Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 17, Issue 12 – March 7, 2018

– Editor’s Note
– Humor
– Product Showcase – 7% off Orders of $70 or More
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory – My Car
– Q&A

Editor’s Notes

Last Issue of the Season
This is the last issue of the Pinewood Derby Times for the 2017-2018 season. The new issues (Volume 18) will begin in October 2018. You will automatically continue to receive the newsletter in the fall, as our mailing list will remain intact. If your e-mail address should change before then, from the NEW e-mail account simply send a blank e-mail to: [email protected]
with your OLD e-mail address in the “Subject:” line.

We have many of the articles planned for next season, but we are always looking for your input. So if you have an idea for an article, please send it to me at: [email protected].

I would like to thank all of our readers and contributors. Your input is greatly appreciated and certainly contributes to the success of the newsletter. I wish you all a blessed summer. See you in October.

No Feature Article
Instead of including a Feature Article, this edition contains an expanded Car Showcase.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We will be putting more items on clearance, and will have an end of season special offer in early May. At that time we will send out a short notice to our subscribers to let you know more about this sale.

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.

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 E-Mail Us.


My Mother

My Mother taught me LOGIC…”If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can’t go to the store with me.”

My Mother taught me MEDICINE…”If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way.”

My Mother taught me TO THINK AHEAD…”If you don’t pass your spelling test, you’ll never get a good job!”

My Mother taught me ESP…”Put your sweater on; don’t you think that I know when you’re cold?”

My Mother taught me TO MEET A CHALLENGE…”What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you…Don’t talk back to me!”

My Mother taught me HUMOR…”When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT…”If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.

My mother taught me about GENETICS…”You are just like your father!”

My mother taught me about my ROOTS…”Do you think you were born in a barn?”

My mother taught me about the WISDOM of AGE…”When you get to be my age, you will understand.”

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION…”Just wait until your father gets home.”

My mother taught me about RECEIVING…”You are going to get it when we get home.”

And, my all-time favorite – JUSTICE…”One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like YOU — then you’ll see what it’s like!”

Product Showcase

Last Edition Sale – 7% off Orders of $70 or More
Now is your chance to stock up before your pinewood derby event, or for next season!

Through March 20, 2018, you can get 7% off any order of $70 or more. To take advantage of this limited time offer, use coupon code MAR7NL during checkout.

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Poe’s Revenge – Scott Harrington

This is “Poe’s Revenge,” Gavin Harrington’s Wolf Scout entry for Pack 12 in Istrouma Area Council, Baton Rouge, LA. The idea arose from the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and features a few select parts from a small scale plastic model for realism. The chassis is all pinewood, but the top shell is balsa. It was painted with model paint from the hobby store using masking tape techniques for sharp lines. For an extra touch of personalization, dad put Gavin’s head onto a picture of Poe Dameron, which was glued into the cockpit glass. We thought the car had a good shot at the “Best Design” trophy, which it won, but it was also very fast thanks to the lightweight body and strategically placed tungsten weight. He took first in the Wolves and 1st overall in the Pack!

The Flash – Jason Campbell

This year was another great year for pine car building. We again had the number one fastest car. But this car also took Best in Show. When all the racers saw this car their eyes stayed wide open. In fact in all five heats everyone was cheering on the FLASH. Then everyone voted it Best in Show.

The car is modeled after a Dodge Magnum. It’s completely hollow. The frame is 1/8 inch thick all around. Coated with a single layer of epoxy (making the wood hard and dense). This was probably my coolest car yet.

Troop Trailer – Bob Hotelman

I’ve attached a photo of my first fan car, built for our pack’s outlaw derby this year. It’s intended to be a replica of our troop’s trailer.

Our pack added fan cars to its outlaw race for the first time this year. Unfortunately, I was the only entry in this new class. However, the car got a lot of attention and I heard a lot of talk about others building for next year.

Since I couldn’t find a 9V EDF fan like your kit used to include, I went with a 3V motor & propeller intended for a micro drone project and powered it with a spare small LiPo RC battery. The car wasn’t fast for a fan car (2.8s over our 40′ track), but it was the fastest car of the day. The trailer frame (brown) is the wood block and the trailer body (tan) was 3D printed in three sections then glued together. Unfortunately, the project was rushed so the 3 sections are quite visible. The microswitch on front and red toggle switch are wired in series so that the fan turns on automatically when the starting gate dropped but can be turned off between races.

Thanks for the newsletter. I’ve been a subscriber and reader for over a decade.

Scarlet Flash – Steve Houghtaling

Our sponsor car was a huge success! There were 10 sponsor cars and the Troop 2020 “Scarlet Flash” won by at least three car lengths in the twelve heats it ran. More importantly, we also beat all of the Webelos II’s to cross over to our troop!

This car features Maximum Velocity’s 3.5oz tungsten canopy, quarter inch tungsten cubes, grooved-oversized pro axles polished with diamond paste, ultra light matched wheels and Krytox lube – no messy graphite on the pretty car, love it!

Paint is Testors red acrylic lacquer and clear coat. For the flames I spray painted transparent decal paper with silver lacquer and cut out the custom flames with an Exacto knife, then applied like you would a normal water soaked decal. The Troop 2020 logo was printed and applied using white decal paper.

We will probably do this again next year and I already have an idea for the car design. Thanks for all your help and expertise!

