Friday, November 28, 2014

PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE

Iron Man - Randy Davis

I built this car as a prototype for a CNC machined car, but the shop I was going to use closed down. Oh well. I still had the prototype, so I entered it in our local Outlaw race and it took 1st Place in speed and 3rd Place in design. I used some X-Lite Outlaw wheels that were machined from Turcite-X. The wheel color doesn't really match the car color, but the wheels certainly draw attention to the car.

Olaf - Richard Larson

Olaf ran in our local race as well, and took 2nd Place in design and speed. Every year, Richard builds great looking cars. Here are links to a few of his previous cars:

'Mater


Red


Finn McMissile


From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 14, Issue 4

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Rail-Riding - Getting that Extra Speed
By Randy Davis


If you have spent any time on the Internet researching pinewood derby racing, you will have ran across the term "rail-riding". This alignment technique had been used for many years by a select few, but became popular around 2008.(1) The Pro-Rail Rider Tool, the Pro-Axle Bender and other tools were introduced soon after to facilitate the implementation of this technique.

But with all of the tools, videos, and documentation available, I still get many calls from confused car builders about rail-riding. Therefore, the intent of today's article is to organize the many facets of rail-riding in such a way that clarity can be attained.

WHAT IS RAIL RIDING
When a pinewood derby car rolls down the track, it will contact the center guide rail.(2) Each time a wheel contacts the rail, some performance will be lost. Moreover, when a rear wheel contacts the rail, even more performance is lost since the rear wheels carry the majority of the car's weight.

So, the fastest car (all other factors being equal) is one that never touches a guide rail. It would seem then that setting the cars alignment to go straight would be the best bet. This might work if the track was perfectly smooth and level, but we all know that is a pipe dream. All tracks will lean one way or another (and some lean both ways alternately by track section). So, a car that is set to run straight will follow the lean of the track, resulting in contact with one or both wheels on one side of the car.(3) In addition, if the car is a three-wheeler (with a raised, non-spinning wheel) and the raised wheel contacts the rail, the advantage of the raised wheel is lost.

How can we compensate for this? Recognizing that the least amount of loss occurs when the lightest loaded wheel (a front wheel) contacts a rail, if we could set the car's alignment so that a dominant front wheel is the only wheel that contacts the rail (the non-raised wheel for three-wheel cars; your choice of wheels for a four-wheel car), we would achieve the least guide rail losses. This is the basis of rail-riding.

Read the entire article on Rail-Riding Here

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 14, Issue 4

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Friday, November 14, 2014

PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE

Speed Racer - Nick Fish

This Bear pinewood derby car was built by Nick Fish and his Dad. We love Speed Racer, so we did our interpretation of Speed's Mach 5. It won the den and took first place in the pack without losing a race. District competition was a lot tougher with a 5th place finish. The car is a modified Wing design using a 3.5 oz. tungsten canopy, tungsten putty for the final weight adjustment, raised front wheel, polished/grooved axles, aero underbody, and custom graphics.

The Reaper - Jason Otis




My pack's Pinewood Derby Bandit/Open Class is pretty competitive every year, to the point where we had to create a class just for the parents. I got tired of coming in second, so I put this thing together a couple of years ago.

The main body is from an original BSA Pinewood Derby Kit, and the fan shroud was carved from three pieces of glued-together 2 X 4s.

Specs & Info:
Propulsion: 55mm 8-Blade 60K RPM ducted fan (19oz thrust)
Power: 3-Cell 11.1 Li-Po Battery
Best Track Times: 32-Foot Track-1.111 sec, 38-Foot track: 1.267 sec

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 14, Issue 3

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Friday, November 07, 2014

Pinewood Derby Awards
By Randy Davis


Should every child entering a pinewood derby race get an award? Or should only the top cars for design and speed be given a trophy? How about a compromise? The answer to these questions will likely vary from person to person, and depends a lot on your philosophy of raising children.

