Pinewood Freak

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Speed Tips

Do raised front ends (cheater bars) work?

February 27th, 2012 · 10 Comments

Will adding a raised front end to your car help it get a head start? One of the pieces of misguided advice I often see is to install a raised front end (often called a “cheater bar”) in the car. The theory behind the cheater bar is that when the gate drops, the top moves before […]

Maximizing weight

March 24th, 2010 · 12 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 […]

Pinewood Derby in Iraq

February 7th, 2007 · 4 Comments

Some military personnel held a pinewood derby in Iraq and posted the pictures from it. The track is fairly decent and some of the cars are amazing. I wonder where they got all the materials and kits?

Maximum Weight

January 2nd, 2007 · 32 Comments

I constantly hear from dads who remember from high school physics classes that mass doesn’t affect the rate at which something falls. If dropped in a vacuum, a bowling ball and a feather fall at exactly the same speed, so the same should be true of a Pinewood Derby car as well, right? If this […]

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 […]

Three wheels are better

January 22nd, 2006 · 35 Comments

So you’ve got the car shaped, sanded, and painted and you’re getting ready to install the wheels. You know they need to go straight. You know they need to be able to turn freely. But did you know that you should install one of them differently than the others? Your car will be faster if one […]

Wheel testing rig and method

January 18th, 2006 · 3 Comments

Stan Pope has put together a great way to test different wheel and axle configurations without the need for a track or even a car. Got an idea for a new lube you’d like to test? Or wonder what would happen if you installed the wheels at an angle? This rig will do it accurately. Wheels […]

Make sure your car fits

January 16th, 2006 · 1 Comment

It sounds like common sense, but every year I see cars that don’t fit on the track. In order for your car to race, it needs to be able to roll down the track. If there isn’t enough ground clearance between the guide rail and your car, your car will scrape the rail and slow […]

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 […]