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How to add weights to a Panther Pinewood Derby car. It's as easy as ABC! 

Example of pinewood car
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How to add weight to a Panther Pinewood Derby Car

Panther side view

The heavier your pinewood derby car, the faster it will go. Most race rules limit the weight to 5 oz so you want your car as close to the limit as possible. The Panther block will need about 2.8 oz of additional weight to bring it up to the 5 oz limit.

You should install the weights in your car before you paint it.

Pinewood Derby Scale

Before adding the weights to your car, put the car block, wheels, axles and any other accessories that you will be adding to your car on a scale. Then add the weights until the total is 5 oz. (paint will add very little to the weight of your car).

When your car is complete, weigh it again. If it is over 5 oz, drill a few holes in the bottom of the block about an inch behind the front axle to remove some wood. 

Below are several suggestions for adding weights to your Panther pinewood derby car.

Lead Wire Weights

Lead is inexpensive, dense and is easy to work with but lead is toxic. Always use gloves when working with lead and make sure that none of the lead is exposed after you install it in the block.

When weighing the car and weights, cut three weights that are 1 3/4" long or less and two weights that are no longer than 1/2". You can cut the weights with a hack saw, coping saw or wire cutters.  Additional weights, if needed, can be drilled into the bottom of the car.

You will need:

  1. One set of Lead Wire Weights
  2. Drill and 5/16" drill bit.
  3. Wood putty.
  4. Sandpaper
  5. Hack saw, coping saw or wire cutters.
Wedge pinewood derby block with lead weights
  1. Clamp the block on a flat surface.
  2. Using a 5/16" drill bit, drill five holes straight into the back of the block, in the pattern shown in the above. The depth of the holes should be 1/8" deeper than the length of the weights.
  3. Remove the clamp from the block.
  4. Insert the weights in the holes. The end of each weight should be at least 1/8" into the end of the block. This will leave room for the wood putty. Drill the holes deeper if needed.
  5. Weigh the block, wheels, axles and weights again. Adjust the amount of weight if needed for 5 oz. If additional weight is needed, drill shallow holes in the bottom of the block in front of the other weights. Be careful to not drill through the top of the block.
  6. Seal the weight holes with the wood putty. Allow to dry in a warm place for 12 hours.
  7. Sand the wood putty until smooth and flush with the car block.

You can now paint your pinewood derby car and add the wheels and axles. 

Weigh your car one more time and add more weight if needed or drill wood from under the car if it is too heavy.

Lead Wire Weights

Lead Wire Weights

3 oz. total weight
3 oz. wire weights
Body Putty for Pinewood Derby Cars

Wood Body Putty

ea.

5/16" Drill Bit

Drill Bits
Digital Scale

Digital Scale

Scale
To place your order:
1. Enter the quantity you would like to order next to each of the above items.
2. Click the "Add to Cart" button below.

Steel Cylinder Weights

Steel Cylinders are inexpensive and are safe to handle but they are not as dense as lead and cannot be cut as easily.

You will need:

  1. One set of Steel Cylinder Weights
  2. One Fine Tune Cylinder Weight
  3. Drill and 3/8" drill bit.
  4. Fine Tune Cylinder.
  5. Wood putty.
  6. Sandpaper
Wedge block with steel weights
  1. Clamp the block to a flat surface.
  2. Using a 3/8" spade drill bit, drill three equally spaced holes into the back of the block at a slight down angle so that you can drill the holes 1 5/8" deep without drilling through the top or bottom of the block. The holes should be deep enough to hold three Steel Cylinders each. The holes will be close together so it is recommended to start the holes with a smaller bit or you can use our Weight Guide.
  3. Remove the clamp from the block.
  4. Insert the weights in the holes. The end of each weight should be at least 1/8" into the end of the block. This will leave room for the wood putty. Drill the holes deeper if needed.
  5. Weigh the block, wheels, axles and weights again. If the weight is less than 5 oz, you will add Bottom Weight after the car has been painted and the wheels attached.
  6. Seal the weight holes with the wood putty. Allow to dry in a warm place for 12 hours.
  7. Sand the wood putty until smooth and flush with the car block.

You can now paint your car and add the wheels and axles. 

Weigh the completed car. If it is less than 5 oz., glue enough of the Bottom Weight to the bottom of the block with super glue. Glue some of the weight behind the rear axle slot and the rest in front of the rear axle slot. The Bottom Weight can be broken into sections with a pliers.

Steel Cylinders

Steel Cylinder Weights

3 oz. total weight
3 oz. Steel Cylinders
Bottom Weight

Bottom Weights

1 oz. Bottom Weight sets
Super Glue

Super Glue

each
3/8" Drill Bit

3/8" Spade Drill Bit

Drill Bits
Digital Scale

Digital Scale

Scale
Body Putty for Pinewood Derby Cars

Wood Body Putty

ea.
Weight Guide

Weight Guide

To place your order:
1. Enter the quantity you would like to order next to each of the above items.
2. Click the "Add to Cart" button below.

Tungsten Weights

Tungsten is very dense but it is more expensive than the other weights. The density gives you a speed advantage because more of the weight can be placed farther back on the car.

You can use a combination of cylinders and a flat weight for optimum results.
Cut the Fine Tune weight to bring your car up to the 5 oz limit.

You will need:

  1. Four Tungsten Cylinders
  2. One Tungsten Plate
  3. One Fine Tune Cylinder
  4. Drill and 3/8" drill bit
  5. Wood putty
  6. Sandpaper
  7. Screw driver
Wedge block with tungsten weights
  1. Clamp the pinewood derby block to a flat surface.
  2. Using a 3/8" drill bit, drill two holes straight into the back of the block high enough so that you do not drill into the axle slot. The depth of the holes should be enough to hold two cylinders each. 
  3. Remove the clamp from the block.
  4. Insert the weights in the holes. The end of the weights should be at least 1/8" into the end of the block. This will leave room for the wood putty. Drill the holes deeper if needed. The fine tune weight can also go in these holes or you can drill a hole in the bottom of the block in front of the rear axle for this weight.
  5. Weigh the block, wheels, axles and weights again (don't forget the flat weight). Adjust the amount of Fine Tune weight if needed. 
  6. Fill the weight holes with the wood putty. Allow to dry in a warm place for 12 hours.
  7. Sand the wood putty until smooth and flush with the car block.
  8. Paint your car and add the wheels and axles.

When the paint has dried and the wheels are on the car, install the flat weight to the bottom of the car behind the rear axle slot using the supplied screw. 
Tungsten Cylinder

Tungsten Cylinder

$2.95   1/2 oz ea. (Recommend 4)
Fine Tune Cylinder

Fine Tune Cylinder

Fine Tune Cylinder
Tungsten Plate

Tungsten Plate

Tungsten Plates
Digital Scale

Digital Scale

Scale
3/8" Drill Bit

3/8" Spade Drill Bit

Drill Bits
Body Putty for Pinewood Derby Cars

Wood Body Putty

ea.
To place your order:
1. Enter the quantity you would like to order next to each of the above items.
2. Click the "Add to Cart" button below.

 

 

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