Derby Monkey
4 - Pinewood Derby Axles
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Grooved Pinewood Derby Axles Friction Myth

Most will agree that the number one enemy to having a fast Pinewood Derby car is friction. Friction is a force that acts to stop the movement of two touching things… and when a Pinewood Derby car races down the track there are a lot of things touching each other.  This touching is from various components of your car rubbing another component.

Usually, the biggest source of friction is the inside of the wheel rubbing the axle. When the car is racing, the inside of the wheel bore is making surface contact with the axle shaft. As the wheel rolls against the axle shaft friction is created… a lot of it.

There are several alignment, preparation and lubrication techniques designed to reduce this particular friction as much as possible.  There are many opinions as to the best way to approach this problem.  Any number of them may be just as effective as the other.  To read some of the most effective friction reducing speed tips see the Free Pinewood Derby Speed Tips offered by Derby Monkey

Our goal is to dispel one of the theories and expose the myth regarding the reduction of the friction cause by the Pinewood Derby wheel and axle contact.

MYTH: Grooved Pinewood Derby Axles Reduce Friction

Many believe that placing one or more grooves all the way around the axle shaft will make the car faster due to the reduction of friction.  It is believed that because there is less wheel bore to axle shaft contact created by the grooves that the friction will be reduced.  In reality… this is simply not the case.

This type of friction on our Pinewood Derby car is largely due to the weight of the car. Let’s say a 5oz car body pushes the car axles down on the lower inside of the wheel bores.  Wherever the axle shafts touch the wheel bores is where all 5oz of the car body’s weight is concentrated.  This weight and surface contact is the cause of the overwhelming majority of the car’s friction.

Now, let’s say we take the very same car and install grooved axles.  When the car rolls the same 5oz body is pushing the grooved axles down onto the inside bores of the wheels.  Since the axles are grooved there is no doubt that there is less surface contact between the wheels and axle shafts.  However, all 5oz of body weight is just concentrated over a smaller area causing the same amount of friction as before.  So the same amount of friction is just distributed over a smaller surface area than the larger surface area in the earlier set up.

The result is… the amount of overall friction is the same regardless if  you have grooved pinewood derby axles or not.  Now, there may be other benefits from grooved axles such as the groves holding graphite.  But that is a story for another day.

Derby Monkey
1 - General Pinewood Derby Tips, 4 - Pinewood Derby Axles, 5 - Pinewood Derby Lubrication, 6 - Pinewood Derby Weight
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Top 5 Pinewood Derby Fails & How to Avoid Them

Anyone who’s ever competed in a Pinewood Derby race knows the fun and excitement that comes from building and tuning up what they hope will be a winning racer and then finding out if all the effort put into the project actually pays off. While winning isn’t everything, it certainly beats losing! It’s our hope that each derby racer builds a competitive car and has a great time showing it off to their friends on the night of the derby.

To do this, certain rules and regulations must be followed. These rules are set out by the officials running each local area race and may change from one place to another. It’s important to comply with local rules so you don’t get disqualified. It’s also important to follow certain common-sense racing guidelines such as the proper weighting of your car and use of lubricants. Let’s look at a few factors to help you avoid failure.

• Weights – with maximizing your car’s speed as the #1 goal, and knowing that gravity is the source of power you’ll be utilizing, the adding of proper weights and their precise distribution are critical. With Pinewood Derby cars required to be within the five ounce weight limit, you’ll want to add just enough weight to come as close to five ounces as possible without going over. Most weight should be added to the car’s back half, although some may be required in the front to maintain balance. Your weights should be well-secured and not protrude beyond the car’s surface, which would increase wind resistance and drag. You’ll need an accurate scale to assure your car’s weight falls within the 5-ounce requirement.

• Axles – the better your car’s axles are lubricated, the faster it’ll go. This includes polishing your axles to a fine finish and using a quality lube such as Monkey Jam or one of the many graphite products available. Even finely-polished axles will still have microscopic scratches on them and a great way to improve car speed is to imbed graphite into these small blemishes.

• Rule Breaking – each car running in a Pinewood Derby race will be weighed and thoroughly inspected by race officials prior to being allowed to compete. Breaking any of the rules will be grounds for disqualification, so make sure your car conforms to the local requirements. Common infractions include cars that are too heavy, have been built using illegal kits, or lubed with illegal types of lubricant.

• Have Fun! – while winning is an important motivation for most Derby competitors, it certainly shouldn’t be pursued at the expense of having fun with your car-building and racing project. Working with a parent can add to the fun you have and also to the amount of pride both you and your parent will enjoy in a job well done.

• Lube – we already know that proper lube is important and many quality types are available. In order to increase your car’s speed, lube must be used and in the proper amounts – not too much and not too little. Make sure the lube you choose is legal in the local Derby in which you’ll be competing.

