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Cubmaster-Fred

Wood versus Aluminum!

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Our Pack has just had a local branch of a major national company, pledge $400.00 towardsa new PWD track. I was just wondering what the pros and cons of aluminum versus wood. I would like to hear everyones preferences. Most of the leaders say an aluminum one, but I just don't know enough about them.

 

Fred

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Our pack just purchased a new aluminum Pinewood Derby track. We were very fortunate in the fact that we had a lot of donations and were able to get pretty much all the bling.

 

Compared to our old track (which was in very bad shape) the aluminum track was fantastic. We only had 1 car fly off the track and that was near the end of the track so no damage was done to the car. The cars ran very fast so the kids were really excited.

 

Because of the donations we recieved we were also able to purchase the timer. The kids were absolutely thrilled that they could see instantly who won the race and how fast their car was going. We were also fortunate that the firehouse where we ran our Pinewood Derby had a projector that they set up that projected the scores and the standings almost instantaneously onto the wall. The software is easy to use and the only glitch we had was that we had the lanes marked backwards which was easily corrected.

 

All in all I give the aluminum track 2 thumbs up.

 

 

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We have a wooden track that is a only a couple of years old. It's 4 lane & runs fine. We're not into fast & wood is traditional with us, so we like it.

 

Other than speed issues, I would think the main differences would be in space & storage conditions. The box for the wood track takes up a chunk of space, but I would think that the aluminum is not much smaller. The issue to consider might be if your storage space is very damp or humid. The wood track might warp in those conditions whereas the aluminum one would not.

 

 

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Personally I like the wood track. It's a pine WOOD derby, eh? But I really don't think it matters much to the kids one way or the other.

 

By all means, get the timer if you don't already have one. Speaking from experience (running races with and without a timer), that's the most important tool in terms of placating hyper-involved parents who are just "sure" that their son's car came in first by a hair's breadth. Also yeah, the kids like them.

 

Lisa'bob

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I'm kind of in agreement with the previous two posters, but I do see a strong case for aluminum nonetheless. We ran our derby this year and decided to go to aluminum because the car that ran down track 2 won every race without fail during the finals. Even switching the cars and running a second heat, and going through the finals all over again due to the confusion. With an aluminum track, it's easier to guarantee that it's the car that's doing the winning, and not the track.

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Kaji, I have to disagree. I have seen both wood and aluminum tracks with exactly the problem that you described. I have also seen both types of tracks without this problem. In fact I routinely use data from a couple of tracks (one wood, one aluminum) as examples in my statistics courses, to teach students how to determine if there are true differences in car speed, depending on which lane a given car is assigned to race in.

 

The best way we found to avoid this problem (regardless of the track)is to run each car in every lane so that nobody can claim that they got a bum deal due to the lane they were assigned.

 

Lisa'bob

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Hear, hear on that last line, Lisa! The boys certainly deserve a fair shot for all the effort put into it.

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>The best way we found to avoid this problem (regardless of the track)is to run each car in every lane so that nobody can claim that they got a bum deal due to the lane they were assigned.

 

Lisa'bob >

 

This is the way we do it. We also have a wood track - we just keep fixin' and patchin' and it goes on. Would the dings and lumps that a track has to take over the years be as easy to fix with an aluminim track?

 

Vicki

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