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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.

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 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
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 7 – December 27, 2017

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Humor
– Product Showcase – Paint Stand – $2.00 Off
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Dad’s Car
– 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 10.

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
– 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.


Humor

The Ultimate Metric Conversion Chart

1,000,000,000,000 Microphones = 1 Megaphone

1,000,000 bicycles = 2 megacycles

500 millinaries = 1 seminary

2,000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

10 cards = 1 decacards

1/2 lavatory = 1 demijohn

0.000001 fish = 1 microfiche

453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

1,000,000,000,000 pins = 1 terrapin

10 rations = 1 decoration

100 rations = 1 C-ration

10 millipedes = 1 centipede

3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent

10 monologs = 5 dialogues

5 dialogues = 1 decalogue

2 monograms = 1 diagram

8 nickels = 2 paradigms

2 snake eyes = 1 paradise

2 wharves = 1 paradox


Product Showcase

Paint Stand – $2.00 Off

Simplify and Improve Your Painting

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 January 9, 2018, you can get a Paint Stand for $2.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5385 to your shopping cart and use coupon code DEC27NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s cars are from Andy Holzer.

1974 Javelin

In the spring of 2016 I was given the chance to purchase a 1974 Javelin. This Javelin was purchased by the current owner’s brother, back in 1974.

This was truly a “kid’s car”, as it is a 360, 4-bbl, 4-speed, console delete, manual steering, drum brake car. It has all the options to make it faster and look cooler, except for an AM 8-track player.

Apparently, the original purchaser was indeed a 19-year-old kid that had a good job and decided he needed a new car. He narrowed his choices down to either the American Motors, Javelin or the Plymouth, ‘Cuda. He eventually decided on the Javelin because “it had more style and he felt it was more car for the money.”

He went to Greenburg’s AMC, in Anoka, Minnesota, to place an order for the car he wanted. He had made the decision to buy a white one with a gold stripe down the side. This is the same car that is shown in the 1974 AMC brochure. But, his best friend at the time, convinced him that the red one was much better looking. So he was persuaded, at the last minute, to order it in Trans Am Red.

He drove his new ’74 Javelin through the summer and had to buy a Plymouth Valiant as a beater for the winter. This car has never seen a Minnesota winter due to the original owner’s foresight.

As I said earlier, I purchased the car from the brother of the original purchaser in May of 2016. He had purchased the car from his brother in 2003. The original owner is 62 at this point.

During the holidays, I was planning on making a Pinewood Derby car of this ’74 Javelin. This car would be raced in our car club Pinewood Derby race in February of 2017. At the time, I decided I should make three cars, one for me and one for each of the owners of this very unique car.

As things normally go in my world, this project kept getting larger. I thought it needed some sort of box to package the car in. I had a Javelin AMX snap together model, and a green Johan snap together promo box with a couple of parts left inside. I thought this would make an interesting box to hold the cars.

So I made a box similar to the promo box.

The original plan was to get these model cars to the owners sometime around the holidays, but with these additions the timing seemed impossible. No one knew these were even in production so timing wasn’t a huge deal. In early February, these cars were ready to go to the owners of this Javelin. Each of the boxes are numbered.

The past owners loved the cars, along with the display box. The top of the box tells the story of the car and ends with, “Marty was able to build ‘his’ model of the Javelin.”

I ended up using Maximum Velocity wheels and axles as they closely resemble the Magnum 500 wheels on the Javelin.







If you are interested in a step-by-step build of this car, please see my post on DerbyTalk.

’55 Chevy “Two-lane Blacktop” Car

The second car I built was the car from the movie “Two-Lane Blacktop”. The movie is a story of two men drag-racing across the U.S. in a primer grey ’55 Chevy. The car is one of the stars of the movie, the actors in the movie were not given names, they were known as the mechanic and the driver.

This was the same ’55 Chevy that was used in the movie American Graffiti; it was modified and painted black for its appearance in that movie.

2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat


The last car I built in 2017 was a Challenger Hellcat, I built this for a buddy of mine that purchased one of these in 2016. The most expensive part of building this car was getting the matching Chrysler “Go Man Go”, orange touch up paint.