Derby Monkey
2 - Pinewood Derby Designs
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Pinewood Derby Kits & Accessories for Girls

Anyone who’s been in the Boy or Cub Scouts has likely become familiar with the annual running of the Pinewood Derby. An entire Pinewood Derby culture has grown up around this popular race between Scouts who have each built their own miniature cars from blocks of pinewood, often with the help of an involved parent.

These days, you can also buy pre-made cars built to the exact specifications required by each of the local Pinewood Derby race officials. Each year thousands of youngsters become involved in trying to enter the fastest car possible that will hopefully allow them take that dreamed-of trip to the winner’s circle.

Much can be found written online about various aspects of the Pinewood Derby, but rarely do you find anything mentioning that this event is also a favored competition among Girl Scouts too. Even the Pinewood Derby information on Wikipedia makes no mention of the fact that Girl Scouts are also actively involved in their own version of this event. Other community groups like, for example, the worldwide Christian organization Awana, which holds the annual Awana Grand Prix, are also involved in a similar activity.

We’re here to tell you that not only are girls seriously involved in these Derby-type races but that they’re just as competitive as the boys at building fast-moving, speed-demon cars to race!

While the rules may change from one area or group to the next, the fact remains that the winner will be the one who’s able to make their car, powered simply by the force of gravity, reach the finish line first. To do this, you need the right materials, the right know-how and the instinctive ability to put these factors together to produce a winning contender. This means following all the rules that apply to your local race and tweaking your car just right to give it that extra edge over the competition.

Derby Monkey has set aside a portion of our website for Pinewood Derby supplies just for girls. This destination for girls includes car kits, custom pattern kits, special car body skin transfers just for girls and car decals with a certain feminine look.

Besides the designs and patterns that appeal to Pinewood girls, there are certain items that are must-haves for every car, whether its creator is male or female. These include items like axles, wheels, weights and lubrication – all of which are critical whether the car’s owner is a Cub Scout, Girl Scout or member of Awana. After all, gravity, which is the moving force of all Pinewood Derby cars, treats everyone equally. It’s the design of each individual entry that will determine who comes in first and who comes in at the back of the pack. We want to help you win your race and look good while doing so!

Derby Monkey
1 - General Pinewood Derby Tips, 2 - Pinewood Derby Designs
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Unique Pinewood Derby Car Design Ideas

Building a Pinewood Derby car is one of the most rewarding projects you can complete.  With a basic wood block, axles and 4 wheels, you can create a speedy car based on physics principals or make a unique car with a lot of personal touch and creativity. While creating a winning Pinewood Derby car comes with accolades we would like to highlight some of the more exotic and wild Pinewood Derby car designs out there!

Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?

Create your favorite sea friend with a Spongebob Squarepants Derby kit. Spongebob’s low-profile makes the ideal aerodynamic design, so you’ll see your car fly into first place. The kit’s precision cut laser body, axles and wheels abide by all the BSA Official Rules. Simply affix the car parts, and the perfectly designed yellow sponge decal, and watch Spongebob come alive at your next derby.

May the Force Be With You

You’ll feel like your derby racer is from outer space with the Jedi-inspired Star Cruiser car kit. With decals that mimic the Jedi Cruiser from the Star Wars movies, this Pinewood Derby car design will fly at light speed!  The basic Jedi Star Cruiser Kit comes with a pre-cut body, Jedi stickers, tungsten cubes for added weight and instructions.

I’m Batman

Keep Gotham City safe and secure by creating your Pinewood Derby Batmobile Car Kit. This unique Pinewood Derby car kit is made with one thing in mind, speed! The pre-cut body ensures the proper weight placement, center mass and aerodynamics to win your next Pinewood Derby, and look cool while doing it! Leave The Joker, Catwoman and Bane in the dust with the only Pinewood Derby car Wayne Enterprises would put its name on!

Free Your Mind

Although prefabricated kits are fun and perfect if you’re short on time, your artistic creativity and imagination are squashed!  Buy a basic pinewood block kit to let your imagination take over!  Cut and sand the wood to engineer a fast and aerodynamic car, then paint or design the car with any color scheme you like. Even decals can be applied to the wood for a personalized design. Keep the creativity flowing with decorative additions, but try to keep a streamlined appearance. Wind still needs to flow unimpeded across the surface. Doesn’t this iPod inspired derby car look cool?

Derby car racing is one of the perks of being a kid. Select your favorite kit or basic block to create the next best racer. You’ll want to build as many as possible to show your creative side. Whatever route you choose to go is fine; just make sure you’re having fun!

