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. 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.


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.

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: 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.

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