Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 17, Issue 9 – January 24, 2018

– Editor’s Note
– Feature Article – Pinewood Derby Car Kits
– Humor
– Product Showcase – MV Basic Car Kit Bulk Pack – 15% Off One Dozen
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Just Father and Son Memories
– Q&A


Editor’s Notes

Reader Feedback
As some additional information on the Pro-Axle Bender (Volume 17, Issue 8 – “Using the Pro-Axle Bender”, Bill Launius of DerbyWorx (the manufacturer of the tool) provided the following information:

“A bend of 2.5 degrees is what we recommend as a good base line angle in our Rail Rider videos. If you have not moved the adjustment collar from when you received the tool, it is already factory set for 2.5° on a BSA axle.

Since there are so many different available axles and limited room on the center shaft for index marks, we have developed base line adjustments, and from there it is just a matter of splitting the difference to achieve other angles. For instance, on a BSA axle the first mark from the top is 4 degrees and the second mark is 2 degrees. So, half way between the 1st and 2nd mark is 3 degrees, and 3/4 of the way down from the 1st mark is 2.5 degrees.

It is a good idea to test your bend on some old axles first after making any adjustment to the tool; but the nice thing is that once the tool is set to your desired setting, it will make exactly that bend every time. This is most important when establishing perfect alignment of the rear wheels. Remember, always start your alignment on the rear wheels first, taking the time to establish zero-toe before moving forward to set your steer. There is a lot of overlooked speed in simply getting the rear wheels set correctly, and you will notice the car free up and almost roll effortlessly when they are correct.”

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.

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.

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

– Tundra and tungsten weights
– 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
Pinewood Derby Car Kits: Similarities and Differences
By Randy Davis

The official BSA car kit is likely the most widely sold car kit available today. But it is certainly rivaled by other kits including those offered by PineCar, Awana, and by Maximum Velocity. In addition, many other kits are also available.

Today’s article will explore the similarities and differences of the most common pinewood derby kits. The source of these kits and the applicability of the various tools to these kits will also be included. Finally, I will share my thoughts on the quality and usability of these kits.

This article will review the kits listed below. The sources of the kits, and list price are provided.

BSA Kit – Local pack, scout shops, directly from BSA (www.scoutstuff.org), and from Maximum Velocity. $3.99 – $4.99

PineCar Basic Kit – Most hobby and craft stores, directly from PineCar (www.pinecar.com), and from Maximum Velocity. $3.99

Awana Kit – Awana clubs get the best price, but anyone can purchase from Awana (www.awana.org). $4.99

MV Basic Kit – Directly from Maximum Velocity (www.maximum-velocity.com). $3.45 ($3.12 in bulk pack of 12)

Royal Ranger Kit – Local club, or directly from Royal Rangers (abbreviated here as RR) (gospelpublishing.com). $3.69

RA Kit Local club, or directly from the manufacturer (royalracers.com). $4.50 with quantity discounting to $4.00

There are several other kits available which are not included here. Most of them are described Here.

Kit Specifications
The following tables summarize the basic measurements of the kits. Unless otherwise noted, the kits consist of a slotted pine block, four wheels, and four axles. All measurements are in inches unless otherwise noted.


Figure 1 – Wood Block

Figure 1 Footnotes:
1. RSP – Rear Slot Position, as measured from rear of block to center of slot, to nearest 1/16.

2. DBS – Distance Between Slots as measured from center to center, to nearest 1/16.

3. Very wide axles slots, greater than 1/16; axle fits loosely.

4. Uses two dowel rod axle supports. The axle slots are half-round troughs into which the dowel rods are glued. The ends of the dowel rods are pilot drilled for the screw axles.

5. Very narrow axle slots, less than 1/16; axle fits very tightly.


Figure 2 – Wheels

Figure 2 Footnotes:
1. Tread width – Except as noted excludes sidewall.

2. Weight for 4 wheels.

3. Narrow wheel, balanced over hub. Width measurement includes sidewall. Tread surface is an edge.


Figure 3 – Axles

Figure 3 Footnotes:
1. “Burrs” are excess material connecting the axle head with the axle shaft. “Crimps” are marks on the axle shaft.

