Pinewood Freak

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Keep the weight low

December 3rd, 2005 · 4 Comments

One of the questions that comes up often is where to put the weight on the pinewood car. Should it go in front, back, top, bottom…?

Placing the weight in such a way that your car has a low center of gravity is beneficial. Vibration and movement are the enemy of a fast car. The smoother and straighter your car’s ride, the faster it will be.

Putting the weight low to the ground will help the stability of your car and contribute to a smooth ride. Every bump on the track will be magnified if your center of gravity is too high. Think of a tall lamp sitting on the ground. If the top of the lamp is too heavy, it is easier to knock over. But if the weight is all in the base, then the lamp responds to small bumps with hardly any movement.


4 comments so far ↓

  • J Brunner // Mar 17, 2009 at 7:53 am

    It also increases the distance that the weight falls on a typical derby track that is sloped at the start and flat at the end.
    A lot of people think that getting the weight as high above the floor as possible by putting it high up in the car is beneficial. Actually, this reduces the falling distance of the weight.

    See my post under Optimum weight location:

  • Don (known as PAPA) // Feb 12, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Hello. I have built ten derby cars. three for my son. He won two. three for my son-in-laws first child and three for his second child. and one for the Washington derby here in the sound. eight of the ten I built won first place and one took second place. I build a slender car about inch thick. Hollow out the bottom from in front of the rear wheels to the front. I buy those long non-lead flat weights that screw into the wood. I break off the front of it because its too long and place the broken off piece under to long piece just in front of the rear wheel axil. So there is a little piece under the long weight. I make sure that there are no rough spots on the nails (axil) and polish them real good. ALso take off all plastic from the tires. The car with wheels weighs 2.5 ounce and the weight is 2.5 ounce. This design has got me 2.788 seconds down the track to finish. The weight being low or along the bottom is the bigest secret. My new car is 2.0 ounce and 3.0 weights. It has speed the car up to 2.576. That is the fastest I have been able to find on the internet and at other derby races. I just wanted to say I agree with the weight being along the bottom. As I said, it is the biggest secret and placement. Pass it along.

  • Hypertech Pine // Sep 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    There are a few older tracks out there that are straight ramps with no flat sections. In there cases the weight can be centered in the car with no detrimental effects.

  • Bill Klingler // Jan 25, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Keeping the weight low is correct because it follows the Laws of Physics. However, what weight? Zinc and lead do not give you what you need because of their density. The most affordable thing is tungsten and it’s best to use cubes. The car should be no more than 1/4″ thick and strive to add 4 oz. of weight, 2 ounces behind the rear axle slot and the other 2 in front. Go for a 5/8″ Center of Mass since tracks are getting much better. Railride if rules allow.

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