First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

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iflytii
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First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:31 am

Hi all,

First post here and thought I'd throw out our project as an ice breaker. It's a stylized Batmobile that is a blend between an all out fast car, and something that still has enough design character to resemble our design intent. It's nowhere close to the caliber of most the builds on this site so be kind, we are just trying to have fun. :D

We started off narrowing down what Lucas wanted to build, and even with my Darth Vader suggestion it was an easy decision for him - The Batmobile. So we found several Batmobile examples, photos, drawings (including some of the "blueprints" from the 80's Batmobile), and previous projects and started throwing ideas on paper. I moved the bulk of the ideas into cad and did some basic drawings that evolved and were printed to be cut out as templates.

Our rules don't stipulate wheel placement other than all 4 must touch the ground, they have to be 1.75" apart, a minimum distance between them longitudinally and they can not extend beyond the front or back of the car. So we went with a long wheel base car.

Drilling for the axles:
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We transferred out templates to the block:
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Lucas working on smoothing out the first cut:
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As it stands after the first days work:
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Our next steps were to address weight and make the "batwings". I don't have a bandsaw, but rather a "porta-band" mounted to a stand. Not exactly the best wood working tool but it does the job. In an effort to keep all Lucas' 10 fingers in tact he had minimal exposure to this, but he did cut the basic shape out for the Batwings:
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After some sanding we were ready for primer.

Some instruction:
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First attempt:
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I got this Dad, back off:
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We stuck it in my powder coat oven to accelerate the drying:
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Now it's time for decals. I have a small vinyl cutter so we drew up a decal package for our design.
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Now we just need to get some black paint on it - but wait.....

Dad decided to make an identical car for the "family" class (same rule set except previous year cars may run). I was experimenting with some aero around the wheels and before I knew it, Lucas stole my fenders for his car!

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So I did what any competitive father would do and told him to make his own:
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And that's where we are to date. We have a little over a week before the "test and tune" night, and the races the following day. Hopefully we will get his car primered fully again and ready for paint tonight. My car is a long way off.



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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by Scrollsawer » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:52 am

:welcome:

Thanks for posting progress of your build! This is a great site for folks (Scouts and grown-ups alike) to get inspiration and proven tips for advancing their skills when building a fast, or design-intensive Pinewood Derby car.

I love that you're using design software and printouts. Is that CAD software?

You can't go wrong with a Batmobile design, it's a classic!

Good to see pics. of the Scout doing the work. It's important that they learn, and own a significant part of the build.

Did you rout out the underneath of the car to drop wood weight, so that you can add metal weight in at the back of the car? Be sure to weigh his car often, with all of the car components so you know how close to the 5.0 ounce weight limit you are BEFORE FINAL ASSEMBLY. As they say, "It's a million times easier to take wood off the car before it's built than it is after it's built."

If you're wanting to make the car more competitive (fast), read the rules carefully to make sure you can do some wheel and axle prep before installing the wheels and axles. The longer wheel base will make the car more stable, and you want to reduce the amount of friction between the wheel and axles and the wheels and the car body as much as possible. Have you seen the Pinewood Derby Physics video on YouTube? It's also embedded within this website, but if you Google 'pinewood derby physics', you will see a 9 mi ute long video in your search results. It's a GREAT video that provides most of the tips needed to make a competitive car. I know you're focused on design, and that's great. Heck that Batmobile looks like the real deal! :lol:

Have fun working with your Scout on this project. These are precious moments that you'll always remember.

Most importantly, keep providing updates on the build and on his race!

Thanks,

Scrollsawer


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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:16 am

Scrollsawer,

We have watched several videos, the "EASY Pinewood Derby Car WINS using Science!!!" one was an excellent and really helped us a lot. As always we have kept a keen eye on our rules as many of the tips and tricks are not legal for our pack.

We have taken some weight out from the bottom with various sized forstner bits and got the CG within 1" of the rear axle at slightly less than 5oz with weight added, prior to the rear flare addition. The flares are about 2/10 of an oz minus glue and paint if my foggy caffeine starved eyes were seeing right this morning so we will have to check how the weight looks once they are glued and primered tonight.

We are focusing on getting paint on so it has a few days to cure as the vinyl transfer paper tends to pull up paint if it's not fully cured While the paint is curing we will shift focus to axle and wheel prep. We are pretty limited on the wheels, just light sanding to remove any imperfections - otherwise they may not be modified. But the axles can be polished so that is coming up soon on our list.

