Pinewood Derby® Plans

March 30, 2009

pinewood

One of the funnest events in cub scouting is the pinewood derby. Below are free plans to pinewood derby cars I have found to be very successful. My personal recommendation is the Flying Wedge. It is not the prettiest car, but I think it has the best chance of winning (which, of course, is not everything). Before you begin your car, be sure to see our page on Speed and Construction Tips. Feel free to ask questions about the plans. I would love to post pictures of your car in the Pinewood Derby Photo Gallery, just send them to pinewood@boysdad.com.

Car Designs

All of these plans are designed for easy cutting with an ordinary bandsaw with a narrow blade. Please NEVER allow a child to operate a bandsaw.

Blank Car Template

blankThis is a full size template of the current Pinewood Derby® block that will allow you to design your own car style. The axle slots and an outline of the wheels are included. This insures you will have a unique design.

(blank.pdf, Full-Size Template)


Car Style “Bond”

bond2Taking design cues from winning Indy car models, Bond offers a combination of style and speed that is hard to beat. The rear of the car offers generous room to drill for lead or tungsten weights, while the front is an aerodynamic wedge that cuts through the wind like a knife.

(Bond1.pdf, Full-Size Template)


Car Style “Fonz”

fonz2Definitely a showstopper. With its high rear spoiler and aerodynamic styling the Fonz looks like it is ready to take on the toughest competition. The Fonz allows for a rearward weight distribution concentrated just forward of the rear wheels.

(fonz.pdf , Full-Size Template)


Car Style “Flying Wedge”

wedge2Short on style but built for pure speed the Flying Wedge is the car I have won more races with than any other. The style of this car has evolved over the past several years into an extremely consistent performer. With near perfect rearward weight distribution and adjustable weight lugs, the Flying Wedge allow for last minute weight adjustment that is critical to winning.

NEW – by Popular Demand: CLICK HERE FOR Full Build Instructions for the Flying Wedge

wedgeunderside2

(drawing & Full-Size Template)


Car Style “Hot Rod”

hotrod2With styling reminiscent of a 33 coupe, the Hot Rod is a real beauty. This car can be a real heart throb when you take the time to sand the curves smooth. If you are a real craftsman, the Hot Rod can be a real work of art.

(hotrod.pdf, Full-Size Template)


Car Style “Luthor”

carThe real “bad boy” of the racetrack, Luthor brings ’70s styling to the modern Pinewood track. Luthor is another car that is built for speed. Many of the enhancements that the Flying Wedge uses can be incorporated into the Luthor body style.

(luthor1.pdf, Full-Size Template)

See also:

Pinewood Derby Speed and Construction Tips

Pinewood Derby Engineering Data

Pinewood Derby Physics

BoysDad.com IS NOT AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT ENDORSED OR SPONSORED BY BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA. Pinewood Derby®, and BSA® ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA.

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38 Responses to Pinewood Derby® Plans

  1. Martin87
    April 24, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    why is tungsten better because it weighs more? isn’t 5 ounces 5 ounces whether it comes from lead or tungsten?

  2. Daron
    May 2, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for posting the free templates. I have two little (girls) that love pinewood racing. But we never win. Hopefully your designs and your engineering tips will put us over the top this year.

    Mr. Daron Ross.
    Auberry, CA

  3. May 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Daron. Good luck to you and your girls! Send us a photo when you are done.

  4. Steve
    June 18, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Boysdad, quick question on your plans for the “Flying Wedge.” The two 3/8 holes in the back that lead gets filled into, do you drill those all the way through the body and fill them up completely? Thanks!

    Great idea with the screw to adjust the weight. Very creative and simple!

  5. June 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Steve,
    The 3/8 holes do go all the way through. You will want to use a piece of scrap wood to back up the holes when you drill so the wood does not splinter. To fill the holes with lead, I use a piece of high-temp aluminum tape across the bottom of the holes and fill them with the molten lead. You might want to practice on a piece of scrap first.

    -Rob

  6. Ryen
    September 27, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I am building my first car with my Dad. I like the flying wedge alot. What is the machine screw for and where exactly does it attach? Your website is cool.

