Choosing the Best Pinewood Derby Wheels
Pinewood Derby® wheels are made with an injection molding process. During this process the plastic can blister due to heat of the mold or moisture content in the plastic chips. Those blisters cause imperfections in the wheel. Imperfections increase friction. Choosing the best pinewood wheels to start your build is one of the most important tips you must not overlook.
In 2009, BSA produced a new wheel mold with improvements to previous designs. Today’s Pinewood Derby® wheels require little preparation to be race ready when compared to previous molds. Unfortunately, most of your competitors will have the exact same wheels that are equally fast. After 12 years of production the molds are showing signs of wear. Thus, it is important to inspect your wheels prior to racing. Choosing the best Pinewood Derby® wheels is crucial. No wheel mold is safe from flaws. Having the best wheels helps a lot to get you to the finish line quicker.
Once you have chosen the best Pinewood Derby® wheels, then it is time to prepare them for racing. Using a proper PWD wheel tool to prepare each part of the racing wheel will ensure that a wheel will be consistently matched to its other 3 wheels for the smooth quiet ride down the track. Proper tooling is the key. Stay away from the life hacks you see some people showing. A shaved piece of metal with a wheel on a mandrel while spinning on a drill press is nowhere as safe or accurate as a wheel on a lathe or using the Pro Wheel Shaver.
Out of balance wheels cause improper alignment at higher speeds. This is something that is greatly misunderstood. A fully assembled derby car can roll perfectly on a tuning board, but different things happen at max speed while on the track. This is why we show all of our testing on a treadmill at 10 MPH. As an out of balance wheel travels down the track and gains speed the wheel will raise and drop, which will cause the car to pull to one side or wobble back and forth depending on how bad or how many wheels are out of balance. Once the death wobble starts it never stops. If this happens to you, I recommend starting over. Choosing the best Pinewood Derby® wheels requires checking many things.
Weight Reduced Pinewood Wheel