Derby Monkey
1 - General Pinewood Derby Tips
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Derby Monkey Spotlight: Atomic Wedgie Pinewood Derby Car Kit

When a sailboat racing team wins a regatta with a boat that’s identical to all the others, like in the Olympics, it’s obvious that their sailing technique plays a big part in the victory. In Pinewood Derby racing all the cars aren’t the same but, even if two cars are created from identical car-build kits, the building techniques used by the winner makes a big difference. This is what will give the racer an edge to reach the winner’s circle.

Of course, it never hurts to have a blazingly fast car kit to start with and the Cub Series Atomic Wedgie featured here is a perfect answer to that need for speed. It’s affordably priced so as not to bust your budget and yet contains everything needed to build a blisteringly fast beauty that’s just begging to beat the other boys’ toys. The wedge shape provides exceptional aerodynamics with its low-profile, knife-cutting performance. It’s been pre-cut for shape, pre-drilled for weights and pre-slotted for the axles. Everything is there in the Atomic Wedgie Kit, including official BSA Pinewood Derby wheels and axles.

This model uses a standard BSA Pinewood Derby wheelbase and axle slots and meets official dimension requirements. In other words, all the tough stuff has been taken care of for you, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still be able to enjoy putting everything together, painting it up, applying the decals and fine-tuning this car’s driving characteristics to be the best it can be. That means making sure everything is properly placed, balanced, lubed up and free to fly at top speed.

Why Buy an Atomic Wedgie Pinewood Derby Car Kit?

Some Scouts want to start from scratch building their Pinewood Derby entry from the ground up, starting with a basic block of pinewood and doing all the cutting, sanding, painting, drilling and building. We respect that, and know that the experience gained will go a long way toward developing valuable skills in designing, woodworking, using tools and more.

For some entering a car in the Pinewood Derby, doing it all by selecting each individual part and putting everything together is what it’s all about. Here at Derby Monkey we have hundreds of different items from which to choose in pursuit of that dream.

For most, though, the dream is to build a car that has a chance of taking the lead and finishing while looking good. That’s why most contestants go with a car kit that has the body already pre-cut, has the axle slots or holes in the exact place they need to be to provide maximum efficiency, has the best wheels already selected and even has the proper weights to produce the ideal center of gravity. When you choose the Atomic Wedgie you get this and more, and all at a price you can easily afford!

Derby Monkey
8 - Pinewood Derby Race Events
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Pinewood Derby, Car Show, Book Sale, Spaghetti Supper, Auction, Railroad Junction Day

Molino – Pinewood Derby And Car Show
There will be a Pinewood Derby and Car Show on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Highland Baptist Church in Molino. Races begin at 9:30 a.m. with classes from pre-k to fifth grade. Cars will be judged and awards given.  The Open Car Show begins with registration ($25) at 8 a.m. with judging beginning at 9 a.m. Trophies awarded at 2 p.m. to the top 40 vehicles. The church is located at 6240 North Highway 95A in Molino.

Friends of the Library Book Sale 
Fall Used Book Sale for Friends of the West Florida Public Library at the Downtown Pensacola Public Library, 239 N. Spring St. Hours: Saturday, 9 a.m.-5p.m., and Sunday, noon- 3p.m., $5 bag sale. Free admisssion. Used books of all kinds, hard cover, soft cover, and paperbacks; DVD’s, CD’s, magazines, puzzles. All profits benefit the West Florida Public Library system.

Flomaton – Railroad Junction Day 
Railroad Junction Day will be held Saturday, September 28 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Flomaton Community Center and Lions Club Park in Flomaton, Ala. There will be entertainment, various food and craft vendors in the park, and a model train display in the community center. Turtle Point Environmental Center will be open with a “Birds of Prey” demonstration and antique car show in the parking lot. The Flomaton Public Library will host severa speakers and the Flomaton Area Railroad Museum, log cabin and caboose will be open.

Walnut Hill – Spaghetti Supper And Auction 
The Walnut Hill Ruritan Club will hold a spaghetti supper and auction Saturday, September 28. The supper is from 4-6 p.m. and the auction begins at 6 p.m. at the Walnut Hill Community Center, 7850 Highway 97.

For more info go to:

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Derby Monkey’s Twitter Weekly Tweets for 2012-09-02

Derby Monkey
2 - Pinewood Derby Designs
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Free Pinewood Derby Templates

Derby Monkey Garage has added several new features to its website at One of the most popular is its page of free Pinewood Derby templates. There are more than dozen sets of templates and design ideas for some super cool looking and blazing fast derby cars.

Derby Monkey belives that some things in life should still be free… including derby car templates and ideas.  Why pay for somethiong that should be free?  After all this is for Cub Scouts… Right?

Coming up with an idea on how to build your new Pinewood Derby car can sometimes be a challenge. Then after you come up with an idea… how do you transform this idea onto the block of wood? Using the free Pinewood Derby car templates complimentary of Derby Monkey you can quickly and easily trace the car design onto your blank canvas and start transforming the chunk of wood into a racing masterpiece.

