New to workshops

How to have useful construction workshops.
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davet
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New to workshops

Post by davet » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:39 pm

Hey all. My boy and I had a fun Scout Derby season and I'm thinking about having a pinewood derby race at our church. The main goal is to get people from the neighborhood into church. I'm not really thinking hardcore racers will come but hopefully single moms, kids without involved parents, kids (boys and girls) not involved with pinewood derby racing already or parents intimidated by the pinewood derby in Cub Scout form. Just a church outreach really.

I have a drillpress, palm sander, dremel, drills and handsaws along with the axle press and axle jig for driling new holes. I know I need more tools and we have some carpenters in the church so I can get some sanders and maybe a scroll saw. How are you guys finding ways to access more tools and specialty equipment? I was thinking of a single 2 hr session each week then a race on the 5th week. I don't know how to set up a bracket and was thinking of hopefully renting a track. Can you guys give me some advice please?



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Darin McGrew
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Re: New to workshops

Post by Darin McGrew » Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:23 pm

davet wrote:How are you guys finding ways to access more tools and specialty equipment?
At our workshops, we usually have:
2 bandsaws on loan from church members
2 bench sanders (belt/disc combo)
2 drill presses
Dremel tools and hand drills on loan from church members
3 paint booths (large cardboard boxes with cheap plastic turntables)
spray primer
spray paint
production pot for melting weight

Except for the things on loan from church members, everything is owned by the church. Most was donated, but a few things were purchased with "derby funds". We're pretty well equipped, but we've been holding derbies for a few decades now.

Paint is an odd thing. Every year, we buy more cans of the popular colors (using "derby funds"). But we also have random colors donated faster than they get used. Someone buys an unusual color for a special design and donates whatever is left over, or someone has paint left over from a home project and they donate it, that sort of thing. We actually make a point of checking our supply and disposing of cans that are used up or useless.
davet wrote:I don't know how to set up a bracket
I wouldn't use a bracket. My preference would be to use a PPN or similar "round robin" style schedule, where everyone runs the same number of times in each lane, and everyone races against as many different opponents as possible.

My second choice would be the no-chart quintuple elimination system that Stan Pope has described.



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Nitro Dan
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Re: New to workshops

Post by Nitro Dan » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:02 pm

Our workshops handle about 30 to 50 people at a time. We usually have the following:

1 Band Saw
1 Drill Press
2 Scroll Saws
1 Bench Sander
1 Spindle Sander
1 Small 1" Vertical Belt Sander
2 Dremel/Vise WorkMate Benches Axle Polishing Stations
Weighting Material (Zinc, Lead, Steel)
Spray Primer & Spray Paints
Derby Worx Specialty Tools
Templates
Super Glue, Wood Glue, Wood Putty
Balsa Wood & Hobby Plywood
Standard Tool Box with hand tools
Sandpaper
Safety Goggles/Glasses
Dust Masks
FIRST AID Kit

I wouldn't expect a lot of people to show since they are not usually exposed to Pinewood Derby. You can't look at your workshops in the short term. It takes several years to build up a following and keep generating people's interest in Pinewood Derby. When I run a workshop for a new Pack, I never expect more than 15% of the total pack number to show up the first time (just don't let it discourage you).

We get sandpaper and spray paint donations in the same manner Darin does. We prefer not to melt lead at our workshops (although it can be done safely if you want to try). We let the kids use any of the equipment (with adult assistance and supervision) except for the Band Saw (only adults experienced with a Band Saw are allowed to use that). Long hair should be tied back and long sleeves should be rolled up. Safety glasses have to be used at every station. Of course no running or horse play at the workshop. Also we make sure the parents understand that this is not a "drop off" event. Parents have to be present if their kid is going to work on the equipment (remember, it is supposed to be a "team" activity).

Try to limit the use of Hand Held Power Tools (or try not to use them at all). Use all stationary power tools if you can. Make stations where the project is taken to the tool, not the tool to the project. I heard a statistic that 99% of all Power Tool accidents happen with hand held power tools. Having stations and stationary tools provides a much safer environment.

Been running Pinewood Derby Workshops for seven years now, and only had one accident (a grandfather who was cutting his fourth car of the day for one of the scouts on the band saw, thumb slipped and hit the blade, nasty cut to the bone).

If you don't have a track with a computer setup, I too find Stan's no chart elimination system to work great. I use a variant of his system with triple elimination for many of our side event races at Districts.

-Nitro Dan


Take good and make it great. Take fast and make it faster. Performance drives success!

