We have had some interesting pinewood derby cars over the years. All with mixed results.
Year one we did a bakugan car. We caved out a hole in the car for the bakugan to sit in and it had enough room for the wings to expand. It is the only car I can’t find a picture of. It was our first car together and it turned out okay. The car actually ran quite well and finished in the top half of the pack.
Pinewood Car 2011
The second year we decided to do a Lego inspired car. This car was not as fast as the first one but it won a prize. It was declared the “Most Unique Car” of the entire pack!
We learned some interesting lessons from this car. First is that wheels are important. It is important to sand, and polish the axles of the car. Friction is your worst enemy in a pinewood car. Also most Pinewood Derby cars will fishtail as they roll down the track. Fishtailing slows the car down by increasing friction. You can reduce fishtailing by sanding the front of the car so that the wheels on the front are slightly closer together. Then as the car goes down the track, only the front wheels will touch the center guide rail.
Pinewood Derby 2012
We decided to go Army for 2012. I was pretty proud of this design because we cut in a little bunker for the army men and then sides of the car were actually the weights. This was 100% done by Logan and myself. Again we were in the top half of the pack but did not win any awards.
This year we learned more about the weight of the car. Five ounces is the magic weight. The closer you can get to five ounces, the faster your Pinewood Derby car should fly down the track.
Pinewood cars are driven by one thing – gravity, or more specifically, potential energy due to gravity. The greater potential energy, the faster your car will go. The difference is so slight, but a car with the greatest amount of weight placed toward the rear should have slightly more potential energy than if the weights are placed in front. This varies depending on the angle of the Pinewood Derby track, but even the difference of a couple inches may give your car a speed advantage at the bottom end of the track.
So we took what we have learned over the last three years and we started to apply it to our 2013 car. We started building the car a few weeks before the race. First we had to come up with a design. I think because of the hype around Christmas and my son getting his first iPod Touch he wanted to make an iPinewood Derby Car. So that’s what we did!! We decided to basically cut the block of wood in half and sand the edges. We then worked together on getting a design for the top, worked on the wheels and then took an old pair of Apple headphones and we cut them and then glued them on the top of the car. I did make a big mistake!!
Apple is known for it’s sleek design and for its products being new and shiny. So I bought some gloss to put over the paper design. I wanted it to look shiny and new and for the paper to be a part of the car instead of it look like a wrap. However, It turned out to be a disaster and this is what it looked like. ————>
I ruined it!!!
I was so upset. Thankfully my son was not as upset when he got home.
So we stripped the paper off, we started to sand it all over again.
Then late that night after my meetings I was able to print off a new wrap and glue it on. The race was only a few days away and I need to make sure we were ready!!!!
After a frantic day making sure we were all set both my son and I were proud of our creation.
Pinewood Derby 2013
The iPhone Pinewood Derby car.
It turned out to be a pretty awesome car. It was fast but he did not win any trophies. There were 2-3 cars that were consistently as fast as his car if not faster. I think he would of won a trophy in his den but he had one bad race where he got 4th place. Overall in his den he got 4th place and he was in the top half of his pack. I can’t wait to see what we come up with next year!!
Here is a picture of his award: