Pinewood Derby

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On Sat, 20 Jan 2007 22:49:17 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Elliott) wrote:

God Bless.
It ain't always like that.
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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Elliott wrote:

My son has 1st & 2nd place trophies on the mantle, along with two butt-ugly cars that have only his fingerprints on them. We researched the principles, brainstormed ideas, and drew up plans together. But the construction was all his. He wouldn't trade one of those cars for an Xbox. :-)
We lived in a cramped apartment at the time, and didn't have much in the way of tools or workspace. Just a 9" bandsaw, benchtop drill press, and a 1" belt sander, all from Harbor Freight. But we got 'er done! I may have overdone the safety thing at first. :-)
http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f4/dhakala/DoctorTony.jpg
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Stop. Tom...Stop...
You agreed to let your son into the Cub Scouts. You thought there was a value there. You found out that there was little, if any value left. Parents are mostly non-participating in den and pack activities. It's become a quest for patches. A desire to complete the check lists of mundane activities. It is what the parents let it become.
Don't contribute to your son's decline by giving validity to the other overdriven parents dubious actions. Years from now, what he'll remember is that his dad built a car using whatever he could to "teach those other cheating parents" a lesson.
Just find a few other people in your area with kids about the same age as yours and have weekly or monthly BBQ and camping events. Both you and your son will get more out of it anyway.
Peace,
Myx

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Myxylplyk wrote:

away from making Eagle. I didn't see a lot of life-skill value in the Cub Scout program, but he enjoyed it enough that he never asked to drop out, so he stayed in. But Boy Scouts is a whole different program. It teaches a lot of good things kids just need to know. And it isn't all taught by adults. They learn a lot from each other. I'm really glad my boy had the opportunity.
The parental involvement issue with the Pinwood Derby has been beat to death. Yes, there are a few parents who build or buy the cars while the kid plays Nintendo, but that doesn't totally ruin it; it only ruins it for them. My boy had a part in every step of every car. When he was six or seven, he chose from several design options I gave him. Then, he put his hands on the coping saw while I guided the cuts. Then he made a few awkward strokes with the rasp, and I finished up. He'd sand a while and I'd finish up. He'd spray on a coat of paint, complete with drips and runs; and I'd sand it off and re-coat after he went to bed. He would hold the trigger on the cordless drill to spin the axle while I polished at just the right place.
Each year he did more and I did less. My point is that every year, he was convinced that HE had built the car, even in those early years when I was doing it all. And I'm certain that he learned more than he would have if I had handed him the box of parts and told him to build it himself. We'll see what his memories are years from now. Mine are priceless.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain
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Myxylplyk wrote:
> Stop. Tom...Stop... > > You agreed to let your son into the Cub Scouts. > You thought there was a value there. > You found out that there was little, if any value left. > Parents are mostly non-participating in den and pack activities. > It's become a quest for patches. A desire to complete the check lists of > mundane activities. > It is what the parents let it become.
<snip>
Times change, people change, human nature doesn't.
I was in the cub scouts as an 8-9 year old kid.
About the only thing I remeber was the chase to collect merit badges.
Got to be a total PITA and I dropped out.
As a point of reference, that was 60 years ago.
Lew
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Tom Watson wrote:

engineering company. Lengthy (and sometimes heated) lunchtime discussions of the best location for weights, effectiveness of streamlining, wheel and axle lubrication, and some really science fiction go fast ideas. Come the great derby night. We had a large and active troop, and EVERY kid showed up for the race. A huge track with electronic timers was set up in the middle school gym. Throngs of excited scouts, hordes of parents, ear shattering noise, and an infinite number of cars zipping down the track. By 11 o'clock I was secretly hoping we would get eliminated so I could go home to bed. No such luck, our car was quick enough to place, the kid got a certificate and everything. Didn't get home til 2 in the morning. Big night.
David Starr
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Tom Watson wrote:

Wheel alignment's everything. Use a granite surface plate and laser levels, same way Morton Thiokol builds SRB casings.
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I guess I'm confused, the moral of this story then is that "two wrong DO make a right"? I thought scouting was all about teaching and showing honor, loyalty, truthfulness etc?
The pack my son is in works on their cars at their meetings. Parents vote early in the year as to whether or not there will be a Parent derby for those who can't simply advise...
DJ
Tom Watson wrote:

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*snip*

That sounds like fun. :-)
I think it'd also be fun to have a soap box derby sometime... Forget scouting, I want friendly competition building!
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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Just curious -- what's the area and the industries to attract all the propeller heads?
-- Mark
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On Mon, 22 Jan 2007 00:20:10 GMT, "Mark Jerde"

ASTM is about a mile from my house.
Lockheed Martin is about two miles.
Eaton Aerospace is nearby, as is Boeing-Vertol.
Glaxo Smith Kline is half a mile from my house.
Dupont is a thirty minute ride.
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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I can't believe this shit is still going on. I was a scout in the early 60's and parents were carving and customizing their son's cars even then. I came in third my first year, but whar pissed me off was #1's father owned a hobby shop and I *know* the kid didn't do a damned thing to the car. I tortured the kid until he became an adult and even now if we happen to cross paths. I did get him back when his father had a model building contest with first prize being a mini-bike and $500. Daddy couldn't help him there as the contest was judged by monogram. Maybe some of the old timers here might remember the psychodelic trash truck with the surf boards mounted to the top and sides. I actually took black thread and used it for plug wires and 18ga. wire for brake lines. At that time the judges never seen anything like it. To shorten the story, I sold the kid the bike for $500, which daddy coughed up, and he wrecked it 3 days later. I ended up with a grand and an ear-to-ear grin for many years after that. :)
--

"Anybody can have more birthdays; but it takes
balls to get old!"
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I live near a jet engine manufacturer with a wind tunnel. Hobby shop? They don't need no stinkin' hobby shop! <G>
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Nothing like spending a ton of time working on the car and then putting it in the wind tunnel to turn it into a pile of toothpicks. :)
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Just so you know I'm also Mike M and have been posting here for a few years. I don't have a problem with sharing a nick, but it may cause some confusion. I don't post all that often but at some point we may find we don't share opinions.
Mike M
wrote:

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For one, I don't top post, and two, I use a sig.
--

