Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 16, Issue 7 – December 28, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 7
December 28, 2016

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Side Weight System – 15% Off
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Thumbs Up!
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

Seasons Greetings
All of us at Maximum Velocity wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.  May you have a blessed year.

No Feature Article
I decided to a take a Christmas break and not have an article in this edition. But I’ll have a new article in the next issue on January 11.

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.

Call for Photos
Help, we are virtually out of photos for the pinewood derby car showcase.  Please 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 car shown at:

Make sure the photo is not blurry. If your photos are blurry, try holding 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. Don’t forget to include your name, the name of the car (if it has one), and a brief write up on any design features, inspiration for the design, and how the car performed at the race. Thanks.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including:

– Formula One car kit
– Wheel Flares and Paint Stencils
– Raingutter Regatta Decals

We don’t have many left, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

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
Definitions?

Arbitrator ar’-bi-tray-ter: A cook that leaves Arby’s to work at McDonald’s.

Avoidable uh-voy’-duh-buhl: What a bullfighter tries to do.

Baloney buh-lo’-nee: Where some hemlines fall.

Bernadette burn’-a-det: The act of torching a mortgage.

Burglarize bur’-gler-ize: What a crook sees with.

Control kon-trol’: A short, ugly inmate.

Counterfeiters kown-ter-fit-ers: Workers who put together kitchen cabinets.

Eclipse i-klips’: what an English barber does for a living.

Eyedropper i’-drop-ur: a clumsy ophthalmologist.

Heroes hee’-rhos: what a guy in a boat does.

Left Bank left’ bangk’: what the robber did when his bag was full of loot.

Misty mis’-tee: How golfers create divots.

Paradox par’-u-doks: two physicians.

Parasites par’-uh-sites: what you see from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Pharmacist farm’-uh-sist: a helper on the farm.

Polarize po’-lur-ize: what penguins in Antarctica see.

Primate pri’-mate: removing your spouse from in front of the TV.

Relief ree-leef’: what trees do in the spring.

Rubberneck rub’-er-nek: what you do to relax your wife.

Selfish sel’-fish: what the owner of a seafood store does.

Subdued sub-dood’: a guy, that works on one of those submarines.

Sudafed sood’-a-fed: bringing litigation against a government official


Product Showcase
Side Weight System – 15% Off

The Tungsten Side Weight System allows you to place weight on the side of the car, covered by the rear wheels. When additional weight is placed behind the rear axle, a very aggressive COG can be achieved.

The weights fit nicely into BSA or MV wheels(1) without any contact with the wheel. The weights have a view slot so writing on the inside of the wheel can be seen.

The Tungsten Side Weight System includes two side weights, mounting screws, a mounting tool, and a BSA axle for marking drill locations. To use the system you will need a drill, a 5/64 inch drill bit (or a 1/16 inch drill bit if you have axle holes), and epoxy adhesive.

Through January 10, 2017, you can get a Side Weight System for 15% off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5070 to your shopping cart and use coupon code SIDEWEIGHT during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s cars are from Jeff Bartel.

Formula 1 McLaren Mp4-24

When I saw the Formula 1 McLaren MP4-24, I was smitten; I just had to give it a try. The car took the design and speed awards for the Friends and Family division, and was my first adult car entry.

Back to the Future DeLorean



After having made the McLaren, I wanted to work on an iconic car and decided on the DeLorean from “Back to the Future”. This one had doors that opened and a somewhat complete interior (including a flux capacitor). It also won the Friends and Family design award (even if it wasn’t especially fast). I have to confess that I got a little obsessed with this car and spent way too much time on it.

Ghostbusters’ Cadillac Ambulance

For my final adult car, I wanted to create another iconic car, so I went with the Ghostbusters’ Cadillac ambulance. I learned my lesson from the DeLorean and worked only on the exterior. This also took the design award for the Friends and Family division.

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
Thumbs Up!

My son wanted to sign up for scouts.  I thought, “What a great idea!” I thought back to my childhood days in scouts and thought this would surely be great. I instantly started telling – and apparently boring – my son about all of the great times that I had! Of all of the activities that I remembered the most, unfortunately the Pinewood Derby wasn’t one of them.

I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face that day he came home with his derby box in his outstretched hand,  and announced to me as he was handing over the box; “Here you go dad! Make me a great car!” In a blink of the eye, I instantly became my father! And in an instant – after the panic subsided – it all came back to me about my Derby days. The handing over of the box to my dad, the return of the box from my dad, and then, for the next few weeks, the building of “the car” together. Well, before my son could run off for the TV, I was able to apprehend him and hand back the box. Of course for the whole “we’ll do this together” thing, but also for the simple fact that if this car failed, I wasn’t going down alone!

This Pinewood Derby kit looked simple enough. So the box sat for what seemed like the longest time. Then as Derby day approached, I thought, “I’d better take a look at this thing! How hard could it be to attach four nails to a block of wood that resembled a car and paint the darn thing!” I was pretty handy with wood. Gosh I have a ton of wood working tools! I had made things in the past. This was no problem. I’m a dad!! Dad’s know these things. The only real guideline that I understood was the fact that it needed to “look like a flag.” A little red, white and blue paint would take care of that.

So we began. I thought I should cut the block first. No problem. Pulled out the old table saw (I know what you’re thinking) and cut away. This experience was similar to ice carving with a chain saw, something I was totally unfamiliar with!  Holy Cow!!

“All right,” I thought. “Maybe a scroll saw would be better.” Carve a little decorative look to the whole thing. Nope!

Okay, we took our first trip to the scout shop to buy another block. My son was a little puzzled but I kept giving him the “thumbs up” sign and assured him we were “Just practicing.” What a trooper. He just smiled and jumped in the car.

Our next attempt at cutting went a little smoother. My son pointed to the band saw and said, “We haven’t used this one yet.” The car looked great! Well, to him anyway. Bless his heart, Daddy could do no wrong.

I overheard a parent at one of our meetings discussing their car and remembered hearing something about making your own axle slots. Well this wasn’t a problem since I seemed to have accidentally removed the original ones. This was going good! Pulled out the drill; instant axle holes. Put that little nail through the wheel, glue it in the hole and ‘Bam’ we’ve got a race car! Let’s paint. Whoa! OK…. pull out the wheels.

“Just making sure they fit son.”

Thumbs up. Dad’s still great!

“I’ve got my paints dad!,” he said.

“Naw, let’s use spray paint! We’ll get a much better looking paint job.”

I don’t think my son had used a paint can before. But being the “eager” scout, he grabbed the can, pointed it backwards and began spraying his arm! Just another lesson in painting. What a neat father/son project! Two thumbs up!

Well, we finally got the paint on the car. Red on the bottom, blue on the top and some really cool looking star stickers all over. It was coming together.  We even painted the wheels white (A real speed secret!?). We let it dry overnight.

“It’s not real shiny dad. Let’s spray some shiny stuff on it!”

Oh boy – instant problem! This time my son and I learned a very important thing about painting: Compatibility!

Who would have ever thought that all paints and clear coats were NOT created equal. Within moments of painting our car began to “crinkle”. All at once flash backs of chemistry class, memories of my professor discussing things we should never mix together came rushing back to me!