2. Long rod with hub caps, nail axles are also included.

3. Blunt-tipped “hinge pin” axles.

4. Axle head is pre-beveled.

Tool Applicability
The following table shows the applicability of the various specialty tools to the kits.


Figure 4 – Tool Applicability 1


Figure 5 – Tool Applicability 2

Figures 4 and 5 Footnotes:
1. Nail axles only; not for use with solid-rod axles.

2. Use the 5110-“Pro-Hub Tool” to square the outer hub on Awana
wheels.

3. Not for straightening the axle or beveling the head, but can be used with the Pro-Rail Rider Tool for bending the axle.

4. Not for squaring or coning hubs, but required for the Pro-Wheel Shaver XT.

5. Requires 1/8 inch bushing (Part #5159)

6. Can be used as a gap gauge, but does not assist ininstallation.

Comments and Ratings
Here are my thoughts on these kits. The rating is a subjective rating (5 is best) based on ease of use, quality, and opportunity for top speed.

BSA Kit

Overall Rating – 3.7

Block – 5 – High quality with reasonably accurate slots. The slots are offset, with a distinct front and rear orientation.

Wheels – 4 – High quality, with minimal variance between molds. The extra wide opening on the car side of the wheel makes graphite application reasonably easy. However, the extra step on the outer hub detracts from speed.

Axles – 2 – Nail axles are of poor quality, having both burrs and crimps. Many of the nails have flawed axle heads.

PineCar Basic Kit

Overall Rating – 3

Block – 5 – High good quality with reasonably accurate slots. The slots are offset, with a distinct front and rear orientation.

Wheels – 3 – Reasonable quality wheels. The wheels are the heaviest on the market, resulting in slower speeds. So, don’t mix these kits with other kits in a race.

Axles – 1 – The solid rod axle system is unique, and is intended to simplify construction in that there are no burrs or crimp marks to remove. However, the hub caps are difficult to deal with. They are hard to install, easily lost, and sometimes come off during races. But the main drawback is that the solid rod axles are too narrow for the block. If wood is not sanded off the sides of the block, and the paint is somewhat thick, the wheels hubs can rub on the sides of the car. To resolve this problem, either sand at least 1/16 inch of wood from one side of the block, or cut the rod axle in half so that the proper gap can be set between the wheel hub and the car body.

Awana Kit

Overall Rating 3

Block – 1 – The blocks are shorter than the regulation 7 inches, and much of the wood is sub-par. Some of the slots are poorly cut, and the slots are too wide for the axles, resulting in a sloppy fit. The centered slot design does not have a distinct front or rear, and limits design options. It also leads to slower cars.

Wheels – 3 – Light weight and consistent, but too soft to be easily machined or sanded. It is easy to melt the wheels when smoothing the tread surface (make sure to keep the sandpaper very wet).

Axles – 5 – High quality pins. The axles have no flaws and are very consistent. They are perfectly sized for the wheels. Some people use these axles with BSA and PineCar wheels as they provide a high-tolerance fit.

MV Basic Kit(1)

Overall Rating – 4.7

Block – 5 – High quality with reasonably accurate slots. The slots are offset, with a distinct front and rear orientation.

Wheels – 4 – High quality, with minimal variance between molds.

Axles – 5 – High quality pins with beveled axle heads. The axles have no flaws and are very consistent. They are perfectly sized for the wheels.

Royal Ranger Kit

Overall Rating – 3

Block – 3 – Reasonable quality with half-round slots. The wheelbase is longer than other kits, giving the opportunity for higher performance. However, it can be difficult to accurately glue the dowel rods into the slots, leading to alignment issues. In addition, the pilot holes in the dowel rods are often off-center.

Wheels – 3 – Medium quality due to inconsistency from wheel to wheel. The hard plastic is easily machined.

Axles – 3 – Wood screws with virtually no defects. However, they are undersized for the wheel bores.

RA Kit

Overall Rating – 2.3

Block – 4 – Good quality with accurate, slightly offset slots. The slots are too narrow for the axles, leading to possible block splitting.

