Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 17, Issue 5 – November 29, 2017

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Solenoid Start Gates – Get One for Your Track
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Christmas Shopping – 10% Off
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Know Your Glue!
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

Three New Products Just In Time For The Racing Season
Maximum Velocity has introduced two new tungsten weights, and a new drill bit to simplify your car building:

Domed Adjustable Tungsten Round (Part 5068) – This 3.65 to 4.0 ounce round provides the weight flexibility of our regular Adjustable Tungsten Round, but sports a domed top to add extra weight while keeping the car profile low. This weight supports a Popular Internet Design.

9/32 Inch Tungsten Rod (Part 5067) – Tungsten Rod combines the simplicity of cylindrical weight with the low height benefit of cube weight. These tungsten rods allow thin cars to be built without creating underbody pockets. Each order contains 10 rods totaling 3.5 ounces.

19/64 Inch Brad Point Drill Bit (Part 5004) – The perfect drill bit for the 9/32 Inch Tungsten Rod.

Call for Car 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 this car:

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.

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. We also offer bulk packs of MV kits in Pre-cut Shapes.

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

– Tundra and tungsten weights
– Velocinator and Formula One car kits
– Paint Stencils

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
Solenoid Start Gates – Get One for Your Track
By Randy Davis

Back in 2011, John Shreffler at New Directions(1) sent me a solenoid start gate to test out on my Freedom track. Solenoid gates provide several benefits including:

1. Enabling the computer software to release the gate (as opposed to a computer operator activating the heat, and then another operator opening the gate).

2. Allowing audience members or car owners to activate the gate remotely (adds some additional fun and participation to the pinewood derby).

3. Potentially improving the consistency of heats. Depending on the type of gate release mechanism, by eliminating the need for a person to operate the gate, consistency may be improved.

At the time I ran an experiment to test benefit three (listed above), and found that solenoid gates do indeed improve the consistency of heats.(2)

A few months ago, John sent me an updated version of his gate to test out. Over the past six years, several companies have introduced solenoid gates, so I decided it was time to take a look at what is available on the market.

What is a Solenoid Gate?
A Solenoid Gate is an electrical device which includes a solenoid, which is an electromagnet that pushes or pulls a rod when activated. By attaching the solenoid to the track start gate, the gate can be opened (and in some cases closed) at the push of a button, or by software or remote control devices.

Figure 1 – Freedom Track Solenoid Gate
(Underside of track)
Source: newdirections.ws

Most solenoid gates release the gate lever, allowing the gate springs to open the gate. In this case, the gate must be manually closed and latched after each heat. Some solenoid gates (Full Motion Gates) use a rotating solenoid to open and close the gate (no springs involved).(3)

Figure 2 – Rotational Solenoid Gate
(Underside of Start Gate)
Source: newdirections.ws

Solenoid Gate Suppliers
In general, most track manufacturers offer a solenoid gate for their specific track, while one company offers gates for a variety of tracks.

    Track Manufacturers
BestTrack
BestTrack promotes an Electromagnetic Staring System (ESS) that is tailored for the Best Track. The gate supports from 1 to 8 lanes, and is activated by a button push or an optional remote. The gate must be purchased directly from Jewkes Engineering.(4)


Figure 3 – ESS Start Gate for BestTrack
Source: besttrack.com

Microwizard
Microwizard offers a combination light tree and Automatic Gate Release. No specifications are available on their web site for the device.

Derby Magic
Derby Magic offers a solenoid gate for use with the Derby Magic track. The gate can be released via the Derby Magic Software or by an optional remote control.


Figure 4 – Derby Magic Solenoid Gate
Source: derbymagic.com

    Gate Suppliers

New Directions
New Directions offers solenoid gates for BestTrack, Freedom Track, and for wood and plastic tracks. Both open-only gates, and Full Motion Gates are available. Gates can be activated by a push button, by computer software, or by a light tree.(5)

Conclusion
Solenoid starts not only improve the fairness of the race, but they can also add some extra pizzazz to your event. Also, allowing participants to start the race will increase interest and enjoyment. I strongly recommend getting a solenoid gate before your next race.

(1) New Directions

(2) See Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 11, Issue 3: “Solenoid Start Gate: Are Races More Consistent?”

