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Old 01-26-07, 06:51 PM   #1
Portis
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PINEWOOD Derby Time

Well, this Dad needs to become a Pinewood Derby car builder expert in the next couple of weeks. This is my first time building. Of course the net is full of conflicting design ideas, but how about Foosters who have built cars?
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Old 01-26-07, 06:54 PM   #2
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I remember those! With the help of my dad, my brother and I took 1st and 2nd places respectively for like 3 years in a row! I would take some pictures of our cars, but they're at my parents house right now.
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Old 01-26-07, 06:59 PM   #3
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Oh, and I can tell you right now: The most important element to a good pinewood derby car is the PAINT JOB!! You don't want your kids to have boring looking cars, you want them to have the most kick ass cars ever, with lots of flames and stickers and stuff on them!
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Old 01-26-07, 07:06 PM   #4
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Really? I figured the kids would be more excited about speed, but you are probably right.
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Old 01-26-07, 07:07 PM   #5
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Just don't decorate it with unicorn thtickerth and threamerth.
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Old 01-26-07, 07:18 PM   #6
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Graphite on the 'axles.'
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Old 01-26-07, 07:20 PM   #7
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Put tri flow or some other high quality lube on the wheels. Plus glue the nails in place to make sure the wheels stay true. If you do that and keep the weight high enough, you will do quite well.

If you want it to look nice, I recomend a band saw.
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Old 01-26-07, 07:41 PM   #8
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Setup a belt sander on a stand and after everything is assembled run the wheels over the belt with a semi-fine grit paper letting the wheels run free. This will remove any burrs on the wheels (which knocked my best car ever far too early).

Move as much weight to the back as possible (increases potential energy). Other tips here:

http://www.derbychamp.com/280.htm

My favorite car (mentioned above) started from this kit: http://www.a2zhobbies.com/PineCar/Ca.../PIN-P362.html which I modified to smooth out the front end some and cut a V in the backside like a 60's Corvette.

My last one I did a modified wedge design with a beautifully rounded back end and a very smooth front end to allow the air to very smoothly flow over it. Unforunately this one never made it to the track. My dad talked me into going with his design that he made, and my hand sanded and stained car became a door stop.
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Old 01-26-07, 08:10 PM   #9
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I helped my little bro make a "hummer limo" buy cutting a rectangle out of the top front and painting the whole thing black and chrome. It lost the speed contest, but won an award for "most realistic looking"...its all about the bling baby
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Old 01-26-07, 09:05 PM   #10
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have to know what kind of track you have to fine tune weight placement, but low and far back is probably best. The other basics are, polish your axles. Use a power drill and really fine emory cloth to do this. No burrs. Coat the axles with powdered graphite. Put them in a baggy of the stuff and shake them. Do the same with wheels. Make sure wheel alignment is dead on. Place weight as low and as far back in car as possible, this will vary a bit with track type. Aerodynamics are not important at this level. A basic wedge, high in back low at front is fine. Follow these basics and you should be competitive.
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Old 01-26-07, 09:12 PM   #11
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Very important to have the axles and wheels extremely true. The measurements have to be exact front to back with no "toe in" or "toe out". Keep as much wood left intact as possible. More weight is better for the pull of gravity to kick in quicker. But in the same breath, think of the shape of a canoe going through the water. No turbulence in the rear. I could go on and on.
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Old 01-26-07, 09:15 PM   #12
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Three words for you

Wheels...WHEELS...WHEELS


Style is important for the cool factor
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Old 01-26-07, 09:20 PM   #13
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I got banned when I was in scouts because my father is a master mechanic, and I would have access to resources the other kids and parents wouldn't. Then, when my son was in scouts, I got the same crap from his scoutmaster as I have a well stocked bike mechanic's shop (not an LBS) at work. Needless to say I have removed my son from scouts and any and all support of Boy Scouts of America.
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Old 01-26-07, 09:27 PM   #14
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if you don't have a belt sander, you can use sheets of sandpaper but run the car like it's skidding at a 30 degree angle, one way then the other.
\ <-car
|
|
v
Direction of travel


/ <-car
|
|
v
Direction of travel


Until the wheels are satin smooth and round. Depending on the rules, you may wish to narrow their contact patch. For the usual slope launch, weight as far back and low as possible is best. We used feeler gauges to set the wheels against the car body at the correct distance, and a digital caliper to check alignment.