Wheels – 1 – Low quality. The hubs barely extend far enough to keep the wheels from touching the car body (be careful when removing hub material).

Axles – 2 – Upgraded nail axles, with burrs but without crimp marks. However, they are extremely undersized for the wheel bore.

Conclusion
I realize that most people are required to use the kit supplied by their organization. However, if your local organization has the flexibility to select a kit vendor, this information should help you make a more informed decision. Also, if you are racing in an open competition without a specific kit requirement, consider picking and choosing parts to give your car the racer’s edge.

(1)The higher rating for the MV kit is not just bias. When we designed the kit, we looked at the various kits on the market and chose the best features to include in the MV kit.


Humor

A teenage boy tells his father, “Dad, there’s trouble with the car, it has water in the carburetor.”

The father looks confused and says, “That’s ridiculous!”

But the son insists. “I tell you, the car has water in the carburetor.”

His father, is still skeptical. “You don’t even know what a carburetor is…. but I will check it out. Where is the car?”

“In the pool,” replies the son.


Product Showcase

MV Basic Car Kits – Bulk Pack – 15% Off ($5.62 Off one pack)

Are you looking for quality pinewood derby kits at an attractive price? Are you dissatisfied with the quality of the kits your organization uses?

Through February 6, 2018, you can get a bulk pack of MV Basic Car Kits for 15 percent off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5458 to your shopping cart and use coupon code JAN24NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Dubba Bubba Jet – Ed Greutert

We have a Dad’s Unlimited Class at our Cub Scout PWD. I won it a couple years ago with a contraption I called the Bubba Jet. This year I built the Dubba Bubba Jet. I have an HD camera mounted on the front that connects to a transmitter so we can watch the race live from the cockpit.

Grandma’s Molasses – Darren White

Sometimes when you think you have a really fast car you have to make fun of it.

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

Just Father and Son Memories

I came from a finically strapped family. My scout uniform was second hand. Mom did the best she could to alter it but there was only so much she could do with a uniform that included wool pants that were scratchy and made for a child 3 times my size. Our den mother wasn’t a very happy lady; she didn’t seem to like children. Don’t ask me why she wanted to be a den mother. Dad worked two jobs, Mom worked also. We couldn’t afford some of the field trips, and some of the other expenses that came up while I was a scout.

But pinewood derby was different. Inexpensive and a chance to create something with dreams of winning. Wool pants and few luxuries didn’t matter at that point. Dad didn’t have much spare time to help. My car had an awful paint job – come to think of it, that was its best feature.

I placed last. I cried; I wasn’t mature yet. We lived close to my school where the race was held, so we walked to the school and walked back home. My Dad had his arm around me. After a bit of silence Dad said, “Son, we could have done better. But we done the best we knew how.” It was a lesson in life. Do your best, that’s all any of us can do. I still have that car after 42 years. It’s not for sale, it’s a priceless trophy.

Neil Ezell

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: How long does graphite last when tuning is complete, but before racing? How long does wheel bore polish/prep last when tuning is complete, before racing? In other words, how early can the axle/wheel prep be completed before racing and the car remain on the “shelf”, and still remain race ready?

A: If the car is not used, then the shelf life is indefinite. Graphite does not evaporate or go bad. Bore polish is used to smooth the plastic. It is then removed with water. So there is no polish left after prep is complete. You can prepare a graphited car well ahead of time as long as it is protected and not used. I would keep it in a climate controlled area, inside a container to keep dust off of the car.

Q: This year my son’s pack is having an outlaw race for dads. If I order your outlaw wheels and axles, can I bend the axles like you would for the regular BSA? I just purchased an axle bender from you but don’t want to damage anything.

A: The tolerance between the wheel bore and axle is fairly tight, so if you bend the axles, you may not be able to slide the wheel onto the axle. When I run a car with outlaw wheels, I leave the rears straight, and put a very slight bend in the front steering axle – less than 1.5 degrees.

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
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)2018, 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 – January 19, 2018

Church Cross Car – Jim White and Aaron Shain

My grandson and I built this RA pinewood derby car for my son-in-law (grandson’s father). We call it the “Church Cross Car” for obvious reasons.