(3) I have never used a Full Motion gate, so I cannot say for certain that the speed of the gate is sufficient to eliminate any benefit of a high-nosed car.

(4) Jewkes Engineering ESS

(5) See Pinewood Derby Times Volume 16, Issue 4: “Light Trees – Rev Up Your Pinewood Derby Race”


Humor

Tricky Questions (Think before you answer)

1. How many times can you subtract the number 5 from 25?

2. A taxi driver was called to take a group of passengers to the train station. The station is normally an hour away, but with traffic being extra heavy, it took a full hour and a half. On the return trip the traffic was still as heavy and yet it took only 90 minutes. Why?

3. How could you rearrange the letters in the words “new door” to make one word? Note: There is only one correct answer.

4. Even if they are starving, natives living in the Arctic will never eat a penguin’s egg. Why not?

5. Which is correct to say, “The yolk of the egg are white” or “The yolk of the egg is white”?

6. In Okmulgee, Oklahoma, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?

7. There were an electrician and a plumber waiting in line for admission to the “International Home Show”. One of them was the father of the other’s son. How could this be possible?

8. After the new Canon Law that took effect on November 27, 1983, would a Roman Catholic man be allowed to marry his widow’s sister?

Answers

1. Only once, then you are subtracting it from 20.

2. An hour and a half is 90 minutes.

3. “one word”

4. Penguins live in the Antarctic.

5. Neither, the yolk of the egg is yellow.

6. You have to take a picture of a man with a camera, not with a wooden leg.

7. They were husband and wife.

8. He can’t because he’s dead.


Product Showcase

Christmas Shopping – 10% Off

Have you been holding off getting a Pro-Axle Bender, stocking up on tungsten weight, or purchasing a car kit? Maybe that pinehead in your family is really wanting some Outlaw Wheels, a COG Stand, or something else? Now is your chance to get those items at a discount.

Through December 12, 2017, you can get 10% off any order. To take advantage of this limited time offer use coupon code NOV29NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s showcase is provided by Matthew Webb. Matthew has been using our MV Basic Car Kits in his race in Australia for several years. He writes:

“This year 77 cars raced in three groups. Primary School (up to grade 6), High School (grade 6 to 12), and Adults; and of these there were 62 new cars made and a lot of first time competitors.

We saw some fast times, with the grand final winner consistently clocking speeds of just over 300km/h. Next year we will be adding an “Open” group to allow those with the skills and abilities to modify their car to achieve maximum performance. It’s great to see so many people getting right into it and the joy on the kid’s faces when their cars cross the finish line.

Many thanks for your business and we look forward to placing our next order in the future.”

Matthew Webb
Wood and Wheels Racing
Australia

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
Know Your Glue!

This was my son’s first year in Tiger Cubs and thus our first Pinewood Derby race. Our pack also includes a race for siblings, so his four year old sister and five year old brother also got to build cars. The children all picked out a design and we worked together on the cars over a period of about 3 weeks (I had no idea what I was getting into, but we got better and a little faster with each car we built!). A friend of mine shared some tools with me and gave me some tips. The night before the race we finished preparing the wheels and very carefully applied glue to keep the axles from popping out. Everyone was very excited about the big race and could hardly wait for the next day.

The next morning after church about 1 hour before we were to leave for the race, I went to get the cars from the workshop. To my shock and horror I discovered that the glue had greatly expanded and had glued ALL the wheels on ALL 3 cars to the axles! My heart started racing as I imagined the great disappointment for my children if they could not race after all their hard work (yes, and my disappointment too). It had taken us about 4 hours to prepare the wheels the first time, and now I only had 1 hour before the race. I just started praying and working like crazy – I had to pry off all the wheels, re-sand the axles, sand out the inside of the wheels, lube the axles and wheels, re-sand the bottom of the cars to remove excess glue, re-install and align all the wheels, and re-glue the axles (with a different type of glue this time). I could tell the wheels did not spin quite as well as the night before, but at least they moved! My wife kept the kids busy while I worked on ‘the disaster’.

Fortunately, I finished all the work with just a couple minutes to spare (I worked a little harder on the Tiger Cub car). We were off to the races and had no idea what to expect from our ‘refurbished’ cars. To our great surprise, my Tiger Cub took first place for his den (out of 7 cars) and came in 4th place for the whole pack (out of 60 cars)! My other children placed 3rd and 4th in the sibling race (out of 16 cars)! Now we are all hooked and can’t wait until next year!