I've won several unofficial adult pinewoods, but then we started using CO2 cartridges, then C model rocket engines...

By the way, aerodynamics DO matter, but not nearly as much as rolling resistance. Make sure the bottom is as perfectly flat as possible and that there are no angular juts. An ideal design for aerodynamics would be very tapered in the rear, but it's not that practical. Just go for smooth body lines and a good glossy paint job.

And when it comes to bragging rights, style is big.
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Old 01-26-07, 09:55 PM   #15
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One of the biggest problems I've seen is dad's doing too much of the work - sometimes all of it. At least let your son design the car and paint it. Make sure he is at least watching you and helping out with the other operations. Next year, have him do more things. Of course it's nice to have a car that's competitive, but the time you spend working on it with your son is way more important than having the car that wins because Dad took complete control of the project.

Good luck Portis. Ours is tomorrow (Our Scouts run the show).
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Old 01-26-07, 10:03 PM   #16
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3 wheels down and 1 wheel up
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Old 01-26-07, 10:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air
Graphite on the 'axles.'

+1....graphite makes a huge difference. The best one I ever built was a little roadster. I used a clear plastic cup (cut the cup top) to use as a windshield. It came in second in design.....
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Old 01-26-07, 11:56 PM   #18
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Rather than graphite I would suggest break free CLP for the nails. One other thing you can do is rather than put the nails in the little slits, use the nail like it was meant to be used and pound it into the wood next to the slit. Wheel alignment is guaranteed that way.
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Old 01-27-07, 12:54 AM   #19
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Ebay is your friend. You can buy a championship car for a few hundred $.
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Old 01-27-07, 08:10 AM   #20
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Ebay is your friend. You can buy a championship car for a few hundred $.
Trust me i thought about that. Instead i bought 3 cars (one already shaped) and a test track online last night. That way we can expirement.
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Old 01-27-07, 09:05 AM   #21
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Trust me i thought about that. Instead i bought 3 cars (one already shaped) and a test track online last night. That way we can expirement.
Nice.
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Old 01-27-07, 09:46 AM   #22
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My dad and I (read: my dad) carved out a large hole toward the rear of the car and filled it with molten lead until we were barely within the weight limit. I whipped everyone's ass that night and came home with the gold. Too bad there weren't any Girl Scouts there or I'd have come home with a lot more.
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Old 01-27-07, 09:54 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air
Graphite on the 'axles.'
Absolutely. My son's cars have come in 8th, 4th, 2nd and last year 1st. Proper axle alignment and graphite are key. Also, get that bad boy as close to 5oz as humanly possible. I carve a core out of the car and fill it with melted solder.

Aero is pretty much not that important. My son's winning car was a bobsled with 2 Leggo figurines - not aero at all. The year before that a school bus won.

Fastest car I've ever seen had 3 wheels - built like a triangle with two wheels on one side and one on the other.
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Old 01-27-07, 09:56 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USAZorro
One of the biggest problems I've seen is dad's doing too much of the work - sometimes all of it. At least let your son design the car and paint it. Make sure he is at least watching you and helping out with the other operations. Next year, have him do more things. Of course it's nice to have a car that's competitive, but the time you spend working on it with your son is way more important than having the car that wins because Dad took complete control of the project.

Good luck Portis. Ours is tomorrow (Our Scouts run the show).
Yeah, my son has done progressively more each year. At the beginning, it's hard for the little guys to do more than design, sand and paint. Last year he did all the cuts and sanding on the car that eventually won.

Also, Dremel is your friend.
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Old 01-27-07, 10:14 AM   #25
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A friend if mine came in second using the raw square original block of wood they give you.
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