    Thanks,

    Ryen

  7. September 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks, Ryen. I epoxy two #8 or #10 machine screws in the hollowed out area underneath the car, then I add washers and a nut to adjust the weight in small increments. Good luck!

  8. Hans
    January 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Rob,

    Great site and the drawings are superb!
    On the “Flying Wedge” design – do the pinewood derby rules allow to cut off 3/8″ at the back and glue it to the front? I did not see anything in our rules that would forbid it..

    Do you leave the top of the car “as-is” or do you cut out?

    Thanks a lot for your feedback. Happy New Year!

    Hans

  9. russell
    January 5, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    do you happen to have the template for the waving flag?
    if so would love to get it from you . thanks

  10. Paul
    February 14, 2010 at 10:33 am

    A couple more hints.
    – Don’t move the weights too far back. You want the center of gravity (CG) to be about .75″ in FRONT of the rear axle. Less than .5″ makes the car unstable and very prone to wobbling.
    – If your rules allow, don’t use the provided axle slots. Extend the wheel base as much as possible by drilling your own axle holes. The physics is complicated but the end result is a faster car. Use a drill press!! The wheels cannot extend beyond the car body. Drill one FRONT axle hole ‘high’ so that the wheel doesn’t touch the track – a 3 wheeler. It take energy to rotate the wheels up to speed. The energy not used to spin up the 4th wheel is translated into speed!!
    – If your rules allow 3 wheelers, shift the CG away from the raised wheel. I.e. if you raise the RF wheel, move the weights a little to the left side of the car. This makes the left-rear wheel alignment dominant over the RR wheel making the car more resistant to wobbling. It’s more stable.
    – Buy extra wheels. Using an eye loupe, reject those wheels with wheel bore imperfections. Prepare at least 6 wheels per car.
    – Polish the wheel bores with wet/dry sand paper (1000, 1500, 2000 grit). Cut pieces .75 x 1.5″ and wrap them around a 1/16″ drill bit. Chuck bit AND paper into a drill press. Keep the wheel in water while polishing. Approx. 20 seconds per grit. Final polish is done with Micro-Gloss applied to the back side of a piece of sand paper. Polish about 5 seconds, add more Micro-Gloss, polish about 5 seconds, add more MG, etc. Don’t polish too long (>5 seconds) or you will melt the wheel bore!! Your wheel bores should now look like black ice! :-)
    – Fill the wheel bore with graphite/moly. Cut the ends off a Q-tip. Put the Q-tip into the wheel bore the roll the wheel back and forth to work the G/M into the wheel bore. Repeat until spin times (hand spun wheel on an axle) exceed 25 seconds. This creates a mono-molecular graphite layer on the wheel bore so there is no need to add G/M on race day.
    We routinely win our Pack race and place in the top 10% at District.
    Happy racing.

  11. Alvaro Gonzalez
    March 15, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Thanks! My son use you flying wedge design, Last Saturday (03/13/2010) and did not loose any race, his fastest time was 2.53 sec. and avg was 2.56 we ar gooing to District.

    Again Thank you

  12. April 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Going into our first Deby experience my expectations were extremely low and I explained this to my son as well. But thanks to the flying wedge design we won the first 5 races continuosly and the grin on my sons face was hysterical!!!! Thanks for the tips and if I would not have left everything to the last minute we ‘may’ have beat the top car… there’s always next year!

  13. Dad
    May 3, 2010 at 9:11 am

    The only reason I have not done that is because it blocks access to the weight adjustments. I like to put the car on the official scale and add small washers until the weight goes over 5.0g, then remove the last one. You could add a sticker or label over that area, just make sure you don’t sacrifice the weight — it is a more important factor than the wind resistance.

  14. September 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Nice info. Nice work with the 3D CAD Master
    Let us know if we can ever be of any help.
    PinewoodDerbyDen.com

  15. February 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

    We used the wedge design with a little twist and won the den and placed 2nd in town – lost to another wedge. Going to states

  16. Richard
    March 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Great site. I helped my nephews each build a car, the fonz and hot rod. Both ran just over 3.000. And the final was they took home 1st and 2nd place. Thank you very much for helping to make there day a good one.

  17. Rob
    March 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Awesome! Glad to hear you did so well!! Send us some photos!

