Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to have a tuning board? YES and NO

  • Tuning board will be best method, but can be most time consuming as multiple heats will have to be ran in order to visualize results. Tuning board with “gutter” bumbers would be best to ensure that you car does not all off.
  • A table is not a tuning board.
  • Pushing is NOT ALLOWED. car must fall on its own free weight to give accurate results
  • Click here for more info on tuning.

A treadmill can be used instead of a tuning board. This will give a real time static indication of properly adjusted axles.

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Few things to address here. IF you order 3 degree drilled rear axles, you can not place BENT AXLES in them. This will cause a compound bend that will be near impossible to align without some serious time and testing. It all comes down to time when choosing. Just to be clear, when the pro racers say one method is faster, what they are not telling you is that they drill sometimes 20-30 bodies to get the perfect body. If you only have 1 shot, 1 night to complete your build, TIME will be your biggest determination.

Why Drilled Rear?

Car body drilled at negative camber parallel with slots / body. There is no toe in or toe out that will cause steering. The negative camber will force the wheel to ride away from the car body on the axle head. No adjustments needed when properly drilled. The only adjustment needed will be the front steer axle.

PRO’s

  • Gives advantage of rear camber or always pushing the wheel against the axle head thus eliminating fishing tailing due to axle alignment. (however you may still fishtail due to weight / cog placement).
  • Uses straight axles. No adjustments
  • Quickest possible alignment if time is a key factor

CON’s

  • It is what it is. no adjustments. May be slightly off, or not the fastest the car can truly be.
  • If axles are not straight, you may get unwanted steering that can not be adjusted

Why Bent Axles?

PRO’s

  • Can make minute adjustments to each wheel to ensure that the steer wheel is the only wheel touching the center rail for fastest possible outcomes
  • Allows corrections if axles are not perfectly straight
  • Allows perfect tuning

CON’s

  • Requires every single axle to be adjusted
  • Takes more time
  • Requires a greater understanding of tuning since each wheel is a steering wheel.

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Applying Weights (if weights are not installed) 

We are going to take adding weights into two parts so that we can properly adjust our COG. To do this, we first only install the rear weight as this time. Adding the remaining weight will be the second part – Adjusting COG

Rear weight is weight behind the rear axle. If using cargo or canopy weights, please skip to next section

  • Using an epoxy is the preferred glue of choice. Gel super glue is next in line. Yellow or wood glue will not work.
  • If you are melting lead have your child watch from far away (Adult only). Once lead is poured wait for it to cool before proceeding.
  • Once rear weights are installed, apply wood putty to cover the weight. Please DON’T putty any underside pockets. For underside pockets use foil HVAC tape instead. It will take too long for wood putty to dry and is not necessary.

If using a cargo or canopy style weight. DO NOT glue in place until the COG is adjusted. Skip to Adjusting COG.

 Adjusting COG (30 mins)

  • Assemble your tooling – COG stand, additional weight to bring the car to final weight range, mockup wheels and axles, and a weight scale that measures in grams.
  • Mark the desired location on your car body for balancing based on your track conditions. 
  • Weigh your car as is with wheels and axles on the scale. It should be underweight at this point. Set aside whatever weight is needed (usually with tungsten putty) to bring the car, axles, and wheels to a working weight of 131 grams (125 grams if using putty to cover weight).
  • Push in wheels and axles only for the purpose of finding COG. Do not fully install them. Final wheel and axle installation is done after the car is painted. This is not permanent at this time, do not use glue.
  • Once COG is attained, note the location of where the balance takes place. Install the remaining weight ballast in the car. Recheck COG to assure it is properly placed. Glue in place to ensure that it will not come loose during racing. Apply wood putty to cover the weight installed from the side or back of the car. Finish painting your car. Use foil tape for any underside pockets.
  • TAKE any remaining tungsten putty with you to final check-in on race day to bring the car to the official 5.000oz on the official scale.