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Re: New to workshops

Post by davet » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:09 pm

That is great info guys. I didn't even think about the workshop building as years go by and having to plan for that. I'll have to check out Stan's lineup method. Do u guys run each workshop for about 2 hrs each day? Are u guys painting inside or out with your paint booths? A temporary paint booth outside under a canopy with cardboard sides would work too I guess.



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Nitro Dan
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Re: New to workshops

Post by Nitro Dan » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:34 pm

Workshop times usually depends on the number of people that we expect to draw in. My workshops usually run 6 hours (10am to 4pm), and people can come in at anytime during the six hour time frame. I give the parents the opportunity to work for as much as they want for as long as they want. Some will come for six hours straight, while others will come to two or three sessions for an hour or two at each session. A lot has to do with the attention span of each kid, and the parents know how to best work it out.

Two hours seems plenty of time for your first workshops, and by having 5 of them, parents can come back as necessary. We do all our painting outside on some self made painting stands (low boxes with risers for the car at the axle points). We paint outside usually in a grassy area out of respect for the organization that is letting us use their facility for free. Wouldn't want to jeopardize the loss of using a facility if some spray paint accidently got on something. :shake:

-Nitro Dan


Take good and make it great. Take fast and make it faster. Performance drives success!

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Re: New to workshops

Post by Darin McGrew » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Our workshops are outside. That's one of the perks of living on the California coast, I guess. We have large cardboard boxes that help contain the overspray and help shelter the paint from the breeze (and from other booths' overspray). We also put tarps over everything around the paint booths, just in case.

And 2 hours works well for workshops, although we find that it helps to have workshops at different times. If you hold only Saturday morning workshops, then the kids with Saturday morning sports lose out. And the same thing goes for pretty much any day/time you choose. But if you have (for example) Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon workshops, or Saturday morning and Wednesday night workshops, then you tend to get more kids who can come to at least some of the workshops.



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Re: New to workshops

Post by whodathunkit » Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:21 am

Darin & Nitro Dan,

At the workshops you guys hold.. What kinds of special requests do you get for car ideas?

If I were to attend a workshop held by one of you to guys & had an idea to build a car
modeled after a Buddy L toy car.. the ATOM Bazooka, Bubble gum race car by Topps
would graph paper & pencils be provided to accommodate my design idea?

Guys, at the very first workshop I held..
I had a good number of tools listed like those you have listed above.

But one of the oversights I made..
was in forgetting to provide graph paper to accommodate teams that had special requests for car ideas that veered away from car templates or car patterns. It never crossed my mind that could possibly happen. Other than that, your list looks similar to that of what we used. Just wanted to give you a heads up about having paper and pencils handy for sketching if needed.


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Darin McGrew
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Re: New to workshops

Post by Darin McGrew » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:16 pm

We provide templates so the kids can draw their designs. The templates show a top view of the blocks we use, and a side view of the blocks we use. We also have pencils at the church.



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Re: New to workshops

Post by Nitro Dan » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:09 am

Like Darin, we also provide templates, nearly 200 of them (side & top views), for the kids to look through and pick from. When a cub scout has a particular design in mind, they usually have drawn it up in advance before coming to the workshop so they can show me or my staff what they want to accomplish; however, I still have graph paper there with blank designs for them in case someone wants to get very creative.

I also do a district workshop for the local Girl Scouts Powder Puff races as well. I find working with the Girl Scouts is a lot different than working with Cub Scouts. The girls are more concerned with the "look" of their cars and often ask for designs that are far different than a normal car shape. They also put much more effort into the decorating of their cars as well. They even have a theme award for "Most Bling". Out of all the workshops I do all season, the one for the Girl Scouts definitely challenges my creativity limits.

-Nitro Dan


Take good and make it great. Take fast and make it faster. Performance drives success!

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Re: New to workshops

Post by whodathunkit » Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:45 pm

Come to think of it Nitro Dan & Darin,

It was a girl & mother team who asked me for a blank template for a car design at my first workshop.
As I recall she wanted her car to look like a Banana. (I took a photo of it back then)

Here is the cool looking Banana car design she come up with for her car.
Top Right of photo:
Image
Nitro Dan wrote: I find working with the Girl Scouts is a lot different than working with Cub Scouts. The girls are more concerned with the "look" of their cars and often ask for designs that are far different than a normal car shape. Out of all the workshops I do all season, the one for the Girl Scouts definitely challenges my creativity limits.
-Nitro Dan
You are so right about the Girl Scouts Nitro Dan.
Slipers, flip-flops, rainbows, lip stick, birds in a nest, and so on..