Pinewood Derby Car TemplateThere are templates for a Batmobile, Dragster, Funnycar, Arrow, Police Car, Skateboard, Military Humvee and many more. The list is continuing to grow so keep checking back for the newest super-fast and great looking design.

You will still need some wood cutting and shaping tools. Derby Monkey has that. Your new car may need paint, decals and some custom accessory parts. Derby Monkey has that too. Then you may need some super-fast Pinewood Derby wheels and axles or the ProMax Axle Polishing kits. Derby Monkey has all of that. As a matter of fact, they have more than 500 Pinewood Derby items. Derby Monkey Garage is a derby car superstore containing everything you need to build a district caliber car and blow the doors off the competition.

So, go to and check out their new line of free car templates and their complete line of derby car kits, parts, tools and supplies.

Go To: Free Pinewood Derby Templates

You’ll be glad you did.

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Derby Monkey’s Twitter Weekly Tweets for 2012-07-01

Derby Monkey
1 - General Pinewood Derby Tips
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The Fastest Pinewood Derby Car Kit on the Market

A question that we get asked a lot goes something like this… “What is the fastest Pinewood Derby car kit available?”

This is a difficult question to deal with because there are so many variables that go into building a fast derby car.  Things you do during the build will affect the car’s speed more than just the kit itself.  Axle polishing, wheel treatment, alignment, weight placement and lubrication are just a few things that will influence the overall speed of the finished car.  These things are left up to the builder to successfully accomplish.  If these factors are not properly addressed then the fastest car kit in the world will likely not win your derby.

Now, having said that, not all per-cut car kits are created equal.  Some kits give you a definite speed advantage over other kits.  Factors like the aerodynamics of the body, weight pocket location, center of gravity, use of axle holes or slots and location of axle holes all play a major role in how fast a car kit will be.


Fastest Pinewood Derby Car Kit


So is there a single kit that we think is the fastest?  Yes… with all building skills and techniques being equal… The G-FORCE by Derby Monkey Garage is the absolute FASTEST Pinewood Derby car kit on the market today. How can we say this? Easy… the G-FORCE was engineered with just a single thing in mind… flat out sheer speed. The pre-cut body design, tungsten weight placement, center of gravity, alignment and aerodynamics are all optimized for top performance. Since we introduced the G-FORCE it has won hundreds of pack and district derby races. The G-FORCE is the fastest pre-cut Pinewood Derby car kit available… and best of all it′s all BSA Pinewood Derby legal.

 G-Force - Fastest Pinewood Derby Car Kit

The G-FORCE Features:

• Pre-cut Pine Body: The G-FORCE body has been precision cut with a CNC guided laser for perfect symmetry, balance and accuracy. 

• Very Aerodynamic:  The body is designed to be only ¼” thick for extreme aerodynamics.  The easier it cuts through the air the faster it goes.

• Ideal Center of Gravity: The body design, weight compartments and tungsten weight allow for a very aggressive center of gravity from ½” to ¾”.  The shorter the COG the faster a Pinewood Derby car will go.

• Tungsten Weights: This kit comes with tungsten cubes to get the car to its recommended racing weight. Tungsten is best for weighting Pinewood Derby cars.  It more dense than lead, steel or zinc, making it heavier, allowing you to pack more weight at the rear of the car body shortening its COG and making it much faster.

• Drilled Axle Holes: These axle holes are precision drilled on a machine jig to ensure that all four holes are perfectly straight, square to the body and parallel to each other.  This eliminates wheel binding and allows for a much faster car.

• Raised Left Front Wheel: The left front axle hole is drilled slightly higher than the other three allowing the left front wheel to be raised off the track. Rolling on only three wheels decreases the start-up inertia required to get the car up to speed.  So, the car reaches its top speed sooner.

 Extended Wheelbase: The axle holes on this kit are drilled as far back/forward as possible to increase the distance between wheels without violating the maximum length rule. Extending the wheelbase increases the stability of the car thus decreasing wobble and increasing speed.

 G-FORCE Decal Set: This kit comes with the G-FORCE decal stripes and number set (as shown) for some super cool looking custom graphics. Use these included decals or create your own unique design.

• Official BSA Pinewood Derby Wheels & Axles: This kit comes with the option to add stock or enhance Official BSA Pinewood Derby wheels and axles. For example: the Derby Worx Pro Ultra Lite BSA wheels are the fastest BSA Pinewood Derby wheels on the market.

• Meets BSA Pinewood Derby Regulations: This car meets all BSA Pinewood Derby dimensional and weight requirements. The optional BSA wheels and axles are all BSA Pinewood Derby approved products.

Get the complete EZ-to-Build G-FORCE kit and blow the doors off the competition… READ MORE