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

Dad’s Car
Our son joined the Tiger Scouts in the fall of 2002, so January 2003 was our introduction to “Pinewood Derby Racing.” We were excited about the idea of building a car together (well I was), but we did not know a whole lot about what we needed to do. Other than the few lines of information that came on the sheet that came with the block of wood, four nails, and wheels, we were pretty much left on our own. The pack we belonged to is pretty loose on structure and strong in the boys having good safe fun, and a lot of it. As the weeks went by we found out about the weight limit, length, width, and lubricant requirements.

Austin drew out his design on paper complete with guns, a jet turbine, and a device that extinguished the fire from the jet. We then transferred the design to the wood block. I carved and chiseled, he sanded and was constantly asking, “Are we done yet?” Along with his Mom telling me, “Let him do a lot of the work, it’s his car.” I carved and chiseled and he sanded some more.

He helped put on the first coats of paint and sanded some more and continued with, “Are we done yet??” And Mom, “Let him do a lot of the work, it’s his car.”

He picked out the stickers and helped put them on with the constant resonance of (you guessed it), “Are we done yet???” And Mom, “Let him do a lot of the work, etc., etc.”

We finally got the wheels on, and it was all I could do to keep him away from the car until race day in fear of it getting broken (you know I’m old and wise and know that I would be the one with additional work – that I did not need – when it got broken).

I then went on to build my own car. Our Pack, to encourage the parents to, “Let them do a lot of the work, it’s their car”, have an open race for the parents and siblings. This gives them an outlet for their creative streak and competitive juices. My car was going to be the envy of all the dads and would she be fast!!!!!

The evening before race day came, with cars packed in individual boxes, the whole family took off to the weigh-in and impound. Those around were “oohing” and “aahing” at our cars. The smoothness of the finish and the shine sparked constant comments such as, “How do you do that?” and, “Those are the best paint jobs we’ve ever seen.” My head was getting so big, and I was very proud of our accomplishments so far.

Race day starts with the scouts voting on the cars for ribbons in a number of categories including, most creative, best theme, most original, etc. Austin’s den – the Tigers – were the first den to run. Austin finished second in the den, not bad for our first build, and he also received the ribbon for best paint job.

When all the scouts were done, it was time for the Open race. Not too long after the start I was standing off to the side holding my car with what must have been a sorry look on my face, because one of the officials came over to me and said,

“It’s a good looking car, but the speed’s in the axles.”

It was a great day and we had a lot of fun building, and I was already thinking about next year – “speed’s in the axles.”

Boy does time fly. It was about time for the Pack’s 2004 running of the Pinewood Derby. We did a lot of reading during the year and I had that comment, “speed’s in the axles.” running through my head all year long. Our daughter wanted to participate in the event this year, so we had to build three cars (didn’t think I was going to be left out did you?).

Just like last year Austin, and now Shannon, drew out their designs and we transferred them to the wood block. I carved and chiseled; they sanded and put on the first coats of paint. Not a lot of noise – “Are we done yet?” – this year; I think they were preoccupied with other issues. So I took the time to really work on those axles and wheels: polishing, polishing, and more polishing.

On the night before the race the family set out with cars packed for the weigh-in and impound. Again, a lot of comments on the finish of all three cars and the same official (“speed’s in the axles.”) said:

“They not only looked good but I think they will go good. We will see in the morning.”

The same routine as last year: the boys voted on the cars and then the racing began. Austin, now a Wolf, proceeded to finish in first place for his den and was now eligible to compete against the first place finishers from the other dens.

After all the Scout dens had finished their events, it was time for the open race. Shannon proceeded to win every heat in the open with no losses. I was so proud, but the event was far from being over.

After the Open race was finished and the crowd settled down, it was time for the day’s climax, the bid for Grand Champion. All den first place finishers now raced for the title and the trophy. Yes, you guessed it, Austin won! I could not believe it, what a day.

The event then concluded with the results of the boy’s votes. Austin won the ribbon for best paint job again.

Now I am thinking about next year; how my kids can retain their titles. What happened to Dad’s car? He did okay, you should see his smile!

Fred Wesstrom

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 are the differences in using MV Speed Wheels verses BSA Pinewood Derby Speed Wheels?