I put everything in AutoCad, since that's what I use daily. It is easy to export to vector files my vinyl cutter likes so it works great for doing decals as well as overall design.

I do agree it is important to get the kids involved because this is after all their project. At 6 (soon to be 7) the use of power tools solely is unrealistic but learning what they do and how to use them safely are good lessons.



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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by gpraceman » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:44 am

iflytii wrote:At 6 (soon to be 7) the use of power tools solely is unrealistic but learning what they do and how to use them safely are good lessons.
I'm not sure why that is unrealistic. We try to get the kids involved as much as possible with the power tools during our workshops. Of course, power tool use is always adult supervised and with safety rules explained.

+ Weight Pockets - The kids do the drilling while an adult is telling them when to drill and is positioning the block.
+ Sanding - Kids can do much of the rough sanding with the spindle sander, disc sander or belt sander.
+ Axles - They can file and polish the axles using the drill press.
+ Wheels - They can sand the wheels using the drill press.
+ Cutting - Kids can do some of the cuts on the bandsaw, using the holding jig that I made for keeping fingers well away from the blade. The adults do the complicated cuts.


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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:56 am

I think you missed the "solely" part of my statement. I've made an effort to teach Lucas how to use each of the tools we used to make his car. He has cut basic shapes from the bandsaw, used the drill press, used the drill, and various sanding mechanisms. The projects he has done are appropriate for his skill level, as you have have outlined. He isn't signed off on any of those tools for solo use yet without supervision, thus what I meant by "solely". ;-)



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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by gpraceman » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:09 am

iflytii wrote:I think you missed the "solely" part of my statement. I've made an effort to teach Lucas how to use each of the tools we used to make his car. He has cut basic shapes from the bandsaw, used the drill press, used the drill, and various sanding mechanisms. The projects he has done are appropriate for his skill level, as you have have outlined. He isn't signed off on any of those tools for solo use yet without supervision, thus what I meant by "solely". ;-)
I read it correctly, but guess I interpreted it differently than intended. Anyways, some think that kids that young cannot use power tools even under the supervision of an adult or are too worried about liability. Personally, I do feel that kids of Cub Scout age should always be adult supervised with power tools. Once they get By Scout age, then I can see letting them fly solo on some of those tools. I would not let my sons at my table saw solo until they were nearly adults. I'm glad that you are getting your son involved with the power tools for his car build.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by Noskills » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:22 pm

Looks super cool. Few questions comments. Might flip the block over next time so your dont even have any slots (they get cut off). Also did you add weight yet as pine fenders will throw you over (consider balsa if needed). I would not "lightly sand" wheels at all. Consider buying a tube of Chinese wheels for the nails only (toss the wheels). Also if you can make this a rail rider you will really one up the competition. Vit K is working on a quick "how to guide" for a rail rider.
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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:23 pm

Noskills wrote:Looks super cool. Few questions comments. Might flip the block over next time so your dont even have any slots (they get cut off). Also did you add weight yet as pine fenders will throw you over (consider balsa if needed). I would not "lightly sand" wheels at all. Consider buying a tube of Chinese wheels for the nails only (toss the wheels). Also if you can make this a rail rider you will really one up the competition. Vit K is working on a quick "how to guide" for a rail rider.
Noskills
Thanks! Good tip on the slots! On the first car we left them partially exposed (in the middle of the block - filled the edges) because I wanted it to be clear we used the block we were given (required). I haven't made the weight permanent yet so it's easy to tweak. I actually picked up some Chinese wheels for my build and noticed how much nicer the axles were. We have to keep 4 wheels on the track and as I am interpreting the rules we are not allowed to bend the axles. Would a rail rider be as effective using all 4 wheels and being limited with the axles?

We made a little more progress tonight on our cars getting the fenders attached to Lucas' car, and a coat of primer on it. I got my car cut out so maybe there is hope I'll get it painted by next weekend.

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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:15 pm

Plugging away on the cars this weekend and we made good progress. Interesting observation, my car is quite a bit heavier than Lucas' with them both finished out about the same, but a few extra holes took care of that.

A friend brought his old pinewood derby cars he made for the "Dad" class back in the 80's when his boys were in cub scouts for Lucas to check out. Pretty cool cars, and considering they have had not only Craig's kids playing with them, but now the grand kids have abused them as well, they have held up really well!

