Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – March 21, 2014

Luke – Luke Smethers

This is my son’s pine wood derby car from last year. It took best in show and 1st Place in the races. Luke did all the cutting, drilling and painting for the car. He also did most of the work on the axles and wheels, which as your readers know, is a lot more important than aerodynamics. We came up with the idea of the name plate as a car after making some when we first purchased the scroll saw. I wasn’t sure it would work, but in the end, it wound up being a cool design that is all his, literally. By the way, I think the scroll saw is the perfect saw for a youngster to use for cutting out a derby car. He still takes a risk of getting cut, but is very unlikely to loose a finger! If you look carefully, you can see in the picture where we had to glue the car back together after accidentally going too deep when drilling holes through the back end to hide the tungsten fishing weights. The center of gravity on the car wound up being less than an inch in front of the rear wheels in spite of the forward mass of his design. We had a lot of fun working on the car together. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with this year.
Tiger Cub Special – CP

This is the 2007 car my son made for last years race. He sanded the body and polished the axles for days. He got to use spray paint and mix epoxy for the first time ever. He added the sticker and metal tape for the windshield. The lines on the windshield are windshield wipers that he drew with a Sharpie! The paint was Rustoleum red “Hammered Finish” spray for a neat textured effect.
We spent a very long time getting it to roll straight. My son used your Pro-Axle Press on about twenty BSA kit axles and we picked the best 3 (the front left wheel is raised). We used six of your tungsten plates to add weight while keeping the profile low. The weights were epoxied into depressions we carved in the underside of the car. We added small wood screws to the side of the car in case it was over weight at weigh-in for easy weight removal if required. The CG was only about .85 inches in front of the rear axle and that was probably too aggressive as it did shimmy a bit in the flat part of the track.
In the end it paid off as his car was fastest in the den and pack, and second fastest overall in the district. I think this tremendous success is mostly attributable to equal parts luck and the time spent getting it to roll straight. I have no idea how we’ll follow up that performance this year!
From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 7
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