With no time to react, I started wiping off the  car in an attempt to save something! A few re-coats of red, white, and blue and we were back. Throw in a little graphite, a little driver to sit behind the wheel, and we were real car builders. We did it!

Well, this journey my son and I were taking was not turning out anything like I thought. We did have a car though. Not a bad looking car either. And all four wheels were in place!

Race day came. How did we do? As my son’s car came down the track my fingers were turning blue from being crossed so tight. It made it! Every boy left that day with a ribbon. My son got to run six races that day and walked away with a fifth place ribbon. Overall in the whole pack of a one hundred plus boys? No idea – but we left with the BIGGEST grin on our faces, a car, and a ribbon.

Jon Edgar
Ballwin, MO

 

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: What is your opinion of making a  graphite-paste with alcohol?  From what I’ve seen on YouTube nobody can perfectly center the new bore ID and they blame the wobble on an “unbalanced” wheel.

A: When you mix alcohol and graphite you change the lubricating property such that it doesn’t work as well as dry graphite; and you end up with an uneven coating on the bore as you indicated.

Q: When vendors on YouTube try to convince me that their “super-duper” extra ordinary 325 mesh, 44 micron graphite is best because it darkens a section of wood better than their competitors, is there something that I’m not understanding other than that these guys are akin to used car salesmen?

A: I don’t think that color is a good indication of lubricating ability. The  main thing you want is purity. Graphite is a refined product, and can range from 75% pure to 99% pure. The impurities are silica, and other trace  elements and compounds. The purer the graphite, the better it lubes. The second thing to look for is mesh size. I think you want a reasonable mesh  size (like 200) – a smaller mesh (325) doesn’t seem to lube as well. Our  Max-V-Lube is 200 mesh, 99% pure, and our Tube-O-Lube is 325 mesh.

Some people use a finer mesh graphite (Tube-O-Lube) to  lay down a few coatings in the bore, and then the larger mesh (Max-V-Lube) for the final lubing.

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.

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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.

(R)Awana is a trademark of Awana Clubs International.

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Mailing list services are provided by:
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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – December 23, 2016

Some cars using our Tungsten Canopy.

Tungsten On Wood – Glen Stowers

I came into your store to buy a tungsten canopy and some tungsten putty in late May.  As an adult, I was preparing for my first pinewood derby race in 30 years.  I had looked forward to this for over a decade … running designs around in my mind and making sketches of what I thought would work best. I entered a stock derby competition with a weight limit of 5.5 oz with a car I specifically designed for use with your tungsten weight products. The rest of the car was built from a stock BSA pinewood derby kit, from which I was allowed to modify the wheels.  Not only did I win the speed competition, I also won the “Best Paint” category with my stained wood finish.  I call it “Tungsten On Wood!” or “WOW!”

Not only did I beat every derby car in the stock category, I took my car over to the pro stock track and had an informal race with the fastest cars of the night (all gravity driven). The winning pro stock car was owned by a man who said his car had never been beaten in a single heat in years of racing.  We raced twice… I beat him twice!

Purple Haze – David Keith

I helped a friend’s son (Christian) design and build this car that bested 200 cars last Friday and Saturday. He also won his individual pack on Thursday. He was so excited! Thanks for all you do. Our cars would be nothing if it wasn’t for your expertise and help.

Blue Racer – Terry Duke

While buying supplies through Maximum Velocity for our second year of building Pinewood Derby cars, my son and I ran across the new “Vaccinator” kit. We both thought it looked pretty cool, and from what we learned of speed tips last year, we also thought it looked fast, so we chose to use that as a model for our design this year.

Since we’ve only been building PWD cars for two years, we don’t have the tools or experience to completely mimic the Vaccinator, but we chose to follow the principals of making it thin, carving the sides around the front wheels, and using Tungsten for our first time.

The only weight on the vehicle is the Tungsten Canopy. After using lead last year, the switch to tungsten was immediately obvious and significant design improvement. We had a lot of fun building our cars, and Maximum Velocity has been a  huge help providing our tools, designs, and weights to improve our competitive abilities and improve our father/son experience.

Blue Light Special – Ron

Here is our winning car: stock axle spacing, stock axles – polished of course – stock BSA wheels, a Tungsten Canopy mounted sideways to maximize the center of mass at approximately 9/10 of an inch in front of the rear axle. The car won 12 out of 12 races so we are off to districts.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 11
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 Speed Tip – December 16, 2016

Adding Brakes to Your Car
By Peter Holzemer

You can’t win no matter how fast your car is if it gets damaged at the stop section of the track. Our district track is a forty foot wood track with a three foot raised stop section terminated by a foam rubber stop bar across the end of the track. Unfortunately, the fastest cars slide through the stop section hitting the foam stop bar relatively hard. These fast cars either flip over the bar onto the hard floor, or hit the foam so hard that they bounce backwards through the stop section onto the track.  Sometimes, the bounced cars collide with other slower moving cars, causing damage to all involved.

In our second year of racing, my son’s car was the fastest in the first heat.  His car slid through the stop section, hit the stop bar, and flipped onto the floor, bending a rear axle.  Not realizing  that the axle was bent we kept on racing and winning, only to have the car slow down in the finals.  My son was fortunate enough to place third overall, but the other top cars were not so fortunate.  Those cars also received damage from the foam stop bar, but ended up losing their top spots.  After that experience, we decided a change was needed – brakes for the car.

The brake system is very simple, just two small strips of 80 grit black drywall sandpaper glued to the bottom of the car in front of and behind the rear axle.  This sandpaper causes the car to slow down quickly when it reaches the raised stop section. The deceleration is enough to keep the cars from bouncing on the stop bar.  Now, we add brakes to all our pack cars going to the district race. At this past year’s event, none of our pack cars had a crash.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 11
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 6 – December 14, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 6
December 14, 2016

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – How to Put an Automobile Quality Finish on Your
Pinewood Derby Car

– Humor
– Product Showcase – Paint Stand – 10% Off
– Pinewood Derby Memory – A Sad Story?
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

New Products
Maximum Velocity is introducing two new products just in time for the prime racing season:

15030smallSpecial Tungsten Cylinders – We made a special buy of these cylinders and are offering them to you at a much lower price than our regular cylinders. Each cylinder measures 0.45 inch in diameter and 0.36 inch in length, and weighs 0.56 ounce (7 cylinders equals 3.9 ounces). A cylinder will fit in a 15/32 or 1/2 inch hole. You can find these cylinders Here.

5468smallPre-Cut Bulk MV Car Kits – We made a special run of pre-shaped bulk car kits. The kits are shaped and sanded, and ready for final sanding and painting. Each bulk pack contains three each of four shaped car bodies, wheels, axles, instructions and baggies. You can find them Here.

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.