Batmobiles – Craig Look

Here are Evan and Jacob’s batmobiles. Evan’s batmobile is the open- wheeled version, while Jacob’s is the one with the fenders.

Sea Destroyer – Keith, Victoria, and Gabriel D.

Last year (2012) my son Gabriel won his pack race. But when he went to the district race, reality set in and he found out that he was not even close to being competitive. Walking out of the race, my son and I were discussing next year’s (2013) car and we decided to do everything that we could do to make his car the fastest it could be. This year (2013) my son won his pack race again and was able to compete in the district race. Overall he had the 5th best time of the 37 cars in his district. He was very happy with his finish. Thank you for helping make my son’s last race a great and happy experience for him.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 13, Issue 1
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 8 – January 10, 2018

– Editor’s Note
– Feature Article – Using the Pro-Axle Bender
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Pro-Axle Bender – 10% Off ($7.99 Off)
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory – New Track Record
– 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. We also offer bulk packs of MV kits in Pre-cut Shapes.

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.

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

– Tundra and tungsten weights
– 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
Using the Pro-Axle Bender
By Randy Davis

Prior to 2013, the Pro-Axle Press and Pro-Rail Rider tools were the only commercially available tools for bending axles. These tools work fine, but have a few limitations:

1. Limited to zinc-plated steel axles – stainless steel and titanium axles cannot be bent with these tools.

2. Dependent on axle diameter – the Pro-Rail Rider tool was designed only for axles with approximately a 0.086 inch OD (BSA size). If axles of this size are aggressively polished resulting in a reduced diameter, the axles cannot be bent without the introduction of a paper or card stock shim.

3. Limited to 1.5 and 2.5 degree bends.

In 2013, the Pro-Axle Bender(1) was introduced as an elegant solution for bending axles. Not only did the tool resolve all of the above limitations, it also is much easier to use.

In the intervening years, I have used the Pro-Axle Bender to bend a large quantity of axles, and in so doing have learned a few tricks. So today’s article will detail how to get the best use of the Pro-Axle Bender.


Figure 1 – Pro-Axle Bender Parts

Tool Preparation
The body of the Pro-Axle Bender (hereafter referred to as the “Bender”) is made from aluminum. Prior to assembly it is tumble polished to soften the edges and create a consistent brushed finish. Unfortunately, the finish is slightly rough, so it can scuff an axle while it is being inserted into the tool. So I recommend polishing the axle trough with some fine grit sandpaper.

1. Remove the thumbscrew and clamp.

2. Wrap a small piece of fine grit sandpaper (800 or finer) around the smooth shaft of a small drill bit (1/16 inch works fine).

3. Place the sandpaper into the trough, and with medium pressure move the paper back and forth for 10-15 seconds.

4. Wipe out the trough with a soft rag and replace the clamp and thumbscrew.


Figure 2 – Polishing the Trough

Next, applying a lubricant into the trough will help preserve the finish of the axle. This should be done before each axle bending session.

If you plan to use Krytox 100 for your wheels and axles, you can apply one drop into the trough and wipe off the excess. However, if you plan to use graphite, then I recommend a dry lube (not graphite). I use Dupont-brand “Non-Stick Dry Film Lubricant” which you can find at many locations including Amazon. The lube consists of Teflon suspended in alcohol. To apply, shake the bottle thoroughly, apply one drop into the trough, and allow it to dry (this takes just a few seconds). If too much lube is applied, just wipe it off with a soft rag.


Figure 3 – Dry Lubricant

Establishing An Angle
The Bender is equipped with indexing marks on the shaft to help identify the bend angle. However, the amount of bend is dependent on the type of axle, and somewhat depending on the spring that surrounds the shaft. So before bending production axles, you will want to use a spare axle to establish the desired bend. The Bender instructions include guidelines for various angles. In the setting column of the instructions, “Full” means that the locking collar is at the top of the shaft, while the numbers 1, 2, and 3 indicate the index lines counting from the top of the shaft.