A: The MV Speed Wheels, part 4005, are similar to the Pro-Ultra BSA Speed Wheels (part 4060). Both are fully machined and weigh one gram. The MV wheels may have a slight advantage in that the original castings were more accurate, but I don’t think the difference would be measurable.

Note that if you were provided with a BSA kit, then likely you will need to use BSA wheels. Certainly check your rules. The MV Speed Wheels are intended for use in a race that uses MV Car Kits, or in a race where there is no limitation as to the brand of wheels that can be used.

Q: I’m interested in your titanium speed axles. Our scout district race doesn’t allow modification of axles other than removing burrs, crimps, and polishing. Do you offer these axles un-grooved?

A: Sorry, the manufacturer of the titanium axles only makes a grooved version.

However, a non-grooved version is available in stainless steel (part 4051). The only difference between the stainless and titanium is that the titanium is slightly lighter and stronger.

4051: Stainless, non-grooved – 3.6 grams for four axles

4100: Titanium, grooved – 2.0 grams for four axles

Note also that part 4051 is attracted to a magnet, while 4100 is not. Some packs use a magnet to make sure the axles are steel.

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)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 – December 22, 2017

Home Depot – Stephen Henry


This is the car my son Benjamin Henry built for his first pinewood derby. He placed second in his age group! As you can see, we had to lighten the car quite a bit to be able to adjust the center of mass rearward to where we thought it would work best. We added a screw and some washers to adjust the weight easily on race day. He painted it himself using a spray can for the orange and borrowed my airbrush for the windows. The decals were from a 1/25 scale plastic model. They were a little big for the car so we trimmed them with a razor before we applied them.

Wind Cracker – Lee Klinghoffer

This is my son Jared’s car called “Wind Cracker”. We built it together for this year’s pinewood derby. We had to use a bit of extra block to get some height to accommodate the design. We did a cutout on the underside of the front for a fast start off the line. The car was primed, and then painted with Tamiya spray paint. A purple undercoat was followed with a deep metallic blue to get a deep cobalt blue tone. He did not, unfortunately, win a speed award (we couldn’t get rid of a small rear end wobble), but he did win an award for outstanding craftsmanship.

Blue AGP – Jeremy Isaac

This was my son’s Awana Grand Prix car this year. He wanted to go for speed instead of design this time, so we pulled out all the stops and it paid off big time: First place in the Sparks division, followed by first place overall. After running a total of 8 heats, this car’s slowest time was notably faster than the best time from any other car all day.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 12, Issue 12
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 6 – December 13, 2017

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article – Drilling – Use your Drill for Maximum Benefit
– Humor
– Product Showcase – DerbyDome – $2.00 Off
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory – Priceless!
– 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
– 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
Drilling – Use your Drill for Maximum Benefit
By Randy Davis

Over the years I have learned a lot about drilling into pine blocks, and on several occasions I have shared this information in newsletter articles. This includes drilling accurate axle holes, best drill bit types, etc.(1)

Today’s article is an accumulation of most of my knowledge on drilling as it relates to pinewood derby car building. We will cover the items mentioned above, as well as some drilling techniques. I hope you find the information useful.

Basic Drilling Tips
First, let’s cover some basic tips and techniques that are applicable to any drilling situation, and certainly to any pinewood derby project.

1. Wear eye protection – just one tiny piece of wood thrown into an eye is very painful and oftentimes difficult to remove.

2. Immobilize the wood that is being drilled. With small pieces of wood, such as a pinewood derby body, do not attempt to hold the wood with one hand and drill with the other, as the wood can easily be twisted out of your hand.

3. Drill early, before cutting the wood. It is always easier to drill a rectangular-shaped piece of wood than to drill an irregular shaped piece.

4. Use a medium speed, and start the drill before the bit engages the wood. You can touch the sharp tip of the bit at the drill location and then start the drill, but make sure the cutting edge of the bit is not contacting the wood when the drill is started. Otherwise the wood can be torqued, or the drill can be twisted out of your hand.

5. When drilling deep holes, drill part of the hole, then, with the drill still running, pull the bit out of the wood to clear the chips from the hole. Then drill the rest of the hole.

6. When drilling completely through a piece of wood, place a scrap piece of wood tightly against the exit point of the hole to be drilled. Then drill through the wood and into the scrap piece. This will minimize chipping at the exit point.

Drill Bits for Weight Holes
When the phrase “drill bit” is used, the image that comes to the mind of most people is a standard high-speed steel (HSS) drill bit that is part of the drill bit set in most people’s toolbox. This type of drill bit is certainly the most popular, but it is not the best drill bit choice for many woodworking tasks, including drilling axle holes.

Regardless of the drill bit type, make sure to know the chuck size of your drill. The chuck size determines the maximum shaft diameter of the drill bit that can be used. Most drills today have either a 3/8 or 1/2 inch chuck. If your chuck is 3/8 inch, make sure to purchase bits with a shaft no larger than 3/8 inch.

There are many different types of drill bits available at your local hardware store including Forstner, Brad Point, Auger, Spade (or Paddle), HSS, Carbide, and Cobalt.(2) Let’s look at each one.

Forstner – Produces a flat-bottomed, clean edged hole with no chipping. The center point ensures that the hole is drilled where desired. For drilling holes over 7/16 inch, Forstner Bits are generally a better value than Brad Point bits. Some Forstner bits have a saw tooth edge (as seen in the photo) while others do not. Either type works well for pinewood derby use.

Forstner bits are commonly used for creating wheel wells for attaching to the side of a pinewood derby block. They are also used for creating holes for tungsten rounds.


Figure 1 – Forstner Drill Bit

Brad Point – Produces a clean edged hole with no chipping. The center point ensures that the drill bit doesn’t wander. For drilling holes between 1/8 and 7/16 inch, Brad Point bits are usually a better value than Forstner bits and do a better job than HSS bits.

Brad Point bits are commonly used for drilling weight holes in pinewood derby blocks.


Figure 2 – Brad Point Drill Bit

Auger – Produces a clean, accurate hole. The screw tip causes the bit to “power feed”, and the auger shape helps in chip removal, so this type of bit is beneficial for drilling very deep holes.

Although Auger bits can be used for pinewood derby cars, Brad Point or Forstner bits are usually a better choice. The screw tip on the Auger bit is not desirable for pinewood derby cars as it makes the hole too deep, and the power feed action can be unwieldy for novice woodworkers.


Figure 3 – Auger Drill Bit
Photo Source: www.toolbarn.com

Spade – Also known as a “Paddle Bit” this type of inexpensive bit is used for rough boring. Typically, they are used in carpentry where a clean hole is not necessary. I strongly recommend avoiding Spade Bits for pinewood derby use as they create a rough hole.


Figure 4 – Spade Bit
Photo Source: www.drillspot.com

Drill Bits for Axle Holes
If your pinewood derby race rules allow axle holes, then you have likely drilled the holes using a drill press, or a Pro-Body Tool or Pro-Axle Jig.(3) For Cub Scout axles, a #44 bit is recommended, while a 3/32 inch bit is typically used for Awana axles. For a few other kits, a #43 bit works well. But regardless of the bit size, there is a difference in the type of bit used. These include HSS, Carbide, and Cobalt.

HSS – A general purpose drill bit for use in wood, metal, plastic, etc. Especially in larger sizes, HSS bits often chip the edge of the hole, and can “wander” (i.e., not entering the wood at the location you want).

HSS drill bits are flexible and strong. They are inexpensive and used where long-term durability of the cutting edge is not important. The flexibility of the HSS bit is helpful in minimizing broken bits, but the flexibility is a hindrance where accuracy is concerned. For
drilling axle holes with a Pro-Body Tool/Jig, a HSS bit is fine, as the tool minimizes the flexing and wandering of the bit; but when drilling holes with a drill press the flexibility really hinders accuracy.


Figure 5 – HSS Drill Bit
Photo Source: www.rockler.com

Carbide – An extremely hard bit with a durable cutting edge. Due to the rigidity flexing is virtually eliminated. However, because they do not flex, they are prone to breakage if careful technique is not applied. Carbide bits often come with a shank larger than the bit. So, if you purchase one, make sure to get one that is long enough to drill axle holes – many Carbide bits are too short for drilling axle holes.


