Cape Fear District
Pinewood Derby 2009
Where: Hammerstone Scout Museum
When: March 28th 2009, 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm
A little Pinewood History
The pinewood derby is one of the most popular and successful family activities in Cub Scouting. Pinewood derby cars are small wooden models that boys make with help from their families and then race in competition. The cars are powered by gravity and run down a regulation track. The pinewood derby is an annual event in most packs. It can be run indoors or outdoors. Every boy can design and build his own "grand prix" car to enter in the race.
Cubmaster Don Murphy organized the first Pinewood Derby, which was raced on May 15, 1953 in Manhattan Beach, California, by Pack 280C. Murphy's son was too young to participate in the popular Soap Box Derby races, so he came up with the idea of racing miniature wood cars. he asked the Management Club at North American Aviation to sponsor a miniature racing event for his Cub Scout pack that he had named a "pinewood derby." The club agreed to pay for the wood and other materials. The cars had the same gravity-powered concept as the full-size Soap Box Derby cars, but were much smaller and easier to build.
In the 1980s, the design of the block was changed from including a cutout consistent with a 1940's style front-engined Indy 500 car to a solid block, and the tires were changed from narrow, hard plastic to wider "slicks". Blocks can be whittled with a hand knife, but this is dangerous for young boys (source: personal experience). It is usually better for a trained adult to use a band saw or Dremel carving tool for major shaping. Decals can be bought at scout shops. It is also possible to use standard model decals to replicate actual racing cars such as Richard Petty's 1970 Plymouth Superbird. The original style is based on open wheel cars, however, fender or body kits are available, or wheels can simply be placed outboard of the body.
Other than the previous basic design rules, the scout is able to carve and decorate the car as he chooses. Many scouts also add weights to the final design to bring the car to the maximum allowable weight. Cars typically vary from unfinished blocks to whimsical objects, to accurate replicas of actual cars. The fastest cars tend to resemble low doorstops, with weight at the rear. Graphite is usually the only lubricant allowed, while it often helps to polish the provided nails.
Some on line sites with tips and hints
|Pope's Pinewood Pages||Design Tips, Race Management concepts and charts, Racing Method Evaluation concepts, and a Pinewood Derby book (published online).|
|Pinewood Derby Supersite||Pinewood derby resource for racers, parents and leaders with hints on car building and running your derby.|
|GrandPrix Race Central||Information, resources and race management software for conducting Awana Grand Prix, Pinewood Derby, Kub Kar Rally, and other similar races. Includes plans and links to build your own electronic finish line sensor system, start light "Christmas" tree system, scale information, and much more.|
|The AgentZ Pinewood Derby Information||The Pinewood Derby Page currently contains some information on awards, the cars, the track, a Pinewood Derby software program for managing the racing, and a feedback section. We have added access to track plans and finish line information and free websites for pinewood derby races.|
|Rattlers Pinewood Derby Page||A site built by the Rattlers Webelo Den, (Jscript help from leaders) it includes car photos, tips, original songs, a wizard who predicts if you'll win and a madlib typetip generator|
|Pack 240 NETletter||Very fast formica covered with electronic start/finish line. Has a device to safely stop cars without damaging them. We call it "gasoline alley"|
|Ol' Buffalo Pinewood Derby Page||Tips for designing and building a winning pinewood derby car.|
|Shape N Race Derby||http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/derby/|