Seem's most Boy's ( But not all ) will pick out a car design shaped template
over useing a blank template for designing a car .


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: New to workshops

Post by Nitro Dan » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:37 am

whodathunkit wrote:Come to think of it Nitro Dan & Darin, it was a girl & mother team who asked me for a blank template for a car design at my first workshop. As I recall she wanted her car to look like a Banana.
Doesn't surprise me. I find that the Girl Scouts take more satisfaction from other girls pointing and marveling over the car they made, then they do actually winning the race. They aren't concerned with making a fast car, just one that all the other girls will look at and go, "Wow! Look at that car!" (and then they smile because they know it is theirs). Once in a while I will run across a girl who is concerned about having a fast car, but it is usually a "Dad" behind her that is pushing the subject.
whodathunkit wrote:You are so right about the Girl Scouts Nitro Dan. Slipers, flip-flops, rainbows, lip stick, birds in a nest, and so on..
Yep, been there and done just about all of those. They also seem to want to make cars that they can fit their dolls into, or that some-sort of plastic animal can ride. My daughter made a flat wing last year that had a plastic Jaguar on top. The next year we suddenly had nearly two dozen girls show up with plastic characters and animals they wanted on their cars. At first it made my daughter mad that everyone was coping her, but I got her to look at it as a tribute and an honor that they all liked her design so much that they wanted to have cars just like it. After that she was filled with glee everytime another car showed up with a plastic figure on it.
whodathunkit wrote:Seem's most Boy's ( But not all ) will pick out a car design shaped template over using a blank template for designing a car.
When a Cub Scout starts asking to design a particular vehicle, I find it is usually because they want to build a fire truck. Interesting enough, it happens to be the one template I don't have. :)

-Nitro Dan


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Re: New to workshops

Post by whodathunkit » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:38 pm

Nitro Dan wrote: I find that the Girl Scouts take more satisfaction from other girls pointing and marveling over the car they made, then they do actually winning the race. They aren't concerned with making a fast car, just one that all the other girls will look at and go, "Wow! Look at that car!" (and then they smile because they know it is theirs). Once in a while I will run across a girl who is concerned about having a fast car, but it is usually a "Dad" behind her that is pushing the subject.
They also seem to want to make cars that they can fit their dolls into, or that some-sort of plastic animal can ride. My daughter made a flat wing last year that had a plastic Jaguar on top. The next year we suddenly had nearly two dozen girls show up with plastic characters and animals they wanted on their cars. At first it made my daughter mad that everyone was coping her, but I got her to look at it as a tribute and an honor that they all liked her design so much that they wanted to have cars just like it. After that she was filled with glee everytime another car showed up with a plastic figure on it.

That's a cool you would tell her to look at it in that way! :thumbup:

When a Cub Scout starts asking to design a particular vehicle, I find it is usually because they want to build a fire truck. Interesting enough, it happens to be the one template I don't have. :)
-Nitro Dan
Tell me about it.. the fire truck templates/patterns are some what hard to find
you can come up the fire truck decals quicker then the templates on the web.

There is a cool looking fire truck seen in this topic on DT.
http://www.derbytalk.com/viewtopic.php? ... cks#p69326

Did you happen to see the Ambulance just to the left of Banana car?
That one well interesting enough just happens to be a Cub Scout design. (Dad is an EMT.)


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: New to workshops

Post by FatSebastian » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:15 am

Darin McGrew wrote:But we also have random colors donated faster than they get used. [...] We actually make a point of checking our supply and disposing of cans that are used up or useless.
We similarly have a lot of old, one-off colors on hand, and due to space considerations, our spray paints are stored in an area that is not air-conditioned. The seasonal temperature cycles result in a lot of spray cans apparently "going flat" after a few seasons, particularly during winter. However, we have found it possible to rejuvenate many of them by warming them up first (by placing them close to a radiant heat source, or in a bucket of hot water). I'd guess more than 50% of our "useless" cans have been found to have another paint job left in them after "heat treatment"; thus, we always test the cans warm before we decide to dispose of them.



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Re: New to workshops

Post by FatSebastian » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:37 am

davet wrote:How are you guys finding ways to access more tools and specialty equipment?
For non-Scouting derbies, we have tried to leverage kits that require less derby-specific equipment. For example, the wheels and axles of the MV kits need minimal attention, so that workshops can focus on woodworking of the block. (Also, use of a non-Scout kit also helps to deter families from showing up with Scout-based cars not made specifically for your church event.)



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