Extended Vaccinator

Extended Vaccinator

Pinewood Derby Times
Volume 12, Issue 9
January 23, 2013

In this Edition:

- Editor's Notes

- Feature Article - Drill Axle Holes with Precision

- Humor

- Product Showcase - Cobalt Split Point Drill Bits

- Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

- 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.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several items including car kits, car plan booklets, and standard drilled pine blocks. Click Here to find our clearance items. Don't miss out on the great prices.

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 us at: info@maximum-velocity.com
Pinewood Derby Grand Stand
The ONLY Adjustable Multi-Car Display System!
(Patent Pending)
  • Proudly display up to five cars plus trophies

  • Stand upright or wall mount

  • Choose from attractive pre-finished model or raw wood unfinished kit; the perfect group project

  • Removable knuckle clip cradles car without fasteners or pressure on the wheels

  • Prevents car damage from rolling off dresser, table, desk, shelf or other surface

  • Compact, space-saving design - only 15 high x 8 wide x 3-1/2 inches deep; makes an excellent organizer

  • Professional, quality crafted from solid poplar and made in USA

  • Or create custom displays with individual knuckle clips

Available from: www.derbygurus.com

Special Offer

Save 10% off the Prefinished Grand Stand at www.derbygurus.com with coupon code "pwdtimes". Good through 2/27/13.

Editor's Note:
This is a paid advertisement, however, I do own one of these stands, and am very impressed with the quality of the product. I believe you will be pleased with the workmanship and functionality of the Pinewood Derby Grand Stand.

Feature Article

Drilling Axle Holes With Precision
By Randy Davis

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.

Today's article will share 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.

Drill Bits
The first question that arises with axle holes is, "What drill bit do I use?"1 Generally, to have a snug fit you want to use a bit that is essentially the same size as the axle. The chart below shows typical bits for common kits:

KitAxle SizeBit
BSA0.086 to 0.087#44 - 0.086
PineCar0.088#43 - 0.089
Awana0.0923/32 - 0.938

Hand Drill/Pin Vise
To accurately drill axle holes with a hand drill or a Pin Vise you must use a drilling guide. 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 1 - 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 snuggly 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 axle.

Drill Press
The Pro-Body Tool is highly accurate, and in some ways is 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. 2 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.

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 is okay if the block is perfectly square. But if not, the resulting holes will not be parallel to each other, leading to poor alignment. This is shown - in an exaggerated fashion - in Figure 2.

Figure 2 - 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 for dense pine such as the Southern Pine used in many BSA kits.

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 3).

Figure 3 - Vertical fence creates accurate holes regardless of block shape

Axle holes can mean significant improvements in alignment, however, they must be drilled accurately to provide any benefit.3 So use the proper tools and techniques to make your car go as straight as possible.

1Regardless of the size, cobalt split point bits create more accurate holes than any other type of drill bits. For more information, check out: " Drilling Small Holes" from Volume 11, Issue 2.

2Meaning that the side of the fence is perfectly parallel with the drill bit.

3Maximum Velocity offers pine blocks with accurately drilled axle holes. Both standard and extended wheelbase versions are available Here.


A man received a bill for his as yet unused credit card stating that he owed $0.00. He ignored it and threw it away.

In April he received another and threw that one away too. The following month the credit card company sent him a very nasty note stating they were going to cancel his card if he didn't send them $0.00 by return of post.

He called them, talked to them, they said it was a computer error and told him they'd take care of it. The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried out the troublesome credit card figuring that if there were purchases on his account it would put an end to his ridiculous predicament.

However, in the first store that he produced his credit card in payment for his purchases he found that his card had been cancelled. He called the credit card company who apologized for the computer error once again and said that they would take care of it. The next day he got a bill for $0.00 stating that payment was now overdue. Assuming that, having spoken to the credit card company only the previous day, the latest bill was yet another mistake; so he ignored it, trusting that the company would be as good as their word and sort the problem out.

The next month he got a bill for $0.00 stating that he had 10 days to pay his account or the company would have to take steps to recover the debt. Finally giving in he thought he would play the company at their own game and mailed them a check for $0.00.

The computer duly processed his account and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the credit card company nothing at all. A week later, the man's bank called him asking him what he was doing writing a check for $0.00. After a lengthy explanation the bank replied that the $0.00 check had caused their check processing software to fail. The bank could not now process ANY checks from ANY of their customers that day because the check for $0.00 was causing the computer to crash.

The following month the man received a letter from the credit card company claiming that his check had bounced and that he now owed them $0.00 and unless he sent a check by return of post they would be taking steps to recover the debt.

The man, who had been considering buying his wife a computer for her birthday, bought her a typewriter instead.

Product Showcase

    Cobalt Split Point Drill Bits - $1.00 Off    

Unlike most drill bits (high-speed steel, 118 degree cutting angle, and non-split point), our drill bits are made of cobalt (a much harder metal) to minimize bit flexing. In addition, the cutting tip is 135 degrees and is ground into a split-point configuration. The 135 degree split-point provides more cutting surface right at the start of the hole, so that drill bit wandering is virtually eliminated.

Through February 5, 2013, you can get a Cobalt Split Point Drill Bit for $1.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, Click Here and use coupon code 23JANNL during checkout.

Car Showcase

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona - Andy Holzer

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

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

Lil Deuce Coupe - Joe Bowen

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

Can-Am Racer - Joseph Baron

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

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 brief description of any special features. Also, please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.Please e-mail photos to:

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640x480, 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.

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!


On the Propeller Car Kit, I was wondering if you tried using two 9V batteries hooked up together to cut charging time?

As long as you connect the two 9V batteries in parallel, charging time would be reduced. Just don't connect the 9V batteries in series as that would double the voltage to 18V, with unpredictable results. I actually took six D-cell batteries (1.5V each) and hooked them in series (resulting in 9V). This cuts the charging time in half as well.

I am looking at trying my hand at building a ducted fan powered pinewood car. My question is what kind of fan do you use on your kit. The motors that I find have a throttle wire that has to hook to a speed controller. If you are using the three wire setup, how is the third wire wired in order to get the motor to work?

We use a two-wire motor (a brushed motor). Three wire motors are "brushless" and require a speed controller. You can either look on-line to find a two-wire motor, or we can sell you the one that we use.

I think I now understand where to place the weights in reference to the rear axles, but am still a little confused on how high or low the weights should be placed. Should they be as low as possible (closer to the track) or as high as the car design allows or about the middle of the car's height?

Generally you want the weight to be low on the car. The height of the weight is not as important as the front-to-back placement, but there is a slight effect, so try to get it is as low as possible.

Do You Have Questions that Need Answers?
Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, send your question to: info@maximum-velocity.com. 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 11 are posted on our web site and can be found using our Newsletter Index.

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, or a speed tip, please send it to: info@maximum-velocity.com.

Please read our submission policy.

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

Copyright ©2013, Randy Davis. 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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