Pinewood Derby Cars, Engineering to Win

Back when I was a scout, I built a couple of pinewood derby cars. They didn’t do too well when it came time to race, but I was very proud of them regardless. Although my bedroom has moved through at least four homes since I built my last one, the cars have remained displayed throughout the years.

Now as an adult, I have an opportunity to construct a good pinewood derby car: a real race car. I don’t know what rules there are behind this competition, but I do know that I have a block of wood in my bedroom and regulations wheels and axles.

Some initial thoughts that I had when I picked up the kit were to cut the wood to keep the center of gravity lower on the body. An increased wheelbase should result in increased stability down the track. Thinner wheels will have lower resistance.

Should be a good time 🙂

Building this car was a real learning experience.

I learned that I ought to exercise more caution with power tools.

While cutting my block down to a wedge, I neglected to realize the importance of utilizing the proper tool. The resulting damage to the block was immediate and severe, and debris was flung from the tool at high speed. I was fortunate not to have been injured, and that no damage was done to the structures and property near my workspace.

I learned that the rotary tool can be used pretty well for rough wood removal.

I learned that having access to a drill press would have come in handy.

Consult these if you’re interested..
http://www.boyscouttrail.com/library/pinewood-derby.asp
http://www.pinewoodpro.com/pinewood-derby-pre-cut-car-designs.htm