Introduction: Wooden Downhill Racers

Picture of Wooden Downhill Racers

We made downhill wooden racers! These racers can go down slopes on paved roads or dense grass. They have small wheels so they speed up quickly but don't have a high top speed.

You can change up the design quite easily too!

Step 1: Research!

Search for soapbox derby, wooden go-kart, downhill racer - on instructables, google, and youtube. Look at the pictures and videos, and decide what you want to make!

Step 2: Materials and Tools

Materials:

  • Pine 2x4s or similar wood. 3 meters per car is enough, but get extra if you can.
  • 0.5 square meters of 2cm or thicker plywood. thick enough to make a seat.
  • 4 castor wheels, non-swiveling or swiveling (I prefer non). at least a 10cm diameter, the bigger the better (and more expensive)
  • x20 3 to 3.5 inch wood screws, with washers
  • x6 5 inch bolts, nuts, washers. thick, at least 1.5cm thick. big 2cm thick bolts would be great.
  • Any kind of paint and brushes (I used spray paint with air masks)

Tools:

Minimum:

Hand saw, hand drill with drill bits smaller than your wood screws, ruler, pencil, screwdriver, 2 wrenches that fit your bolts, 2 C Clamps

Better tools:

Power tools! Electric drill, skill saw, jig saw, electric sander and sandpaper, more clamps to hold the wood down, measuring tape, speed square. This is a fun project to use power tools on, so I suggest adding them in where possible ;)

Step 3: Play With the Tools and Materials

Picture of Play With the Tools and Materials

We made little dolly carts, and raced them down a cardboard ramp. Time trials!

This let everyone get familiar with the skills and rules needed for the project.

Step 4: Measure and Cut

Picture of Measure and Cut

Everyone can decide their own car length and wheel base length. Factor in the riders weight and strength of the wood to make sure it's not too crazy long, because then the wood will bow/bend downward too far with their weight.

Use: Wood, handsaws, clamps, measuring tape, pencils. optional: sandpaper

Step 5: Add Bolts

Picture of Add Bolts

Put two or three bolts in the back, and one bolt in the front. The one in the front should swivel for steering.

Use: Electric Drill, Drill Bits, Nut/Bolts/Washers

After, you will have a Wooden i shape (capital "i"). Test out it's length, like the kid in the picture.

Step 6: Add Steering Rope (optional)

Picture of Add Steering Rope (optional)

We added a rope to hold onto, even though you can also steer with your feet. We attached it by drilling holes, but be creative and attach however you like. Make sure to leave room for the wheels and brakes.

Step 7: Add a Seat

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Everyone designed their own seat, at a minimum this is just a square of wood bolted onto the frame.

Step 8: Add Brakes

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Use your door hinges here to add brakes! These brakes worked semi-well. Adequate. Our wood makes contact with the ground to slow the car.

Step 9: Check It Out!

Picture of Check It Out!

Check your design at this point, and check to make sure all the screws are tight.

Step 10: Add Wheels

Picture of Add Wheels

(Sorry, not a great picture here)

Add on your castor wheels! Ours had 4 bolt hole connections. Predrill the holes using the electric drill, and bolt on the castors!

If you wood width for the size of your wheels is too small, make an extension piece.

Step 11: Decorate Your Racer!

Picture of Decorate Your Racer!

We used spray paint. I would really like to build a cardboard "hood" to cover the legs, but we didn't have time.

Go crazy, make them distinct!

Step 12: Check the Wheels

Picture of Check the Wheels

Before you race, have an adult check the safety of your creation. Mainly make sure the wheels are on tight.

Sit on the car and have someone push you around. Any issues? now is the time to fix them up.

Something look like maybe an issue? Bring the tools needed to fix it to the race!

Step 13: Race!

Picture of Race!

Find a paved hill. Start with something small and not steep, then move onto bigger hills!

Bring your non-power tools, extra wood, and screws. For repairs!

Try time trials, races, and set some obstacles out!

Step 14: Share

Picture of Share

Show people what you did, and how they could do it to. Thanks Instructables!

Comments

Sav Lee-Anne (author)2017-10-17

hey i like that a lot!

next week we are building versions attached to hoverboards!

Swansong (author)2017-10-17

They look like they had a blast! Could you add some info on recommended lengths for the cuts and what build ideas worked best? This is such a fun class idea. :)

the Make Club (author)Swansong2017-10-23

it was a lot of fun. the bodies can be 1 foot longer than the kid is tall, 5 feet / 1.5 meters for example. (just guessing on the conversion).
The front could be 2.5 feet long, the back 3.2 feet. I like having the front a little smaller than the back.

2x4 wood works great, we used 4cm x 4cm (I'm in China right now)

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