Pinewood Freak

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Construction Tips

Maximizing weight

March 24th, 2010 · 14 Comments

Mike from Phoenix wrote in with an observation on how scales work, and how to use this to your advantage. I noticed at my son’s pinewood derby this morning that his car weighed in at 5.1 ounces (the scale they used read out to one decimal place). I was a bit surprised and did a little […]

Even easier race day weight adjustment

January 1st, 2007 · 7 Comments

It’s important to make sure your car is exactly 5 ounces on race day. But I’d suggest keeping it slightly underweight until you get to the race. It’s always easier to add weight than it is to remove it. Last year our Scout District race was held outside on a car lot in April. Almost every […]

Efficient weighting with tungsten powder

January 19th, 2006 · 10 Comments

Those pinewood weights you buy at the craft store aren’t lead and aren’t very dense. Lead is nearly twice as heavy as that stuff. Don’t use it if you want to win. Usually I melt lead bird shot into holes drilled in the car body. It’s an efficient way of weighting the car, but this year […]

Advanced painting tips

January 18th, 2006 · 5 Comments

To get a very smooth paint job on your car, you’ll need to go to a bit more work than the basic painting tips. Wet painting, wet sanding, polishing, and even waxing can all give you a fantastic finish. To wet paint, you need to spray dozens of thin coats of paint on your car without […]

Ensure adequate wheel clearance

January 15th, 2006 · 10 Comments

When you build your car, make sure there’s enough clearance between the wheels and the body that the wheels can freely spin. If you tighten the axles too much, your wheels won’t be able to spin without making contact with both the car body and the axle hub. Don’t make those wheels too loose, though. If […]

A nice paint job

January 6th, 2006 · 5 Comments

Most kids, in addition to winning the race, want their cars to look cool. There’s a couple of simple steps to a nice paint finish that any age child can do. Before you even start to paint, make sure you have a well-sanded body. Every nick, every cut, and every rough spot will be 100 times […]

How to cut your car

January 6th, 2006 · 8 Comments

Each year the dilema around pinewood derby homes is how to cut out your car. If you’re lucky you know somone with a band saw. I finally broke down and bought a band saw this year — it’s amazing how inexpensive they are getting. Mine was under $70. But if you don’t have access to […]

How to align your wheels

January 4th, 2006 · 13 Comments

Most blocks that come in pinewood kits don’t have straight holes cut for the axles. They’re all manner of crooked, so you’ll need to make your own holes using a miter saw or a drill press. You can also use a carpenter’s square and a hand saw to square up the holes, but it’s a […]

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