Figure 6: Typical Carbide Bit
(Source: www.carbidespecialties.com)

Cobalt – An extremely hard bit with a with a durable cutting edge. Due to the rigidity, flexing is virtually non-existent. But Cobalt bits have a big advantage over HSS and Carbide bits – Cobalt bits have a “split point” tip that is specifically designed to keep the bit from
“wandering”.

Wood is a relatively soft medium, but it is not consistent in density. Depending on the grain, wood will change from a hard to soft density over a small fraction of an inch. This change in density affects the way the drill bit goes into the wood. The drill bit will seek to go into the softer part of the wood. With a HSS bit, the bit may wander seeking a soft spot, and then when it has entered the wood it will tend to flex away from the hard grain. This results in inaccurate holes. Carbide bits also wander, and if they wander when in a drill press, due to the rigidity of the bit either the wood will move, or the bit will break. It seems odd, but I have broken more carbide bits when drilling into wood than any other type of bit.

Cobalt bits, with their split point, are virtually wander-free. Like other bits, once the bit enters the wood it will want to follow the softer grain, but this can be compensated for with proper drilling technique.


Figure 7: Cobalt Split Point vs. Typical Bit

Drilling Techniques for Axle Holes
Excellent wheel alignment is a key factor in creating a competitive pinewood derby car, and using drilled axle holes (instead of slots) is a key way to improve wheel alignment. Of course, this assumes that the axle holes are drilled accurately.

The information below will address how to drill accurate axle holes (and some inferior techniques that you want to avoid) with either a hand drill/Pin Vise or a drill press. But before drilling axle holes make sure to check your local rules to make sure they are acceptable for your race.

    Hand Drill/Pin Vise

To accurately drill axle holes with a hand drill or a Pin Vise you must use a drilling guide: either a Pro-Body Tool or Pro-Body Jig. Do not attempt to freehand-drill axle holes – the results will likely be much worse than using the axle slots.

The Pro-Body Tool is a drilling guide designed specifically for drilling axle holes in pinewood derby blocks.


Figure 8 – Pro-Body Tool

It is placed over the bottom of the block, and then clamped into place. The drill bit is then run through the holes in the Pro-Body Tool. The metal of the tool ensures that the drill bit goes straight into the wood. Full instructions for using the Pro-Body Tool are located Here. However, here are a few additional tips.

1. Keep the drill bit aligned with the hole in the tool. Don’t flex the drill bit – it can break.

2. Make sure the Pro-Body Tool fits snugly on the wood. If it is loose, use paper to shim it; if it is too tight sand the sides of the wood block.

3. The Pro-Body Tool is equipped with a separate guide hole for drilling a raised hole for one of the front axles.

Drill Press

The Pro-Body Tool is highly accurate, and in some ways preferable to a drill press. But for more flexibility in hole placement, and for drilling larger quantities of blocks the drill press is a good option.

The principle employed by the Pro-Body Tool is that all holes are referenced to the bottom of the block. Thus, an out of square block will not affect the accuracy of the axle holes.

This same principal must be employed when using a drill press. Thus, when using a drill press, an accurate, vertical fence must be present.(4) By pressing the bottom of the block to the vertical fence the holes will be referenced to the bottom of the block, eliminating any issues due to an out of square block. The fence will also ensure that each hole is drilled at exactly the same height off the bottom of the block.

However, most people with a drill press do not use a vertical fence. Instead, they place the left side of the block on the drill press table and drill the right-side holes. Then they flip the block over, and drill the left side holes. This will result in holes that are not exactly the same height off the bottom of the block, and, if the block is not perfectly square, the resulting holes will not be parallel to each other, leading to poor alignment. This is shown – in an exaggerated fashion – in Figure 9.


Figure 9 – Inaccurate Holes Due to Out of Square Blocks

Some people attempt to resolve this issue by using a long drill bit to completely drill through the block. However, since the drill bit is narrow and long, it will flex, leading to inaccurate holes. This is especially true in pine, as the wood tends to have hard and soft layers which causes the drill bit to flex.

Instead, it is best to use a short bit, and drill half way through the block. As mentioned earlier, issues due to non-square blocks can be resolved by using an accurate vertical fence. The key is to make sure the block is clamped firmly to the fence, even if the side of the block is not flush against the drill press table (see Figure 10).


Figure 10 – Vertical Fence Creates Accurate Holes Regardless of Block
Shape

To minimize the effect of soft and hard grain on the drill bit path, squeeze (or clamp) the block to the fence, then enter the wood slowly. After drilling half of the hole, pull the bit out to clear the wood chips, then complete the hole. Drilling slowly will minimize the affect of the hard portion of the wood grain on the drill bit path.

Conclusion
Inaccurate drilling can lead to slower performance and lots of patching. But with the proper drill bits, equipment, and technique, accurate drilling is achievable by anyone.

(1) Additional information can be found in the following articles:

Drilling with Accuracy

Drilling Small Holes

Drilling Axle Holes with Precision

(2) Specific drill bits for pinewood derby use can be found Here.

(3) The Pro-Body Tool and Pro-Body Jig can be found Here.

(4) Meaning that the side of the fence is perfectly parallel with the drill bit.


Humor

Tricky Questions II
[answers are below]

1. The maker doesn’t want it; the buyer doesn’t use it; and the user doesn’t see it. What is it?

2. A child is born in Boston, Massachusetts to parents who were both born in Boston, Massachusetts. The child is not a United States citizen. How is this possible?

3. Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain on Earth?

4. Clara Clatter was born on December 27th, yet her birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible?

5. Captain Frank and some of the boys were exchanging old war stories. Art Bragg offered one about how his grandfather led a battalion against a German division during World War I. Through brilliant maneuvers he defeated them and captured valuable territory. After the battle he was presented with a sword bearing the inscription “To Captain Bragg for Bravery, Daring and Leadership. World War I. From the Men of Battalion 8.” Captain Frank looked at Art and said, “You really don’t expect anyone to believe that yarn, do you?” What’s wrong with the story?

6. What is one thing that all wise men, regardless of their religion or politics, agree is between heaven and earth?

7. In what year did Christmas and New Year’s fall in the same year?

8. A woman from New York married ten different men from that city, yet she did not break any laws. None of these men died and she never divorced. How was this possible?

9. Why are 1990 American dollar bills worth more than 1989 American dollar bills?

Answers

1. A coffin

2. The child was born before 1776

3. Mount Everest, it just hadn’t been discovered!

4. Clara lives in the southern hemisphere.

5. World War I wasn’t called “World War I” until World War II.

6. The word “and”.

7. They fall in the same year every year, New Year’s Day just arrives very early in the year and Christmas arrives very late in the same year.

8. The lady was a Justice of the Peace.

9. One thousand nine hundred and ninety dollar bills are worth one dollar more than one thousand nine hundred and eighty-nine dollar bills


Product Showcase

DerbyDome – $2.00 Off

A Great Christmas Present

The DerbyDome is a high-quality case for safely displaying pinewood derby cars. The DerbyDome has the following features:

– Heavy duty, clear dome fits snuggly with the black pedestal to keep cars dust free while providing a complete view of the car.

– No-tools-required fastening system keeps the car in place – fits BSA, Awana, and other wheels.

– Car may be mounted horizontally or tilted to either side.

– Product includes: dome, pedestal, 2 mounting brackets, blank paper identification labels, and assembly instructions.

– Custom nameplate can be ordered through the manufacturer (order form included).

Through December 26, 2017, you can get a DerbyDome for $2.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5210 to your shopping cart and use coupon code DEC13NL during checkout.


Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s cars are from Dan Schuster

Chicago Cubs

My son and new Scout, Ollie, wanted a Chicago Cubs car. This was our best one and it was extremely fast on the flats. We based its design on a teardrop shape, making the body as thin as possible while still keeping it shapely. We opted to reverse the shape by designing it with a short nose and long tail. We’d like to place the success we had on the Cubs sticker.

Salt Flat Racer – Original and Version 2


My other son, Henry wanted his car to look differently than the others, so we made a black salt-flat racer complete with balsa and aluminum wheel fairings. The original had a full fairing covering all four wheels. In the end it proved to have the weight spread out along the entire body, hence, the updated 2 wheel fairing. All the weight  as centered around the rear axle. It too did very well, but we were shooting for looks on this one.

Family Truckster

The yellow family truckster was loosely based on a car we saw online but we put our own spin on it. Oddly enough, it was unexpectedly quick considering the higher, less sleek profile. The entire body was hollowed out as the top portion was paper-thin balsa wood with a coating of wood glue for strength. This one was the family build.

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
Priceless!

Yesterday our troop ran a derby for a pack at a church. I was score keeping and the scouts were handling the registration, starting gate and finish line. During one heat the scout on the gate let the handle slip out of his hand and the rebounding pins launched two cars off the track to the floor. One car, a wedge, hit nose first and broke the right front quarter back to the axle completely off the car.

I called an official time out and asked the scout if he wanted to repair his car. He indicated he would like to, but he needed help. Well, I took him to the pits repaired the car with epoxy, did a quick alignment with one wheel raised, lubed, and glued the axles down. We
allowed him two practice runs and continued the race.

He had been in the losers bracket with one loss at the time of the accident. He went on to take 2nd Place in the pack. Glue? – about five cents. Lube? – maybe a penny. My time? – nothin’. The expression on his face? – priceless!

Jamie

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 and I made two cars this past spring. She took first place in the standard division and in the outlaw races. But for the outlaw race next year, we want to use the full weight allowed. She won using a 5 ounce car this past year, but they allow for a 1 pound maximum. We used the 4060 Pro Ultralite BSA wheels for the 5 ounce cars, but I don’t think those wheels would hold up well on a 1 pound car. Which wheels would you recommend for a car that heavy? We want to use BSA wheels so people won’t complain that we did not use the parts from the kit. Should we make the car lighter?

A: Congratulations on the victory last year.

I did some testing on maximum weight for performance – you can find it Here and Here. With graphite lube, I would not go over 9 ounces. With Krytox 100 lube, you could go up to 14.5 ounces.

I would go with a sturdier wheel – probably the 4090 Speed Wheels.

But if you won by a decent margin last year, you might stick with a lighter weight car and lighter wheels. The effect of 1g wheels is likely about 0.04 seconds advantage.

On a 9 ounce car with graphite, the benefit was only .03 seconds, so this could be a step down. With Krytox 100, you may get enough advantage to overcome the advantage of lighter wheels.

Q: When we paint our cars, we use automotive paint from AutoZone. We put on a nice coat of primer, sand it with high grit sandpaper, and repeat until perfectly smooth. Then we apply the color coat. I have never known what I should do about the area where the hub of the wheel could potentially rub on the body of the car. I have heard that it should not be painted and instead use a No. 2 pencil to rub lead into the bare wood. What do you recommend?

A: I prefer to paint the area the same as the rest of the car. Assuming you use a clear coat, you will have a very slick surface. With a high-quality graphite on the inner hub, it will work fine. In my opinion, this is better than bare wood with graphite. But if you go with bare wood, rub high-quality graphite into the surface. Don’t use a pencil, as pencil lead is low-grade graphite mixed with clay.

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.

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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.

Decals, Etc.: How to Spiff Up Your Car

Decals, Etc.: How to Spiff Up Your Car
By Randy Davis

The difference between a boring pinewood derby car and a real eye- catcher could be a unique design, excellent craftsmanship, or a professional paint job. But in many cases all it takes are some decorative items to make a car really stand out. Let’s take a look at four types of decorative items that are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and sure to give your car a special look.

Dry-Transfer Decals
Unlike stickers, dry-transfer decals are very thin and do not have a clear edge. Thus, they blend into the paint such that you have to look closely to see that the design is actually a decal.

Unlike water-slide decals, dry-transfer decals apply with no water; and unlike stickers, dry-transfer decals do not adhere to the car body on contact. Instead, dry-transfer decals use a pressure activated adhesive. So, an advantage of dry-transfer decals is that they can be finely positioned before they are permanently attached.





