some laying around somewhere.

Me: Do you know what brand of graphite you have?

Customer: Just something I got at the hardware store?

Me: You may want to consider a higher quality graphite. Graphite sold at hardware stores is generally not of a high quality, as locks are not very demanding.

I then go on to explain that graphite is a refined product. The purity of the graphite determines the lubricity (how well it lubricates), but also affects the cost. Most inexpensive graphite brands contain 80 to 85 percent pure graphite, with the remaining percentage consisting of non-carbon impurities. A high quality graphite(2) is generally 99 percent pure. The additional purity improves the lubricity and helps its adherence to the wheel.

Common misperception: All graphite is the same.

Fact: Graphite suppliers offer a large variety of graphite qualities, and mesh sizes. These are sold for many lubricating applications. For pinewood derby use, the best graphite is a high purity, natural flake graphite.(3)

Graphite Additives (4)
Several additives are commonly blended with graphite including: talc, Molybdenum Disulfide (MS2) and Tungsten Disulfide (TS2). The purpose of these additives is to enhance the lubricating ability of graphite for specific applications.

Talc is blended with graphite for certain agricultural uses. This blend is not pertinent for pinewood derby racing.

Both MS2 and TS2 are promoted for pinewood derby racing. However, both of these additives have the drawback of increasing the abrasiveness of the graphite. After polishing axles to a high shine, the use of a graphite with MS2 or TS2 will result in scratching of the polished axle. In addition, no published test shows a performance benefit to pinewood derby cars when MS2 or TS2 is added to a high quality graphite.

Common misperception: MS2 has a lower coefficient of friction than graphite, so it must be better for pinewood derby use.

Fact: At very high pressures (weights), the above statement is true. MS2 is the preferred choice for high pressure applications. However, pinewood derby racing is a very low pressure application. At low pressures, graphite has a lower coefficient of friction than MS2.

Graphite Application
Graphite must be built up in layers on the wheel bore. This is done by repeated application of the graphite, followed by spinning the wheel on the axle.

A simple procedure for applying graphite is shown below. Please note that lubrication is performed BEFORE the wheels/axles are mounted on the car.

1. Fill the bore of the wheel with graphite.

2. Insert an axle into the wheel bore.

3. With one hand, firmly grasp the axle and hold the axle horizontal to the ground.

4. With the other hand, spin the tire gently — don’t drop the axle. Spin the wheel ten times.

5. Hold the axle with the wheel hanging towards the ground.

6. Deposit some lube into the gap between the axle and wheel bore.

7. Tap the wheel gently to help move the lube down into the wheel bore.

8. Repeat steps 3 to 7, at least two more times. Spend five minutes per wheel on these steps.

9. Finally, spin the wheel 10 times. Don’t add any more graphite after this point.

10. After performing this procedure keep the wheel/axle pairs together as a unit.

After this procedure, the bore of the wheel will have a sufficient coating of graphite to last through virtually any pinewood derby event.

Common misperception:  Putting graphite in a baggie and “marinating” the wheels in the graphite will provide a thorough lube job.

Fact:  This method of lubing will coat the exterior of the wheel in graphite, but will provide virtually no benefit on the track. Graphite must be layered onto the wheel bore to be beneficial.

Break-In
You may have heard people say that graphite must be broken in. This is a truism, but does not accurately reflect what is necessary. For proper lubrication a sufficient layer of graphite must be built up on the bore, and excess graphite must be layered onto, or shed from the wheel bore. If the bore coating is insufficient, then the coating will wear out during the event. If the excess graphite is present in the bore, then the car will be slow for a few heats as the excess graphite is layered onto or shed from the bore.

In the graphite application procedure above, the final ten spins will perform the necessary break-in. What you must not do is add additional graphite without thoroughly spinning the wheels. This is a common occurrence at pinewood derby races: people apply more graphite into the wheel bore just before the race, and don’t spin it in properly. This results in poor performance for a few heats.

Is it necessary to run a few test heats after lubricating? If the wheels are spun as indicated above, then test heats are not necessary for break-in. However, test heats may be valuable for checking car stability and alignment. Just don’t run more than two or three heats. If too many test heats are run, then the graphite may not last through the event.

Common misperception: To properly work in the graphite, many heats must be simulated by running the car on a track, on a treadmill, or by spinning the wheels with a Dremel buffing wheel.

Fact: It is very easy to overdo it when breaking in graphite. Hand spinning or a few test heats are sufficient. Treadmills may work, but only run the car for a few seconds (to simulate a few heats). Dremel buffing wheels spin so fast that you can easily wear through the graphite coating in just a few seconds.

