Introduction: How to Make a Fast Pinewood Derby Car!

These instructions will help you build a fast Pinewood Derby car!

WARNING: This project involves working with sharp tools. If you are under the age of 18, please have an adult with you.


You will need:

-A pair of safety goggles

-A hand saw

-Some newspaper (or something similar to protect your work space)

-A pair of gloves

-Duct tape

-A writing utensil

-A ruler

-A Pinewood Derby kit (example:

-2 pairs of pliers

-A hammer

Step 1: Set Up Your Workspace

-Find a clear surface to work on

-Lay your newspaper on top of the surface. This will help protect your work area.

-Lay your block on its side. The axle slots facing towards you and the larger gap between the axle slot and the edge of the block on your left (see above).

Step 2: Planning Your Cut (Part 1)

1. With the block of wood laying on it's side, make a mark on the side of the block .25 inches above the base (see above).

Note: Your mark should be on the left side of your block (in the larger gap between the axle and the edge of the block).

Step 3: Planning Your Cut (Part 2)

1. Line up your ruler with the edge of your mark and the corner of the block farthest away from the mark (see above). This should be the corner diagonal from your mark.

2. Using your sharpie, trace a straight line along your ruler.

Step 4: Make Your Cut

WARNING: This step involves the use of a hand saw. Make sure you are wearing gloves and safety goggles. Never have your fingers in the path of the hand saw.

1. Place the blade of your saw on one end of the line. Make a small cut straight down to form a groove. This will help steady your saw. (See first image).

2. Using the groove you just created, cut straight down all the way through the wood. This will result in two triangular pieces of wood being created.

3. For the rest of the Instructable, you will be working with the piece with axle slots on the bottom.

Note: Your cut does not have to be perfect. You will smooth out your piece of wood later.

Step 5: Sand the Top

1. Make sure safety goggles are on.

2. Pick up the triangular piece of wood with axle slots (this is the piece you will use for your car).

3. Using sandpaper, smooth the top of the car (the diagonal face) by quickly rubbing the rough side of the sandpaper on it. Do this until the top is smooth.

Note: When sanding, rub the sandpaper along the length of the car. This way, you are sanding along the grain of the wood, making the surface smoother.

Step 6: Preparing the Wheels (Part 1)

1. Using one pair of pliers, clamp down on the nail near the nail head (see first image).

2. Using the second pair of pliers, clamp down on the point of the nail (see second image).

Step 7: Preparing the Wheels (Part 2)

1. Bend the nail slightly (see first image).

2. Slide a wheel onto the nail with flat side touching the nail head (see second image).

2. Repeat this for the other three nails.

Step 8: Putting the Wheels On

1. Push the nail .25 inches into the axle slot on the bottom of the car (see first image). Do this for all four wheels. The base of the wheel should be slanted away from the wooden block.

Note: If the nail will not go in easily, you can tap it with a hammer to help ease it in. When you do this, make sure the nail is inserted into the axle slot. Then, hit the side of the nail (the bottom of the car) with your hammer to push the nail further into the car.

2. Place duct tape on the bottom of the car over the nails to hold them in place.

Step 9: Decorate Your Car

1. Decorate your car by drawing on the wooden portion of it. Make any design you want!

Note: Be careful when adding decorations that stick out from the car. These might slow the car down.

Step 10: Final Product

Now that you have made your Pinewood Derby car, it's time to race!