I am not a child psychologist, so I can't argue the theory that underlies awarding children. But I am a parent that cares about my children. Before they leave our home, I want to give them a solid understanding of how they should behave and what they should expect to encounter in the world.

I do not believe that every child should be equally rewarded, that is, no winners and no losers. This is certainly not the way the world operates, and teaching a child this perspective will not prepare them for reality. In my opinion children need to understand that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, and greater effort leads to greater opportunities for winning. Learning how to deal with losing (and winning) builds character and maturity. So I believe that trophies for the fastest cars and best designs are certainly appropriate.

NON-TROPHY AWARDS
But on the other hand, I think providing a larger variety of awards can be a great encouragement for kids. These can be certificates for: "Best Paint Job", "Car Most Likely Built By a Kid", "Silliest", "Funniest", "Most Aerodynamic", etc. If you are interested in providing these types of certificates, many free downloads are available on the web. Just search for "pinewood derby certificates".

Be careful with these type of awards. If you decide that every participant will get one, then it will be a big challenge to make sure that the number of certificates match the number of entrants, and that the awards are given out appropriately. Again, I don't believe it is necessary for every entrant to receive an award of this type. But
that leads to...

PARTICIPATION AWARDS
Providing all entrants with a ribbon (or alternate) for participating is certainly appropriate. I am still amazed how much my kids like those ribbons. Even when they won a trophy, they would drape the participation ribbon over the trophy.

Participation awards can be more elaborate. Stan Pope has provided a neat idea for providing a mounting plaque for every car. The plaque has the date of the race and group name/number.

Certainly other participation awards such as pins, patches, etc. can also be used. In recent years we have gotten away from ribbons and have been giving each participant a "Hot Wheels" car. My wife watches the ads and picks them up for less than $1.00 each. These are a bit more expensive than ribbons or patches, but the kids really like them (a lot of trading goes on after the race).

CONCLUSION
I realize this article is a bit short, but of course my experience is limited to the races sponsored by our organization. So, I would like to get your input on this topic. If your group has a method of providing awards that works well or is unique in some way, please send me a description. I will try to include your comments in a future newsletter. You can send your comments to:
info@maximum-velocity.com.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 14, Issue 3
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Friday, October 31, 2014

PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE

Today's cars are owned by Darren Stark.

"I started a collection of pinewood derby cars and now have close to eighty. Sixty-five to seventy of them I personally built with family and friends. The photos below show a few of my favorites.

My son and I go to several races every year and display our cars with Todd Paxson. Todd is a friend of mine whos cars were used to make the movie "Down and Derby". He is the one who convinced me to display my cars rather than keep them in a box. My son and I get such a kick out of watching people's reactions to our cars and helping others figure out how they can make their ideas come to life. I hope you like them as much as we do

Editor's Note: Todd Paxson's display was featured in
Volume 6, Issue 14.



















From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 14, Issue 2

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Creating Accurate Pinewood Derby Axle Slots
By Randy Davis

Most brands of pinewood derby kits come with slots on one side of the block into which the axles are pressed. These pre-made slots generally work well, but there are occasions when the car builder would like to cut new axle slots. These include when:

1. The existing slots are defective.
2. The builder wishes to change the wheelbase by cutting new slots on the opposite side of the block.
3. The builder wishes to build two cars from one block by cutting new slots on the opposite side of the block.

Previously, cutting new slots was a bit tricky. Usually, a hacksaw was equipped with two blades, and then the builder carefully cut new slots by following a pencil line. Obviously, errors were common: cutting a slanted line or cutting too deep were common issues.

But now, a new tool is available to solve these issues and greatly simplify the process of cutting new slots.

PRO-BODY SLOTTER FROM DERBYWORX
DerbyWorx recently introduced the Pro-Body Slotter. Similar to the Pro-Body Tool for drilling accurate axle holes, the Pro-Body Slotter is a cutting guide for cutting axle slots.


Figure 1 - Pro-Body Slotter

The tool fits over a standard pinewood derby block, and is held in place with a set screw (a clamp would interfere with sawing). Index marks on the tool are aligned with a pencil mark on the block which identifies the desired location of the new slot.