Jim Heidecker

Editor’s Note: Avoid using any “expanding” glue such as Gorilla Glue. It may be great for construction, but is not suitable for pinewood derby cars. Also avoid any type of “Super Glue”, except for an emergency repair during the race. For holding axles in place, plain old white glue works fine.

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

Several questions from Phillip H:

Q: We had our races last night and an interesting thing happened. We ran on a three lane aluminum track. Because of the number of participants and time constraints, they changed the race format to having each car run in each lane once and recorded the times for each lane and took the average of the three times. The fasted average time was awarded first place, second fasted average time second place, etc. for each category. My son’s ran in the second heat of the night and his car averaged a 2.475. My heat was one of the last heats of the night after about 75 other cars had raced (each car running in lanes 1, 2 & 3) and my time averaged out at 2.285. After the races were done, we decided to run head to head to see who had the fasted car. I was pretty confident that my car would win. His car went on to beat my car by a good 1.5 inches at the finish line giving him bragging rights at home. I starting wondering why, since my car posted the faster times during the race. Keeping in mind that the track is used once a year and noticing that the cars seemed to post faster times at the end of the races, I’m wondering if it would be advantageous to try to run in the later heats when the dust and debris are off the track and if any excess graphite from cars on the track might improve car performance? Thoughts?

A: I would first question if the 2.285 time was valid. A difference of 0.190 is almost a foot of difference on the track. Quite often timers produce incorrect times due to camera flashes, etc. So, I think the most likely case is that the 2.285 time is bogus. Do you have all of the times for your car (before they were averaged)? If all three times were similar, then the times would be valid. But if one (invalid) time was way off (low), it would pull the average down.

A second possibility is that your car was damaged between the time of your heats, and the final race against your son. You might check for a bent axle or a damaged wheel.

A third possibility is that the lube wore out on your car. (This seems unlikely to have that drastic of an affect).

If the track was not wiped down before the race, it is possible that early cars “dusted” the track, allowing later cars to get better times. But it wouldn’t show up as a foot of difference at the finish line.

Q: I purchased three sets of your rail riding axles. They are marked 2.5, 2.5, 1.5, Straight.

Is the position on the car: 2.5-Rear, Straight-Left Front, 1.5-Right Front? Should the axles point downward? Also should I diamond polish them?

A: Thanks for the order.

The 2.5 axles go in the back, and are angled upward (wheels run on inner edge). The straight axle is for your raised front wheel, whichever side that is.

The 1.5 axle is your front steering axle. It is angled downwards (wheel runs on outer edge).

You can find more information on rail-riding alignment Here.

The axles are already polished. I would not try to polish further (once they are bent, polishing is very difficult).

 

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 17 are posted on our web site Here.

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


Newsletter Contributions

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

Please read our submission policy.


Subscription Information

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

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

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

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


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

(C)2017, 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 is a registered trademarks of the Boys Scouts of America.

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

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 24, 2017

CUDA – James White

This car named “CUDA” was built for my grandson’s (Aaron Shain’s) 2013 pinewood derby races. The rear fenders are made from a portion of the plastic bottle that the BSA wheels come in, and the cockpit canopy is made from a slice off the side of a small shampoo bottle.

Finn McMissile – Caleb Tachick

At my son Caleb’s first Awana Grand Prix, he and Finn held their own most of the day, but ended up around 6th or 7th. But since it was our first year, the real goal was the design award. He came home with 2nd place; he would have had first but his sister’s Cancer Survivor Ribbon car took first. They never raced each other until after the event when the track was open for fun runs. They ran neck and neck. Finn McMissile is shown here with the BSA wheels we swapped over to for the Home Depot race a month later, where he took 4th place — not bad for a full bodied car.

Cancer Survivor Ribbon – Kailyn Tachick

Here is my daughter Kailyn’s 1st place Awana car in the design category. This car was in honor of her grandma, who within the last year underwent treatment and surgery for cancer. We thank the Lord she is doing OK today. We did not hollow out the nose (my first year to build), but did incorporate rear fenders, reduced midsection as on supersonic jets, a concave tail end like a Shelby Daytona coupe, and speed axles from Maximum Velocity. After losing her first heat(in a double elimination race format), she continued to terrorize the loser’s bracket to within a few heats from the end!

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 12, Issue 11
Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter
(C)2017, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.
Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 17, Issue 4 – November 15, 2017

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Designing The Car Body For Performance
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Polished Rail Rider Axles – $3.00 Off
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Great Karma!
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

DerbyWorx Videos

A few months back, DerbyWorx, the manufacturer of Pro Tools for
pinewood derby cars, worked with BSA to create three how-to videos.
These professionally produced videos are posted on YouTube, and are
very informative. You can find them here:

Wheel/Axle Prep

Body Prep

Final Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Tundra and tungsten weights
– Velocinator and Formula One car kits
– Paint Stencils

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
Designing The Car Body For Performance
By Randy Davis

I am continually amazed at the creativity of pinewood derby builders. My talent (and the talent of my kids) tends toward straight lines and basic geometric shapes. But there is clearly a lot of artistic talent among car builders. Cars take all shapes from minimalist sleek designs to artistic wood carvings. One of the fun aspects of the derby is the wide variety of creative cars that are entered into the race. The intent of this article is not to stifle this creativity. Instead, the intent is to raise awareness that the fastest cars tend to have certain design features in common. Although cars of all shapes and sizes have done well in derby races, my observation is that overall, winning cars tend to have several basic characteristics. Whether you design a car with these characteristics or not is entirely up to you.

Maximum Weight
Design the car so that it will achieve the maximum weight (typically five ounces). Thus, decide ahead of time what type of material you intend to use for added weight and then ensure that the design can accommodate sufficient added weight to bring the car to the maximum weight.

Minimal Wood
On the majority of tracks, the center of gravity (COG) of the car should be positioned somewhat less than one inch in front of the rear axle. This gives the car the greatest opportunity to accelerate down the slope while ensuring enough weight on the front wheels to keep the car on the track. To locate the COG at this location a lot of the wood must be removed, and weight must be added around the rear axle. Thus, make sure your design leaves room around the rear axle for the added weight. Also, it is generally best to keep the car at the maximum allowable length (typically 7 inches). With a shorter car, it is difficult to add weight such that the COG is properly located.

Another reason for removing a lot of wood is to focus the added weight in as small of an area as possible. Cars with weight focused in one area will traverse the curve in the track faster than a car with the weight spread out.


Figure 1 – Minimal Wood

Aerodynamics
While the amount of effect from wind drag on a derby car is minimal, it is prudent to recognize the presence of wind drag and avoid design features that would increase this effect. So, while I don’t suggest being overly concerned with wind drag, I do suggest using a basically aerodynamic design, and avoiding the use of accessories that could catch air such as sails, streamers, etc. If you implement the first two topics above, you will likely have a low-profile car. You can further streamline the car by rounding the back of the car, and adding fenders in front and behind the front wheels, and in front of the rear wheels.

Symmetry
Another design factor that affects the speed of a car is left-to-right symmetry. By this I mean that the left side of the car should be a mirror image of the right side of the car. (For an example of a non-symmetrical car, click here:


Figure 2 – Non-symmetrical Car

Why is symmetry important? Because a car that is not symmetrical will be heavier on one side, and will tend to steer to that side. Thus, after the wheels/axles are aligned, there will be an increase in friction as the car tries to turn, but the wheels/axles prevent the turn. This extra friction will slow the car down.

Many cars run with a raised front wheel, which will slightly shift the weight. Careful weight placement can correct this, but usually the shift effect from a raised wheel is virtually non-existent.

Blunt Nose
Avoid designs that have a sharp pointed front end. There are two reasons for this caution. The first is that most tracks have round rods that hold the cars at the starting line. A car with a sharp point will tend to slip off the rod, which could cause the car to start at an angle. The second reason for avoiding a sharp point is that the point may not trigger the finish line sensor until the car has progressed a little bit past the finish line. This could be important in a close race. So, make sure that the nose of the car is blunt so that it will sit properly at the starting line and properly trip the finish line. I recommend a minimum of 3/4 inch width at the front of the car.

Maximum Wheel Base
If allowed by the local rules, extend the wheel base to the maximum length. Long wheelbase cars go straighter, are more stable, and allow the COG to be located further towards the rear of the car. For the opposite reasons do not shorten the wheelbase.


Figure 3 – Maximum Wheelbase

Raised Wheel
As mentioned previously, a raised front wheel is a common speed technique. A car with a raised wheel is easier to align, and will start rolling faster than a car will all four wheels on the ground.

Alignment
One of the most overlooked topics for novice racers is alignment. Significant performance improvements can be gained with proper alignment, especially rail-rider alignment. I won’t go into the “How” of rail-rider alignment in this article (1), but the “Why” is as follows:

– Car travels in a straight line, thus traveling the shortest distance.

– Rear wheels, which carry most of the car’s weight, avoid contacting the guide rail.

– The raised wheel avoids the guide rail.

– The front steering wheel rolls on the guide rail instead of scraping on the rail.


Figure 4 – Rear View of Car Set to Rail-ride

Summary
The basic design characteristics listed above are very common in high performing cars. By implementing these characteristics, you will be on the path of creating a competitive pinewood derby car.

(1) For the “How” of rail-riding, please see:

Volume 14, Issue 4, “Rail-Riding – Getting that Extra Speed”.
and
Volume 16, Issue 10, “Rail-Rider Alignment Walk-through”.


Humor

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast to her otherwise brunette hair.

She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?”

Her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.”

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Mom, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?”


Product Showcase

Polished Rail Rider Axles – $3.00 Off

Say “Goodbye” to burrs, crimp marks, polishing, and bending! These BSA Pinewood Derby Speed Axles are precision-made to replicate the official BSA nail, but without the burrs and crimp marks. They are polished to 3,000 grit, and then bent to allow for rail-rider alignment. Just lube, align, and race.

Through November 28, 2017, you can get a set Polished Rail Rider Axles for $3.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 4035 to your shopping cart, and use coupon code NOV15NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Some “Outlaw Cars” for your enjoyment.

Jet Bus – Brian Tomblin

I built a ducted fan bus I thought you would enjoy. It was really ugly and everyone was making fun of it in the pits. I was checking people in and could hear them behind me. But it was a “sleeper” in street racing slang. Of course, it blew everything away.

Plum Loco – Eric Werner

I built this fan car, Plum Loco, last year as a pre-race demonstration. At that time, I hid the true nature of the fan, simply lining the car up with no charge, and letting it run. When, of course, nothing happened, I charged it with a palmed 9v battery as I slowly walked back to the starting line. The second release, of course, saw the fan kick into action, and Plum Loco lived up to its appearance.

For our pack racing this year, we ran three classes; Cubs, Open, and Outlaw. In the Outlaw class, there was no competition for trophies, so I placed Plum Loco with that class. With a full charge, the 40′ track was completed in under 2 seconds. To illustrate the devastating nature of the fan, our race starter held it in place one time after the pins dropped, allowing the other cars to reach the flat before he let Plum Logo go. It still managed to beat the other cars to the finish by more than five car lengths. Fun to watch race, Plum Loco got many “Oooh’s” and “Ahhh’s” each time it ran.

Two-Wheeler – Jesus Carillo

 

Inspired by your two-wheel cars(1), I created the “green” car with aerodynamics in mind. But the COG was 1-1/8 in front of the rear axle. So, I went with a more functional look and created the silver car with a COG of one inch.

(1) See “Two-Wheeled Cars Revisited”.

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
Great Karma

My father – the boys’ grandpa – loves coming to the annual Cub Scout derby race for our cub pack. He helps everyone and loves to cheer for his boys. He also is quite involved in the building of the derby cars, and as a retired engineer spends a lot of time on the details.

One year, a couple of years ago, we showed up on race day with our cars, all of which had MANY hours in them. One of the other boys in my son’s den showed up with just his mom and no work done on the car. I kid you not; the kit was still in the box, no sanding or tweaking of any kind, and crayon colors on the block of wood. Mom was upset and didn’t know what to do, the cub was crying – kind of a mess. Grandpa stepped up, and in about 15 minutes on the sideline got the wheels on the car, some lube on the axles, and some weights glued on top to make weight. That’s it.

You guessed it. The car smoked everyone in the den and took second place in the districts. Just goes to show you that all the paint and engineering can’t top great karma!

Joe Cusack

Do you Remember?
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Q&A

Several questions from Phillip H:

Q: I treat the wheel bores with wax after I polish them. Should I also consider applying wax to the axles? If yes, what are your recommendations?

