Pinewood Derby Axles
Want the truth about Pinewood Derby Axles? Do you want to prepare your own or buy aftermarket pinewood derby axles? There is a lot to sift through so we’ll try to keep it simple and informative.
BSA Kit Axles or Aftermarket Speed Axles
You must decide on which pinewood axles you want to use. You can either use the stock axles that came with your Official BSA kit or you can use a set of pre-treated aftermarket speed axles.
Using the BSA Kit Axles will require a good bit of work and preparation. The first thing you must do is eliminate the burs, or crimp marks, on the axle shaft. Those must be removed to have any chance of first place. You will need a flat edge file and a drill press to pull that off.
Most folks will tell you to polish your pinewood axles with sand paper up to about 2500 grit. That’s fine for those who want to finish in second place. The axles need to have a near mirror finish in order to eliminate as much friction as possible. To achieve this, you must polish your axles with the use of sandpaper all the way up to 12,000 grit and then finish them off with a polishing compound and polishing cloth.
You should consider the following tools and supplies for this process:
Using Aftermarket Speed Axles will again save you a lot of time and effort. Plus you will have some wicked fast axles. There are several levels of prepared pinewood axles. Most are Official BSA axles that have been machined on a CNC lathe to make them completely round and free of imperfections. They are then polished to some extent. Some axles have machined grooves in the shaft in order to reduce wheel to axle contact and to serve as storage wells for graphite. Some pinewood derby axles are pre-coated with a layer of graphite to further lubricate the contact points. The fastest axles will be completely machine made and have a hard nickel coating.
All aftermarket speed axles have been polished to some extent. However, for the ultimate axles you will likely need to fine polish them even more with the use of sandpaper all the way up to 12,000 grit and then finish them off with a polishing compound and polishing cloth.
There are many differences of opinions on what type of BSA axles are the fastest. Many want a smooth surface on their axle shafts while others prefer grooves. Some folks like the pre graphite coated pinewood axles while others hate them. Many of these folks can produce statistics to support their point of view.
Regardless of the axle type, the most important this is to have an extremely high polished axle shaft that is well lubricated. Also, there are many other factors that make for a fast Pinewood Derby car. The best pinewood derby axles in the world won’t help if those other factors are not addressed.
Make sure that you understand what axle modifications are permitted by your pack rules.
Check out the Derby Monkey line of speed axles. Click Here