How to lighten pinewood derby wheels

There are a variety of approaches that can be used to turn that $0.02 wheel into a proven winner. We will go over each stage in great detail. The following is a quick explanation of how PWD BSA wheels are constructed. Although thermoplastic vacuum molding is not a difficult process, knowing why wheels that come out of the same mold might differ from piece to piece is a more involved process with variables that most people are not interested in learning about or comprehending. The mold can be too hot or too cold, the plastic can be slightly thicker or thinner than specified, and the plastic can be slightly thicker or thinner than specified.

And this article will explain to you about “how to lighten pinewood derby wheels

What tools are needed to true, lighten and improve wheel performance?

Here’s what happened to me. We made a car for my son’s first cub scout pinewood derby race last year, and he had a blast. For this project, we were constructing a pinewood derby car, which I thought to be a fascinating and challenging challenge. We conducted some preliminary research and completed the necessary steps to construct a reasonably functional scout car. Our pack regulations indicate that we can only utilize the parts that are in the box and that we cannot use any other materials. The car won every race and finished first overall with a timing of 3.011 seconds while running on graphite. When we look back on the automotive design, we realize that we could have done a far better job. This is especially true after going through many of the postings on this site. Thank you everybody for your contributions.

Because, as we all know, once you design a winning car, everyone is interested in learning how it was constructed. As good sports, we told everyone how we built the car and what we did to make it as fast as we possibly could have made it. As a result, everyone will be at least as fast as my son’s previous automobile this year. As a result, we must develop our construction abilities to a higher degree.

Last year, I made significant investments in a variety of tools, including some Derby Worx products. The Derby Worx Tools for wheels have been criticized in a few postings on the site, with some suggesting that they are a waste of time.

Due to the fact that we will have to use the wheels in the BSA Box, what equipment should I purchase to assist us in truing up the wheels, improving their performance, and lightening the wheels? (I have already purchased all of the lubricant and polishing supplies from DD4H) At this moment, I’m not interested in purchasing a lathe.

How to Polish Your Pinewood Derby Car’s Axles and Wheels

Polishing Pinewood Derby Axles

1. Start with a set of raw axles.

How to Polish Your Pinewood Derby Car’s Axles and Wheels

2. Can you tell the difference between the axles in the top row and the ones on the bottom? The ones on the bottom aren’t straight and will slow your car.

Polishing Pinewood Derby Axles

3. To tell which are straight and which aren’t, mark each axle with a marker about 1/2 inch from the pointed end.

Polishing Pinewood Derby Axles

4. Have an adult clamp a power drill into a vise, a device that will hold it perfectly still.

5. Have an adult help you insert each axle into the drill at the location you marked in Step 3. Have the adult turn on the drill.

Polishing Pinewood Derby Axles

6. Bent axles will wobble as they turn in the drill. Straight axles will hardly wobble at all. Pick the ones that wobble least.

7. Once you’ve selected the four straightest axles, use a file or fine-grit sandpaper to remove small burrs and mold marks that can cause friction and slow a car. These imperfections should be removed from both the axles and the wheels. Watch this video to learn one way to do this.

Polishing Pinewood Derby Axles

8. Use polishing compound from the auto supply store to polish the wheels and axles. One easy way to do this is to clamp the axles back in the drill and let the drill spin the axle while you polish it.

9. When you install the axles and wheels, make sure they are aligned perfectly straight. You can test the alignment of your axles by pushing your car across a smooth floor or table. It should roll in a straight line.

10. Don’t forget to add graphite or another dry lubricant to your wheels and axles.

Polishing Pinewood Derby Axles

Lightened Pinewood Derby Wheels with Graphite Coating

This wheel would not be permitted in races where the diameter of the wheel must be greater than 1.18″ or where the diameter of the wheel must be greater than 1.18″.

Graphite cannot be used in the impregnation of wheels.
Graphite cannot be bonded to the wheels because of the nature of the material.

This wheel should be permitted in races where any of the following conditions are met:

Wheels may not be peaked, ‘H’ed, humped, tapered, or constricted in any way, shape, or size.
Wheels are not permitted to be tapered or rounded.
In order to lower the footprint of the wheel against the track surface, wheels may not be tapered or reformed in any way.
In order to prevent the wheel diameter from being reduced past the ridge (rippled) edge, the ridge (rippled) edge must remain intact throughout the entire wheel.
It is not permitted to remove or modify the inscription on the inside of the wheels.

FAQ how to lighten pinewood derby wheels

How do you lighten a pinewood derby car?

Bake the Block: To begin, take your block of wood and, before you do anything else, bake it for around two hours at 250 degrees for the purpose of removing moisture and making it lighter in weight. In this way, you will be able to distribute more weight to the rear of the Pinewood Derby car, which is where you want it.

What is the fastest pinewood derby car design?

The Black PRO Car is our fastest pinewood derby car, and it is also the most expensive. It exceeds the posted speed limit! With our race winning PRO friction-free BSA Ultra-Lite graphite-coated wheels and our race winning PRO graphite-coated grooved axles, it is a track-tested car that is ready to go to the track.
Where should the weight be on a pinewood derby car?

The Most Appropriate Place to Weigh Your Pinewood Derby Car

It is recommended that you strive to get a final balancing point of the car that is one inch or less in front of the rear axle when selecting where to weight your car. In order to accomplish this, 2/5 of the additional weight should be placed behind the rear axle and the remaining 3/5 should be placed in front of the rear axle.

What is the best type of paint to use on a pinewood derby car?

ByBrittney. Pinewood Derby cars were painted more than 100 times, and we carefully selected the best paints to use on each one of them. Sanding and painting are the most effective methods of applying these high gloss acrylic paints, which do not require primer or wood sealer to be used.


Thank you for all of your suggestions. We’ll put the car on the track with the wheels that came with it and see how fast we can make it go.

It appears that attempting to lathe plastic wheels will be a massive task that will take far too much time, talent, and specialized tooling. I wish I had the opportunity to spend more time learning this skill since the engineer in me enjoys taking on new problems.

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