Pinewood Derby – Boy-Built Car

Fifth graders do not usually join Cub Scouts, but this kid did. He was a friend of a scout in my den; he joined in for a half year or so of fun before moving on to Boy Scouts. Having never seen a pinewood derby much less made a car, this was all new to him. He made a sleek sports car sort of design and painted it shiny silver. Nice job considering our cars are completely boy built in den meetings with nothing more fancy than a coping saw.

Weigh-in night showed the little car exceptionally light, so he used what change I had on hand in my purse: a handful of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters that he could add to the car until it reached the magic 5 ounces – or nearly so. Masking tape held them on (kind of ruined the ‘look’ of the car, but what do you do?).

Well this car came in 2nd Place in the den races, even though we had to keep adjusting the coins to hold them on. Time came for the main event where the top cars from each den raced against each other. Some cars were most definitely not boy-built, but engineer dad-built, and the boy’s car did not look to be the favorite. Guess what? It took 2nd Place in the pack. He was happy, and had done it himself!

Keep it simple, make it fun. Isn’t that what it is all about? The smile on the boy says YES!

Janis Tipton-King
Fremont, CA.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 7

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – July 18, 2013

Pantera – Sean McLaughlin

This is my cool Pantera that I ran in last year’s Awana Grand Prix. My Dad carved it but I sanded it and painted most of it. The wing is balsa and the sides are pine that I glued to the Awana block. I didn’t win in the design contest but did come in third in the speed contest.


Kranston Wedges – Gary Kranston

In my daughter’s Adventure Guide race, the electronic finish line once again did not work, so two spotters were used on our six lane track. There were, understandably, some incorrect decisions on the close races, so one of the dads used his digital camcorder on each race so the results could be reviewed. After beating the same car easily in three heat races, we finished 2nd in the final heat when our car raced in lane 6, the slowest lane all day (it was so close we reviewed the video three times to confirm the winner – we’ll have to investigate what is wrong with that lane for next year).

My son’s green car participated in the local district Cub Scout pinewood derby. Out of eight cars entered for the Bear rank, his car finished 2nd, losing only to the eventual overall winner. Out of 56 total cars entered, we finished 4th, missing 3rd place by only 1/1000th of a second!

Father/Son Cars – Jamie Hill

This is the first year my son was in Awana. It came time for the grand prix, so I wanted to design a car in a late model style with the wheels under the body. As you can see I achieved my goal (left car). My son (age 4) wanted a race car painted blue and with sharks on it (right car). Sad to say neither of us won a race (and I didn’t place for speed or design), but to my delight my son’s car took 3rd in speed and 1st in design. We left the race with our heads held high, as we were proud of our father/son effort.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 6

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Memory – Last to First

 

Last year I overheard our secretary telling a co-worker about her son’s (Jeff) first pinewood derby experience. She said she had no idea how serious pinewood derby racing was. At check in, Jeff thought all the other cars looked much nicer than his. And during the races, Jeff’s car had trouble going down the track because his wheels kept falling off. He was pretty upset by the experience. I told her that next year after they get their kits that she could bring her son to my house and he could work on his car while my son worked on his.

After we had received our pinewood derby kits this year I asked our secretary if her son had received his yet. She said he had and that he had also remembered that I offered to help him this year. He was pretty excited about working on his car. We set up a time on a Saturday afternoon for our sons to get together and work on their cars. I also thought since my secretary’s son’s pack race was a month before our pack race, this would help my son to get motivated and finish his car early.

When Jeff came over, I asked him what kind of car he wanted to build. He said he wanted a tank. I tried to convince him that a lower profile car would go faster but he still wanted a tank. So I told him we would make a fast tank. I cut out the pieces to make the gun and turret for a simple tank, and he sanded them before we glued them together. I told him that our goal was to reduce as much of the friction as we could on any of the moving parts. He worked on the axles to remove the burrs and pinch marks and polished them. He then worked on the wheels to get rid of the mold mark. I kept the car overnight to let the glue dry, and took it to his mom at work the next day so Jeff could paint it. When they painted the car the paint ran and bubbled. She was upset that the car that Jeff had worked on so hard had a bad paint job. But Jeff liked the paint job. He said that it looked like it had been in a battle and was perfect for a tank. He painted more ‘battle scars’ on his tank and then brought it over for assembly. We put the wheels on and lubricated them, weighed it, and checked wheel alignment. We ran it down my test track a few times. I told him that his tank would not have any problems going down the track this year and that it should be competitive.