Cautions
In order to speed up the graphite application process, a few methods have been proposed. Two of them, graphite slurry and graphite packing, are discussed below. With both of these methods, the outcome is generally not as successful as the application method described above.

Graphite with Alcohol
When mixed with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, graphite forms a slurry that, when dry, will tend to stick to most surfaces. Many people suggest applying a graphite slurry to the bore of the wheel in order to quickly build up a thick coating (graphite ring).

The issue with this practice is that it is virtually impossible with this method to create a coating that is concentric with the bore and is of a uniform thickness. As in Figure 1, if the coating is not concentric with the bore, the wheel will appear out of round when spun, leading to poor performance.


Figure 1 – Non-concentric Graphite Ring

Graphite Packing
Another common practice is packing graphite into the bore with a special tool. Again, the intent is to rapidly create a thick graphite ring. As with the graphite slurry, with this method it is virtually impossible to create a coating that is perfectly concentric with the bore and is of a uniform thickness.

Too Little Graphite
A very common problem with graphite is applying a quick puff and then racing. This amount of graphite is not sufficient to lubricate properly, and will lead to poor performance.

Excessive Break-in
At the opposite extreme, many people build up a sufficient coating of graphite, and then proceed to wear it all away with excessive break-in. This is done by running the car on a treadmill for minutes at a time, spinning a wheel on a Dremel buffing wheel at high speeds for many seconds, excessive test runs on a track, et al. As previously described, graphite does need to be broken in, but this is done by spinning each wheel ten times, and/or running two or three heats. Any additional spinning of the wheels is not breaking in the graphite, but is breaking down the graphite.

CONCLUSION
Graphite is a very effective lube for pinewood derby racing. But for best performance, it must be properly applied and broken in. If you take your time and do a thorough lube job, you will be rewarded at the track. Good luck.

(1)So is a diamond, but a diamond has a 3-D structure, while graphite has a 2-D structure.

(2)Max-V-Lube is 99 percent pure.

(3)Natural flake graphite is not the only form of graphite, but is the type of graphite that works best for pinewood derby lubrication. Other types of graphite include: amorphous (very fine flake) graphite, lump (or vein) graphite, and synthetic graphite.

(4)See Lubricant Testing” in Volume 8, Issue 10 for more information on MS2 and TS2.


Humor

A college student drove his ratty, raggedy old car into the mechanic’s shop, needing some repair advice for his jalopy.

The mechanic looked at it for a couple of minutes and said, “What you really need is the radiator cap solution.”

“Oh,” said the student, trying not to sound too confused, “Do you mean the radiator cap isn’t holding enough pressure?”

“That’s part of the problem,” the mechanic said. “You need to lift the radiator cap and drive another car under it. Then you can replace the radiator cap, and it should solve your problem.”


Product Showcase
One set of BSA Speed Axles for 1 Cent

Say “Goodbye” to burrs and crimp marks! These BSA Pinewood Derby Speed Axles are precision-made to replicate the official BSA nail, but without the burrs and crimp marks.

Benefits

– Accurate, round shaft to improve performance,

– No burrs and crimp marks, eliminating tedious work

– Axle head is slightly and accurately beveled to minimize contact with the outside wheel hub

– Axle head is round and centered on the axle shaft

– Shaft has a shiny plated surface. You can use the axles as is, or polish them with our Axle Polishing Kit or with our Axle Polish.

Through March 7, 2017, you can get one set of BSA Speed Axles for one cent. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 4094 to your shopping cart and use coupon code FEB22NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Here are a few cars that show exceptional craftsmanship.

Flamin’ Grand Prix – Joel Bodder

This is an Awana Grand Prix car made by Joel Bodder and his dad. This is the first time we did full fenders and the car performed very well – it took first place for speed. We used Krytox 100 for lube. We get all of our supplies from Maximum Velocity. Thanks guys!

X-Wing Fighter – Michael Strunk

This car was based off of a Hot Wheels X-wing racer I saw earlier this year. I ordered a model kit for under $10 online (didn’t realize it was shipping from overseas so it barely got here in time) then decided the wings weren’t quite large enough so I used them as the front spoiler. I cut up an old computer case and circuit boards to use as the rear wings and the area around the cockpit, then added a couple of Legos to the top and on the ends of the wings. Then I pulled a couple more parts off the model to finish the guns and engines. After it was all assembled, I realized I didn’t plan for where to mount weights! I managed to drill 3 holes into the bottom behind the axle without splitting the car and put in some tungsten cylinders then covered up the mess with a chunk of a flexible self stick weight.  I also had a couple of rounded tungsten plates left over from another build so I added that as well.  It wound up just under 5 ounces after paint and pinstripes.