  18. Justin
    March 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks for the great info! My son and I built a slightly modified flying wedge (axle position from end of block could not be modified)and he took 2nd place overall. My 5 year old daughter and I built an identical car and she won the sibling race and set a new track record in every heat.

  19. John
    December 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Whats the easiest way to melt lead to weight the car?

  20. DWAYNE
    January 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    MELT LED WITH A SOILDERING TORCH. ADULTS ONLY PLEASE

  21. Marc
    January 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks for the awesome post. This is my kids first year of derby. We are also building the flying wedge. My question is why is the bottom cutout for the bolts a square in one of the pictures, and in the pic above, it has a smaller cutout toward the front of the car. Just wondering the purpose of it. Thanks again for the very helpful info. I’m sure this car will make top three.

  22. mARK
    January 11, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Hey there and a great site. My son and I are building the wedge car and so far so good with everything. The only snag we have come across is the bottom hollowing out. we are confused with the design and how deep the cavity should be. I assume the side view of the plans go on the bottom of the block not on the side. and do they go on both sides. Don’t know if I am making any sense. Just dont want to make a bad mistake….thanks in advance

  23. January 28, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I have a dumb question is the pointed end of the rounded end supposed to be the front or doesn’t it matter

  24. Trina
    February 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    We used the Luthor last year and my son took first in his den and finished 7 overall in a pack of 90 boys. For a first timer we were quite happy. Getting ready for this year’s race and think we are going to try the wedge. Wish us lock.

  25. jay
    February 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Awesome we ran the tons of was great was our first time car weighed 4.97 he took 7th overall but only 1-6 go to the district race we missed 6th by. 008 can’t wait till next year here are 2 links to our car http://tinypic.com/r/67jt6u/5 . http://tinypic.com/r/2vifuas/5

  26. Mike M.
    January 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Hey there! Great site! Working on the flying wedge. Question…what size machine screws, nuts, washers do you use?

    Thanks!

  27. Rob
    January 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I used #8 Machine screws (flat head). There is more information about the flying wedge here:
    http://boysdad.com/archives/3306

  28. charles caldwell
    January 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Hello all. I was wondering what type and where to put the weights on the Luthor?

  29. Rob E
    January 18, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I’m a newbie this year with a 7 year old cub scout. We are plannning on building two cars. One will be the wedge, and the other possibly the Fonz. If the rules allow, should I increase the wheel base on the Fonz similar to the Wedge? Also, where should the weights be placed?

    Your site by the way is outstanding.

    Thanks
    Rob

  30. A. F.
    March 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for your Flying Wedge design. We modified it by drilling holes in the bottom with 3/8 inch drill, putting tungsten weights in the back of the car and a small amount of tungsten putty in two of the holes. My son won the first place in the entire Pack last year. I have some pictures of the car if you like!

  31. Rob
    March 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Awesome. As always, I’d love to get a picture of the car.

  32. Mark Maloney
    January 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    The flying wedge design placed 2nd overall tonight Pac 135 Lakewood Colorado by far the best design.First race my son was in and he placed 2nd out of 35 other designs and we did not do the routering out of the center bottom and still placed overall
    Thanks Again!!!
    Mark and Lucas

  33. Brad
    January 28, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Thank you for the outstanding plans! This was our first year in Cub Scouts, and like a previous commenter, I did not know what to expect so tried to keep my son’s expectations low. The Flying Wedge was a huge success – my son won Pack Champion, and never lost a heat!! A few Dads asked me what the secret was, I told them I would let them know when my son moved on to Boy Scouts….

  34. Jim and Jackson
    February 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Not only did this design win 1st place for Jackson’s den, his car won the entire pack! We are going to district and hoping we will place there this year for the first time in 3 years. We could not alter the wheel base or raise the 4th wheel, but that did not matter. Thanks for the design and walk through.

  35. Celeste
    March 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

    hi

  36. Celeste
    March 8, 2014 at 11:05 am

    i like the flying wedge. this is my fourth and last year, any tips?
    good luck everyone!!

  37. tiffany
    March 15, 2014 at 8:42 am

    my daughter wants the FONZ for her powderpuff derby car. So totally stupid question probally but do we cut the bottom first or the sides. Thanks

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