My son and I decided to go watch ‘The Tank’ race. We arrived at the end of the Wolf races, and ‘The Tank’ would be racing next in the Bears. I noticed that they had the day’s fastest time posted below the race results on each heat.

Jeff was wearing a camouflage hat to go with his tank. When they put ‘The Tank’ on the track, the announcer commented that the tank was really cool but would have its work cut out for it to beat the sports cars. The gate dropped and the tank started out slower than the other cars but easily passed them all on the flat section. Jeff had won his first pinewood derby heat and was so excited. I glanced at the race results to see that ‘The Tank’ had also set the track’s fastest time by over 0.2 seconds. The tank won the remaining 5 heats. Jeff was so excited.

During the awards ceremony, ‘The Tank’ got the 1st Place trophy for the Bears. Then they announced the overall pack results starting from 5th Place. When they announced the pack 2nd Place winner, Jeff smiled from ear to ear and could hardly contain his excitement. The 2nd Place winner was the boy who also got 2nd in the Bears and Jeff realized that he was the Pack Champion. Then they called Jeff’s name as the Pack Grand Champion and he got another trophy and some goodies. Jeff was so excited; he came over and thanked me many times for helping him with his car. His parents thanked me as well. Then the scoutmaster came over to congratulate Jeff, and commented that he remembered how his car the previous year did not even make it down the track, but this year he was the Pack Champion. Then the scoutmaster said, “What a difference a year can make.”

Jeff was so gracious that he later sent me a thank you card that he had drawn of his tank. To me it was worth it just to see the smile on his face when he won his first race.

Ron Metzner

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 5

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – July 3, 2013

Xtreme Kidz – Keith & Joseph Wengerd

My eight year old son and I built this car for our church Awana Grand Prix. We also had in mind to submit it to the 2006 Lowes/Dremel Derby Design Contest. We were successful on both fronts; he came in 3rd place out of 60 cars at the race and made it into the top 20 of the Lowes/Dremel contest. The Lowes/Dremel contest netted us an electric dremel unit, a cordless unit, a bunch of bits and a very good quality diecast Nascar model. The amazing thing with this car is that one week to the day before the race and deadline for Lowes/Dremel, I put the final coat of clear over the decals and other paint (thirteenth coat of paint overall) and everything bubbled! We ran it in a trial race that night then came home and sprayed it with stripper and took it right back to the bare wood. The process began again, and finished on the eve of the due date for Lowes/Dremel. Apparently it was meant to be because the second round of paint turned out better than the first!


Suspense – Butch Weathers

While browsing the internet I saw an interesting design for a car that involved cutting slots so that the car, in effect, had four wheel independent suspension. My son and I tried it, but the pieces of wood were too thin to be sturdy, so we opted for a front to rear version. My son also wanted a car look to it, so I cut out a car that only attaches to the frame on the sides. He did the sanding, finish and the flame decals. The car did very well in the races, but not as good as last year’s car (last year’s car took first in the district). Our pack has a very smooth aluminum track. More than for speed we wanted to see if we could adapt the split frame to a car body, I think it worked well and my son learned about how and why a suspension is used.


King Tut – William Beaver

Here is the derby car my son used last year to win the Georgia State Championship for the Royal Ambassador Crusaders. He won 1st in Craftsmanship. The rules state that NO foreign materials can be added, except for paint, stains, and markers! No attachments of any kind! This made it tough, but a dremel tool is amazing. The car must be able to “run down the track.” But it doesn’t have to race. This car met all requirements and won Craftsmanship. If only we could have added stuff … !

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 5

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies