Pinewood Derby Rules

General race coordinator discussions.
Speedster
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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by Speedster » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:54 am

Would you care to share it? Perhaps in a new post. I just finished a new car and have a time on it. I'd like to see if I can pick up some time with your technique.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by *5 J's* » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:33 am

Speedster wrote:Would you care to share it? Perhaps in a new post. I just finished a new car and have a time on it. I'd like to see if I can pick up some time with your technique.
Well - it's some things I discovered while in a process of discovery with Stan. These discussions can get you thinking outside the box and I enjoy them.

Anyway - some of the info is in this post. I did do a number of slow speed tests that confirmed that with the correct amount of negative camber on the rears the wheels would stay flat while the car was stationary - but this was an unstable position - as soon as the car started rolling the wheel would cant as the axle nestled into the bore. Now for the front - the DFW will have positive camber and you tweak the camber and steer such that the non-DFW barely touches. Sort of hanging down off the axle vice the bottom of the wheel bore supporting the axle. It is a very tricky and frustrating alignment that my boy didn't really have the patience for. I never verified that at speed the wheel would ride up the positive cant of the axle and lift the non-DFW - but it was quite effective. I did build a car using this alignment for an adult race and placed first by quite a margin.

Luckily we no longer have the 4 flat on the floor rule for reasons noted above. I can tell you it was a tricky alignment for only the most patient of scouts or even dads.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by Speedster » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:09 am

Thank you, and also for all the posts you led me too.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by UFLGator » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:52 am

Darin McGrew wrote:
The nails may not be inserted at an angle.
Really? If the kid inserts the nails into the original slots, then it's almost guaranteed that the nails are inserted at an angle. This rule and the "four on the floor" rule are bad rules because they make it a lot harder for a struggling team to make a legal car.

Plus, there's no indication of how precise the 90° angle must be. If our axles are at a 90.04° angle, is that close enough?
My son's Tiger year we experienced this when we were building without guidance (prior to finding Derby Talk). We inserted the axles into the stock slots and ended up with a 3 wheel rail rider with absolutely no knowledge, intention, or effort to do so. That being said, it is just as fast as the "new and improved" car we made last year. For that reason, I am also disagree with this rule.

Otherwise, the rules seem okay with me.


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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by FatSebastian » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:46 am

UFLGator wrote:My son's Tiger year we experienced...
Thanks for the feedback, Gator. It is helpful when someone can offer first-hand affirmation. :welcome:



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by Speedster » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:14 am

I just received our 2012/2013 Derby rules. The Revell BSA pre-cut cars will not be allowed in our District. If I'm correct there are 14 different models from Revell. I'm wondering if not allowing these cars are common across the U.S. or if most Districts simply let them race.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by SirStorm » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:08 pm

Seems unenforceable to me. How are they going to prove the kid (and dad) didn't build a car that looks like the kit? My daughter wanted a NASCAR last year and I would say our result looked just like the kit.

Another observation, how long does the inspection procedure take? All these super specific rules would seem to take forever to verify of every car is checked. And if every car is not checked, how is that fair?



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by macd » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:39 pm

Our rules specify to use the "block from the kit". We allow replacement wheels, but only "from the scout store".
These would both rule out the Revel kits.

A Revel wheel (from a kit or tube) can be easily differentiated from a BSA wheel. Revel's are stamped "Made in China", and scout store wheels are stamped "Made in USA".

As far as enforcement, our inspections have historically been done by volunteer boy scouts without any training beyond how to measure 7 inches and weigh 5 ounces.
So, for those who choose to break any rules, it could potentially be a free-for-all. However, I have not noticed any rampant abuse.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by PeterT » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:32 pm

We have rules which state that the car must be based on the block of wood from the kit, and only BSA wheels and axles may be used. Nevertheless we never directly addressed prohibiting the Revel kits due to unenforcability. In practice these kits seem to be used by car building teams with fewer technical resources and typically turn in mediocre performances, so we have a tough time officially prohibiting them. We've never had anything but a BSA wheel at check in, so clearly people are using the Revel kits with BSA wheels.

We also have a design competition, and last year we "noticed" four Revel based kits show up in the derby. We do give our design judges a cheat sheet of "known" kit designs. While using a kit does not disqualify an entrant, the theory is that we want our design judges to only judge what the kids did with and beyond the kit, as opposed to the quality of the kit itself. We don't really advertise this - but might start doing so this year.

I always have that concern someone else noted - how to tell a "real kit" from a truly home made car made to look like a kit/inspired by a kit car? In practice, when you have three cars made from exactly the same kit (like we did last year) they are very easy to spot.

As others stated the wood shape is more for show (thus our design judges need to know the standard kits), but its the tweaking of the wheels, axles, lubrication and alignment which really make a car fast, and these things just don't come out of Revell kits.

On the flip side, how does one spot one of the kits from Maximum-Velocity? Is there even a benefit to doing so? These kits are so bare bones, and require a tremendous amount of additional work to make a car race ready, that I'm just not sure it is worth getting worked up over.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by FatSebastian » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:03 pm

PeterT wrote:We've never had anything but a BSA wheel at check in, so clearly people are using the Revel kits with BSA wheels.
Revell kits contain BSA wheels; however, their origin is China rather than USA. So if the wheels say "Made in China" on the back then Revell components are definitely being used.
PeterT wrote:the tweaking of the wheels, axles, lubrication and alignment which really make a car fast, and these things just don't come out of Revell kits.
Revell-branded axles have historically lacked the ridges, which might require less work.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by rcmoeur » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:17 pm

As I mentioned in another thread on tracks (and ways to damage them), I've been "volunteered" to co-chair our District Pinewood Derby.

How did I happen to be placed into such an important position? Well, my son (then a Tiger Cub) won his Pack Pinewood Derby, and entered the District Derby. We had fun - and all in all, it was a very well-run event.

However...
I did wear my Class A uniform to the event, as I was representing the Pack - and, being officially-dressed and on the accessible side of the rope, was immediately made a part of several "dialogues" between Cubs, parents, spectators, and assorted other folks.

Most of these "discussions" revolved around interpretations of the Council Rules used at the District Derby. The rules, unfortunately, had several essentially-unenforceable provisions - most notably a requirement to only use the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit, and to use the "entire" kit. Also, other provisions were rather vague & muddled, and could rationally be interpreted in multiple ways (and indeed were...)

Several of the complaints could be categorized as:
1. "His car looks like one I saw at the store, so it's cheating"
2. "He didn't use the 'entire' kit - there's barely any wood there"

After meeting all these new dynamic and passionate people not fully enjoying a fine day of racing, I looked at the Council rules and thought: "can they be clarified & cleaned up?" I write detailed specifications for multi-million-dollar projects for a living, so I figured I could tackle something involving a hunk o' wood and 4 wheels. I cut, pasted, and rewrote, and submitted the result to the District.

And of course, the inevitable response: "Thank you so much for agreeing to co-chair next year's event!" ;)

Fast-forward to last month. Turns out both co-chairs from last year have moved on, which means both of us new co-chairs are "newbies". Fortunately, the other newly-appointed co-chair is a local legend in terms of fast 5-ounce cars, so between the two of us we're doing OK. Turns out my proposed rules revisions didn't make it up the food chain at Council - but, seeing an opportunity for a controlled(?) experiment, we were given the blessing to pilot revised rules at the District Derby this year, with an eye for possibly adopting the revised rules Council-wide in future years if they work out.

We then announced the rules at Commissioners and Roundtable, got an earful of feedback, tweaked a bit more, and as of 1:00 MST this morning hopefully have a 'final' rules set for the 2013 event.

So what are these rules?

District Rules:
http://www.richardcmoeur.com/cub/4pdpwd ... 13v013.pdf" target="_blank

Annotated District Rules (commented with changes from 2012 Council Rules):
http://www.richardcmoeur.com/cub/4pdpwd13v013annot.pdf" target="_blank

"Why The Rules" information sheet, explaining the rules changes:
http://www.richardcmoeur.com/cub/whytherules.pdf" target="_blank

And our 2013 Pack 242 Rules, adapted from the District Rules, only with a much-more-"opportunistic" Open Class:
http://www.richardcmoeur.com/cub/242pwdrules13.pdf" target="_blank

Take a look if you're interested.

Looking at the message boards here, I see a preference for simpler rules; however, we're concerned that too-simple rules could lead to inappropriate advantages for a select few. Our District Rules try to correct for that, and provide a clear expectation for entrants what to expect.

We'll see what happens in March 2013!



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by Speedster » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:46 am

I have a question and a comment.
Are you running this race on ONE track? Our District allows the top 2 scouts from each grade to participate, we have 2 tracks, and it takes all day. I don't know how many packs in your District but is it possible for a 1,000 people to show up?
This will be my 28th year working with Packs and Districts on their Pinewood Derbys. I have witnessed horrific things and broken hearts. You are exposing yourself to tragedies allowing anyone to touch a car after inspection other than the scout. Staging the car is a big part of the excitement for the scout. If he built a rail rider, or whatever, he will probably stage it a certain way. No matter how caring, wonderful and responsible an adult might be, he/she is not going to have the same feelings for the car than what the owner has.
This is, of course, strictly how I feel. I'm sure others might feel differently. I truly do wish you well in your races. Good Luck.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by rcmoeur » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:04 am

Thanks much for the feedback.

We're just continuing the format from previous years. One four-lane high-quality track, with staggered rank times (Webelos II start checking in at 8:00 and begin racing at 9:00, Webelos I start check-in at 9:00 & start racing at 10:00, etc.) Based on my records, they were averaging 90 seconds between heats last year, including having the Cubs introduce themselves and the other racers at each heat. If we have 35 or so entrants per rank, we should be OK - if we have more, we might be running a bit late (last year had almost 2 hours per rank, and there was a lot of "dead time").

Last year (2012), there were 86 total entrants at District (136 in 2011, 186 in 2010). We're going to try to reverse that trend.

There were no incidents (at least last year) regarding mishandling of cars. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen, though - and we fully understand the care and hard work that the Cubs put into their cars. We'll try to recruit people as sure-handed as last time, and use a pro-quality transporter, such as the Best Track one or equivalent.

The current venue will accommodate two 4-lane tracks, but not more. The problem is getting tracks - many Packs, such as ours, only have 32-foot "experienced" wood tracks.

Again, thanks for the feedback - I'm sure I'll have more questions soon.



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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by gpraceman » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:01 am

rcmoeur wrote:The current venue will accommodate two 4-lane tracks, but not more. The problem is getting tracks - many Packs, such as ours, only have 32-foot "experienced" wood tracks.
One track should work just fine. For our district races we would stagger the ranks, just as you are, and would use a single 4 lane track. Attendance was 150 - 200 racers. The more tracks that you add, you add more possibility for things to go wrong.


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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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Stan Pope
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Re: Pinewood Derby Rules

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:53 pm

re: http://www.richardcmoeur.com/cub/4pdpwd ... 13v013.pdf" target="_blank

1. GENERAL

C. The car shall be the same car that was used in the Pack Pinewood Derby.

Not "inspectable" and prevents the racing team from applying what they learned from the pack races.

3. DIMENSIONS

E. The car shall not be shaped to allow the front of the car to protrude over the top of the starting gate. If the front of the car protrudes over the starting gate and the official starter is not able to adjust for a fair start, the protruding car shall not be allowed to race.

Since you do not tell folks how tall the starting pins are, the racing teams must guess at the limit or keep the nose very low. There is potential for "insider information" to be applied to prep cars to match the tracks on which they will run. Better is to specify the maximum nose to pin contact height, and to inspect accordingly.

4. WHEELS AND AXLES

D. Axles shall not be altered in any way except for polishing, grinding, or filing in order to remove protrusions or other imperfections. Notched or grooved axles are prohibited.

Needless and only inspectable by "teardown."

E. The combined weight of all four wheels shall not be less than 9.8 grams. The wheels and axles on any car shall be removable for inspection or weighing upon request of the Chief Judge or his/her designee.

Never!!!!! Never require that the car be "taken apart" for inspection! Even the straightest of axles change the cars performance when removed and reinstalled!

F. The minimum outside diameter of each wheel shall be 1.170 inches.

Better to use wheel features to define limits than to specify a limit that 95% of the builders (or more) can not measure. Do you really want someone clamping a steel caliper across the tread of your car's wheels?

No narrowing, lathe cutting, or reshaping of wheels (inside or outside) shall be allowed. Wheel treads may be lightly sanded to remove irregularities. Wheel bores may be polished, but shall not be otherwise modified.

"Lathe cutting" means different things to different people. Most who specify "no lathe cutting" mean to prohibit a "V" or "H" tread profile, but not prohibit a flat, straight, parallel-to-the-bore tread profile. Better to define what the wheel may look like rather than how to make it look that way.


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