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Wood track with center strip: I suggest a COG of no less than 3/4 of an inch. Ideal is probably 1″ or maybe just a hair more. Keep the weight as close to the track as you can for the energy advantage, meaning as low as you can stack it on the wood body. 3 wheel center rail riding with camber wheels. will have the best advantage. Adjust your rail riding steer to 1″ on 4 feet of travel. Because the wood may splinter and no one really checks for this, I suggest a thicker or full factory rim wheel edge to ensure that the car will roll smoothly especially for the steer wheel. I believe that a thinned-out edge will cause excessive friction and not allow the wheel to slide all the way down the track. So, no wheel weights under 1.5gram. Utilize the “stealth cut” design wheel where there is the full rounded factory edge if you are allowed to use a weight reduced wheel.


Wood track WITHOUT center strip. These are just straight chutes for racing. Fastest cars will be straight shooters that never touch the bumpers. I suggest a COG of no less than 3/4 of an inch. Ideal is probably 1″ maybe just a hair more. Keep the weight as close to the track as you can for the energy advantage. Straight shooter…get that tuning board and adjust, adjust, adjust. Advantage here will be wheel weight. The lighter wheel you can use, the faster your champion racer will be which means the 1 gram wheels will give you the fastest runs. Camber all the wheels that are touching the ground. 3 wheel racer is preferred, adjusted so that you have no drift. No restrictions as this type of track you just pray you got a good line out of the gate.


Metal/Plastic Tracks

Most of the info about PWD found on the internet and in books is based on the metal/plastic type of track. Properly set up metal tracks give the most consistent data for PWD. A well-maintained metal track is the best racing track. Most of the metal tracks contain a center guide strip for each lane.

Wheels are a little fickle with a metal track. The lightest wheels are normally faster. If you have too aggressive of a steer, the very thin wall of a 1-gram wheel causes excessive friction as it runs down the lanes. You can hear it as it races down the track. I have seen 1.5g wheels with thicker edges run consistently faster than the 1g wheels that are not “perfectly” tuned. My only conclusion was the excessive friction from the “knife edge” of the 1-gram wheel slowed it down.


Metal track with center strip – I suggest a COG of no less than 1/2 of an inch. Ideal is probably 3/4″ maybe just a hair more. There are a few highly guarded secrets in PWD, this is one of them. So many different suggestions here. Again, know your track. Are the seams even and flush, are there any burrs on the rail? Keep the weight as close to the track as you can for the energy advantage. I recommend a 3-wheel, center rail rider with camber wheels. Steering drift of 3/4-1″ on 4 feet of travel. I like to stack 2oz of weight behind the rear axle for the longest push.


Metal / plastic tracks WITHOUT center strip. I suggest a COG of no less than 1/2 of an inch. Ideal is probably 3/4″ maybe just a hair more. Keep the weight as close to the track as you can for the energy advantage. Straight shooter… get that tuning board and adjust, adjust, adjust. The advantage here will be wheel weight and weight placement, even aerodynamic advantage if you have the time for some fenders. No restrictions as for this type of track, you just pray you got a good line out of the gate.

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Simple answer is NO….. Treating the surface of the metal does not replace the mechanical lube needed between the wheel and the axle to reduce friction. You will always still need lube not matter what wheel and axle prep is done.

Complicated answer: There are at least two types of friction forces fighting a pinewood derby car. Kinetic (sliding) friction force– when an object moves. And static friction force – when an object tries to move. Friction is what slows our derby cars down. If we can reduce friction, we will have a faster car. How do you reduce friction?  Proper wheel and axle preparation and lubrication will reduce both kinetic and static friction to help us achieve a faster car.

What we want to do is reduce that kinetic and static friction forces. During the race, the wheel hubs will rub on the axles. I talked about how to manually reduce those friction forces through axle and wheel preparation. However, even if after you have properly prepared and polished your axles and wheels, there can still be more done to reduce friction.  Choosing the best lube is the final step. Every millisecond adds up!

