Turning Archive 2005

OT:pine-wood derby car *PIC*

Keith Tompkins
>While in Indy for a demo, I mentioned a character flaw....a huge competitive streak. We had a good laugh about my son's (?) pine-wood derby car.

In my defense, I live in the land of IBM; all other dads were designing their cars at work
on computer programs. We needed a bit of Yankee ingenuity to be competitive.....there was way over 40 hours in this thing!

A bit of trial and error experimentation showed the weight in the rear resulted in faster times, so we cut the nose off the car, and glued the cut-off to the rear. This moved the front wheels as forward as possible, allowing more overhang in the rear. The slots provided in the blank for the axles to be mounted were filled in, and a drill press was used to drill new holes straight through the body for truer alignment.

The resulting rear wing was then filled with lead. Holes bored through the body allowed different placement of weights, which ended up in the rear-most area. The original wheels (now long-gone) were trued up on the lathe, then reversed to remove as much material as possible The hole in the wheels that supported the axles was modified with a dremel bit; now only the inside and outside edges touched the axle, reducing surface area and friction. We figured out a way to balance the wheels also. The axle pins were heavily polished, the wheels were then filled with graphite, which was sealed in with price-tags as hubcaps,which were then painted black. The car ran on three wheels, one front wheel never touched the ground....1/4 less friction, etc.

How did it do? It won locally, beating over 90 cars...most by half the distance of the track. In the tri-county runoff, it was disqualified....they refused to believe we had made the car, and wanted to know where we purchased the wheels. The NEXT year....

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.