Pinewood Derby - Part Deux -Bring It On Sylvan.


When he was a First Grader his Momma took him.
He was without Car and his Momma received a Kit, and the Kit was Good.
He raced a Block with Wheels - and the Block Sucked.
He did not Win, Place, nor Show.
And this Sucked.
When he was a Second Grader his Daddy took him.
His Daddy did not understand Pinewood but he was a Cabinetmaker and he helped the boy make a straight and true car from the Kit. It did not suck and the boy placed Third in his Pack.
The boy was happy and this did not suck.
His Daddy did not understand Pinewood.
This sucked.
This year the boy is a Bear Cub Third Grader.
His Daddy has studied Pinewood.
This year will not suck.
For Christmas this year the boy will receive devices that will true wheels and polish axles and show him the true path of Pinewood.
This year will not suck.
This year his Daddy will allow him to make whatever freakish design comes into his little mind and it will not suck - because it will not matter.
It is all about gravity and friction and his Daddy now understands.
This year will not suck.
This year the boy will have tungsten weights applied to the centerline so that the COG is one and one quarter inch forward of the rear wheels.
Of course, this means that the precut slots will have to be ignored so that the rear wheels can sit closer to the rear of the car. This means that the block o' pine will be drilled for the axles and will not depend on the default placement of those shabby crooked slots.
This year the stock axles will be denibbed and polished with the jeweler's rouge that is normally reserved for Daddy's best chisels. The underside of the nail heads will be coned and polished.
This year the wheels will be trued on the lathe and the hub coned to relieve the friction between hub and body. This year the internal part of the hub will be polished to an ungodly sheen.
This year will not suck.
This year the wheels will be packed with the appropriate lubricant, rather than a spit of WD-40.
This will stop some of the sucking.
This year the finish of the body will be lacquer and not paint, so that it can be polished to a degree where friction is only a possibility - but not an issue.
This year the boy will be taught why we sit the mass so far to the rear and why we worry so about friction.
I don't know how much of this he will get.
He may be informed but not yet educated.
But it will not suck.
This year the boy will learn to run the drill press.
This year the boy will learn to rough out on a well protected bandsaw.
This year the boy will learn how to polish objects on the lathe and drill press.
This year the boy will continue his education about the use of rasps and sandpaper.
This year the boy will get to run the HVLP in the spray booth.
This year the boy will be eight - but by the end of the year he will be nine.
None of this sucks.
This year his Daddy will face up to the runout issues of the drill press and lathe.
This might suck - a lot.
But, Daddy is a WoodDorker and not a freakin' machinist - so we can only take this thing so far.
But - you know what?
It will not suck.
It will be fun.
For both of us.
Yeehaa.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

... snip

Very cool. Good luck. This year ours will be 10, this will be his second pinewood. This year we also have learned the lessons of friction and also proper placement on the track.
We shall see.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Xylem wrote:

Here's my humble tip on preparation and lubrication of tuned wheels on tuned axles (all from approved stock as required).
Before you polish the internal part of the hub, thread it with a tap that is just large enough to leave grooves in the inside of the hub (probably 8-32 or 10-32, but I don't remember). Then polish the inside. Then put the wheel on the polished axle and use large amounts of powdered graphite as a lubricant to fill the internal grooves. Besides reducing friction by reducing the internal surface area, the grooves left by the tap seem to 'capture' some of the graphite which provides longer and better lubrication since you cannot perform any maintenance after the race begins.
The year we discovered this little trick we came in first in our pack and seventh in the district.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was with you up to here. Anything other than graphite is cheating. Your choice, but just what is it that you want your son to learn here?
Our group stopped running the derby. Every car was built by the father and all the winners were cheating. We just decided it wasn't a proper scouting event.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Toller wrote:

Some packs have very loose rules. Our pack had no written rules except those that came in the kit. Other packs have very tight rules to try to level the playing field. It doesn't work though. The axles are so horrible out of the box that any improvement at all will create much faster cars than those with no improvements.

Everybody knows that the younger scouts can't build their own cars. But they can take part in the building and they can certainly apply some paint. At that age, the boy is convinced he did it all himself. By the time he got into Weblos, I was telling my boy, "You build the car, and I'll help you make it fast." And we did. His later cars didn't always look as good as his earlier ones, because the boy did more of the work. But he learned a lot, and we had fun.
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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Our local pack has a very laid back attitude towards this race.
Last year there weren't even any rules beyond what was in the kit box, which was almost nothing, mostly just gross dimensions, max weight, etc. Nothing about axles, wheels, lube, etc.
The WD-40 comment was intended to show my ignorance. I didn't think anyone would think of WD-40 as an improvement over the approved dry lube.
This year we have a pack website and they've posted some rules, including the requirements about using only what comes with the kit, limitations on reshaping axles and wheels, etc.
So far as I know we don't participate in any kind of district level event, just the one pack meeting with maybe thirty kids.
They all seem to have fun and I think that pretty near every kid goes home with some kind of an award.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Xylem wrote: (Snip long tale of defeat, determination and hope.)
Tom, I've been all the way down that trail. We didn't do real well the first year, but after that we built cars that won first at the pack level 3 years in a row. My boy crossed the bridge into Boy Scouts a few years ago. The good news is, more camping trips. The bad news is, no more pinewood derbies.
I know you didn't ask for advice, but I can't resist.
If the winners at the pack level go on to District races, be sure to check the District rules. One year we won the pack race but were disqualified at District because their rules require use of the original axle slots cut in the block. You should still drill the hole for the axle, just put the hole at the top of the slot.
I'd caution against putting the center of mass too close to the rear wheels. We did that on our first car, thinking that it would reduce the friction as the front wheels rub along the center rail to find their way down the track. Problem is, some tracks have some very rough joints. The front wheels would bounce way up at the joint and sometimes they came down on top of the rail instead of straddling it. We used about a 40%/60% to 25%/75% bias on subsquent cars with much better results.
The rest of your ideas seem right on target. Especially the jeweler's rouge.
Good Luck, and please let us know how you come out.
DonkeyHody "Even an old blind hog finds an acorn every now and then."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.