Gary
Gary SuperDork
4/6/19 7:06 p.m.

Today was one of those exceptional days. I have three granddaughters. One is nine and the twins are seven. They all have to create "Powder Puff Pinewood Derby" race cars for Scouts. Of course, Papa (that's me) with his extensive experience with the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild model building, and a trained Engineer's knowledge of practical Physics, might be able to help in creating a competitive device that looks better than a skate board, like so many of them do. So today I worked with Rachael, the nine year old. She's a math wizard already. Top of her class. She already knows about center of gravity. I explained potential vs. kinetic energy, and how that affects a Pinewood Derby car, as well as where the weight should be placed. And of course you have to conform to the regulations. Pretty rudimentary. But that does ring true to us here on this forum. And to be able to impart some small bit of empirical knowledge and experience to a nine year old in conjunction with a simple model build ... how great is that? It went very well. She sucked up the knowledge and I felt great. The proof, of course, will be in the pudding. Race day later this month

Tomorrow will be the seven year old twins. That'll be a hoot. They just want to party. Race cars? Where the hell is the party tent? We don't need no stinkin' Physics lesson, we just want to have fun! (I envision Jimmy Buffett style shark fins on skate boards for their racers).

Who else have helped their kids build pinewood derby cars?

jfryjfry
jfryjfry HalfDork
4/7/19 4:15 p.m.
slantvaliant
slantvaliant UltraDork
4/8/19 7:55 a.m.

I built derby cars as a Cub Scout, and helped as a parent and Den Leader.  It's a fun process.

My advise is to build your own car, as a means of demonstrating techniques (and having some fun). Don't even touch the kid's car.  OK, maybe if you HAVE TO use a power tool they aren't quite ready for.  Great cars can be made with hand tools, sandpaper, and time.

Watch Down and Derby for inspiration.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
4/8/19 8:42 a.m.
jfryjfry said:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-RjJtO51ykY

 

youll love this

Man- that would have helped a lazy kid like me back in the day.  I only did it once as an Indian Guide kid....  Would love to try those old wheels again.

Gary
Gary SuperDork
4/8/19 9:23 a.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

Yes, that's a good video. Since this is my first experience, I've watched a lot of Pinewood Derby videos in the past week.

At the other end of the spectrum, there's this:

McLaren P1

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 UltimaDork
4/8/19 9:53 a.m.

Helped my kids build a good many cars over the years.  Key to being fast is using a dremel to polish the axles, and finishing with a good powdered graphite "lube job".  Keep the weight as far back as possible without having the car pop a wheelie when it hits the bottom of the hill. (The farther the weight falls, the more energy it imparts to the car).  Light cars are slow cars--use every fraction of an ounce that you're allowed.  Also, make sure the car tracks straight, or it will lose speed bumping down the track.

Have fun.  Kids always enjoyed it.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
4/8/19 12:43 p.m.
slantvaliant said:

My advise is to build your own car, as a means of demonstrating techniques (and having some fun). Don't even touch the kid's car.  OK, maybe if you HAVE TO use a power tool they aren't quite ready for.  Great cars can be made with hand tools, sandpaper, and time.

Oddly enough I was just thinking about this today.  When I was in Cub Scouts (55 years ago smiley) I did 90% of the work on my cars myself, and my dad was there mainly in an advisory capacity.  He helped me a bit with some power tool work, but even that was mostly him looking over my shoulder while I did it.  I think it should still be that way.

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
4/8/19 2:16 p.m.

Ten years ago I was my sons' den leader.  I bought a band saw, upright sander, digital scale, and drill press.  The den had several days of building their cars and we worked on all the details together.  All the cars were built to spec, using most of the speed tricks, and as a group we were entirely......average.

The fast cars were 100% designed and built by anal retentive engineer dads.  Their kids might have watched but certainly hadn't actually touched anything (really, automotive grade paint??)

Pinewood derby is a nice idea but it's frustrating for a lot of the kids.

Our Preferred Partners
V8KeShVamLmO84OFQ8tEq2pw5Y1HPReQEy6M6KuRqN1fjEhiBSukOpXq3v0pCSkG