Creative Woodworking Cars: Pinewood Derby Ideas

Creative Woodworking Cars: Pinewood Derby Ideas

Robot car, tank, or a wedge of cheese—anything goes in the pinewood derby! Building a derby car is the perfect-sized project to complete with children. Here are some pinewood derby ideas and things to keep in mind!

Make a plan

Brainstorm pinewood derby ideas with your youngster. Encourage him to come up with multiple ideas, and choose the best one. Decide if you want to make a funny car, a slick car, or a replica. Sketch it out!

Think outside the block of wood

Elevate your design. If your child decides on a SpongeBob design—instead of just painting the block of wood, glue pieces of sponge and googly eyes to it. Or if your pinewood derby idea is a robot you can incorporate actual lights and sounds. You don’t even need to be a master electrician; you can disassemble toys and use the electronics in your derby car!

Make it fast

Weight equals speed. Inset weights to the bottom of your car to reach the maximum weight allowed. Have smooth wheels! Use a Dremel tool with a wheel turning mandrel and medium grit sandpaper to remove any roughness from the wheel. Smooth your axels! Insert the axel in to the Dremel tool and use a fine cut file to smooth out any burs. Make sure to smooth the seam behind the nail head as well.

Know the rules

When coming up with your pinewood derby idea, keep in mind the size and weight requirements. Know the rules on the type of lubricant you can use and what modifications can be made to the wheel and axel.