How to Make Fenders for Pinewood Derby Car


Introduction to Pinewood Derby Car

The Pinewood Derby is a popular racing event for Cub Scouts. It involves building a small wooden car from a block of pine, and then racing it down a track. The goal is to build the fastest car possible, using design principles and aerodynamics to gain an advantage. In this article, we will discuss how to make fenders for a Pinewood Derby car.

Fenders are an important part of a Pinewood Derby car as they help to reduce drag and improve the overall aerodynamics of the car. They are typically made from lightweight materials such as plastic or thin metal sheets. The fenders are attached to the sides of the car, covering the wheels, and help to redirect air flow around the car, reducing turbulence and drag.

There are several ways to make fenders for a Pinewood Derby car. One method is to use pre-made fender kits that are available at hobby stores. These kits usually include plastic fenders that can be easily attached to the car body. Another method is to make custom fenders from scratch using materials such as thin plastic sheets or aluminum foil. This allows for more flexibility in design, but requires more time and effort.

When making fenders for a Pinewood Derby car, it is important to consider the weight and balance of the car. Adding fenders can increase the weight of the car, which may affect its performance. It is recommended to keep the fenders as lightweight as possible while still providing the desired aerodynamic benefits.

In conclusion, fenders play a crucial role in improving the aerodynamics of a Pinewood Derby car. They help to reduce drag and improve the overall performance of the car. Whether using pre-made fender kits or making custom fenders from scratch, it is important to consider the weight and balance of the car. By following these guidelines, you can create a fast and competitive Pinewood Derby car with effective fenders.

Importance of Fenders

Fenders are an important component of a Pinewood Derby car. They serve multiple purposes and can greatly impact the car’s performance. Fenders are designed to protect the wheels and axles from damage during races. They act as a barrier between the wheels and any potential obstacles on the track, such as walls or other cars. By minimizing the risk of wheel damage, fenders help ensure that the car maintains its speed and stability throughout the race. Additionally, fenders can also improve the aerodynamics of the car. By shaping the fenders in a way that reduces drag, the car can move through the air more efficiently, resulting in increased speed. Fenders can also add a visual appeal to the car, giving it a sleek and polished look. This can be especially important if you plan to participate in competitions or sell the car privately. Overall, fenders play a crucial role in both the performance and aesthetics of a Pinewood Derby car.

Materials Needed

To make fenders for your Pinewood Derby car, you will need the following materials:

  • Pinewood block: This is the main body of the car and serves as the foundation for attaching the fenders.

  • Fender material: You can use various materials such as plastic, wood, or metal to create the fenders. Choose a material that is lightweight and easy to shape.

  • Cutting tools: You will need a saw or a Dremel tool to cut the fender material into the desired shape.

  • Sanding tools: Sandpaper or a sanding block will be necessary to smooth out the edges of the fenders.

  • Adhesive: A strong adhesive such as epoxy or wood glue will be needed to attach the fenders to the Pinewood block.

  • Paint: Choose a paint color that matches your car’s design and apply it to the fenders for a finished look.

  • Protective gear: Safety goggles and gloves are essential to protect yourself while working with cutting and adhesive materials.

Designing the Fenders

Choosing the Right Shape

When it comes to making fenders for your Pinewood Derby car, choosing the right shape is crucial. The shape of the fenders can significantly impact the car’s performance on the track. There are several factors to consider when selecting the shape of the fenders.

Firstly, aerodynamics plays a vital role in the overall speed of the car. The fenders should be designed in a way that minimizes air resistance and allows the car to glide smoothly through the air. A streamlined shape with curved edges is often the most effective.

Secondly, weight distribution is important for maintaining balance and stability. The fenders should be symmetrical and evenly distributed on both sides of the car. This helps prevent the car from tipping over or veering off course during the race.

Lastly, clearance is another factor to consider. The fenders should provide enough clearance for the wheels to rotate freely without any interference. This ensures that the car can move smoothly without any friction or drag.

In conclusion, choosing the right shape for your Pinewood Derby car’s fenders is crucial for optimal performance. Consider aerodynamics, weight distribution, and clearance when designing and shaping the fenders to give your car the best chance of success on the track.

Measuring and Marking

To ensure accurate measurements for your fenders, it is important to have the right tools and techniques. Start by gathering a ruler, a pencil, and a measuring tape. Measure the width and length of your Pinewood Derby car body, and record these measurements. Next, determine the desired height of your fenders. This will depend on the style and design you want for your car. Once you have decided on the height, use the ruler to mark the height measurement on each side of the car body. Mark these points with a pencil. To create a symmetrical design, use the measuring tape to measure the distance from the front and back of the car body to the marked points. Record these measurements as well. With these measurements and markings, you are ready to start creating your fenders.

Creating Templates

When it comes to creating templates for your pinewood derby car fenders, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to choose a material that is durable and lightweight. This will ensure that your fenders can withstand the rigors of the race without weighing down your car. Avoid using materials that are bad for your vehicle, such as heavy metals or brittle plastics. Instead, opt for materials like flexible plastic or lightweight foam that can provide the necessary protection without adding unnecessary weight. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the shape and size of your fenders. They should be designed to fit snugly against the body of your car, providing a streamlined profile that reduces drag. By taking these factors into account, you can create templates for your pinewood derby car fenders that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Building the Fenders

Cutting the Fender Material

To make the fenders for your Pinewood Derby car, you will need to start by cutting the fender material. The fenders can be made from a variety of materials such as plastic or wood. Cutting the fender material is an important step in the construction process as it determines the size and shape of the fenders. You can use a saw or a utility knife to cut the material to the desired dimensions. It is important to be precise when cutting the fender material to ensure a proper fit on the car. Once the fenders are cut, you can sand the edges to smooth them out and make the fenders look more professional. This will help to make your car shine on race day.