Call for Photos
Help, we are virtually out of photos for the pinewood derby car showcase.  Please 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 car shown at:

Make sure the photo is not blurry. If your photos are blurry, try holding 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. Don’t forget to include your name, the name of the car (if it has one), and a brief write up on any design features, inspiration for the design, and how the car performed at the race. Thanks.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including:

– Discount slotted blocks
– Formula One car kit
– Wheel Flares and Paint Stencils
– Raingutter Regatta Decals

We don’t have many left, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

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
How to Put an Automobile Quality Finish on Your Pinewood Derby Car
By Randy Davis

I am going to state right up front that I am not an auto painter nor am I particularly artistic. However, after many, many years of painting  innumerable pinewood derby cars, I finally came up with a way to get a nice paint job without the need to purchase expensive painting equipment. Clearly, if you want a real auto paint job, you will have to go to a body shop and get them to paint the car for you. But if you want to do it yourself, the process below will result in a nice paint job, and all of the supplies can be found at your local Auto Parts store (AutoZone, O’Reilly, et al), except for the wood sandpaper which is available from Maximum Velocity(1), or from any hardware or home improvement store.

Supplies
You will need the following supplies:

Sandpaper
60, 120, and 220 grit
600 or 800 grit wet/dry paper

Filler
Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty


Figure 1 – Bond Spot Filler
(Source:  bondo.com)

Paint
Rust-Oleum Filler & Sandable Primer
Dupli-Color Perfect Match Premium Automotive Paint
Dupli-Color Perfect Match Protective Clear Coat Finish


Figure 2 – Primer, Paint, and Clear
(Source:  rustoleum.com, duplicolor.com)

Car Holder
You will need a method to hold the car in place while painting and drying. I recommend our Paint Stand.(2) It securely holds the car while simultaneously keeping paint out of the axle holes/slots. The blue part of the stand is picked up for painting, then placed back on the base for drying.



Figure 3 – Paint Stand

Sanding
First, sand the car with the 60 grit paper, removing any saw marks and creating all desired contours. Next, sand with the 120 grit paper, removing all scratches left by the 60 grit paper. Then repeat with the 220 grit paper. Remove all dust with a soft rag.


Figure 4 – Sanded

Filling
Now we will use the Bondo to fill in all the fine scratches and any flaws. Bondo is a car body filler that dries reasonably fast and can be easily sanded. Bondo does have a strong chemical order, so make sure to apply Bondo in a ventilated area. I recommend covering the entire car (except the bottom) with a thin layer of Bondo. This will ensure that all scratches are filled.


Figure 5 – Bondo Applied

Sanding Bondo
Now use the 600/800 grit paper to sand the Bondo. The goal is not to remove all of the Bondo, but to sand until the body is smooth. The result may have more or less Bondo than in Figure 6.


Figure 6 – Bondo Sanded

Priming
The next step is to apply several coats of the Rustoleum primer. Generally, three coats will be sufficient. Coats can be applied every ten minutes if the temperature is 70 to 90 degrees.

As with any spray paint, shake the can well (don’t skimp on this), then apply several thin coats as opposed to fewer thick coats – this reduces the chance of “runs”. Use a sweeping motion to get an even coat, and to make sure you do not put on too much paint in one spot.


Figure 7 – Primer

Wet Sanding
After the final primer coat, allow two hours of dry time, then the primer can be wet sanded. This process gives you the smoothest finish, and much more life out of the sandpaper.

Run water on a piece of 600/800 grit paper, then sand the car in circular motions. Rinse the paper frequently. After the car is sanded, use a damp cloth to wipe off any paint residue, then dry the car with a soft rag. Allow the car to dry for several hours to ensure that all the water is evaporated.

Painting
Finally, the color can be applied. Typically, two coats of color are sufficient. Coats can be applied every ten minutes. Make sure to shake the can for a full minute after the ball starts rattling, and shake in between coats. Place the car in a dust free area while drying. There is nothing  more frustrating than a great paint job with a speck of dust in it!


Figure 8 – Paint

Clear Coat
After thirty minutes, apply one or two coats of clear, separated by ten minutes. These early clear coats will protect the paint while performing the next step.

Decals, Pin-striping, Etc.
Next apply any decorative items, such as decals, pin-striping, etc. In Figure 9 below, I used a Maximum Velocity paint stencil (designed specifically for this car). I cut the stencil short so that the “backbone” stopped at the “head” of the car. The eyes were cut out from some gold sticker material from a craft store.

Final Clear Coats
Lastly apply several clear-coats, ten minutes apart. The more clear coats you apply, the deeper the shine.


Figure 9 – Final Result

Final Thoughts
Getting a great paint job does take some time, but if you have the right materials and put in the effort, you can achieve a beautiful paint job for your pinewood derby car.

(1) A sandpaper assortment can be found Here. Find grit wet/dry paper can be found Here.

(2) A paint stand can be found Here.


Humor
Wisdom From Kids

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHO TO MARRY?
You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
— Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
— Kristen, age 10

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
— Camille, age 10

HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
— Derrick, age 8

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
Both don’t want any more kids.
— Lori, age 8

WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
— Lynnette, age 8

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
— Martin, age 10

WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?
I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
— Craig, age 9

WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
When they’re rich.
— Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
— Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
— Howard, age 8

IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
— Anita, age 9


Product Showcase
Paint Stand – 10% Off

Finally, a paint stand for pinewood derby cars that is easy to use, and works on virtually any car! This paint stand by Derby Guys not only holds your car securely, but also:

– Allows you to hold the car in any position while painting.

– Works with axle slots or axle holes, and with any wheelbase.

– Keeps paint out of the axle slots or holes.

– Provides a stable base while your car dries.

Through December 27, 2016, you can get a Paint Stand for 10% off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5385 to your shopping cart and use coupon code PAINTSTAND during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s cars are from Tim Norville

I started building fancy cars to show my RAs what could be made besides wedges or blocks, and it snowballed from there. Each year someone gives me a challenge to build something new. This year I built the Munster’s cars which I think turned out okay. This has given my kids ideas of what they can build with a little planning.

Dragula

Koach

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
A Sad Story?

Okay. I knew that the car we built was fast. I got the track and the timer, right?

We were faster this year than the car we made last year – that won the Pack race, District race, and came in 10th in the Council race.

We were so fast this year that we could have won the Council race last year!

The Den Race: We won our Webelos Den race easily.  We had the fastest time overall in our Den and the other Dens.  This was going to be easy.

The Pack Race: The top 3 of each Den race it off. We won the first 2 rounds. No problem. Third time down, we are ahead. Right before the finish line we go airborne, flip up, and smack the timer pole!  Didn’t even score a time.

We lost – double elimination though.

The car was “runable”, but a piece of wood was breaking near the left rear tire.

We lost again. It was over. Only the top 3 were advanced to the District Race.

My son and I were very disappointed, upset, and confused. There was no reason why the car flipped up on the smoothest, and flattest part of the track. There was no debris. No reason why. It just happened.

But, this is not a sad story. We learned a few lessons from this:

– The fastest car doesn’t always win.
– Sometimes things in life happen for no reason.
– Always expect the unexpected.

Everything was okay the morning after. We will try again next year and keep our fingers crossed.

Barry Goff
Pikeville, KY

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: What is the optimum distance between bore ID and the axle OD?

A: I recommend 5 thousandths of clearance between the axle and bore. This is enough for good spinning, but tight enough to minimize wobble. The only kit on the market that has this clearance are Awana kits. On all others, oversized axles have to be used.

Q: How thick is the optimum wheel gap tool?

A: I recommend 30 thousandths. This is the thickness of a typical credit card. But in our tests, any clearance between 25 and 35 thousandths gives the same performance.

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
mailto:pinewood-derby-times-on@mail-list.com

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.

(R)Awana is a trademark of Awana Clubs International.

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Mailing list services are provided by:
www.mail-list.com

Pinewood Derby Memory – The Plymouth Superbird

What started out as a block of wood turned into a huge tradition. When I was in first grade my family decided to have me join Cub Scouts.  I liked it, but I really started to enjoy it when we were able to make Pinewood Derby cars.  The Pinewood Derby is a race of model cars made out of a block of pinewood.  My dad and I decided to create a car that was fast, but also looked good.  My dad and I each drew up our own plans to make a car we both thought would win.  We combined them together to make what we thought, was the perfect plan. Now the real work of building this car began.

We went down to my dad’s shop with the block of wood and our huge plan. First we drew out the plans and decided to make a Plymouth Superbird, which is one of the fastest race cars ever.  Once we started to cut and sand the piece of wood, we could see it begin to come to life. The Metallic Fleck Blue paint transformed this piece of wood, into a model car.  The only thing left was to put in the fine details to make it look like a real racing car.  My dad made sponsor decals and I arranged them on the car.  We painted the number “01” on the side and hood of the car.  The trickiest part was to put the decal windows on the model.  Big decals are harder to place, since they like to roll up.  I was happy this part went well.  Now it was off to the races.

The day of the race finally came.  Once I saw all of the other racers and their cars, I thought I would get last place!  I was one of the first four racers to the starting line.  I didn’t know who would win this round.  To my surprise, I won that round.  It felt so cool and I was so proud my car was so fast.  The next round came and I won that one too.  The races kept going until lunch time and we had to take a break.  It was hard to wait to race my car again.  There was another ten rounds, before I got to race again.  The next two races, I placed second.  When the races were complete, I won second place and was able to get my first trophy.  The best part was being able to go on to the district races.

Two months later I attended the district race at the Mall of America.  There were more than 200 cars racing.  My car was not fast enough to win, but I was proud of how excellent I did.  It was nice to have the pleasure of knowing, I actually made it to the district races.  Good news did come my way when I found out this was a yearly event.  This is how the Pinewood Derby tradition started in our family.  My dad and I still build cars for fun, even though I am too old to race them as a Cub Scout.

Noah Holzer

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 10
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 5 – November 30, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 5
November 30, 2016

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Open Weight Pockets – Do They Affect Speed?
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Holiday Shopping – 10% Off
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Star Ship Tribute
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

New Products
Maximum Velocity is introducing two new products just in time for the prime racing season:

15030smallSpecial Tungsten Cylinders – We made a special buy of these cylinders and are offering them to you at a much lower price than our regular cylinders. Each cylinder measures 0.45 inch in diameter and 0.36 inch in length, and weighs 0.56 ounce (7 cylinders equals 3.9 ounces). A cylinder will fit in a 15/32 or 1/2 inch hole. You can find these cylinders Here.

5468smallPre-Cut Bulk MV Car Kits – We made a special run of pre-shaped bulk car kits. The kits are shaped and sanded, and ready for final sanding and painting. Each bulk pack contains three each of four shaped car bodies, wheels, axles, instructions and baggies. You can find them Here.

STEAM/Ford Races
The Ford Motor company has been sponsoring STEAM academies (STEM with Arts) for many years. Recently the STEAM program has been promoting pinewood derby-style races for Girl Scouts. The races are called “Fast Track Races”, and are intended to teach engineering and design. While this program is focused on portions of four states (Texas, New Jersey, Michigan and Florida), pinewood derby racing is a great activity for Girl Scouts troops everywhere.

For more information on the STEAM program and Fast Track Races, Click Here.

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.

Call for Photos
Help, we are virtually out of photos for the pinewood derby car showcase.  Please 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 car shown at:

Make sure the photo is not blurry. If your photos are blurry, try holding 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. Don’t forget to include your name, the name of the car (if it has one), and a brief write up on any design features, inspiration for the design, and how the car performed at the race. Thanks.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including:

– Discount slotted blocks
– Formula One car kit
– Wheel Flares and Paint Stencils
– Raingutter Regatta Decals

We don’t have many left, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

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
Open Weight Pockets – Do They Affect Speed?
By Randy Davis

A common method of adding weight to a car is to drill holes or create pockets in the bottom of the car, and then glue weight into the pockets. Generally, not all of the pocket or hole space is used, so there are open cavities in the bottom of the car.

Some people advocate filling in open cavities, thus creating a smooth surface on the bottom of the car. The belief is that open cavities affect the aerodynamics of the car, leading to slower speeds.

But is this true? If it is true, then certainly the effort required to fill the cavities is justified. On the other hand, filling in cavities creates weighing issues as the weight of the filler must be taken into account. So if open cavities do not affect speed, then the effort is wasted (other than a possible improvement in the looks of the car).

Let’s see if we can answer this question.

Experiment Setup
To test the effect of open cavities on performance, a test car was created with a large amount of open cavities. The car was weighted to 5.035 ounces, and was equipped with the following features:

– Balance point at 11/16 inch in front of the rear axle,
– RS wheels with nickel speed axles, (1)
– Krytox 100 lube
– Alignment set to rail ride
– 32 foot aluminum track

Figure 1  Test Car

Figure 2  Test Car Bottom – Without Tape

A strip of clear packing tape cut to the proper width was placed over the entire bottom of the car, thus creating a smooth bottom with no cavities. The car was then re-weighed – 5.05 ounces.

The Test
Five heats were run with the smooth bottom. The tape was then removed, and tungsten putty (.015 ounces) was added at the center of the car to account for the tape weight. Then five heats were run with the open cavities.

The Results
The runs averaged and the standard deviation calculated:

Smooth Bottom – Average – 2.466 seconds, .0012 standard deviation

Open Cavities – Average – 2.466 seconds, .0013 standard deviation

Conclusion
Obviously, open cavities do not affect performance. My belief is that since the peak speed of a pinewood derby car is less than 20 MPH on a standard track, the aerodynamics of a car are only affected by:

– changes in the frontal cross-section of the car,(2)
– creating a smoother profile, and improving air flow with fenders,(3)
– elimination of sails, streamers or other air catching accessories.

So, unless you are an aesthetic purist, I wouldn’t bother covering open pockets or holes in the bottom of the car.

(1) I chose to use disk wheels instead of full width wheels to
minimize the overall aerodynamic profile of the car, so that if open
pockets did affect speed the effect would tend to be amplified.

(2) Proven in a test done in 2004, which will be revisited in a future
article this season.

(3) Proven in a test done in 2013. Click Here for the article.


Humor

Want To Go Out?
One Saturday, as Mom was finishing the dinner dishes, my father stepped up behind her. “Would you like to go out, girl?” he asked.

Not even turning around, my mother quickly replied, “Oh, yes, I’d love to!”

They had a wonderful evening, and it wasn’t until the end of the evening that Dad finally confessed that his question had actually been directed to the family dog, laying near Mom’s feet on the kitchen floor.