A few pointers for establishing the angle:

1. Start with a bend angle less than the desired angle. You can always move the collar further up the shaft and bend the axle more, but you cannot “unbend” an axle if the angle is too much.

2. Always use an axle with no burrs or crimp marks on the shaft, as these defects could damage the tool.

3. The collar is locked with a 3/32 hex key (not included with the Bender). Make sure to firmly tighten the collar, but don’t over-tighten.

4. The commonly used angles of 1.5 and 2.5 degrees are not magic angles. If the angles you establish are in the ballpark, you will be fine.

5. To determine the angle of a bent axle, you can use the chart and information located Here.

The actual PDF chart is Here,  but make sure to read the “Preparation” and “How to use the gauge” sections before measuring an angle.(2)

Bending An Axle
1. First, mount the axle in the Bender with the axle head centered in the cup-shaped indent. You can adjust the axle forward or backward if desired, but centering the axle head generally works fine.

2. Tighten the thumb screw snuggly, but do not over tighten.

3. Place your thumb on top of the shaft, and use your index finger to lift up on the bending lever. Lift until the tool stops. Do not squeeze tightly, as the spring could distort, resulting in a larger than desired angle.

4. Release the lever and remove the axle.

5. If the bend angle is not enough, move the locking collar slightly up the shaft, and repeat the above steps.


Figure 4 – Bending An Axle

The Bender instructions recommend marking the “12 o’clock” position of the axle head with a marker before bending. You can certainly do that, but it does add a level of complication when inserting the axle into the bender. I have found that the mark is not really helpful when mounting axles or aligning the car.(3)

Conclusion
The Pro-Axle Bender can greatly simplify the task of bending axles. But if you take the time to properly setup the tool you will improve your results which will translate to better performance on the track.

(1) In late 2017 after this article was written, DerbyWorx introduced a new version of the Pro-Axle Bender. The differences between the new version (Figure 4) and the previous version (Figures 1 and 2) are cosmetic and relate to manufacturing cost. Since the two versions are identical in function and usage, I chose to not re-shoot the first two photos for this article.

(2)Thanks to Stan Pope for making this chart available.

(3) For information on aligning a car with bent axles, please Rail-Rider Alignment Walk-through


Humor

It’s a sunny morning in the Big Forest and the Bear family are just waking up. Baby Bear goes downstairs and sits in his small chair at the table.

He looks into his small bowl. It is empty! “Who’s been eating my porridge?!” he squeaks.

Papa Bear arrives at the table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl. It is also empty! “Who’s been eating my porridge?!” he roars.

Mamma Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells, “For goodness sakes, how many times do we have to go through this? I haven’t made the porridge yet!!”


Product Showcase

Pro-Axle Bender – 10% Off ($7.99 Off)

Accurate Alignment= Greater Speed!

The Pro-Axle Bender provides a simple and repeatable method for bending pinewood derby axles. This 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.

The Pro-Axle Bender will work with axles from BSA, Awana, MV, PineCar, and many others. The tool will bend zinc and nickel-plated steel axles, as well as stainless steel and titanium axles.

Through January 23, 2018, you can get a Pro-Axle Bender for 10 percent off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5198 to your shopping cart and use coupon code JAN10NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

The Flash – Duc and Noah Pham

My son and I are big fans of your newsletter! Here is a picture of my son’s car from last year. We like watching the TV show, “The Flash” and thought, “How perfect would that be for a pinewood derby car.” He wanted a fender car so he made them out of balsa wood and used an old pinewood derby wheel with sandpaper glued to it to shape the fenders to fit the wheel. “The Flash” took first place at the pack and district races, and was voted the den’s “Best in Show”.

Music on Wheels – Bruce Edney

This car was designed by my 8 year old grand daughter. All Ukulele parts are hand made. The body wood is maple.

’32 Ford – Randy

This is a ’32 Ford we built for my daughter’s race a couple of years ago. Our expectations were pretty low, but we ended up finishing 3rd overall in speed and 2nd for design.

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

New Track Record

We have a “Sponsor” race after our Cub Scout race. Anyone can race for a donation of $100.00. The winner gets a big trophy and keeps it for a year. It then has to be returned to the Pack. This year, we had eleven sponsors.

