– Feature Article – The Derby Worx Story
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
The Derby Worx Story
By Bill Launius Jr.
I have always been fascinated by pinewood derby racing! From the time my neighbor came home with his first kit, I could not wait until I was old enough to join the Cub Scouts so I could build a car too. So when I became a Cub Scout in the fall of 1975 my Dad and I went to the local scout shop to pick up a kit and get an early start on the car; we just couldn’t wait for that race! That car was gold and black, and it was the coolest car ever because my dad and I built it. As cool as it was it was also fast, faster than everyone’s that year. But little did I know in 1975 what would eventually happen.
As the years went by we were involved with many cars. Several were mine, but others belonged to cousins, neighbors and friends that we helped over the years. When my son, Trey, became a Cub Scout it was even more exciting than ever. With the information age in full swing and the Internet starting to contain pinewood derby information, we could see there was a thirst for more racing information and supplies.
We had several items we had made over the years for building our cars. They were our little secrets, but I could see one guy on-line, Randy Davis of Maximum Velocity, was forging ahead in this new industry and I wanted to share a little of what we were doing. After testing our items, Randy said that they worked well and wanted to know if we would be interested in marketing them. My first thought was, “Wow, this could be a way to make a little racing money!” My second thought was, “We are a marketing firm who works with manufacturing, so I do know a little about sales.” I told Randy that I was interested in his proposal. Once again, I didn’t realize what was about to happen.
Maximum Velocity launched the Derby Worx Pro Body Tool, Pro Hub Tool and Pro Axle Press in October of 2002. We had no idea how they would sell, but with Randy’s hard work and great reputation, the tools took off, and Derby Worx was born.
The Derby Worx Facility
Okuma CNC Lathe at Derby Worx
Haas CNC Lathe #1 at Warp Speed
Haas CNC Lathe #2 at Warp Speed
Okuma CNC Mill #2 at Derby Worx
Bill Launius Jr.
President, Derby Worx, Inc.
1CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. Basically this indicates that the machine is computer driven.
Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
Guitar Car: Mark Robison
This is one of the more recent cars I have made. I downloaded a picture of a fender guitar, worked it into a pattern, used a little intuition, and voila … a Fender guitar car! This will surely be a hit among the kids (especially Guitar Hero fans — like my wife).
Cobra: Mike McBride
I always try to do a theme car every year that I don’t intend to race. I’ve got many interesting pieces of art on wheels, like this fluorescent cobra car that I did for a Halloween race this year.
After sanding with the finest sandpaper, what is the best way to use pumice to finish polishing the surface?
Pumice is generally rated about 1500 grit, so if you have already polished with a paper rated at 1500 grit or finer, don’t use pumice.
If you do use pumice, then you will want to take a small amount, add water, and mix into a slightly runny paste. Then put some of the paste on a clean, soft rag and polish the spinning axle for about 10 seconds. Then buff off the residue with a clean, soft rag.
To get a finer finish than pumice, you can use jeweler’s rouge, and/or a metal polish such as Brasso, or Mother’s Chrome Polish.
Twice, I’ve chipped the wood of the car when I was putting my axles into the slots. Is there a recommended way to do this without chipping the wood?
If you are using a BSA or BSA-compatible block, then our “Pro-Axle Guide” tool solves this issue.
To make sure nothing chips you can pre-install spare axles into the blank block. Then twist and pull the axles out with a pair of pliers. When you put in the real axles, they should go in without difficulty.