Picture of How to Create a Pinewood Derby Car
Well, here it is Pinewood Derby time, again, for our Pack.  We hold the Derby in January and hand out the car kits at November’s Pack Meeting.  Each year the Cubs need to create a new car.  They can’t use last year’s previously experienced car.  We run two sets of races.  Cubs race against Cubs, and Open Class, is for everyone else.   Now I will show you how I set about creating a Pinewood Derby Car for the Open Class, although everything I show will be allowed for the Cubs cars.  Remember that there is no “Pinewood Derby Car Police” which will rule on how the car is created.  The cars are only judged on whether or not they meet the stated, race time, requirements, as found on the paper included with the kit.  Here we go!
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Step 1:

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Car Kit
Sand paper (Grade, 120, 140, 180, 220)
Knife or hack saw or rotary tool
Spray paint
E-6000 glue
Paper cups (to set the car on while being painted)
Digital scales
Screw driver
Square file
Terry cloth
Square (to see if the axel channels are square to the car, if not, you will need to redo them)
Boby tool,
Wheel mandrel
Axel press

Step 2:

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If your Pack provides you with a kit, use that.  Otherwise choose a kit.  You can use an official BSA kit or ones available at local craft or hobby stores.  I chose the one in the middle, except I hate the solid piece axels, so I traded for the nail axels in the kit on the left.  Also the completed car, with added weights, needs to weight no more than 5oz (or 142 grams).

Step 3:

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First thing you need to do is see if the axel channels on the bottom of the care are square to the car.  If they are not, fill in the channels with wood filler.  Once dry, sand it down and re drill the holes using this, a body tool.  Follow the directions with the tool.  Mine were straight so I didn’t have to use it this time
BluesBayou2 years ago
We have the boys build sanding stick for this step. Trace out a craft stick on the back of the different grits of paper, then cut them out and glue the cut outs onto the craft sticks - this way little fingers aren't too close to spinging drill parts..
dimtick2 years ago
this comment comes a little late.
one thing that i did with my sons car is that instead of mounting the weights to the bottom, i mount them to the top and as far back as possible. the idea is this puts the weight higher off the ground and will give you a little extra gravity boost.
in case you didn't do it you should put some graphite lubricant on the axels and on the side of the car where the wheels hit the wood. i'm guessing you did this but i didn't see it in the write up.
craftknowitall (author)  dimtick2 years ago
Never too late, someone is making a pinewood derby car, somewhere, so something new is good. I didn't thing of the graphite, because our Cub Master does it to all the cars the day of the race. So Thanks for the additional info. And thanks for looking.
I made one too! i'll post a picture soon it's almost finished
I am excited to view it! Thanks for looking.
ur welcome!
it's a hummer i got a new camera so i'm tryin to learn how to upload pix to comp.Thanks!
pliska3 years ago
Dremel tool works great for this.
craftknowitall (author)  pliska3 years ago
Thanks for all your suggestions. I am not comfortable with the Drimel, I'm not sure why. We bought the tools as a Pack because we have many single Moms and their personal tool list is limited. I usually lend them my drill and the tool kit. We offer to cut the car to the design the Cub draws on the sides etc. We do the best we can to help as we can without doing it all ourselves. Thanks again for your comments.
hjjusa3 years ago
I missed Cub Scouts and went directly to Boy Scouts, but my little brother was in Cubs and he asked me to help him to build his pinewood derby. I Built the most areodynamic one I could, But when he saw it he cried cause it was too light and back then any kind of weights were illegal so I screwed up his car but it sure looked good!
craftknowitall (author)  hjjusa3 years ago
When my son was in Cubs, I was a single Mom, his cars didn't win either. He is now a Cub Master and he says he doesn't hold it against me. He plans on making his own car this winter for an early spring Derby. I am so proud of him.
pliska3 years ago
I recommend recessing the weights about a millimeter when going under the car with them. That way they are sure not to drag on the track.
pliska3 years ago
I used a heavier wood one year and cut it to specs. This allows for more balance in the weight of the car. It was easier for my son to work as well since it did not scratch an ding as much as the soft pine.
pliska3 years ago
As an alternative. I used my drill press to square up the axle holes. Make sure you are using the right size bit by doing a test drill in scrap wood.
Oh my. I am completely prepared to lose to you!
craftknowitall (author)  artisnotfart3 years ago
LOL, Thanks!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Great design! I used to race these derby cars all the time when I was a kid (I didn't win ever either).
craftknowitall (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
I bet you learned stuff while you made your cars, didn't you? I know I do and I have been in Cub Scouting going on 20 years. Have a Merry Christmas!
Cub Scouts was great for this kind of thing, learning how to do it yourself and then seeing how everyone else made theirs. I was always more of a fan of the designs than the speed, but both were fun!
The PinewoodDerbyDen.Com Has a lot of links & Tips for Pinewood Derby also.
I am aware and I direct the members of my pack to that site. I am the one making this car for January's race, and I have learned to make an Instructable of everything I do. Since I was making the car anyway, why not! Thanks for looking.