Weight Pockets Pinewood Car – How to make with drill press

Weight Pockets Pinewood Car

Weight Pockets Pinewood Car – How to make with drill press

The fastest pinewood derby cars use weight pockets with tungsten weights.  This can be done in various ways, most of the time it is done with CNC router or laser equipment. However, I wanted to provide a reasonable way to accomplish making pockets with power tools. I have taken the time to put together these intermediate level build techniques.

The Weight Pockets Pinewood Car allows you to have an adjustable center of gravity mass for your track conditions and ensures that your horizontal mass stays as low as possible for greatest stability. 

Typical depth cut is .26″ to ensure that the weight will be recessed. Weight pockets should be covered up with either a thin veneer or foil HVAC tape to reduce air drag.  

Never use wood putty or other type of filler to cover the pocket as that simply adds dead weight to the derby car.

This technique of making a Weight Pockets Pinewood Car requires a few tools that are not in every garage.

  • Drill press – Any size will work. A bench top will work fine.
  • Router bit/end mill cutter –  A drill bit will not work as they are not designed to cut with the edge. You need a cutting tool that cuts on the edge.
  • Sliding cross vise – I purchased the one in this video from Harbor Freight.  This allows you to accurately cut the pocket.

There is just one simple hack that you must do so that you can make weight pockets. You will need some sort of way to lock your spindle at different depths. I show my preferred method by using the depth gauge. There are other methods out there which include using clamps, but this seems to be the easiest method.


Pinewood Derby - Cutting weight pockets or holes - Turning your drill press into a milling machine
Weight Pockets Cut Using A Drill Press Converted Into A Milling Machine


Pinewood Derby – Turning Your Drill Press into a Milling Machine



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