Figure 1 – Examples of Dry Transfer Decals

To apply dry-transfer decals, cut out the desired design, place it on the car in the desired location, hold it down, and use a soft pencil with a rounded tip to scribble over the entire decal (you will actually be scribbling on the transfer material, not the actual decal). After scribbling over the entire decal, carefully lift up on the edge of the transfer material. If the decal is not completely detached from the transfer material, scribble some more and try again. After the transfer material is removed, take the provided tissue-like paper and rub it over the entire decal.

If desired you can apply a clear coat over the decal. But first, make sure the clear coat is compatible with your paint job, and test the clear coat on an unused decal (apply it to a scrap piece of wood). I have successfully used acrylic and lacquer clear coats over dry- transfer decals, but it is best to play it safe by testing before spraying the car.

You can find the dry-transfer decals on our website Here

Stick-On Decals
Stick-On decals, as well as stickers are also good choices. They are inexpensive and easy to apply – just make sure you put the sticker where you want it. As you know, stickers like to attach themselves where you don’t want them!





Figure 2 – Examples of Sticker Decals

My daughter used stickers to decorate her Diamondbacks car; she found the stickers at a team shop. I believe that team stickers exist for every professional team, as well as most college teams.


Figure 3 – D-Backs Car

To apply Stick-On decals, simply cut out a decal, remove any dust or debris from the car, peel off the backing, and stick it in place. If you want to apply a clear coat, make sure to first test compatibility.

You can find the Stick-On decals on our website Here.

Body Skins
At our pinewood derby race, we pass out design award ballots to the kids that have a car entered into the race. So, whichever cars look cool to the kids win the design awards. At our last race, two cars with body skins won design awards. In my mind they are not outstanding in any way, since the shape was quite common and the finish was a body skin. But the kids must have thought the skin was some kind of exotic paint job.

In fact, a well-applied skin does look very unique; and if you are not aware of body skins, you will be wondering how the car builder achieved such a unique look.




Figure 4 – Examples of Body Skins

Body Skins apply quite easily to simple-shaped cars, while applying skins to complex cars is quite a challenge. On their website, PineCar, who is the manufacturer of most Body Skins on the market, shows pictures of very complex cars with Body Skins. My guess is that those cars do not really exist, but instead were made with photo editing.

To apply a skin to a simple wedge or block shaped car, follow the instructions below. For complex cars, the same technique is used except that the skin must be pieced together and the pieces must overlap slightly.

    1. Remove any dust or debris from the surface of the car.
    2. Determine how much material is needed to wrap the car without overlapping the material on the bottom of the car. Trim off the excess.

 


Figure 5 – Trim Material
 

    1. Peel off the backing paper.
    2. Use a soft, wet sponge to press the skin onto the car body. The transfer paper will release when it is thoroughly soaked. Do not use force to remove the transfer paper.

 


Figure 6 – Apply Skin
 

    1. Fold the design under the bottom of the car.

 


Figure 7 – Bottom of Car
 

  1. Smooth out wrinkles by dipping your fingers in water and rubbing over the skin.


Figure 8 – Finished

As with other decorative items a clear coat can be applied, but make sure to first test compatibility. Body Skins can be found on our website Here.

Pin Striping
I am a big fan of pin striping; it is relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, and can really dress up a car. Pin striping is a long, thin, colored tape that has an adhesive backing. It adapts well to curves in the car and can be mixed and matched, both in color and in width.


Figure 9 – Yellow Pin Striping (1/4 and 1/8 inch)

To apply pin striping, unroll a piece longer than you need, pull it taut and then apply it to the car. Use a piece of tissue paper (not Kleenex, but the kind used in gift bags) to press down on the pin striping. This will eliminate any air bubbles and ensures that it is pressed down well. After the pin striping is in place, trim the excess with a sharp knife (hobby knife or razor knife). If the pin striping will be placed on the front and/or back of the car (as in Figure 9), wrap the pin striping under the car and trim it off underneath. This makes for a much cleaner finish.


Figure 10 – White and Black 1/8 inch Pin Striping

For other image of cars with pin striping, or to find the pin striping on our website, Click Here.

Conclusion
It doesn’t take a lot of work or cash to change a common-looking car to a real eye-catcher. So, when designing your pinewood derby car don’t forget the decorative details.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 12, Issue 12
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 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.

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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.

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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
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