Pinewood derby ( +15 cha)

So been press ganged into making a pinewood derby car for the nephew

Any tips ?

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There’s usually an annual Fusion 360 tutorial posted on YouTube. You’ll find a ton of info if you go the Fusion route.

Please work with the nephew — don’t make the car for him.

One of my more vivid childhood memories when coming in 4th place for appearance and the race itself was being told by the Den Leader:

You did really well competing against everyone else’s Dad.


Absolutely work with the young man. As a Cub Master for 9 years, I was always saddened by 100% adult made cars.

For learning, i showed this video to everyone every year After I found it.

Only thing I did for my boys was CNC out the bottom where they told me they wanted the weights.


Agreed. My dad would help with the wheels but the paint and design was up to me. So when my son entered his first derby I took the same approach and sadly his car was the only one that looked like a 7 year old painted it. Why? Because a 7 year old did indeed paint it. The rest were off the shelf kits. In following years I let him do graphics on the computer, print to a mailing label, stick on the car and follow with lacquer. Not the same as sharpies but still his design. Our den also had an ‘outlaw’ category which was a free for all for any parents and siblings that wanted to race. I don’t think we did trophies for that category.

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But, since this is a CNC forum, check this out.
Your nephew can still help

@SeanMakes Speaking of outlaws, we had an outlaw race open to anyone the night before too… Built this one many moons ago.

I had never heard of pinewood derby, I don’t think we have that in England
Yes the nephew will be building it
I have looked into it and to be honest it’s either a money maker or people are nuts
“Polished axles” come on now it a dang nail
Faster wheels and so on

It’s adults taking over a kids project and shameful
Adults should partake in the outlaw side not the kids

But it is what it is, the nephew can work his design out and hopefully we can cut it on the cnc

Then it’s happier and axles “nails” for him to build it
I sure hope he wins cause that would be fun to watch the fathers and grandfathers beaten by a kid

Me I can’t even help them with their maths these days 2+2 used to equal 4 without all the extended calculations they have these days

Appreciate everyone’s input

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And yes I did think how I could prevent friction on the wheels and so forth as I used to tune motocross engines

But it’s not my race it’s my nephews and if he wants to win then it’s upto him to put the effort in


@FlatBaller Wow that was incredible!! Is it really a ducted fan powered card?!?!!? Do you still have it or have any pics of it?

@SeanMakes Yes it is… and it was built before I had my CNC.
I’m on the fence to build another one with the CNC and new bigger fan and smaller control board.

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Another great video! Can you send me a link to the fan you used? I’m very curious as to what kind of fan of that size could generate that much thrust.

I bought a complete EDF jet plane from a local hobby shop, with the smallest fan I could find. Flew it for about an hour, then went at it with a hot knife.

I’m pretty sure it was of the 28mm variety.
I also used an RC car ESC and controlled that from my own software on an arduino like board.

Yes I made the nephew make the car
He found center of the stock
He zeroed the cnc
He started the cnc
I just did the tool changes
Here he is painting the body of the car


While I was coaching my FIRST Robotics team, the #1 rule for all the Mentors were” We are here to ADVISE, not do”.

To everyone who let the kids do everything, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! It adds such a boost to the kid’s confidence.

In the shop with his safety glasses


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