Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pinewood Derby '09

Today, ES's cub scout pack held their pinewood derby. To see last year's pinewood derby humvee, see this post.

We started off by ES deciding on a design. He wanted to make a bullet train, and we used this image off wikipedia as an initial concept to work from.

ES drew on the sides of the block of wood where he wanted me to cut, and I cut the main pieces off around the nose to make it curved. Then I held our sander while ES rolled the nose of the car around to smooth out the curved nose.

ES sanding the curved nose.

Aside: I really like our Black & Decker Cyclone sander. I've used it a lot ever since my awesome wife bought it for me... I don't remember how long ago. I felt it was pretty safe to use with ES because unlike a belt sander or spinning disk that can rip your finger off, this just vibrates.

Cut & Sanded

We went to Home Depot to pick out the colors that ES wanted to make his bullet train. Once again, I felt like I've spent too much time out at sea (flashback to this post). ES chose purple and yellow, "because [he] wanted complimentary colors." Where did I go wrong??? Anyway, he decided he wanted it to be yellow with purple stripes.

First we put on a coat of purple paint.

After it dried, we put some painter's tape on it where we wanted the purple to stay. I figured it was easier to put tape where we wanted the purple to stay than it would have been to put tape all over except for the areas we wanted the purple stripe.

Then we did a coat of yellow paint.

When we took the tape off, it did a pretty good job, but there were some spots where the yellow paint seeped under the painter's tape. My wife was very kind and touched up those spots with a paint brush.

Ready for the Race

I admit, it doesn't look much like the original concept image from wikipedia, but I wanted it to be ES's car and let him make all the decisions. He decided where to cut, how much to sand and round it, what colors to make it, where to put the stripes... Although I did the cutting and my wife helped with the paint, it's very much his car.

Thanks to those of you who offered advice on improving the performance of the car. My wife went to the hobby shop in Leesburg today, had the car weighed, bought some additional screw-on weights and some graphite lubricant for the wheels.


Arrival at the track.

If we hadn't all been sick last weekend and this week, and if I hadn't been coming home late from work, I would have gone sooner to have the car weighed and get the weight right. The screw-on weights that my wife bought at the hobby shop worked pretty good and got us pretty close. We ended up weighing in at 4.8 ounces. You really want it to be as close to 5.0 ounces as possible. At the time, I decided that was close enough I was going to go and mess with it. In hindsight now, I wonder if I should have tried gluing a quarter to it.

Computer setup with the results automatically calculated and posted on the big screen.

This cub scout pack is a lot bigger than our pack in McGrew (back in Pearl Harbor). Kudos to the pack leadership for their organization of the event. It was very well run like a well oiled machine. It was pretty high-tech with sensors on the track that automatically sensed which car came in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in each race and tabulated the results on the big screen.

The Wolf Den Lineup.

The moment of truth.

Overall, we did a LOT better this year than last year.

Last year ES's humvee took 4th place in EVERY race and last overall.

This year, he took a lot of 2nd place and 3rd place races. He took 1st place once and 4th place a couple of times. In the end, he came out 13th out of 22 Wolf Den entries. I don't think that's bad, and I told Brian he should be proud of how well he did this year.

This was the one race ES took 1st place.

ES's facial expression after taking 1st place.
That's YB with the camera on the left.

ES had several 2nd place races like this one.

The numbers on top are the lane numbers. The red digital numbers are the place numbers triggered by the light sensors under the finish line.

Action Shot: The last race.
Note YB and ES watching in the background.
That's ES's car about to come in 2nd place again.

Some of the most interesting cars in the Wolf Den were:

Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade Tank
Complete with German soldier fighting Indy and Indy's Dad

The Obama Bus

My eye was drawn to this one due to the colors, but check out the race car in the foreground. It's an Obama race car with an image of Obama and the word "CHANGE", and where they glued some of the money to add weight to the car, they wrote, "BAIL OUT."

The Banana-mobile

Well, the Bears are racing now, then the Webelos will be up. The pack championship is at 4 p.m. and we can go back to pick up ES's car then after they've had a chance to judge the other awards like "most creative" and whatnot.

ES seemed pretty dejected and mad that he didn't win any awards in the race itself, and he didn't want to leave his car there to be judged by others. I told him he should be proud of how well he did this year and how much he improved from last year.

Note to self: Add "good sportsmanship" refresher discussion to list of preparations for next year's pinewood derby.


Ruth said...

Tell ES that I really like his car. The colors are cool and the shape is awesome. He did a great job and Auntie is sooo proud of his accomplishment. I want to know what are his plans for next year's car? What will he do differently?

Sagey said...

In regards to his complimentary color choices, aren't you just glad he is getting an excellent and well rounded education? I didn't teach him that yellow and purple are complimentary...

Oz said...

Well done!

JoLee said...

LISTEN to your son. Yellow & Purple are the HOT new colors for 2009
"Pantone touts “mimosa,” a vibrant shade of yellow illustrated by the flowers of some mimosa trees (as well as the brunch-favorite cocktail), as its top shade of the new year. Meanwhile, the Color Marketing Group trumpets purple as 2009’s “must-have” color."
I see that young man's future in ADVERTISING!

J120 Bowman said...

I told you in an earlier post, max weight, 5.0!

Good job on letting him do his own thing. I saw way too many "Dad" cars in the past. By the way, letting him sand without proper eye protection and dust mask? What's up with that?

In fact, some Packs have a "Dad's" race for all of the engineer geeks and NASCAR fans!

Unknown said...

Found ths blog looking for Pinewood Derby Train cars. My son is a Wolf this year and he is going to do his design, BUT I wanted a train design for me for the parent's race. I plan on making this car and painting it Amtrak. Thanks for the inspiration!