My son’s car was a little faster than mine when we held our race, but I still took 2nd in the adult division and won a design award as well.

Tyrone Malone’s Super Boss Semi Truck – Mark Robison

I first saw this truck on the web, and I knew I’d like to build the truck some day. So with some planning I was able to work up a pattern for building the truck. To my luck the pattern worked out!

The truck’s paint job was done using model paint brushes and charting tapes for masking off the lines. You may note that the wheels and axles on the truck are from your 18-wheeler line – just my way of saying thank you for supporting those of us who enjoy making Big Rigs. By the way, more photos of this build can be seen on the Derby Talk forum.

Share Your Car With Our Readers

Do you have a car you would like to “show off” to our readers? If so, send us a photo of your car along with a description of any special features to:
info@maximum-velocity.com

Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640×480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of this car:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera’s zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Also, only one car per subscriber per year please. Thanks.


Pinewood Derby Memory
Always Thinking Ahead

When I was a Webelos Den Leader the most anticipated event was always the pinewood derby. The Derby was run on a Friday, and the Sunday before was practice day – a day to fine tune and see how your car would perform.

One of the boys in our Den, Kyle, was the quiet shy kind, but you could tell he was always thinking about how to improve. On practice day, Kyle and his dad spent the entire 3 hours tuning and adjusting their car. It performed well, completing the runs with good times. The last thing they did as they were leaving was to buy a new car kit.

Race day came around and Kyle showed up with a totally new car. Not the greatest paint job or the sleekest design, but it looked good. One of the other boys in the Den laughed at it because of the way it looked. His car apparently had been built entirely by his dad at the auto shop where he worked.

To make a long story short. The finals came down to Kyle and two other boys. Kyle came in third. The kid with the dad-built car wasn’t even in the top ten. His mom freaked out, and started checking times and saying something like, “This is wrong; how can a car that doesn’t even look good beat my son’s car!”

Kyle had never won anything in his life and this was the biggest thing to him. Talking to his dad later I asked why they changed cars at the last minute. He told me that Kyle had used the practice session to work out the bugs, and then spent the week working on the mechanics of a new car. He wasn’t that concerned with the looks.

Always thinking ahead. Kyle now works for a major auto maker doing design work.

Gary Marquardt
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Do you Remember?

If you have a pinewood derby story that is funny, unusual, sad, heart-warming, etc., please send it to me in an e-mail. Don’t worry about literary polish. We will edit as needed before publishing. Also, please read our submission policy.

If your story is used, you will receive a $10 coupon in May of 2017.


Q&A

Q:  I bought two pinewood derby kits. One kit was a lot heavier than the other, so I weighed the two blocks of wood. One weighed 3.6 ounces and the other weighed 5.7 ounces. Which block is the best to work with and race, or does it matter since it must be 5 ounces total.

A: I would use the lighter block for two reasons:

1. It is much more difficult to cut, drill, and sand a heavier block
(the wood is harder).

2. You want the balance point of the car to be towards the back of the car. With a lighter block you will have more added weight to place at the back of the car. With the heavy block, you will not need much weight, so the balance point would be towards the center of the car. Thus, the lighter block should give better performance.

By the way, at Maximum Velocity, we do not sell blocks that are heavier than five ounces. We weigh every block and toss all blocks over five ounces.

Q: We built a 3-wheel rail-rider and checked its tracking on a treadmill. Everything looked good. The first 4 races my grandson ran were extremely fast – he set course records and topped off at 199 mph. But something happened after these 4 races – the car started to wobble from side to side going down the track. The fastest he could attain was about 194 mph. But he qualified to move on to the district race.

I’m not sure what may have happened. The axles were glued so they could not have moved. Any ideas what may have happened to cause the car to suddenly bounce down the track – and what we need to do to correct it?

A: Seems like something must have happened with the alignment. Maybe an axle got bent. Recheck the rear-wheel alignment to make sure they are staying on the axle heads going both forward and backward. Then recheck the front alignment to make sure you have enough drift – minimum 5 inches over 8 feet. You may also need to re-lube depending on the number of heats that were run.

Want Answers?

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We answer all questions by e-mail, but not every question will appear in the Q&A section of the newsletter.


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Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times
E-Mail: mailto:info@maximum-velocity.com

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