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Pinewood Derby Cars

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  • #16
    My cubbies vote every year that they want a competitive race,
    that they want to know who was faster than who.

    so yes, the adults set up a certain roster of racers to make sure everyone races everyone else.
    and they get to race everyone else at least twice, so there is plenty of racing.

    We don't give out big trophies, or even little trophies. We traditionally give a chocolate car for 1st place in each den with a 1st place patch for that scout, and then we have a car judging contest, so that each scout ends up getting something--there is often quite the competition between the boys and the adults for the coolest car, or most unusual car in each den or overall in the pack.

    We have a leader who spends a bit of time smoothing out a bunch of tires and axels, so most everyone has the same tires, which then makes it about weight and a little bit about aerodynamics.

    Each kid works on their car in the den meetigs, but also can work at home. We usually see each car being cut out in the den meetings or the derby building day, which prevents dads from cutting out a car which makes it dad's car.
    we usually see the kids do some of the painting, and we often see the dads workin together in the den to get all the tires on straight.

    we do a pack weigh in the weds before the race, and we race on Friday night, and then it's scout's honor that the car checked in on Weds is the same car brought to race Friday night--although we do a quick weigh in to be sure weight wasn't added.

    The scouts check their car in, an adult leader adds graphite to each car in a similar manner after asking the scout and parent if that's ok. If the parent says they've already done it, that's ok.

    The cars are lined up across the stage by den and pictures are taken and voting score cards come out. Votes for the car that looks like it is the fastest is also a popular one.

    The webelos sell pizza, we set up tables around the race track. All the scouts sit down and watch all the other scouts race. There is much cheering and screaming and photo finishes(we actually had a mom take photo finish pictures at the finish line last year and put it up on the screen for all to see.).

    If the kids got tired of race watching, they could go color race cars, do a cubanapolis 500 race(cardboard box racers), eat and we has match box car shuffleboard for candy.

    it's a big party.
    Everyone leaves with stuff,
    everyone leaves happy.

    And 1st thru 4th in each den plus an alternate can go to the district race where they have trophies and such.

    But we also have open racing of everyone against anyone--challenging the cubmaster's car anyone?
    Each race has a dud in it made by the cubmaster, den leader, or cubbie(the pack teddy bear that wears a scout uniform and has earned all the awards). so nobody comes in last.

    and we have an adult race
    and a sibling race.

    It's one of my boy's fondest memories. especially when the littlest tiger can say "I cut out my own car!"

    so it's not the case that it can't have any competitiion,
    or it goes to the extreme competition where nobody has fun.
    WE make it fun and competitive a bit.


    • #17
      The experienced dads in our pack host two "PWD car cutting workshops" each season.

      We used to have an adult cut elaborate shapes with a bandsaw to get the boys started. But that was scrapped in favor of boy/dad powered coping saws.

      The biggest draw is two belt sanders fast-tied upside down on an 8x10 sheet of plywood. One runs a coarse belt, one runs a medium belt. The boys can shape and smooth their cars fairly well holding on with two hands. And a little sandpaper bite is a gentle way to reinforce tool safety. The younger kids need a parent to help them.
      We also strap two drills to the board and have one wheel smoothing mandrel and one for polishing axles.

      It's a social event, gets everyone fired up, and equalizes the toolheads with the single moms.


      • #18
        The PinewoodDerbyDen has a lot of helpful tips & links on their website.
        They are there to help. They are Scouters dating back to 1930.
        They do NOT offer finished cars for sale.
        But they do offer help & items for you to build a better car.
        The PinewoodDerbyDen reinvest back into the Scouting Program.