Shaping and Sanding

After cutting out the basic shape of the fenders, the next step is to shape and sand them to achieve a smooth and aerodynamic finish. Start by using a coarse grit sandpaper to remove any rough edges or imperfections. Carefully round the edges of the fenders to ensure a sleek look. Next, switch to a finer grit sandpaper to further smooth the surface. Pay attention to the curves and contours of the fenders, making sure to sand evenly and avoid creating any flat spots. Once the fenders are smooth and well-shaped, use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust or debris. This will prepare the fenders for painting or applying a protective finish. Remember to take your time and be patient during this step, as it can greatly impact the overall appearance of your pinewood derby car.

Attaching the Fenders

After you have successfully created the fenders for your Pinewood Derby car, the next step is to attach them securely. This step is crucial to ensure that the fenders stay in place during the race. Here are the steps to follow for attaching the fenders:

  1. Prepare the car body: Before attaching the fenders, make sure that the car body is clean and free from any dust or debris. This will help the fenders adhere better.
  2. Apply adhesive: Apply a strong adhesive to the back of the fenders. Make sure to use an adhesive that is suitable for the materials used in the fenders and the car body.
  3. Position the fenders: Carefully position the fenders on the sides of the car body, making sure they are aligned properly. Press them firmly against the car body to ensure a secure bond.
  4. Allow time to dry: Allow the adhesive to dry completely as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This may take a few hours or overnight.

By following these steps, you can attach the fenders to your Pinewood Derby car effectively and ensure that they stay in place throughout the race.

Testing and Adjusting

Checking for Proper Fit

Before installing the fenders on your Pinewood Derby car, it is important to check for proper fit. Proper fit ensures that the fenders will sit securely on the car and provide the necessary protection. To check for proper fit, follow these steps:

  1. Place the fender on the car body and align it with the wheel wells.
  2. Ensure that the fender covers the entire wheel well without any gaps.
  3. Press down on the fender to make sure it is securely attached to the car body.

If the fender does not fit properly, you may need to make adjustments. This could include trimming the fender to the correct size or reshaping it to better match the car body. It is important to take your time and ensure a proper fit, as this will contribute to the overall performance and appearance of your Pinewood Derby car.

Making Adjustments

After building your pinewood derby car, you may find that it needs some adjustments to improve its performance. Making adjustments is an important part of the pinewood derby car building process. One common adjustment is adding weight to the car. By strategically placing weights in certain areas, you can improve the car’s speed and stability. Another adjustment you may need to make is fine-tuning the wheels and axles. Ensuring that the wheels are aligned properly and the axles are lubricated can make a significant difference in how the car performs. Additionally, you may need to make adjustments to the body of the car. This could involve sanding down rough edges or adding aerodynamic features to reduce drag. Overall, making adjustments to your pinewood derby car is essential for optimizing its performance and increasing your chances of success in the race.

Testing for Performance

Once you have built your pinewood derby car and added the fenders, it’s important to test the car’s performance. Testing allows you to identify any issues or areas for improvement before the actual race. One important aspect to test is the car’s speed. You can do this by setting up a track and timing how long it takes for the car to complete a certain distance. Accuracy is another factor to consider. Test the car’s ability to stay on the track and navigate turns without derailing. This can be done by setting up a track with curves and observing how well the car stays on course. Additionally, you should test the car’s stability. See how it handles different surfaces and whether it wobbles or shakes. Finally, don’t forget to test the car’s overall durability. This includes checking the fenders to ensure they are securely attached and won’t come loose during the race. By thoroughly testing your pinewood derby car for performance, you can make any necessary adjustments to increase its chances of success.


Summary of the Process

The process of making fenders for a Pinewood Derby car involves several steps. First, gather all the necessary materials, including a block of wood, a saw, sandpaper, and paint. Next, use the saw to shape the block of wood into the desired fender shape. Once the shape is complete, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. After sanding, apply a coat of paint to the fenders and let them dry. Finally, attach the fenders to the Pinewood Derby car using glue or screws. It is important to take care when attaching the fenders to ensure they are secure and do not interfere with the car’s performance. Overall, the process of making fenders for a Pinewood Derby car requires attention to detail and auto care to create a sleek and functional design.

Importance of Fenders for Pinewood Derby Car

Fenders play a crucial role in the performance and safety of a Pinewood Derby car. Fenders are the protective coverings that are installed over the wheels of the car. They serve several important purposes. Firstly, fenders help to reduce aerodynamic drag by minimizing the airflow around the wheels. This allows the car to move through the air more efficiently, resulting in increased speed. Secondly, fenders help to prevent debris and dirt from getting into the wheels and causing damage or interference. This is especially important when racing on outdoor tracks where there may be loose gravel or other hazards. Finally, fenders provide an added layer of protection for the wheels and axles, reducing the risk of damage during collisions or rough handling. Overall, fenders are essential for optimizing the performance, safety, and longevity of a Pinewood Derby car.

Final Tips and Recommendations

When it comes to finishing your pinewood derby car, there are a few final tips and recommendations to keep in mind. First, make sure to paint a car before adding any additional accessories. Painting your car not only adds a professional touch, but it also helps protect the wood from moisture and damage. Choose a high-quality paint that is specifically designed for wooden surfaces. Before painting, sand the car smooth to ensure a clean and even surface. Apply multiple thin coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. Once the paint is dry, you can add decals or other decorative elements to personalize your car. Another important tip is to test your car before the race. Make sure the wheels are aligned properly and that the car rolls smoothly. Adjust the weight distribution if necessary to achieve optimal performance. Finally, don’t forget to have fun! The pinewood derby is a great opportunity to showcase your creativity and enjoy some friendly competition.

October 16, 2023 4:31 am