Product Showcase

Holiday Shopping – 10% Off

Here at Maximum Velocity we wish you and your family a great holiday season. To help with gift giving, through December 13, 2016, you can get 10% off your entire order. To take advantage of this limited time offer, please Click Here.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s cars are from Jeff Bartel.

Silver Stealth
This was Nickolas’ second car and his fastest (2nd in the Pack).  It was based on two or three designs he found online and combined.

Scout Spirit
This was Nickolas’ first car as a Webelos.  He wanted to go for scout spirit (which he won) and speed (which didn’t work out quite as well due to some alignment issues). He was proud of using the scroll saw to put his initials into the front of the car.

Space Shuttle

This was Nickolas’ final car. He was done with trying for speed and was focused on the design award, which he won. He carved the shuttle out of two pieces of balsa wood, and the external fuel tank and SRBs were dowels that he sanded down (and added toothpicks to the former and wire nuts as the engines to the latter). The shuttle sits on a skateboard of the original PWD kit.

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
Star Ship Tribute

My wife Jennifer accepted the call to become the children’s pastor at a church in Kansas. One of the first things I asked when I got to the church was “What would you most want out of my time here?”

Knowing that I had experience with the pinewood derby, the youth pastor Philip spoke up and said (among other things): “The District Director of Kansas has never lost a Ranger Derby Race in ten years.”

I knew that we could be competitive with the ten-time champ but, I did not make any promises.

About a month later the Ranger Derby building started, While the Royal Rangers made dragsters, speeders, racers and other high performance racing machines, Pastor Philip wanted to make a Starship Enterprise from the movie Star Trek. I told Pastor Philip that his car looked cool and it could also win – if we ran it backwards. So, Pastor Philip began building his car. He was at the primer step, when he had to have tonsillectomy surgery.

During the surgery something happened and Pastor Philip died, leaving his unfinished Ranger Derby car. The Royal Rangers and the youth group were stunned, and wondered how we could show honor to Pastor Philip. We all decided to finish Pastor Philips car and race it in his honor.

The Royal Rangers worked hard on their cars, and on Pastor Philip’s car. They were able to run two test races against the reigning ten-time champ with their own cars. They almost won. But we had one trick up our sleeve. For the state race we had finished Pastor Philip’s car with a fresh paint job. We also ordered new wheels and lube from Maximum Velocity.

Race day arrived! All of our cars passed inspection with flying colors, even Pastor Philip’s with a split nose that went around the start pin. So the race was on, we had two Rangers that got third and fourth in the state, and all that was left was the leader’s class with Pastor Philip’s car. As expected with a split nose the race officials allowed us to put tape across the nose so the car would stay behind the pin on the start gate. The first race we lost by an inch, but the next three we won by a inch or more! We knew all of the times would be close, but would Pastor Philip’s car win?

The District Director explained what had happened to Pastor Philip, and that we finished and raced the car for him. He then said, “First Place, winning by three thousandths of a second: Pastor Philip!!!!”

That Sunday, I presented the car and medal to Pastor Philip’s Mom and Dad. Most everyone was at least a little misty eyed. The Royal Rangers wanted in our own way to give a little honor to Pastor Philip to remember what a good man he was.

Tony Grim
Morrow, Arkansas

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: This year, we’ve been trying to utilize more Physics; we’ve heard the competition is going to be tougher this year. Last year we didn’t worry about putting the weight in the rear, aerodynamics, or anything; we just polished the axles and did the work on the wheels and we won. For this year we found out that one of our competition is utilizing aftermarket BSA speed wheels and speed axles, and he’s using a type of “Quick Start” tactic by putting a “V” cut in the front of the car and using the paperclip trick to leverage the top of the starting dowel. Supposedly when the lever is pulled, his car may get a head start to help him along. What do you think about this quick start trick?

A: Don’t worry about this. On modern tracks, the quick start trick has no benefit, and may be detrimental if the paper clip gets bent or does not trip the finish line sensor. For more information, take a look at the article in This Newsletter.

Q: I’ve always been told that graphite breaks down and wears out after about 10 races. Yet, on your website, there was a test run that was done with 20 races and the results seem consistent. What’s the truth behind graphite usage and how soon it wears out before needing to be reapplied?

A: If you do a thorough lube job, then you should get 20 heats. That is why the instructions say to spend the time adding, spinning, adding, spinning, etc.  I recommend five minutes per wheel for this process, always ending with spinning.  What you are doing is building up multiple coatings of graphite on the wheel bore. If you get enough layers, it will last the 20 heats, and you will have a very fast car. If you don’t get enough coatings, then it will wear out prematurely. If you don’t spin after the last addition of graphite, then the first few heats will be slower as the last added graphite must be worked in.

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
mailto:pinewood-derby-times-on@mail-list.com

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.

(R)Awana is a trademark of Awana Clubs International.

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Mailing list services are provided by:
www.mail-list.com

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 25, 2016

Some pinewood derby cars that aren’t cars.

Little Red Wagon – Jeremy Isaac

This was my daughter’s car for the AWANA Grand Prix this past year. It placed 3rd in Speed and 1st in Novelty.

Liebherr LTM 1095 5.1 Mobile Crane – Robert Knapp

As a scout leader I like to show the boys what is possible with a block of wood. I got my inspiration for this year’s car when I passed one of these driving on the interstate. The boys loved it! I could not count the times I heard the word cool!

Banana Mobile – Christine DuVal

This is the “Banana Mobile” that I made for the leaders race at our Awana Grand Prix earlier this month (January 2011).  I made it for fun, not for speed, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did! It beat pretty much all other cars except for a few wedges that were definitely built for speed. And to answer the question I know you are dying to ask…  No, I did not have help from my husband, I did it all myself 🙂

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 10
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 4 – November 16, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 4
November 16, 2016

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Light Trees – Rev Up Your Pinewood Derby Race
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Pro-Axle Bender – 10% Off
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Coping with Wood Block
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

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.

Call for Photos
Help, we are virtually out of photos for the pinewood derby car showcase.  Please 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 car shown at:

Make sure the photo is not blurry. If your photos are blurry, try holding 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. Don’t forget to include your name, the name of the car (if it has one), and a brief write up on any design features, inspiration for the design, and how the car performed at the race. Thanks.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including:

– Discount slotted blocks
– Formula One car kit
– Wheel Flares and Paint Stencils
– Raingutter Regatta Decals

We don’t have many left, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

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
Light Trees – Rev Up Your Pinewood Derby Race

In early 2016 I was asked by a customer for information about single lane timers. I knew that John Shreffler at New Directions(1) offered a single lane timer, so I called him up to ask a few questions. In the course of the conversation, John mentioned that he had a new light tree (the LT4) and asked if I would be interested in having one to show at our shop. I told him, “of course,” and a week later one showed up in the mail. Now that I had a new product, I (of course) had to write an article about it.

Although this article is a review of the LT4 light tree, first I want to provide an overview of light trees and the related topic of start gates. Then, after the review of the product, I’ll briefly cover competitive offerings.

