There are a lot of special activities that many people do not know about and have never heard of, no matter how long they have lived. To find out about them, you have to be part of that specific group or know someone who is.
To understand and know about the Pinewood Derby, you need to either be a member of the Cub Scouts, know someone who is or was, or simply continue to read our article. One of those options will fill you in on the details.
What Is Pinewood Derby?
This derby is a wooden car race much like a soap box car race. The cub scouts member must build their own car, either from a kit or with the help of their parents. A California scout leader held the first race in 1953 because his young son was not old enough to participate in regular derby races.
From that humble beginning, the idea spread until it became a national event among scouts. The concept has since been copied by other organizations and you may find the same race but under a different name.
But be careful of using the Pinewood Derby name. It is an officially registered trademark of the Boy Scouts.
Pinewood Derby Car Designs & Templates
Types of Pinewood Derby
There is only one Pinewood Derby race; all the rest are mere copycats. However, there are 7 different types of templates you or your child can choose from in order to build the perfect car for the race.
Or you can create your own design as long as it fits in with the competition’s guidelines. Here are those 7 templates you can use to help your son have great childhood memories:
- Blank car
- Car Pinewood derby
- Comet car
- Cub bus
- Midget racer
- Bullet car
One reason to use one of these templates is that they save you work and time. Each one already come with the right measurements, so you can skip that step and start building. All your child has to do is pick the car they like the best.
How to Design Your Pinewood Derby Car
The process is quite simple, and you may be able to use the same design for multiple derbies since the guidelines are basically the same. When you decide to design your own, you have a myriad of options available to you, as long as those designs fit the guidelines for the car’s dimensions and look. Here are the steps in the process:
Step #1: Go online or get a soapbox car design book and choose the design you want. Or you can brainstorm ideas if you want.
Step #2: Sketch the design on a piece of paper. This is like creating your blueprint, as you should add in measurements. Some people sketch the design on a large piece of paper then cut out the design.
Step #3: Trace your design onto large pieces of plywood and cut them out. Or cut the wood using your measurements as a guide.
Step #4: Drill holes for your weights after deciding where they will go.
Step #5: Shape your pieces and use sandpaper to get rid of splinters. After sanding, you can paint the wood and seal the paint.
Tips for using a Pinewood Derby template
- This is a project and event that can be used as a great bonding and teaching moment. Make sure your kid is involved every step of the way and let them make their decisions with advice from you.
- Pick the template that will not only look good but will have the best aerodynamic shape.
- Make sure the dimensions will allow the weights to be put in strategic positions for better racing.
- Hot glue is the best way to attach the weights you will use in the car. You have lots of options to use when it comes to weights.
- Double-check the track’s dimensions. This will help you build the car so that it will fit comfortably inside the track and not get slowed down.
Childhood memories last a long time. Even if your child is not a member of the Cub Scouts, he can still participate in similar races held by other organizations. Then working with your son in building and designing the car not only helps you bond with your child, it helps build confidence in them.
The techniques and training you provide will also last the life of your child and help them grow up better.