Instructables
Picture of Pinewood Derby Car inspired by LEGO Ninjago
Our annual Cub Scout Pinewood Derby (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinewood_derby) was a chance for my six-year-old to combine two of his favorite things:  making things and LEGO, in particular the story-based world of LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu (http://ninjago.lego.com/en-us/Default.aspx).  

What follows is the story of how we built our car, tricked it out with LEGO Ninjago gear and some cool stenciling, and had a blast doing it all together as father and son.  Not that Lasha, the evil Venomari tribe scout, will be able to escape Cole, Zane, Jay or Kai, but we've certainly given him a fighting chance.

Full disclosure:  I'm by no means a skilled carpenter or brilliant artist, so everything you read and see here can be done by anyone with access to some basic woodworking tools and the listed supplies, which aside from the LEGO pieces can be found lying around the house and/or at any hardware store.  

With that in mind, let's dive in...

Step 1: Getting Started - Conceptual Design and Supplies (including LEGO Pieces)

Picture of Getting Started - Conceptual Design and Supplies (including LEGO Pieces)
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The first step was to do some conceptual sketches to figure out what exactly we wanted to do with our block of wood.  A six-year-old has lots of ideas, not all of which are technically/financially feasible and, even when they are, can be a bit more time consuming than dad has in mind.  We discussed a number of potential plans though and finally sketched out the ideas attached below.  

Our inspiration was two particular LEGO Ninjago toys that my son loves:  the Fangpyre Truck Ambush (http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Fangpyre-Truck-Ambush-9445) and Lasha's Bite Cycle (http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Lasha-s-Bite-Cycle-9447).  For the uninitiated, LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu is a world of ninjas with mystical powers, talking snakes and dragons, and the classic showdown between good and evil.  The toys themselves go along with a cartoon show that features great story lines and epic fight sequences.  

Our plan was to have our car be the same lime green as the Fangpyre vehicles--those are the bad guys--and then reuse the tail and cockpit from those same kits to give it that LEGO effect.  And of course we wanted to make the front look like a snake's head.  I've attached our scribblings as an example, as well as an action shot of the real Fangpyre Truck.

In terms of supplies, the standard derby car kit comes with the block of pine, four wheels, four nails (to secure the wheels) and some numbered stickers.  We supplemented our supplies with the following:

- One (1) Cockpit Window from the Fangpyre Truck Ambush
- One (1) Whipping Tail from Lasha's Bit Cycle (Fangpyre would work but its a bit larger and heavier)
- One (1) can of lime green spray paint
- Two (2) red rubber screw caps (for the eyes)
- One (1) think tip Sharpie (for the stenciling)  
- One (1) 1x2 thin LEGO
- One (1) 2x2 thin LEGO

The last two are CRITICAL if you want to recover the cockpit window and tail from your Derby Car, because you can just glue them on and then attach the more complex pieces.  Now onto the construction phase...
 
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So cool! Me and my bro love ninjago! Congrats!
Gracias Aubs (author)  doxielover4ever1 year ago
Thanks much! Maybe we'll do a Chima car next year :)
Gracias Aubs (author) 1 year ago
Thanks guys for the encouraging words. We actually built a bottle rocket for the cub scout campout two weeks ago and I'm thinking of another Instructables for that, this time with video :)

As I follow this whole "Maker" space more and more, I'm realizing that (1) I'm less interested in the digital design tools I've tried so far than that actual hands-on, DIY stuff, and (2) what's more important to me is the process (i.e. the quality time with my son) than what we actually make.
wilgubeast1 year ago
Awesome work. Pinewood derby races were the first events that formally honored my young and clumsy attempts at DIY. (Basement forts were grudgingly tolerated, and there were certainly no awards for them.)

If he's six, he'll have a few more chances to blend form and function. And he's already off to a great start thanks to his dad.
Great Instructable, thanks for sharing!

Your parting advice is wise; as I had way more fun building and sharing my Cub Car than I did racing it (when I was a kid).
cporteus1 year ago
Awesome dad!