There are some clever hacks that are legal to give the cars an advantage.  The Pinewood Derby is great because it empowers kids and provides the key opportunity to learn, make and test design ideas.

The rules are fairly simple and certain restrictions are in place to ensure that the playing field is level.  The wheels and axels are standardized; there are also weight limits and size restrictions. The making process is usually done in home DIY workshops using basic tools to carve out the body of the car.

I decided to implement the latest in design innovations and manufacturing technology to the basics of the Pinewood Derby.  The following is my design process.  In Fusion 360, I first created a virtual block of wood to the exact dimensions of the official pinewood derby block.  The block was then shaped into a stealthy design using the capabilities of the CAD software, Autodesk Inventor.  This initial design is just my idea.  It will be interesting to see what the Scouts come up with!

Next, I designed some wheels to fit the futuristic look of the car.  I composed a 10 spoke star pattern.  Many different designs are possible and changes can be made very easily using Fusion 360.   I decided to put the hackLAB logo in the center.  I added oversized, drilled brake rotors for visual effect and to protect the bearings.  I also used a 0.25” axle and a high-performance wheel bearing that fits into the hub standardizing the wheel assembly.  This design parameter will ensure a level playing field the same way the current Pinewood Derby axle and wheel assembly do but with the application of cutting-edge technology!

Finally, I added a small rear spoiler for effect and assembled the wheels and axles.  This picture is a rendering of what the final model will look like. The overall process of designing the virtual model was pretty quick.

Now we make this design real.

Models can take easy 3+ hours to print on any printer, hackLAB uses MakerBots.  Use ABS plastic and the car weighs around 60 grams. Weight can be added later to increase the performance, but for now, I need to focus on painting the body and wheels.  The 3D printed ABS plastic models can be painted and prepared just like in an auto-body shop.  After painting, the wheel bearing will be added to the wheel assembly.  Then the wheels will be mounted to the body of the car.  The final step will be to attach the rear spoiler, but for now, the design is ready for wind tunnel testing.  This will help with the proper and final placement of the rear spoiler wing.

hackLAB proposes to select the top 6 Pinewood Derby winners from the Raleigh area and pit them in a Digital Derby.

Our goal is to Engage Young Minds in the Future of Design and 3D Printing in the upcoming online and live hackLab Digital Derby.

This would involve a top-secret design meeting with the individual Scout and their parent. Their designs will then be produced just like we have produced ours here, right down to their own custom emblems.  Designs would be kept top-secret until a public unveiling.

We’re open for Local businesses to could sponsor the cars in the form of donations to the Cub Scouts of America.  The kids will prepare their designs for an extended race on a custom track.

Gopro slow-motion cameras will be set up to capture every car, at every moment during the race.

Of course, everyone will keep the derby cars that they designed and have the opportunity to win 3D printed trophies based on performance.  Kids are brilliant, and I have no doubt the results will be amazing.

Stay tuned to this fun online and live event race in Spring 2018!

You can even print Old School!