Figure 2 - Pro-Body Slotter Parts


Figure 3 - Pro-Body Slotter Parts

As mentioned before, two hacksaw blades are mounted on a hacksaw frame (one blade is mounted with the teeth forward and the other with the teeth reversed. The blades are then placed into the slot in the tool, and the cut is made.

After the first cut is complete, the tool is loosened, moved to the next slot position, reattached, and then the second cut is made.


Figure 4 - Pro-Body Slotter in Use

The index screw will leave two indents in the block, one per slot. These marks are filled with wood filler before sanding and painting. Note that the marks will be located behind the wheels, so they are not obvious.

TIPS
Here are a few tips for using the Pro-Body Slotter.

1. Use the Pro-Body Slotter on the pinewood derby block before cutting or shaping the block.

2. When placing the tool onto the block, orient the set screw on the side of the block opposite the pencil marks.

3. Keep the set screw on the same side of the block for both cuts.

4. Use even, gentle forward and back sawing strokes.

5. Make sure to stop when the saw blades reach the bottom of the tool.

6. For an extended wheelbase, position the slots at 5/8 inch (actually I prefer 11/16 inch) from each end of the block.

7. After cutting the slots, use a Pro-Axle Guide to insert a spare axle into each slot position, then twist and pull it out with a pair of pliers.

8. When painting, either mask off the axle slots, insert a spare set of axles into the axle slots, or better yet, use a Paint Stand.(1)

CONCLUSION
Using the Pro-Body Slotter makes creating accurate axle slots a simple process. The Pro-Body Slotter is available from many on-line vendors including Maximum Velocity. You can find the tool Here. A video from DerbyWorx on using the Pro-Body Slotter is available Here.

(1) The Paint Stand is available from Maximum Velocity Here.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 14, Issue 2

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE

Let's kick off the new season with some very unique cars that were submitted at the end of last season.

'56 Ford Pickups - Lyle and Ben Leis


2009 was the last year for my son to compete in the Pinewood Derby. He has done well in the past with a variety of cars, but for his last year, he wanted to build a pickup truck. We bought a '56 Ford Step side die cast car to copy and scratch built from there. Since we only had two weeks to get them completed, it was an ambitious project.

In the past, I have built several exhibition cars while my son built more conventional cars. Using the profile of the die cast car, we started with a sketch of the top and side view of the car using the Boy Scout wheelbase and overall dimensional requirements. Since this project required a hollow body and woodcarving skills, we each built a truck with me working step by step ahead of my son while he followed/copied my work on his truck. The original Pinewood block was cut down to 3/8 inch thick and thin pine stock was added to form the bed and truck cab. The panels were carved and sanded to final shape followed by many coats of primer with sanding between. Since the colors are transparent, a silver base coat was used under the transparent top coats. The hollow lead tanks in the rear of the beds are formed from stick on wheel weights and final weight adjustment was made using lead shot. A wood screw between the truck bed and the cab secures the cab to the chassis.

Although the truck didn't do well in the race due to aerodynamic considerations, for the first time my son has taken an interest in woodcarving, so I consider it a huge success. His truck also won a trophy for the Most Unique design, although the judges were probably not aware of the hollow cab and woodcarving required for the build.

The first photo shows the cab off and the second shows the underside of the cab and how it was scratch built from pieces of pine before final shaping and painting. My son's truck is blue and mine is red.

Monster High - Damon and Addison Krall

This Monster High-heeled Shoe car was built for fun for my daughter Addison to beat all the boys at her brother's derby on race day. The speedy razor wheels gave this car a nice boost. The unique design got
lots of attention.

Landspeeder - Dennis Bjorn

While sorting through my adult son's Legos I found the instructions for a Lego version of Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder. After consulting with Obi Wan and Luke we decided my speeder could only have one seat, so it wouldn't interfere with the cars in the other lanes. Obi Wan found a guy that could machine the three-spoke wheels.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 14, Issue 1

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