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He is going to bring them to the test-n-tune this week just for grins to see what they do compared to ours.

Lucas got to sand his car again since I did my best to mess it up for him. I thought I would just smear a little glazing putty on some rough spots while he wasn't looking, and well that reacted with something (the original filler we used I think) and a big mess followed. :wall: That's what I get for trying to make it too perfect... Anyway, I fixed it back about how it was and let him take over the body work. Tonight he got some black paint on it and I'm sure proud of the job he did. When we primed it we used a trigger handle which helped him use the big cans easier. I bought some Testers model spray paint for the final coat thinking that since the can was smaller he could hold it better, but he was still having some difficulty pushing the nozzle. We rigged up the trigger to work on the Testers can and he was off...

While we were waiting for coats to dry we started working on the axles:

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We got them filed and got a little time with sandpaper before bedtime. ...and ignore the key in the chuck! Trying to teach Lucas how to be safe with tools and I not only do that, but take a picture of it and post it on the internet... :oops:

Tomorrow night more axle polishing! In the meantime Batmobile #1 was soaking up the heat in front of the fire.

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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:12 pm

Both cars are black but I grossly underestimated the time it takes Testers enamel to dry! Lucas' car will be fine but I don't think I'll be able to do the final chrome finish on mine, which is fine because the black looks pretty good IMO.

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We were playing around with some scrap heat shield material and Lucas decided he liked the gold. It's a little hard to work with but after a practice run (shown) I think I'll be able to get it to lay down smoother on the next go.

Now back to polishing axles.



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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by Scrollsawer » Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:34 pm

Never thought I'd see a Pinewood Derby car relaxing in front of a fireplace. Now I have seen everything. :-)


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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by Noskills » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:12 pm

Looking good. I agree that shiny black can be pretty cool by itself!
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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:11 pm

Noskills wrote:Looking good. I agree that shiny black can be pretty cool by itself!
Thanks! Ended up leaving them black as we simply ran out of time to feel good about trying to shoot the chrome and get the cars stickered up. Lesson learned with paint choices.
Scrollsawer wrote:Never thought I'd see a Pinewood Derby car relaxing in front of a fireplace. Now I have seen everything. :-)
Thought was to introduce some heat to accelerate the paint drying but as I researched epoxy paints more I realized that was futile and it would cure when it was good and ready...

We tweaked our livery package some tonight and I was able to achieve the same "giggle" from Lucas watching the vinyl cutter run as I he expressed when spray painting for the first time - so it was a good night regardless of how the vinyl project turned out.

The cars turned out pretty good I think. Still need to put the final polish on the axles, bust out the graphite, and do the final weighing but we should be good to test tomorrow.

On to the photos:
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I went with a stealth look with matte black vinyl over the gloss black.

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Lucas wanted his stickers yellow, so not so stealth but pretty cool IMO.

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We also added a "jet engine" (mine went flying off the lathe and is somewhere in the garage currently), and frenched in some tail lights.



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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by Scrollsawer » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:32 pm

Those are two very cool Batmobiles! Love the 'black matte' vinyl car.

Looking good...Can't wait to see how they'll do!

Keep us posted!

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Re: First build (in 40 years) - The Batmobile

Post by iflytii » Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:12 pm

Scrollsawer wrote:Those are two very cool Batmobiles! Love the 'black matte' vinyl car.

Looking good...Can't wait to see how they'll do!

Keep us posted!

Scrollsawer
Thanks!

I have to hold my head in shame as Lucas' car beat mine at the practice test and tune tonight... :-P Got me by about a 1/2 a car length, which I think is partially due to weight distribution. His block significantly lighter than mine so I was able to add quite a bit more weight in back (almost .5 oz). I even hogged out the underside of mine, and it's still heavier! Anyway, we had fun, and my worries about the aero fenders clearing the track can be put to rest as the cars went down just fine...

Now the cars are re-prepped and ready for racing tomorrow! I did find a couple cool boxes from some computer mice that arrived at my office today. Nice boxes, heavy cardboard with magnetic latch tops. The insides were exactly 7" x 4.25" so with some spare foam core to make center risers they work perfect for the cars ! Photobucket has been down all day so I'll have to post pics tomorrow.


**edit - photobucket is back up:

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