A: Generally, wax is not put on the axles. However, people do use various products to put a slick coating on the axles. I have heard of “Sail-Kote” and “Jigaloo”. Both are aerosol sprays that leave a dry film.

Q: If no wax, the last thing I do after polishing the axles is to remove any residue with 91% isopropyl alcohol. I have read that some think the alcohol leaves a film on the axle and recommend washing the axles in soapy water, rinsing, and drying them before lubricating.  Any thoughts on this?

A: If you are just using wet/dry sandpaper to polish, then there is no need to use alcohol. However, if you finish with diamond polish (which is typically oil-based), the axles should be rinsed in alcohol and then water. I don’t believe soap is really needed, and may be detrimental as soap and hard water results in deposits that are not easily cleaned off. Also, some soaps have additives such as lotion or aloe, some of which would stay on the axle. So, I would skip the soap.

Q: One of the last things I do for the wheel bore is to burnish it with graphite. I’m not aware of a way to burnish graphite on the axle since it’s metal.

A: Graphite doesn’t stick to metal so no need to try. Graphite sticks to the wheel bore.

Q: After I install the axle through the wheel bore I just add more graphite to the wheel bore and spin the wheel on the axle a few times. Is there any new way to add graphite?

A: You need to add graphite more than one time. I recommend 5 minutes of adding graphite, spinning the wheel on the axle, adding, spinning, etc. Always end by spinning several times. You are trying to apply layer upon layer of graphite to the wheel bore to build up a thick coating that will last through the event.

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 10, 2017

Here are a few ducted-fan cars from our readers.

Batman – Nicholas Burgess

Batman is powered by a Maximum Velocity fan with a 7.2V LiPo battery. We used components of a mouse trap for the front bumper, and the internal trigger mechanism to arm the car. Batman won the no-rules race with a scale speed of 355mph (1.5 sec on a 30 foot best track).

Gulf Jet Car – Tom Burgess

The Gulf Jet is powered by two Maximum Velocity fans with two independent power circuits, each energized with a 7.2V LiPo battery. The integrated bumper actuates two triggers inside the car simultaneously to arm the fans. The jet tubes were built by covering two paper towel tubes with synthetic wood and then sanding them down to a smooth finish. The car was slightly heavier than the Batman fan car, so even with two fans it came in second place in the no rules race with a scale speed of 297mph (1.8 sec on a (30 foot Best Track).

Mega-Fan – Richard Staron

Last year I ordered one of your propeller car kits, and it was fantastic. For this year’s derby I decided to try and go bigger. I made a car with a 56mm fan. I was running it on five 10F, 2.7V capacitors and a 12V battery pack (just short of the 14.8v the motor could handle). The Mega Fan car is faster (about 0.4 seconds) than the previous car. My design was a bit bulky; I hope to improve it for next year.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 12, Issue 10
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Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 3, 2017

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona – Andy Holzer

For his 2012 car, my son Noah decided to build one of his favorite cars, a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona. While we were attempting an alignment we found the dominant front axle hole was not drilled deep enough and we had compromised the hole when removing weight from the bottom. I tried to clean up the hole using the pin vise with a #44 bit, but this did not help. We decided to over bend the dominant front axle and run with it. We got the drift set and were ready to run.

The Charger Daytona was quite fast, but the alignment held it to seventh place in the open race at his old pack. A couple of weeks later we attended a pinewood derby sponsored by a local motorcycle shop. Before the race we took out the bad axle, fixed the axle hole and re-aligned the car. The Daytona placed 3rd in that race. Not a bad car for a five day build!

Lil Deuce Coupe – Joe Bowen

After I had almost completed this car, my son said it would look better with headlights and tail lights. I used a Dremel tool to carve out all the wood possible to squeeze in the wiring, batteries and lights. It won Best Design in the Open Division.

Can-Am Racer – Joseph Baron

On the Can-Am Racer, weight and weight distribution rapidly became a factor with the addition of fenders. So, the car and windscreen were completely hollowed out with a roto-tool, filled with spray-in foam, and then skinned over and painted. The stock wheels were lightened by drilling and then checked for balance and trueness. The car has not raced yet, but following your tips on axles, wheels, lubrication, etc., it should be a winner. We’ll let you know…

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 12, Issue 9
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(C)2017, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.
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