"Anybody can have more birthdays; but it takes
balls to get old!"
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We had the PW Derby yesterday. My son's car was the shape of an arrow (this is his fifth and final year), I've elaborated on early issues like how he learned to use bondo this year.
Saturday night, final assembly. Cracked part of the body installing an axle. The the lead interfered with the rear axles, had to drill, oversized, axles won't stay put. Son is royally pissed. We mix up some old epoxy, never really hardens but we go to bed. At least the car is in one piece.
Sunday a.m., rolls hard to the left, never gonna win. Left rear axle was angled forward, pushing wheel into body as it rolls - way too much friction. Ask son if he wants me to try to fix, and risk re-breaking and repairing with crappy epoxy that takes forever to harden (was hard by morning). Says to go for the win. Bend the axle "crack" but nothing came off and axle is square. Car rolls pretty straight, maybe an inch to right over 8 feet. I'm thinking "no way" but he's happy, let's go. Car too heavy, drill out lead until within weight.
Race time. Took first place in the first race, and never relinquished over all four races (they have to race in each lane). First place. Back to super derby ... a mixed blessing. After 3rd race, the gap between him and number 2 was 0.012 seconds cumulative (never saw 4th race results). So that's your margin you're working with (top 10 cars all pretty close).
So he was pack champion his first year, and his last year. He was much happier yesterday than Saturday night. Car did not look like a winner. I told him the difference from an average WWer and a better one is the ability to hide one's mistakes.
His friend, who came in 35th overall, was every bit as happy as my son. The Dad, happier, as he didn't need to go to superderby.
It was a good, fun father-son experience all these years and I'll miss the time together. He also has gained an interest in WWing, and wants to try some projects (so does his older sister). So that will be a real payoff if we can do these sorts of things down the road. Says he'd really like to try the real soapbox derby racer - not so sure I'm up for that.
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In the time since Mr. Watson posted this I've started to have 2nd thoughts. Theoretically this is supposed to be the child's project, but I'm beginning to believe the primary benefit of the contest is to have the generations work together, sharing ideas, sharing knowledge, doing the best that all generations working together can do. It's often been said that young ones don't listen to their elders; perhaps this is one scenario that has the youngsters willing and eager to listen to the advice and wisdom of their elders.
Illustration 1. In NASCAR Dale E. Jr. is a great driver. Does anyone think he would be where he is today if Dale E. Sr. wasn't related to him? Families make a real difference in life accomplishments.
Illustration 2. I recall my dad and I working on my derby car together in the basement in the mid 1960's. I had ideas, he had ideas, and we came up with a design together. I did some of the cutting but he did most of the "roughing out" of the pointed design. Why? My dad is a (now retired) medical doctor, not a woodworker. All we had was a few hand tools, and we had *no* *clamps* to hold the car body to cut out the distinctive "A" shape we decided on. It was too hard for a 9 year old (me) to rip a 2"x2" lengthwise, holding the wood in one hand and the 36" (probably dull) handsaw in the other. ;-)
The nails that formed the axles for my car were malformed. There were two stamping ridges along each side of them. In retrospect we should have gotten new nails or used an emery cloth to make the nails round. Instead we (both of us) decided to drill the holes in the wheels slightly larger. The result was that my (our?) car was one of the few, if not the only one, to *not* make it to the finish line on the race track. The car ground to a halt just after the incline portion of the track. The friction from our poor engineering decision was obvious to all. But what do you expect? I was just a child and my dad had articles published in medical journals, not engineering journals. ;-)
Fast forward to the early 1990's. My young son and I worked together on his car. He had specific design ideas and that was fine. He did some of the work and I did the rest. This was before the WW bug bit me so I didn't have a single clamp or power tool. ;-) I made the long rip cuts in a 2"x2" block with a hand saw, no clamps. My less-than-10 year old son did everything else he could reasonably do. When it came time to mount the wheels on the nails I told my son about my last-place finish in the 1960's. Together both he and I: -- Made sure the nail axles had no ridges, -- Made sure the nail axles were as parallel as possible, and -- Made sure the nails were the optimum distance, having the wheels as 90 degrees as possible with as little side-to-side friction as possible.
We followed all the rules. We used only the wheels, wood and nails that came in the box; we did not install any bearings or other illegal items. My son did everything he could do. I helped him make sure the the nail axles were parallel to the track and the wheels 90 degrees to the axles, but he knew what we were doing and why. He was *very* excited about having a car as fast as possible and he was very interested in what I had to say. (As a teen age person, later, he "got over" that. <g>)
The results? His (our?) car won the pack trophy and came in 2nd at the regionals. I think his/our car would have won the regionals if either: - It was more aerodynamic, or - It had not been dropped after the pack races, messing up all the axles.
My son and I had a good time working on his car. Without a doubt his car was better than anyone else's in his pack because: - He *and* I worked together, sharing the knowledge from one generation to the next, and, - At a practical level he *understood* what his engineering-dad had to say about very small things that make a big difference. When the both of us were getting the axles as parallel as possible, and the wheels as perpendicular as possible, he understood (or at least acknowledged) the "why".
He (we? <g>) just barely lost in the regionals. I think it was because his car was dropped after the pack races and we never could get the axles and wheels perfectly aligned after that.
We had a great time building and racing the car. Maybe that is the key point of the whole derby -- families working together on a common goal.
-- Mark
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"Mark Jerde" wrote in message

All points well taken. But it does make you sad for the many youngsters that don't have the kind of Dad like you guys are. They don't have a chance with the kind of parental participation absolutely required for many "childhood endeavors" these days.
Reminds of when I was playing football in HS in the late 50's, right on the cusp of the game getting out of hand with the "professional sports fan" Dad's. The next to last year we had two Dad's who had professional sports careers in mind for their sons, and it basically ruined the game for the whole team. A few of us quit in disgust at the politics/BS after that year and never went back to football. Then, lo and behold, the same damn thing happened, with the same two individuals, on the baseball team!
I've had a bad taste in my mouth ever since about parents getting involved in organized sports at that level. All you gotta do is look around to see that it's even worse today, with extreme examples making the news constantly.
So, IME, even minimal parental involvement in what should be formative "child's play" can rob a lot of kids of an experience they'll never get back. Nonetheless, you guys can't take the ills of the culture on your shoulders, and you gotta do what it takes to get your kid's raised right.
My hats off to you for making the most of it.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 1/27/07
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Who made the tune what it is?
Sinatra?
Riddle?
The four trumpets?
The four bones?
The five saxes?
The four rhythm players?
How about the board man?
Did the producer have some juice?
"The Summer Wind" is most often called a Sinatra tune, with some aficionados insisting that the Riddle influence is strong enough to make it a collaboration.
How about the young dude that was smart enough to spike Frank's coffee after the third take?
Helluva tune.
Helluva tune.
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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