Pinewood Derby Car

Goodbye bandsaw.

I sliced the pinewood derby block into 1/8 inch thick sheets on a table saw, then cut various profiles with the Glowforge and laminated the whole thing back together. Small dowels running laterally helped with alignment of the layers. The acrylic was snapped in via slots forward and rear.


Amazing, Only concern would be how well will it race given the amount of mass taken away for the open compartment, but a design winner for sure!


Great work! Very unique approach.

Isn’t it cool how EVERY project has a laserable solution?


Sweet. That looks very cool.
I never made it far in the Scouts but my Pinewood Derby Car is still with me after all these years.


Great way to introduce yourself to the forum!

The car looks awesome.


I replaced all the mass with tungsten weights near the rear. Race weight was 5.0 ounces.

We got about 10th place overall, mostly due to not doing enough wheel and alignment prep (spent too much time messing with the design :roll_eyes:)

We did win “Best in Show” style award though.


That’s great! I love the idea of cutting the wood into 1/8th inch sheets.

I don’t know if they still permit this, but if they do: sharpen the tires. Rather than having flat tires (wide surface area touching the track), grind them down to blades. It will dramatically speed up the vehicle.

Also, fill those middle holes with metal (heavy screws or lead) so the car hits the maximum permitted weight. The better the car pushes down on the track, the faster it will go. [Just noticed your followup where you said you used weights. Good!]


Welcome and congrats on Best in Show. I look forward to seeing more of your projects.



That’s exactly what I was going to suggest. Tungsten’s great 'cause you can get it in all sorts of forms, like putty.


@dr.krawetz @dhomburg : In addition to shaping the official wheels to minimize road contact, arrange for only one of the front wheels to actually touch the track. :racing_car: In my experience sufficient overall weight and fine tuning the wheels (and axles) is the key to a first-place finisher. :checkered_flag: The “penalty” for a hot car is lots of travel to regional race-offs. But that can be a fun experience—up until the point someone else has a faster car! :sunglasses:


Yep, this car was set up as a single front wheel “rail rider” design.

Unfortunately, our Pack rules prohibit wheel shaping or I definitely would have.

I volunteered to set up the track the night before the races with several other dads, and of course we had to test the track. hee hee. Our car was consistently smoking the others (who ended up placing the next day) by 3-4 car lengths.

Unfortunately, I pushed it too far by thinking that we were riding the middle island too aggressively, and backing it off a bit. After the adjustment, there ended up being too little steering, and the raised wheel contacted the island some, bleeding off speed. The result was that we were coming in a car length behind cars we had beaten the night before. The adjustment was an almost immeasurable steering-axle turn. :unamused:

I really need to build a test track.


Huh. In our Council and Pack, it was the kid’s job to build the car. Parents help but don’t do. Otherwise it’s just an arms race.

We did have separate competitions for Dad Cars.

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The rules in our pack are that kids sand and paint. Kids or parents can build.

My older son did build his own cars from Bear rank forward, but the younger one is a Tiger (6 yrs). I still have to teach him bandsaw or Adobe illustrator. For my own sanity I wish we had a kids only build rule.


Love that to sliced the block into laser-able sections. Coolest pinewood derby car ever!

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Great father son project

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That is awesome!!!

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Great car! Yes, that age is too young to use tools.

a 6yo using a bandsaw? holy crap. I would never do that.

I made a 2nd place finisher. I whittled my car down to shape. took a while. :slight_smile:

my 2nd little brother from the big brother’s big sisters program was in cub scouts for a while. they had a build session for the cars. it was astonishing. we show up, there is a room full of equipment. kids picks a profile design. guy standing there cuts it. next station. a guy with a tool and die level jig drills the holes. I was amazed.

I asked about how this came about and was told that a kid years ago showed up with his car that he had painted by dipping i in a gallon of paint. (no father in the home) so the dads (many of whom worked at the ford plants here in louisville ) got together and created all of the jigs and patterns etc. so each and every kid would have at least a decent car. it was really something.

and the quality of those jigs… holy smokes. it literally was a pinewood derby racer factory that afternoon.


Now THIS is an idea that @Dan and company should look to sponsor once a year at the HQ, as well as possibly taking it on the road.

Imagine the positive press that could generate.

And if they have a winner at the local level, taking it to some of the regionals / championships. Not sure what other similar activities could be done, but might be a great idea.

They could also partner with JOANN stores for some of the regional activities, if it overlapped geographically with some of the stores with machines in them.

I bet there are a few (or more) folks here on the forums (whether in the “fight club” or not) who would happily volunteer time to help with the machnes at JOANN stores for a project like this…


This is an amazing idea. After building several pinewood derby cars with my son, still looking for ways to use the Glowforge for it.

I’m wondering if you lost a lot of width due to the kerf of the table saw? How did you compensate for that?