Apr 19 2014
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Tips to get you started building a Pinewood Derby car track. It's as easy as ABC!

Example of pinewood car derby

 

How to Build a Pinewood Derby Car Track

If you are handy with wood, you can build your own Pinewood Derby track but it will take time and a bit of effort.

A few things to think about before you get started:

  • What size of track do you need? Most tracks have between two and four lanes. Two lanes are fine if less than 20 boys are going to race. Three lanes are fine for up to 30 racers. Four lanes should be used for groups above 30. Electronic timers are worth the cost for three and four lane tracks.
  • Wood tracks are usually 32 feet long and aluminum tracks are 45 feet long.  Alunimum provides a smoother surface than wood and is more durable. The advantage of wood is that you can usually scrounge up most of the material at low cost.
  • The track should be about four feet high at the starting gate. The finishing line is usually at ground level but you might consider raising the whole track several inches for better visibility.
  • The track should slope from about 30 degrees at the start line changing gradually to 0 degrees about 12 feet from the start line then the track should run flat to the finish line. The remainder of the track is an overrun area to allow the cars to stop.
  • Keep transportation in mind when you are designing your track. You will want to break the track down into manageable pieces.
  • Each lane of your track is going to be slightly different, giving the car in that lane a slight advantage or disadvantage over the cars in the other lanes. Be sure that each car has the opportunity to race in all of the lanes.
  • Most electronic timers are built to fit specific commercial tracks.
  • If possible, set your track up several hours (or days) before the event and encourage your racers to bring their cars in to practice using the track. This will give them a chance to get familiar with the track and to fine tune their cars.

There are some very good plans with detailed instructions for building a track on the Internet. One that we recommend is at http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/derby/track/

If you would rather buy a track, we recommend Best Track

There are several high quality timers available for your track. We recommend:
SmartLine Finish Line Timer
Intelligent Automation's Timestopper timers
SuperTimer
Micro Wizard

Practice TrackIf you just need a track to test your car or hold your own informal races, we offer a practice track at a resonable price. We also have a track stand and timer if needed.

More about our Pinewood Derby Practice Track

 


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