Pack Trailer – Chris Monroe

This car is a special gift I made for our “retiring” Committee Chair for his last derby in January 2017. I had made a fast car for the outlaw race, but also wanted to make a cool car for fun. I thought a semi truck would be neat and saw the kits that used to be offered. Then, the idea morphed into making a scale model of our new pack trailer towed by our Committee Chair’s truck and giving it as a special gift to him. The car itself is a single piece of pine that I laminated and planed, then cut out with templates that I scaled via pictures. The trailer graphics are a custom vinyl decal I made with my vinyl cutter.

He was surprised when I gave it to him and everyone was excited to see how it ran. Some of the guys cobbled together an extension so it would fit on the starting line, and off we went. Immediately we could tell the car was fast, but nobody had high expectations for it, including me, because the car doesn’t have any speed tricks other than deburred axles and doesn’t even have added weight. The heats ran through and then the total times came up. Everyone erupted with cheers when this car came up with the fastest time in the outlaw race, beating several dedicated speed cars. This car now stands on proud display at his home next to the trophy he won and other scouting memorabilia.

Lightning – Chris Monroe

This was one of my two car designs for the 2018 derby. I decided to try to make something kind of wild and attempt a 3 wheeled car. It started off being designed in a solid modeling program and was to be produced with my new CNC router. After many tests on simple blocks with movable weight packs, I settled on a final wheel and COG location. This was my first year doing angled axles (either with angled holes and/or bent axles) so I decided to make two versions to test out different angles and methods.

After racing them head to head I decided which to enter in the race. It turns out that the Lightning car was only a little bit faster than my other car design, the Black Widow, which was actually a little disappointing given how much time I spent working on it. The Lightning wasn’t the fastest car in the outlaw class, but it was the fastest 5 ounce, 7 inch long car; so I guess that is something.

Black Widow – Chris Monroe

This was my second car design for the 2018 derby. My goals for this car were more in the visual design aspect rather than speed, but it still turned out pretty fast. The block was cut with my new CNC router to hold the battery and LEDs, and the spider sticker I made on my vinyl cutting machine. Speed-wise, the car was my first attempt at making a conventional rail rider, and it did pretty well after settling on which of the two versions was faster.

The car got a lot of attention during the derby because of its looks, and I’m sure I’ll bring it out in the future for the boys to race against for fun. For a car that didn’t prioritize speed as much, I learned a lot about toe and camber techniques and was surprised that I could make a pretty fast car even though it lacked some more obvious speed techniques like extended wheelbase and heavily modified wheels.

CO2 – Jordan Runsvold

I built this CO2 car for last year’s outlaw race held by my employer. The car is built from carbon fiber sheet and tube, RC helicopter spare parts, and official BSA pinewood derby kit parts. Despite being an outlaw car it maintains legal wheelbase, axles, wheels, and dimensions. If you remove the CO2 tank and valve, it is also under the weight limit, and probably legal for traditional races in many packs. Pine from the kit was used in the axle tubes to center the axle nails. It is self-starting, needing no outside intervention to trigger the CO2 when the starting gate drops.

It proved to be faster and more durable than the outlaw car I built last year, however it showed a tendency to exit the track early on 2 out of 5 runs. I hope to correct that if I build another one. The best time was 0.706 seconds at 700.2 scale MPH on our 35 foot track.

You can watch the video Here

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:
[email protected]

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

My Car
A couple of years ago I purchased a derby kit from a hobby store. It was not a BSA certified kit. I bought it because the car was already shaped – nothing but painting and assembly required. Well, the kit came with unified axles, one for the front, one for the rear. I did not know this was illegal for our race.

My son did a great job decorating and assembling his car. But when the weigh-in came, obviously we were disqualified. We were given about an hour to bring the car into compliance. I brought it home, ripped out the axles (it was not pretty), cut them in two with a hack saw, and then super-glued them back in. That was the BIG mistake; the glue got on the wheels and, well, the car never did make it all the way down the track.

Of course, before the weigh-in, it was MY SON’s car, but after the disaster he let me know what a lousy job I did on MY CAR!

Well, this year, we’re using a BSA approved kit and HE’s doing the work on HIS CAR!

(His younger brother is still getting too much help from dad.)

Frank Hines
Lynnfield, MA


Q: Do you recommend removing 1/16 inch from the car body on the front dominate side? I have read opposing views concerning this practice for rail riding.

A: It is optional. The purpose of narrowing the front on the dominant side is to make sure that the dominant wheel contacts the guide rail before the trailing rear wheel. This helps ensure that the rear wheel stays off the rail. If you don’t narrow the car body, then the rear wheel runs closer to the guide rail and could inadvertently contact the rail if there is a flaw in the track.

Q: In a raised wheel setup would there be any reason at all to prep and polish the raised axle or wax that wheel bore? Also with the Pro-Body Jig is there any danger of it lowering the car too much so that it rubs the track?

A: If you are using rail-rider alignment, then the raised wheel would not need to be prepped, as it would never touch anything. But if you are using straight alignment, then the raised wheel could (and likely will) touch the guide rail. In this case you would want it prepped.

The Pro-Body Jig drops the car body by only 1/16 inch, so you will be fine. The typical clearance specification is 3/8 inch. The actual clearance when using axle slots is 1/2 inch. Subtracting 1/16 from 1/2 leaves 7/16 inch, which is 1/16 inch more than 3/8 inch.

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.

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.

Subscription Information

The Pinewood Derby Times is a free e-newsletter focused on pinewood derby racing. It is published biweekly from October through March.

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Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times
E-Mail: [email protected]

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