What Are Light Trees?
Light Trees are used in drag racing to signal the drivers when they can pass the starting line. The tree progresses through amber lights, and then a green start light turns on, signaling “go” to the drivers. A red light is used to signal a car fault, i.e., the driver crossed the starting line before the green light.


Figure 1 – Typical Light Tree
(Source: Laverne Magazine)

Carrying this idea into pinewood derby racing, a light tree is typically used to help create a racing atmosphere at the event. But it can also be used for staging pinewood derby drag races.

There are three ways in which a light tree can be used in pinewood derby racing:

1. Non-integrated Tree – If the track has a manual start gate, then the light tree is activated by the gate operator to show that the cars are about to race. When the green light turns on, the gate operator triggers the gate. In this case, the tree is strictly for show.

2. Integrated Tree – If the track has a solenoid start gate, then the gate operator (2) activates the light tree, which in turn triggers the start gate when the green light turns on.

3. Drag Racing – If the track has a split gate (two levers which operate two different lanes), then two racers stage their cars, and trigger their gate when the green light appears. In this case only, a red fault light would turn on if one of the gates was triggered before the green light appeared.

Start Gates
Traditionally, pinewood derby start gates have been equipped with a manual release, whereby the gate operator triggers the gate using a lever of some type. Generally, the start gate has a spring that rapidly opens the gate when triggered. The gate is manually closed before the next heat.


Figure 2 – Freedom Track Manual Start Gate

More recently electric-powered gates have become available. These powered gates are triggered with a button or, in some cases by a signal from race management software. There are two types of electric-powered gates:

1. Solenoid Release – With solenoid release gates, the operator’s hand is essentially replaced by a solenoid, a device that uses an electromagnet to move a cylindrical rod when power is applied. By hooking the rod to the start gate, the gate is opened when power is applied; power is applied just long enough to release the gate. The gate must be manually closed before the next heat.


Figure 3 – Solenoid Release Gate on a Freedom Track

2. Full Motion – Full Motion gates use a rotary solenoid to open the gate when power is applied. When power is removed, the gate closes, eliminating the need for human intervention.


Figure 4 – Full Motion Gate on Freedom Track
(Source: newdirections.ws)

LT4 Light Tree Review
Now that we have discussed light trees and start gates, let’s take a look at the LT4 and how it interfaces with a start gate.


Figure 5 – LT4 Light Tree
(Source: newdirections.ws)

The LT4 is a low-cost light tree that can be used with any track and start gate.(3) It is small (5-1/4 inches from the top to the white area) so it is easily stored with the track. However, the LEDs are quite bright, allowing the lights to be easily viewed from across a large room.

For $129, you get the light tree, mounting hardware, the controller box, and a cable to connect the box to a solenoid gate. The unit operates on three AAA batteries. The control box mounts to the underside of the track with double-stick tape (supplied). It has three connections:

Light Tree (cable included)
Solenoid gate (cable included)
SCI – This is to connect either a pushbutton switch or a PC running race management software. The pushbutton switch or the computer connecting cable are optional add-ons.


Figure 6 – LT4 Control Box
(Source: newdirections.ws)

As shipped, the LT4 is activated by a remote. I tried a Samsung TV remote, a Sony receiver remote, and a Cox Cable remote, all of which activated the tree. The use of a remote allows activation by a race official, or by a member of the audience if desired.

I also tried the pushbutton switch (model PB2 – $26). It, of course, works fine to activate the light tree.

On my Freedom Track, I have a solenoid release start gate. The video below shows the LT4 activation and resulting gate triggering initiated with the pushbutton switch. Note that I mounted the LT4 on a wall. I could do this since my track does not move. Typically the LT4 is mounted at the top of the track; mounting hardware is provided for that purpose.

LT4 Video – Click on Photo

When idle the light tree repeatedly flashes a brief red light. When activated it cycles from bright flashing red to amber (two lights), and finally to green. After triggering the gate, it reverts back to the idle mode.

Split Gate Racing
When drag race-style racing is desired, split start gates are available to allow independent manual gate operation by two racers. In this case an option is required for the LT4 to show gate faults.


Figure 7 – BestTrack Split Start Gate
(Source: besttrack.com)


Figure 8 – LT4 With Fault Lights
(Source: newdirections.ws)

When used in this mode, the light tree does not trigger the gates, but instead monitors the gate status. When the light tree is activated, the lights sequence to the green light, at which time the racers trigger their gates. If a gate is triggered prematurely, a red light indicates the fault.

In order to detect gate activation, magnetic switches are mounted on the gate.


Figure 9 – Fault Detection Switches
(Source: newdirections.ws)

Competitive Offerings
There are two competitive offerings on the market:

— Micro Wizard TLG —
The Micro Wizard offering consists of a track mounted light tree and solenoid release gate. The light tree is activated with a button, and it triggers the gate when the green light turns on. The price is $220 for the light tree and gate release mechanism (does not include the start gate itself). See www.microwizard.com for more information.


Figure 10 – Micro Wizard TLG
(Source: microwizard.com)

— DragMaster Light Tree —
The DragMaster Light Tree is a scale representation of a drag racing light tree. It includes several operation modes ranging from display mode to pro mode. The gate can be connected with the Jewkes Engineering ESS gate release for gate triggering. The DragMaster can work with a split start gate for drag race-style racing. The 32-inch-tall, free-standing light tree is priced at $485 (ESS gate release, split start gate, and drag racing hook-up are sold separately). See www.besttrack.com for more information.


Figure 11 – DragMaster Light Tree
(Source: besttrack.com)

(1) www.newdirections.ws
(2) As we will see, the LT4 light tree can be started by the gate operator, a member of the audience, or by Grand Prix Race Manager.
(3) The LT4 works with all of the New Direction solenoid gates, as well as the Jewkes Engineering ESS gate.


Humor
While waiting at the veterinarian’s office, I overheard two women chatting about their dogs.

“What’s your dog’s name?” asked the first woman.

“Well, we used to call her Pork Chop,” answered the second lady. “But after the vet bills we’ve had for her, we now call her Filet Mignon.”


Product Showcase

Pro-Axle Bender – 10% Off

Stage Your Cars in Safety and Style

The Pro-Axle Bender provides an accurate, simple, and repeatable way to put a bend in pinewood derby axles. On typical axles, the tool supports any angle between 1/2 and 8 degrees. Axle bending allows rear wheels to run canted, and/or the front dominant axle to be aligned for rail-riding or straight alignment. Accurate alignment is one of the five keys to producing a fast pinewood derby car.

Through November 29, 2016, you can get a Pro-Axle Bender for 10% ($8.00) off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5198 to your shopping cart, and use coupon code NOV16NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Black Widow – David and Gavin Liller
My son Gavin and I built this Black Widow car for his Wolf pinewood derby race. Gavin is deathly afraid of spiders, so he thought all the other racers would be afraid to race a car built like a black widow. Unfortunately, we didn’t know about Maximum Velocity, so we didn’t know of the speed secrets offered here. We came in 4th place. Next year we will use your web site and parts to give us that little edge that will push us into the top three.

Buzzsaw – Eric Lanam

This year the older boys in our Trail Life troop were a bit under- enthusiastic for our Pinewood Grand Prix. So we added an Outlaw class that allowed up to 1 pound of weight, up to 3.25 inches wide, up to 8.25 inches long, used MV Wheels, and didn’t use any propulsion or interfere with other cars.

