Pinewood Derby Car Setup – Blair’s First Choice

How to Make a Fast Pinewood Derby Car

Pinewood Derby Car Setup – Blair’s First Choice

Here’s the answer to the million dollar question. What do I suggest? First, I say check your rules…… Then use the following advice. Pinewood Derby Car Setup of choice:  Physics car body 3-wheel racer. Lead Weight. 3Κ bent axles (3 × 2.5, 1 × 1.5), pliers, Wheel Polish kit or service, Derby Dust graphite. You will have to choose what wheels you want to play by, but they will determine the speed of your car second to tuning the axles correctly.

Pinewood Derby Tuning is the Key

So, you are going to need to focus mainly on tuning or adjusting your axles. You want your car to go down the track as straight as it can without going side to side. The easiest way to do this is 3 wheels touching and make it ride along the center strip. So, you purposely make it track to the high side. It takes time. It’s not technical. It’s not complicated. It just takes time.

The correct tool– axle pliers.

Pinewood Derby Car Axle Tuning / Extraction Pliers
Pinewood Derby Car Axle Tuning / Extraction Pliers

This $25 purchase is the difference between a headache and a breeze. What you will need is 4× bent axles, so that you can do this: for 4 wheels I always suggest 3×2.5 1×1.5 angles


Pinewood Derby Car | How to tune Tuning revisited | Pinewood Derby 2019



If you have to do 4 wheel tuning watch this informative how-to video.


Pinewood derby car tuning – How to tune 4 wheel riding car by Derby Dust


Pinewood Derby Car Setup Speed Axles

  • Polish level
  • 3Κ for graphite with break-in
  • 100Κ for oil or graphite with just dust and spin. You are substituting the lube for a higher polish metal.
  • Bent axles will be fastest (rail riding), however each axle needs to be adjusted (tuned), so that it steers the car down the track and not side to side. Each axle will have to be adjusted:
  • Watch the tuning video above…substitute treadmill for tuning board (if needed).
  • Bent axles for the wheel to ride in one spot and also change the amount of tread presented to track.
  • Ice skates vs roller blades just the inner part of wheel will touch. (red wheel).


Pinewood Derby Speed Axles
Pinewood Derby Speed Axles

Picture originally published on forum.


Pinewood Derby Car Setup Speed Wheels

Wheels. Lighter the better. Lighter wheels will require use of tuning pliers however to remove axles/wheels.
Polish the bores.

Either you or me. Its pretty simple.
Flawless bores will eliminate any abnormal rotation in relation to wheel spinning around axles.

Weight reduced wheels start around 1.5 grams. We offer weight reduced wheels that have all the lettering. Charlie Bravo or Black Op’s will be those weights. Charlie Bravo has factory outer tread. Black Op’s will have lathed outer tread.

Derby Worx makes a 1.5 and 1 gram wheel.

We also make a Xlite wheel that comes in under the 1.5 g weight at 1.35 g!


Pinewood Derby XLITE Speed Wheels 1.0-1.5g – Derby Dust
Pinewood Derby XLITE Speed Wheels 1.0-1.5g – Derby Dust


All these wheels will have more noticeable machining done to them.

Lighter is always better!
They are all very fast wheels.
Choose what will meet your pack’s rules.


Pinewood Derby Graphite Lube

Graphite on graphite has a lower coefficient of friction than steel on plastic. Our theory is build layers of lube on layers of lube. Then you have graphite on graphite peeling off each race. Break In / Lube building process.


How to Apply Pinewood Derby Graphite Break In Derby Dust® Dry Lube Application – Derby Dust


One thought on “Pinewood Derby Car Setup – Blair’s First Choice

  1. Pingback: Tips Tricks Making faster pinewood derby car: A checklist for the beginner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[widget id="block_widget-4"]

Copyright © 2012-2021 Machine Envy, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.  Derby Dust® is a registered trademark of Machine Envy, LLC.

Machine Envy, LLC is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by the Boy Scouts of America. Pinewood Derby® is a registered trademark of Boy Scouts of America.

Derby Worx® is a registered trade mark of Derby Worx, Inc. Rail Rider™ is a registered trademark of Derby Worx, Inc.

Awana® is a Registered Trademark of Awana Clubs International. Machine Envy, LLC is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by the Awana Clubs International.