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Pros and Cons of Aluminum Pinewood Derby Track

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  • Pros and Cons of Aluminum Pinewood Derby Track

    Looking for feedback on the pros and cons of a new aluminum track... Currently have a wooden one and we are thinking of switching to aluminum for its replacement. Do we need to be worried about wear and tear? Do we need to be worried about pings and dents? How sturdy are they?

  • #2
    Very sturdy ... very durable ... but as always treat gently.

    - If an option, have the track anodized. Makes it look nice longer by avoiding small scratches.

    - Buy some foam to put between the tracks when you store them.

    - Alignment. Only problem we have had is reassembly and alignment. The issue is that each track section is made up of one piece per lane bolted together. All are joined at right angles. No triangles. Thus the track can "shift" a little. That requires loosening bolts, realigning and re-tightening. This is easy to fix if you are careful when you pack it and also firmly tighten the bolts after alignment.

    PRO - Nice smooth surface. Consistent times across lanes. Looks nice. Impressive. Relatively small for storage.

    CONS - Heavy as a beast when carried as one package. Even heavier if you build a storage box. Give yourself an extra 15 to 30 minutes to align the track when setting it up.

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    • jallen0520
      jallen0520 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the feedback. How long have you had yours? Can it withstand minor bumps or is it easily dented? Have you ever dropped it? I'm worried about warping/twisting... Our fear with our wooden one is that we're going to soon get to the point where the joints get loose, we have no good stopping mechanism, lane times are inconsistent, setup is a pain because we have to find 4 tables that are same height and are level or we have to do a lot of shimming... we love the idea that these aluminum ones can come with their own stands eliminating a lot of that work... just wicked nervous about the durability.

  • #3
    For what it's worth.....

    Our pack has a plastic track
    District race last year was a wooden track
    Council race was an aluminum track.

    From the standpoint of how the cars ran on it I think plastic wins with wood maybe in the lead if the joints are good.
    I didn't like the look of the metal track, didn't like the sound from it, and it looked like a lot more work to set up.
    Also, on the metal track, the transition form slope to horizontal is a relatively tight radius and not a smooth transition. I think it affects how the cars run.

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    • #4
      Replaced the pack's track with aluminum about 14 yrs ago and still in use I think.
      We simply mounted alum track on the old (4-section homemade) wooden track bed. no alignment problems as the old one was structurally sound, just beat up.

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