The Buzzsaw is my entry into this Outlaw class. I wanted to try building a car that ran inside the rails on an aluminum track. I added fenders, left the wheels full-width, and brought the weight up to 7.5 ounces. It set the track record, tied it, and then beat it again.

Titliest  – Eric Lanam

The Titliest (spelling intentional) is another experimental car I’ve been wanting to try for a while using golf ball dimples as an aerodynamic aid. It turned out to be a very fast car, coming in third place overall (out of 38 cars) behind two heavy Outlaw cars.

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
Coping with Wood Block

(A British perspective on America and the Pinewood Derby)

It is easy to forget, as the United States wades through corporate scandals and debate rages over a possible war in Iraq, what a gloriously wholesome place this can be.

Monday night in our neighbourhood was Derby night. This was not my idea of a Derby: the raffish, faded charm of Epsom on a summer’s afternoon. It was the Pinewood Derby (“dur-by” to you), organised in the school gymnasium by the Boy Scouts of America. There was no champagne tent, just apple juice and Diet Pepsi. And the nearest legal bookmaker was in Nevada.

This derby involves model cars, made of pine wood, which race down a 32 foot track using only gravity. On winter nights, it goes on in communities across the United States, a secret slice of Americana. The point, however, is not the racing. What matters is the building of the car, which is supposed to be a collaboration between father and son. For modern susceptibilities, the official instructions are non-gender specific. But this is an event that dates back to 1953, and the underlying intent is clear.

Each cub scout gets a kit with a block of wood, four nails for axles, and four plastic wheels. Then, in the words of one of the 27,700 relevant websites tracked by Google: “The boy and adult should make the car together as a project! It is not the intent that the parent show the scout the garage door then walk away; nor is it the intent that the boy play video games while the adult cuts and sands.”

The reference to video games is anachronistic. In all material respects, this is something straight out of the 50’s when American boys were expected to have freckles, table manners, a kid sis who was a bit irritating but okay really, a mom who was cooking in the kitchen and a stern but fair dad who could do amazing things with a tool kit.

The Engel family fit this stereotype in some respects but not in others, most importantly this: Dad can barely undo the petrol cap of the Toyota, never mind build a car, even one that has to weigh less than five ounces. The Pinewood Derby has been preying on my mind for weeks as the moment when my failure as a parent would be exposed to the entire local population.

Fortunately, my friend Neville came to the rescue. Neville is “Good At Things”. Neville, though not a Pinewood man himself, made a handsome job of turning our block of wood into something resembling a racing car – with a bit of nine-year-old help. It was simple, one of the other dads explained on the night: “All you need is a coping saw. It cuts beautifully through the pine.” A coping saw? I can’t even cope.

It was a lovely evening, really it was. We were supposed to start with the national anthem but, unfortunately, the tape broke so we had the pledge of allegiance instead. Then Jim, the starter and MC, took centre stage. He was a scout leader with a heap of personality and a skillful knack of finding ways not to use boys’ surnames of more than three syllables.

He compères these evenings on what appears to be a semi-pro basis: he is doing 63 of them this season for cub troops all over the Washington suburbs, and has to be booked months in advance. The track is like a wooden slide with a long straight at the bottom, but grooved, so that up to four cars can race in lanes down to an electronic finish line. Jim can whip through a race in about 20 seconds.

It soon became clear that the opposition was even more formidable than we realised. Most of the fathers were Cub Scouts themselves, so had been competing in one capacity or another almost since the race began. Some of the 27,700 websites apparently operate as grey markets so that the unscrupulous (or incompetent) can buy ready-made cars.

But most of the fathers had grasped the science: the need for weight at the back to build up initial speed (I think); the importance of getting the friction right. It was clear that the builders of the cars that made the finals understood a huge amount about aero-dynamics. I must have been sick the day we did that at school.

But the Engels were not disgraced. In five races, we had three gallant seconds. We nearly won once. It would have been unBritish to do better than that at the first attempt. My Cub Scout was a little disheartened.

“Look,” I said. “We did brilliantly. You didn’t know what you were doing. Neville didn’t really know what he was doing. I didn’t know what I was doing…”

“Dad,” he interrupted. “You didn’t do anything.”

Matthew Engel
Washington, DC

Matthew writes the “Engel in America” column for “The Guardian”, a newspaper published in the UK.

© 2002 Guardian Newspapers Limited. First published on Wednesday, February 13, 2002. Used by permission

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

Our pack is making the jump from graphite to Krytox 100 this year. We are making the change en-masse, banning graphite completely. We are tired of dealing with the mess, and from everything I read the racing will be more fair. The pack is going to buy the lube to facilitate this change. We have a few questions:

Q: Is Krytox something to add when assembling the axles/wheels in the final build process, or something to add just before racing at the event?  I think you add it during the build process, not at the event, as it appears it should dry before wheels are placed on. Is that correct?

A: Yes, Krytox 100 is applied before attaching the wheels/axles to the car body. This allows the excess oil to be wicked off. Note that Krytox 100 does not “dry”. But as long as you wick off the excess there will only be a thin film of oil on the rubbing surfaces.

Q: How many cars can I lubricate with one bottle? We are trying to figure out how many bottles we will need to buy. We have five dens and about forty boys. More bottles would make it easier to share, but increases the cost for the pack.

A: You can lubricate forty cars with one bottle. But as you point out, a bottle or two extra would improve logistics.

Q: If we have cars that go to districts, they will have to revert to graphite (trying to get them out of the “buggy whip” days, but they are stuck here for now). What cleaning should the scouts do to remove Krytox 100 before lubing with graphite?

A: The wheels and axles would need to be removed, and then cleaned with isopropyl alcohol followed by rinsing with water and then drying thoroughly. Once dry, graphite can be applied.

Q: We are banning all other dry lubricants, allowing only Krytox 100. We think we should ban all other oils, silicones, and other liquid lubricants as well. Have you seen a good “written rule” that has good language to keep us to Krytox 100 only?

A: I don’t have any wording, but why not allow other liquid lubes? Silicon spray is commonly used, as well as a few other liquids that are applied similar to Krytox 100. The key is that you do not want any lubricant to be seen on the wheels.

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
mailto:pinewood-derby-times-on@mail-list.com

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.

(R)Awana is a trademark of Awana Clubs International.

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Mailing list services are provided by:
www.mail-list.com

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 11, 2016

Bunny Car – Tim Grimstead

This is Tessa’s Bunny car which took 2nd in Juniors and 2nd in the Girl Scout Open at the 2010 council Powder Puff Derby.

Fan Car – Charles Baum

Attached are pictures of my fan-powered car.  I purchased the kit from Maximum Velocity and then made my own car from a standard block with racing wheels and axles from Maximum Velocity.  The bottom of the block is hollowed-out for the battery.  This car totally wiped-out all other contestants in an Adult Pinewood Derby (Open-class) that is a fundraiser for a local Scout troop.

First Car – Tom Peterson

This was my son’s first car.  It took second place at the Pack and second place at the Districts – the same scout beat him both times.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 9

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 3 – November 2, 2016

PINEWOOD DERBY TIMES
Volume 16, Issue 3
November 2, 2016

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Vintage Autoweek Article
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Derby Stop
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Scenes from a Weigh-In
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

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.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including:

– Discount slotted blocks
– Formula One car kit
– Wheel Flares and Paint Stencils
– Raingutter Regatta Decals

We don’t have many left, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

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
Vintage Autoweek Pinewood Derby Article

Today’s article is a reprint of an article written by Kevin A. Wilson, which appeared in Autoweek a little over 25 years ago. The article is posted in a PDF file here: Autoweek Article

I hope you enjoy the article. The article is used by permission of Autoweek.


Humor
Running Away From Home

A man scolded his son for being so unruly and the child rebelled against his father. He got some of his clothes, his teddy bear and his piggy bank and proudly announced, “I’m running away from home!”

The father calmly decided to look at the matter logically. “What if you get hungry?” he asked.

“Then I’ll come home and eat!,” bravely declared the child.

“And what if you run out of money?”

“I will come home and get some!” readily replied the child.

The man then made a final attempt, “What if your clothes get dirty?”

“Then I’ll come home and let mommy wash them,” was the reply.

The man shook his head and exclaimed, “This kid is not running away from home; he’s going off to college.”


Product Showcase

Derby Stop 60 – $3.00 Off

Stage Your Cars in Safety and Style

Finally, a staging system that will keep your cars organized and safe, but won’t break the budget. Derby Stop is a set of car staging platforms that:

Keep the cars safe – The front or rear wheels rest snuggly in a trough in the platform, keeping them from rolling away.

Keep the cars organized – Each staging position is clearly marked, and the included car stickers make it simple to find each car’s assigned location.

Supports small to large races – Derby Stop will support races of up to 30, 60, or 90 cars.

Can Be Reused or Replaced – Derby Stop is inexpensive, so if desired you can use it again and again or replace it each year.

Through November 15, 2016, you can get a Derby Stop 60 for $3.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 7552 to your shopping cart, and use coupon code NOV02NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Awana Slot – Mike Henkelman
Here is our Outlaw car built using slot car components and a lithium battery. On the floor it will “smoke the tires” and spin doughnuts. On the track — who knows?

Frozen – Mike Henkelman

This car was built as a wedge under my granddaughter’s guidance to better show “Frozen” stickers — more important to her than to look like a car or set fast times!

Blue Zander  – Russ Lyman

My grandson, Zander, built this car. He got fourth place at the pack race, after which we discovered the car had two broken rear axle housings. He still qualified for District. We rebuilt the axle housings, realigned the frame and axles with your full body alignment tool. Out of the 400+ racers overall he set two track records. His car “raised some eyebrows” from the previous race participants.

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
Scenes from a Weigh-In

Four events that actually happened at our weigh-in many years ago:

Scene 1 – The boy seemed to be holding the car in an odd way and there were pieces of paper between the wheels and the shiny, slime green car body of “The Green Machine.”  But I was in ‘weigh-in mode’, and was not allowing these warnings to affect my behavior. I grabbed the car and put it on the scale.  In that instant, the boy spoke up and I realized my mistake. You guessed it, the paint was still very wet. Now the paint was on my hands, my hand print was on the car, and the Green Machine had become the Green Smear.

Scene 2 – The wheels didn’t really spin well. In fact, they seemed to spin slower than untouched wheels and axles.

I said to the mom, “You probably should put some graphite on the wheels and axles.”

She replied, “That isn’t needed, we already lubricated the axles.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, what did you use?”

“Ivory bar soap.”

“That’s a new one,” I said.  But I was really thinking, “Ivory soap may float on water, but this car is sunk.”

Scene 3 – The little girl brought the car to the scale.  It looked like a last minute job.  That was confirmed when I saw that the molding spikes were still on the Awana wheels. The car wouldn’t even roll. (We fixed that problem)

Scene 4 – When the car was taken off the scale I noticed some liquid had been left behind.  I wiped it with my finger and said to the dad, “What is this stuff?”

He replied, “It must be the 3-in-1 oil we used to lubricate the wheels. Maybe we put on too much.”

No doubt about that. It was losing oil faster than the Exxon Valdez.

Randy Davis

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: My daughter’s kids have an annual Pinewood Derby competition at their school with practically no “rules” except length and width. So my question is: is there is a weight amount that maximizes speed? I’m thinking about adding tungsten to get to 10 ounces.

A: In the previous issue, I posted the results of an experiment on maximum weight. See:
pinewood-derby-blog/2016/10/v16i2

Using Krytox 100 as the lubricant, the peak weight was at 14.5 ounces. But I have heard that graphite’s point of diminishing returns is less, something like 12 ounces. So 10 ounces should be fine in either case; it should perform better at 10 ounces than at 5 ounces. Just make sure that you use Krytox 100 or a good quality graphite (such as Max-V-Lube), and follow the recommended lubrication procedure..

Q: We just had our derby today and this is the second year we have used a plastic track with no center rail. Last year my son finished 3rd and this year we finished 2nd in the den. The car is plenty fast enough but it gets the wobbles and slows down. When it didn’t wobble it had a time of 3.06; when it would wobble it would have a time of 3.1xx. All the cars in the pack had times under 3.50 and the track record today was 3.03. The overall winner is determined by average time and we came in 4th overall. If the car would have not wobbled I believe we could have moved up to at least second place. Is this just an issue with the plastic tracks or is something off with the car. I noticed a few other cars would wobble also but not nearly as badly.

A: Wobbling is usually caused by either:

– Too aggressive of a COG: Check the balance point of the car. If it is under an inch in front of the rear axles, I would move the COG forward. Since you cannot rail-ride on this type of track, you have to be a little less aggressive with the COG.

– Rear wheel alignment issue: If you used bent axles, then they may not have been adjusted properly. If you used straight axles and axle slots, then possibly the axles were not inserted parallel with the bottom of the car (slight angle), or the axle slots were a little crooked.

Q: Thanks for all the great tips. Generally speaking what should the center of mass be on your standard pinewood car? Should the balance point be about 1 inch in front of the rear axle slot, or 1 1/2 inches in front of the slot? What’s  a good target to shoot for?

A: Here is my recommendation on center of mass:

In most cases the best location for the COG is between 3/4 and 1-1/4 inches in front of the rear axle. Specifically:

– Wood Track, no alignment consideration: 1-1/4 inches

– Wood Track, Rail-Riding: 1 inch

– Aluminum track, no alignment consideration: 7/8 inch

– Aluminum track, Rail-Riding: 3/4 inch – Better performance may be attained with a COG closer to the rear axle (5/8 inch or so). However, this reduces front wheel tracking which can result in poor performance near the finish line. So, generally a more aggressive balance point is used when the target track is available to test the car to make sure it will perform properly.

– On long tracks (greater than 50 feet), the COG should be less aggressive; typically it is located between 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches in front of the rear axle.

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
mailto:pinewood-derby-times-on@mail-list.com

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.

(R)Awana is a trademark of Awana Clubs International.

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Mailing list services are provided by:
www.mail-list.co