Pinewood derby question?

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LRod wrote:

Only the builder knows for sure . . .
But, if you try (unsuccessfully) to raise a wheel on the heavy end, you inadvertently lower the body at that location which may cause it to drag on the center rail. It's better to raise the correct wheel in the first place so you don't have that problem.
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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I remember my first pine wood derby. Mydad watched and gave me some instruction when I was building my car. I was so proud of what I had built and my dad saw that I was. The day of the derby we walked in and there where cars that looked like indy cars and formula 1 cars some even had spark plug wires.My dad walked up and told the scout master that this was my last day in scouts.As we where leaving the derby started and all the other dads where having a good time racing THERE cars.On the way home my dad tried to explain to me that when you are involved in something for you that it should be up to you to do your best. I did not understand at the time. Growing up and getting married raising my own kids I get it know. Im 46 now. My daugther is 20 my son 18. I do help my kids but I dont do what they should be doing for themselves. They are turning out to be very self sufficent. Dont get me wrong I love my kids but its nice to see that they can do things on there own and make good decisions. THANKS DAD.

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Rich wrote:

It's good that you have been able to find wisdom in your dad's course of action. I think you could have learned many more valuable lessons by staying in Scouts.
I wasn't involved in Scouts as a kid. But as a dad, I see tremendous benefit to the boys from the experience of Boy Scouts (much more than Cub Scouts or Weblos). I'm very glad my son has the privilege to participate.
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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I remember my first pine wood derby. Mydad watched and gave me some instruction when I was building my car. I was so proud of what I had built and my dad saw that I was. The day of the derby we walked in and there where cars that looked like indy cars and formula 1 cars some even had spark plug wires.My dad walked up and told the scout master that this was my last day in scouts.As we where leaving the derby started and all the other dads where having a good time racing THERE cars.On the way home my dad tried to explain to me that when you are involved in something for you that it should be up to you to do your best. I did not understand at the time. Growing up and getting married raising my own kids I get it know. Im 46 now. My daugther is 20 my son 18. I do help my kids but I dont do what they should be doing for themselves. They are turning out to be very self sufficent. Dont get me wrong I love my kids but its nice to see that they can do things on there own and make good decisions. THANKS DAD.

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Joe wrote:

I have done a father-son clinic in my shop for years and have helped build scores of cars. Some argue that if you lift one of the fron wheels up a bit, and you can keep it running straight, you will have less friction. Some also argue tilting wheels on edge also helps. I don't really know if it helps that much. Polishing the axels is important and aligning the wheels is important. After that, it is marginal at best for the rest of the stuff.
My goal each year is getting my son to use two or three different tools that he didn't use the year before. Maybe it is a carving goage, rasp, a hand router, spokeshave or using stop cuts, or whatever. When I do the clinic, I bandsaw out the rough shapes for some of the youger scouts if they want, but I explain it is just as easy to get down to the lines with spoke shave or chisel or even a sharp pocket knife. I spend a lot of time going around telling dads to let they boys run the tools for awhile.
I won my first year, and then spent the better part of a Saturday watching my son's car getting killed in the District tournament. I was glad to have him get the experience of winning and losing about something he cared about. It was good character development, but I have never had a big desire to repeat the experience. Each year I look at the completed car and think about spending a half an hour aligning the wheels. I know that if I do, he will likely win. I spend some time teaching my son to do it, but I don't do it.
When I have run our pack derby, I deemphasize the fastest car award. I know about all the bullcrap feel-good awards. However, it isn't a even playing field for the boys in terms of building and tuning the cars. It isn't fair to penalize the boys who don't have as much or as skilled assistance. I make sure each boy get an identical looking award, even if the award is for the "Best painted block of wood with wheels". Even though my kids are now teenagers, they still have their cars displayed on shelves with whatever ribbon they won.
Good luck on you car an enjoy the time with your boy.
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What happens if you race the same set of cars against each other repeatedly? Are there _really_ "fast" cars ?
On a really bizarre note, has anyone ever heard of pinewood derbies being held in the UK, or particularly Northern Ireland? It sounds like a great idea.
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Andy Dingley wrote...

You get more accurate results. :-)

Certainly!
Ideally, the rules are devised so as to limit the available performance improvements to those that can be accomplished by an eight to ten year- old boy with a reasonably knowledgeable mentor and rudimentary tools.
When I was doing this stuff, we added open and unlimited categories to give the more zealous mentors the opportunity to satisfy their urges without taking over their boys' cars.
Jim
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Andy Dingley wrote:

Yes, Virginia, there are really fast cars.
Scouting has a huge presence on our military bases overseas. While we were in Japan, my son participated in large pack races two years in a row. Each year, over 90 cars raced a double elimination tournament with the winner of each race determined by a best 2 out of 3 trips down the track against the same opponent. That meant the slowest cars went down the track at least 4 times and the fastest cars went down several dozen times.
Each year, there was one car that crossed the finish line first every single time it ran. The first year, it was someone else's car. The second year, it was my son's.
When we came back to the States, we repeated the feat two more years at smaller pack races.
Fast cars don't just exist in the fantasies of kids young and old. They are real, and we built 'em.
DonkeyHody "A poor workman quarrels with his tools." - American Indian Proverb
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reduce
one
Thank you all for your input we will be keeping all four wheels on the track Joe
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