Pinewood Derby

Pack 3387 Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby TrackThe Pack 3387 Pinewood Derby is held annually in late January.  Scouts get to design their race car, work with an Akela to build it, and see it perform on race day.  The cars are built from a block of pine wood, plastic wheels, metal axles, and powered by gravity as they run down a track.  Win or lose, Scouts take pride in having done their best. When Scouts race in a pinewood derby, they learn craft skills, the rules of fair play, and good sportsmanship—things Scouts will remember all their life.

Pack 3387 has a high quality aluminum 3 lane Pinewood Derby track with an electronic timer and computer software to manage the competition heats/brackets.  Each Scout in the Pack is encouraged to build one car to race at the Pinewood Derby.  Akelas and siblings are also welcome to build a car and complete in a special race division.  The race is run in heats, giving every car the chance to run on each lane.  The racers are first grouped with others from the same Den (Tiger Cubs, Wolf Cubs, Bear Cubs, Webelos, etc.), and then the top 3 from each Den compete against each other for the overall Pack awards.

Pack 3387 Derby Rules

As you are designing and building your Pinewood Derby car, please note that ALL CARS MUST PASS INSPECTION TO QUALIFY FOR THE RACE. Here are the rules that will be verified during inspection:
1. The car weight shall not exceed 5.0 ounces. The official race scale shall be considered final.
2. The overall length of the car shall not exceed 7 inches.
3. The overall width of the car shall not exceed 2 ¾ inches.
4. The car must have 1 ¾” clearance between the wheels.
5. The car must have 3/8” clearance underneath the body between the car and track.
6. The wood provided in the kit must be used.
7. The wheels provided in the kit must be used.  The wheels may be modified, but full sidewall must be visible (NO ROUNDING).
8. The axles supplied with the kit must be used. They may be polished or lubricated.
9. Only dry lubricant is permitted.
10. Wheel bearings, washers or bushings are prohibited.
11. The car cannot ride on any type of springs.
12. The car must be freewheeling, with no starting devices.

Helpful Tips and Ideas:

If this is the first time you are building a Pinewood Derby car, please ask your Pack Leaders for advice on how to build your car.  Many of the Dens will hold car-cutting sessions, where Scouts and Akelas can get some assistance with cutting the basic shape of their car using tools like a band saw or Dremel.  Scouts should come up with the design for their car, and Scouts should do all of the work on the car except when using dangerous tools.

Here are some important tips for building the pinewood derby car:
Heavier is Faster – Pinewood derby cars are gravity driven. Make your car as close to the 5 ounce weight limit as possible. When the car reaches the flat end part of the track, its extra weight means more momentum to continue moving fast.  You can weigh your car at the post office.  Our Den Leaders will also bring the official Pack 3387 scale to a Den Meeting for validating weight before the event.
Align Axles – Absolutely straight, perpendicular axles mean a straight-running car with no drift. Every time your car drifts to the side and touches the lane boundaries, it slows down. The pre-drilled axle holes may not be true and straight.
Lubricate Wheels – Applying dry graphite where the wheels and axles meet reduces friction and results in longer, faster runs.  Do NOT use wet lubricant.
Put Weight in Back – By moving weight towards the rear of the car, it moves further up the track at the starting point. That means it falls further and propels the car longer. If the weight is too far back, the front of the car will wobble so finding the best location takes trials.
Polish Axles – The standard axles have imperfections that will increase friction with the wheels. Grinding the ridges off and polishing reduces friction.

Helpful Pinewood Derby Web Sites:



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