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This is simple yet complicated.

The best we can answer is using this decision tree:
https://www.derbydust.com/information/pinewood-derby-wheels/

If you do not see an answer, then it is not addressed. Therefore it is allowed is the motto of most.

Usually the most common illegal modification is the use of weight reduced wheels. Also written as lessening the weight of a wheel, removing material to make it considerably lighter are common statements made.

BE very CAREFUL of rules that other modifications are not allowed beyond what is listed. Those are the catch all gray rules that could get you eliminated. HOWEVER, there should be NO reason that a car gets D/Q once it passes inspection. After all that is what inspections are about.

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Super Tuner is simply the cool name we gave to the axle upgrade that we slot the head of the axle for adjustments with a flat head screwdriver. This saves the axle from damaged caused by multiple adjustments with pliers.

This DOES NOT MEAN RAIL RIDERS. THIS DOES NOT MEAN they are bent.

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So science wise….

3000 Grit for Dry Lubes

100,000 Grit for oils

However, may have raced with 100k for graphite with great results as feedback will show. Science says graphite is carbon, diamond is carbon. If you polish higher than 3k and you were to take a scope and look at things, the graphite will knock the shine off your 100k axles down to about 3k on the surface of things.

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Normally we do NOT install tungsten weights as we do not know what the final outcome of a car is going to be. Since we can not know how much paint stickers, whatever you are going to put on there, there is no way to gauge how much tungsten to place.

Secondly, because tungsten is so dense and hard, you can not drill it to reduce weight. Most of our car bodies are already have great amounts of wood weight removed. If we are overweight after you paint, then there is no real way to “remove” weight to get race compliant.

Thirdly, we do not know what type of track or build you are building to properly balance the car for your specific track. So many different tracks.

Lead cars will 99% of the time will have weight installed, with the exception of the 5 and 7 slot wedges as those were our first “cross over” weight designs that could use both tungsten and lead. For those we provide 3 lead “bricks” for you to install.

Majority of our car designs were done with lead as the weight. And that lead must be poured into holes that we drill. Trying to fill the holes with fishing weights is not going to work. You need the entire holes filled with molten lead to get it to be race ready.

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Can you pack Derby Dust Dry Lube?

Quick answer is NO.  The flake size is too big.  -325 mesh graphite will the the packable graphite.  Do we recommend it?  I have read a few posts where cars were dq because the judges interpreted it is a graphite bearing.  Because of this, we do not suggest.

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We do not carry Ready to Race Pinewood derby cars.

We suggest:  Shopvelox.com or Humble21creations.com

We sell at our Amazon Store Ready to Race Cars made by Shopvelox.com

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There is no brick and mortar store at this time.  

If you are in a super hurry and don’t need any custom parts, you can search our AMAZON store as there may be items near you store in FBA warehouse so that you may get same day or next day service.

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What is the fastest pinewood derby car body?

The fastest pinewood derby body is the one with the least amount of wood weight with biggest possible pockets.  3 degree rear camber axles, with 3 wheels touching.  We offer bodies under 9 grams if you have a good stop track!  Many choices under 20 grams of weight.

Click here to see which car bodies fit this description

 

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I have no idea what level of polish should I get?

This is based soley on lube and amount of work you intend to put into breaking in the car.

Graphite Lube – 3K, with proper graphite break-in

Oil Lube – 100k

If you are simply going to dust with graphite and race, not doing a BREAK – IN for graphite – 100K will give you the least amount of friction for multiple races

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So many wheels choices.  I have no idea what I can use.

Rule of thumb the lighter the wheel, the faster the car can go.  Try this neat little Decision Tree that I setup.  If you are still unsure, then send me a text 210.219.3977
jQuery(document).ready(function($) { dt_tree_20573 = jQuery.parseJSON('{\"data\":{\"1\":{\"question\":\"

Q1.

Does the total wheel diameter need to be greater than 1.170\\\"?

