Pinewood Derby

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The first year we followed all the rules and came in third.
My observation was that there was a little more parent involvement than what the rules called for.
The second year we had my boy design and paint and do the initial wheel and axle prep and then I did the final polishing with shop grade abrasives.
He came in second.
We happen to live in an area where about fifty percent of the parents are engineers, of one sort or another.
When I looked at the degree of finish on their wheels and axles it seemed to me that it was not something that could be accomplished by a ten year old.
This year I'm getting my micron level abrasives out, that I use for finishing solid surfaces to a gloss.
God help those engineer daddies.
Gloves are off.
( I guess the optical comparators will be out next year)
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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Tom,
Why not just have a "Parents Division" as well? It kinda gets the message out that Dads (and/or Moms) want to play as well, and might, properly guided, get the parents to use their car as the example of each step without locking the Cubs out of the entire process?
Regards,
Rick
"Tom Watson" wrote ...

Snipped
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Rick M wrote:

Won 't stop the dad's from doing it for their kids. After all, it IS supposed to be a parental help thing, but there are rules on what it can be. Ask to enforce the rules next year.
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Yeah, I read an article recently...I forget where...which talked about how there used to be limits and it used to be about the kids and having fun. The point is lost when your engineer father builds it for you.
Mike
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On 20 Jan 2007 18:31:52 -0800, upand_at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yeah, but once you understand what is going on, it then seems fair for the cabinetmaker fathers to do a little more helping than what I believe the rules call for, just to keep a level playing field.
The only worse group of people to piss off about the reality of the thing would have been machinists.
I think that this year will be about the profession v. the trades.
ain't that a damned shame?
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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Tom Watson wrote:

No, that's just a shame. A damned shame is that every year at this time, at least half a dozen eBayers offer to build you the winning car for $100 and up. Check out the prices and number of bids:
http://tinyurl.com/2mjdae
Screw all that drama and just buy your kid a boxful of medals for 99 cents! ;-)
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item 0080336577
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On 20 Jan 2007 20:02:59 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

Yep.
Last year's winner was an obvious buyout but he didn't get called on it.
I'm on the committee this year, and I'm looking for him.
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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We had a kid try to reuse the car that he won 1st place with in 2006. Luckily the judges remembered the car from the previous year.
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Tom Watson wrote:

Even in the parent does a lot of the work and provides a lot of knowledge, isn't there something to doing a project with your child? It seems like that's missing these days. I have two memories from pine wood derby when I was a Cub Scout.
1. My dad using a wobble dado blade on a radial arm saw to waste away wood on the car and thinking to myself, "That looks dangerous."
2. My dad bring home powdered graphite from work and how that made the car much faster. Most people don't even know that graphite can be a lubricant. It at least seems like that's worth teaching.
Mark
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You'd think that, but the wrong message is getting through in most cases. Rather than becoming a chance for father son bonding, the lesson is WIN at any cost. It is OK to use ringers, buy, instead of developing technology, etc. I wonder how many kids never get to touch the car?
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wrote in message

And what's wrong with that? It teaches them how things are done in a free greed society such as ours. It instills in them the (lack of) morals to get ahead. Victory at any cost. Screw anybody to get there.
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CW wrote:

What's wrong is that it doesn't teach the kid how to do his own screwing. He ends up living in your basement while you write his college application essays for him.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter_parent
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The real shame is that our kids turn out too stupid/unmotivated to get into engineering programs at our universities these days. Science and engineering slots are now filled with foreign students. Bet their parents didn't help them build pinewood derby racers. Most likely didn't build their school projects either.
By the way, in the 50's pinewood derby racers were constructed by Cub Scouts. Our den mother assembled blocks cut from 2x4s, nails, wheels, etc. They all came out of the same bag and we used these parts to cut, sand, nail and paint our own racers under her husband's watchful eye. We conducted our own races. No parents in sight. Cookies and fruit punch for everyone after. Had a GREAT time without daddy. Daddy was at work building Studebakers. He did admire my racer after the fact.
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On 20 Jan 2007 20:51:11 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I doubt that either stupidity or lack of motivation is the reason that American kids don't enroll in engineering programs. The simple fact is that in every job I've ever worked engineers are treated as poor relations and paid peanuts. Even worse, you become a specialist on your first job and there's no mobility to speak of. Unless you really love the work or luck into some really hot project it sucks as an occupation. I can't imagine any kind in his right mind _wanting_ to be an engineer in the US today.

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That's exactly why I went back to swinging a hammer for a living. Same pay, slightly less perks, a ton less headache, not nearly as much politics...
and no friggen meetings to determine if it's ok to proceed
Gary (ex-engineer)
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"J. Clarke" wrote:
> The simple fact > is that in every job I've ever worked engineers are treated as poor > relations and paid peanuts. Even worse, you become a specialist on > your first job and there's no mobility to speak of.
Basic reason I went into field sales.
Had the opportunity to do more creative application engineering in a week than most engineer see in a year.
The decision had been made to spend the money.
My competitors and I were just fighting about who was going to get the order.
Lew
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Hi,
    I had this thought. One should probably test to see that the cart goes straight on a flat surface. If the car pulls to one side, a lot of energy will be lost to lateral friction associated with the track keeping the car going straight. This is a test that a scout could easily make.
Cheers, Roger Haar
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I agree wholeheatedly. I think kids are smart for not going into engineering. Let's see.. if you become an engineer, you have to work a lot more in college, and if you're lucky you'll get a job at some coorporation whose goal is to offshore your job as soon as possible. Moving your family every 4 years or so to find a job (due to layoffs/ offshoring) is not a fun lifestyle. The long hours suck too.
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40 years ago my father paid someone to build me a car (hey, it wasn't my idea...) and the axles were the wrong size and I was disqualified.
That's got to be the ultimate pinewood derby story.
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My den mother daughter worked hard for years helping her two sons compete in the derby. Finally her day arrived as the scouts parents had a Parent's Derby. They designed their own cars and on the day of the big race when all those engineer dads showed up with tricked out cars she smoked them!
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