Checking for BSA axles?

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michaelmoo
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Checking for BSA axles?

Post by michaelmoo » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:13 am

I’m the Cubmaster and running our Pinewood Derby for the second year. We have a rule like most Packs that you have to use the wood, axles, and wheels from the kit. A quick back story: About 3 years ago we had a kid show up with a pre bought kit and assembled it before check in and destroyed everyone. A lot of kids and parents weren’t happy. Anywho, we added the rule (we didn’t really have any when the kid/parent bought everything) about having to use the items from the official box. Well this year I get a call from a new scout parent telling me they just finished the car and then he read our rules. I’m sure you see where I’m heading with this. They bought “special speed axles off the internet” and wanted to know if they could use them since the car was finished. I told them the rules are clear that they have to use the axles in the kit. He rambled on about how they were just nails. He eventually said he will change them, but I have my doubts from our conversation.

Is there any way to tell if he did? I don’t want to single him or his son out, but at the same time everyone else is playing by the rules.



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by Speedster » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:00 am

No, there's no way to tell as long as the axles started out as a BSA axle. That's a very little advantage if that's all that was done. If he bothered to buy axles he might also have purchased machined wheels and that's a different story. If someone is determined to cheat, they will cheat and probably get away with it. They will have to live with it.

I am assuming a scout came in with an Official BSA kit by Revell, Made in China. He had Revell cut out his car instead of somebody else. The Official BSA Pre-cut kits from Revell have way too much wood in them except for a few models. Even then, it is a block of wood that someone cut out. There are so many things go into building a winning car and everything has to be perfect. You stated a scout had a Pre-cut kit, assembled it before check in and destroyed everyone. So am I to understand this scout installed wheels (Made in China-Junk) and axles into a block of wood and won the race? Forgive me, but something simply does not add up here. Might I suggest a workshop and presentation from someone who would teach the young scouts and their adult helper the Physics of the Pinewood Derby.



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by *5 J's* » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:04 am

Speedster wrote: I am assuming a scout came in with an Official BSA kit by Revell, Made in China. He had Revell cut out his car instead of somebody else. The Official BSA Pre-cut kits from Revell have way too much wood in them except for a few models. Even then, it is a block of wood that someone cut out. There are so many things go into building a winning car and everything has to be perfect. You stated a scout had a Pre-cut kit, assembled it before check in and destroyed everyone. So am I to understand this scout installed wheels (Made in China-Junk) and axles into a block of wood and won the race? Forgive me, but something simply does not add up here.
That is my initial thought. If this scout used one of the Revell kits to build a car just before the race and won - then that is one lucky boy.



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by michaelmoo » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:11 am

No the scout 3 years ago bought one of the "kits" off ebay. It was not a Revell kit. It had turned wheels, slotted axles, painted, pre-weighted, etc. All he did was install the wheels. It was a nice "kit". Revell would have loved to have made a kit like that.

I will check his wheels also. I would think that if he bought "special speed axles off the net" (his words), he also would have bought wheels.



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by Speedster » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:24 am

That makes more sense. Thank you.



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by FatSebastian » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:32 am

:welcome: michaelmoo!
michaelmoo wrote:I told them the rules are clear that they have to use the axles in the kit. He rambled on about how they were just nails.
If all axles are "just nails" then he should have no problem replacing them. ;)
michaelmoo wrote:Well this year I get a call from a new scout parent telling me they just finished the car and then he read our rules. [...] They bought “special speed axles off the internet” and wanted to know if they could use them since the car was finished.
Based on what was said, if the call had been purely motivated by one's conscience or sense of fairness, then it seems unlikely the parent would have debated the issue after being told they were illegal. If the call was made because they were seeking to avoid problems at inspection, then perhaps it may be obvious that they are using parts that are not "from the box". I therefore wonder if the question was posed to "feel out" the degree to which the rule against aftermarket parts are to be enforced. Speed axles are difficult to detect, but others parts less so. I agree with Speedster that you might see more than "special speed axles" used on this new scout's car.
michaelmoo wrote:Is there any way to tell if he did?
It depends on how "special" the axles are. Some speed axles are nickel plated, which appear slightly different than the standard zinc-plated axle.

Some speed axles are machined; they are not nails and thus do not have a pointed tip. So if the axle tip is visible (say, installed in a slot) that would be an indicator.

Some machined axles have a slightly tapered head which, IMO, might be distinguishable.

Some speed axles are reportedly machined of stainless steel, and most types of stainless are non-magnetic. I've never owned a stainless axle to say whether any are non-magnetic, but if an axle did not attract a magnet it would be definitely counterfeit.



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by michaelmoo » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:40 pm

Thanks FS. I agree he might have been testing to see how close we inspect and after reading all of yalls responces, he might be using other parts that weren't in the box. I dont think it was a sense of fairness...

I might being a small magnet just to see. I will also be looking at the axle if the end is pointed or not. We dont have a rule that you have to use the slots and can change the wheelbase, so he might have drilled holes (most of our scouts drill holes, but in the stock slots).

I will let you guys know what happens. Thanks for all the advice on this. I just have a feeling that he didn't change them to the stock ones (and might be using non stock wheels). Hopefully I'm wrong.

michaelmoo



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by *5 J's* » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:12 pm

I believe most of the stainless axles are now using a grade that cannot be detected by a magnet - however they are readily identifiable visually. I think most speed axles are readily identifiable visually - except for the ones that are machined from the BSA axle. I don't think there is any way of determining if these type of speed axles were made or purchased even if you pulled the axles and inspected (which I don't advocate).



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by rpcarpe » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:02 pm

Oh!
Here's the rule you need to eliminate cheating. IMHO. Probably too late for this year, but put it in your rules for next year and watch your Derby change.

"Each den competes as a team. The den with the best overall result wins the Team Trophy."

Our Pack awards The Big Wrench, a 3' long wrench with a 2" opening, to the fastest Den. It travels from Den to Den each year. The individual awards are tiny. Winning 'The Wrench' requires the whole den cooperate and share their knowledge. The kids go nuts for this wrench.

An ultra competitive Dad, hell bent on winning, can't get much personal glory without sharing his secret across the whole Den. Cheating has to be secretive, and I find it hard to believe that an entire Den would cheat their way to their trophy.

Encourage the build teams to share new ideas. Makes for more fun.

For this year, have the Cubs check in their cars and just naturally ask about the build process. The truth will come out. If they cheated, let them run, but award no trophy. Or give them options to make the car legal. Smile.
Let us all know how this turns out.


My wife started a new support group... Widows of the Pinewood Derby.

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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by michaelmoo » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:39 am

Ok. We looked at the axle and they were not the ones in the box. Even had one of our expert dads helping at check in who confirmed it. We let the Scout race, but not for points. Where ever he finished he was ranked last. The Dad wasnt there and we talked to the mom about it. She wanted us to be the ones to tell her son so we did. His Den leader asked where the axles came from and he told us they bought them. She called the dad and he was insisting that it was the stock axles and he would bring us the internet ones. We said ok. But he never showed up. So I'm guessing he couldn't "find" them...



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by FatSebastian » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:33 am

Thanks for reporting back!
michaelmoo wrote:We looked at the axle and they were not the ones in the box. Even had one of our expert dads helping at check in who confirmed it.
How were you able to tell? (In case others find themselves in a similar situation.)



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Re: Checking for BSA axles?

Post by rpcarpe » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:14 am

So the Scout raced, but couldn't win anything? That's too bad for the kid.
Do you think the Dad learned a lesson?

If anything, what will you change for next year?


My wife started a new support group... Widows of the Pinewood Derby.

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