\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"

 

\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"YES\",\"next\":\"4\"},{\"choice\":\"NO\",\"next\":\"19\"}]},\"4\":{\"question\":\"

Q2.

Wheels width must be greater than 0.32\\\"?

\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"

 

\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"YES\",\"next\":\"7\"},{\"choice\":\"NO\",\"next\":\"19\"}]},\"7\":{\"question\":\"

Q3.

Does outer tread have to be flat with no shaping or profiling of the tread?

\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"

\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"YES\",\"next\":\"10\"},{\"choice\":\"NO\",\"next\":\"19\"}]},\"10\":{\"question\":\"Q4. Is weight reduction NOT allowed. IE wheels can not flex when squeezed\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"

 

\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"Weight Reduction is not allowed\",\"next\":\"13\"},{\"choice\":\"We can use weight reduced wheels\",\"next\":\"25\"}]},\"13\":{\"question\":\"Q5. Are you allowed to cone / modify outer hubs\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"

 

\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"NO\",\"next\":\"16\"},{\"choice\":\"YES\",\"next\":\"22\"}]},\"16\":{\"question\":\"Non coned, factory weight wheels\",\"type\":\"answer\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"

Wheel choices include: \\n\",\"choices\":[]},\"19\":{\"question\":\"Consider Aftermarket Wheels\",\"type\":\"answer\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"

Wheel choices include: \\n\",\"choices\":[]},\"22\":{\"question\":\"Consider \",\"type\":\"answer\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"

Wheel choices include: \\n\",\"choices\":[]},\"25\":{\"question\":\"Q6. Does your wheels need all lettering in tact? Inside and Out\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"

 

\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"Yes all lettering must be in tact\",\"next\":\"28\"},{\"choice\":\"Lettering can be removed on the inside\",\"next\":\"43\"}]},\"28\":{\"question\":\"Q7. Are you allowed to cone or modify hubs?\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"

 

\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"YES\",\"next\":\"31\"},{\"choice\":\"NO\",\"next\":\"37\"}]},\"31\":{\"question\":\"coned- yes weight reduced wheel choices \",\"type\":\"answer\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"

Wheel choices include: \\n\",\"choices\":[]},\"34\":{\"question\":\"coned- no weight reduced wheel factory measurements\",\"type\":\"answer\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"

Wheel choices include: \\n

DD Charlie Bravo 1.6g

\\n\",\"choices\":[]},\"37\":{\"question\":\"Q8. Does your Wheel Have to be factory diameter and width?\",\"type\":\"question\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"\",\"choices\":[{\"choice\":\"YES\",\"next\":\"34\"},{\"choice\":\"NO\",\"next\":\"40\"}]},\"40\":{\"question\":\"coned- no weight reduced wheel \",\"type\":\"answer\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"

Wheel choices include: \\n

DD Black Op\'s
Diameter: >1.170\\\"
Width: >.036\\\"
Weight: 1.5gish

\",\"choices\":[]},\"43\":{\"question\":\"Coned no lettering on inside\",\"type\":\"answer\",\"subtext\":\"\",\"textlink\":\"\",\"info\":\"Wheel choices include:

\\n

DD X-Lite 1.0gram

\\nDW Ultra Lite 1.0gram

\\n\",\"choices\":[]}},\"index\":{\"0\":\"1\",\"1\":\"4\",\"2\":\"7\",\"3\":\"10\",\"4\":\"13\",\"5\":\"16\",\"6\":\"19\",\"7\":\"22\",\"8\":\"25\",\"9\":\"28\",\"10\":\"31\",\"11\":\"34\",\"12\":\"37\",\"13\":\"40\",\"14\":\"43\"},\"start_ID\":\"1\",\"version\":\"1.1.0\"}'); if (dt_tree_20573 != undefined){ dt_tree_20573.donated = '1'; dt_tree_20573.title = 'Pinewood Derby Wheel Decision Tree by Derby Dust'; process_question(20573); } });

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