I explained the pinewood derby to our minister and asked if she would like to race a car. She seemed excited about it, so we built a three-wheeled rail rider together, She worked with me polishing bores, using the concentricity gauge, etc. I practiced with her on being last to stage the car, stay and watch the car in case someone bumps it, etc. She became a master of it.

She won the race and the crowd began to cheer. She didn’t know why. The Pack leader pointed to the big screen where it said, “New track Record”. She said, “That’s so nice of them to tell me that”.

What a lovely person she is.

Bill Klingler

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:  Are there any weights that are more dense than Tungsten?

A: Only a few metals are denser than tungsten. They are either very expensive, or are radioactive. Pure tungsten has essentially the same density as gold, and is the densest metal that is practical for use as a weight.

The densest metals are shown below sorted by density. Prices for the heaviest six metals are current industrial (bulk) pricing. If these metals were shaped into a usable form (cylinders, cubes, etc.) and sold at retail the price would be considerably higher.

Some prices were converted from troy ounces to Avoirdupois (common) ounces to maintain the comparison.

grams/ml   $/oz       Element name

19.32           $1,170   Gold

19.35           $3 – $8  Tungsten (price depends on purity and shape)

19.84          $42,524 Americium (radioactive)

20.20          $1.48     Uranium (radioactive)

21.04          $80         Rhenium

21.45           $840     Platinum

22.40           $884      Iridium

22.60           $364     Osmium

Q: I read with interest the analysis of the Air Guides that fill the inside of the wheels. Two questions:

A) In a rail riding situation, does the Air Guide hit the guide rail?

B) With the deflectors glued to the body, how do you use a gap tool to set axle body gap?

A: Thanks for your interest.

1. The Air Guides have an inset which is oriented to the bottom of the wheel, so the Air Guide does not touch the guide rail.

2. You have to eyeball it. You can get reasonably close by noticing the spacing between the axle head and the outer wheel hub. Note that the gap measure has only a trivial effect on performance unless the gap is extremely small.

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.

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

(C)2018, 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.

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – January 5, 2018

Batmobile – Dennis Wang

This year my Wolf scout wanted to build the Batmobile. We did some research for some images, and he ended up picking the design from the first two motion pictures. We used Microsoft Visio to create templates from the top and side views. We glued our templates to do the major shaping. The rest of the shaping was done with a Dremel tool and Rotozip sander. We took clear plastic, spray painted one side with black spray paint and then inlaid it to the cockpit which was carved out with the Dremel. We took first in design, and we’re heading to District in March.

Lego Indy – Dennis Wang

Our pack runs a sibling race and my soon to be Tiger scout wanted to build a Lego race car. He eventually settled on an Indy car. We used Microsoft Visio to create the top and side view templates and a scroll saw to shape our standard BSA block. Visio helped us keep the blocks to scale. We used 1/8 inch dowels as the peg portion of the Legos. When the car was done, it didn’t look complete. So we decided to put sponsor stickers. Since Mason is really into “Plants vs Zombies”, we used images we found on-line to decorate the car. The car took first in design in the parent/sibling race.

Viper – Bruce Edney

The Viper design is based on the Lola B08/86 Mazda MZR-R coupe which raced in the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class at Petit Le Mans in October 2009. This car raced in the 2012 Mid-America Pinewood Derby, and the PWDR and WIRL racing leagues.

Sky News – Brian Masek


The Sky News Van was my personal project for last year so that I would have something to work on myself and meddle less with the boy’s cars. I saw a YouTube video of a video car that someone else had made, but they just put a camera on a block and didn’t do anything special with the design. So I decided to try to make a remote TV truck with a working video camera. The truck is not legal for races (it’s slightly too large, and with the camera and 9V battery is very overweight), but it is actually designed to be slow anyway. I bent the axles so that all other cars would pass it and would be captured on the video. At our derby race last year we set it facing the finish line of the race track which allowed the adults to watch the races on a large TV. Then at the end of the race we ran it down the track.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 12, Issue 13
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