I volunteered to lead a pinewood derby workshop in July for 15-20 kids ranging in age from 6-12 at a church camp over a 3-day period but found out that the workshop meets only 1.5 hours a day (one of about a dozen being offered) with the 3rd day being race day. So much for meaningful discussions about COM, alignment, bore and axle prep and all the rest of the cool stuff I've been learning from this board and others.
The kids will be issued pre-cut Shape N Race kits, which I've never used before, with no weights. (counselor said I could bring in weights but would be too expensive with that many kids) Given the time constraints, what's the best strategy to take? I'd like to at least incorporate some axle and bore prep time and proper lubrication techniques (graphite only) and am willing to bring in a couple drills and a rotary tool, as well as fluffy pipe cleaners, Walgreens Q-tips, chemicals, and polishing paper strips I'd cut ahead of time. I was thinking body work (sanding, painting) on day 1; axle and wheel work on day 2?
Post by X-Ring Racing on Jun 6, 2012 8:41:21 GMT -6
I would focus heavily on bore prep and axle polishing as you said.
I would pre-prep some dads and have kids working on sanding/ etc on both day 1 and 2. You'll find quickly that if you try to do one thing , you'll end up with 80% of the kids running around with nothing to do.
If you prep a dad or 2 to run tables with you, you can focus on teaching wheel prep, while others handle sanding. If you get a dad watching you do the bore prep, then hand it off to him and lead a axle polishing lesson... etc....
You get the idea.
I led a workshop for weblo 1's only, it was one day and took at least 7-8 hours, and it was still hard to get to everything and every kid.
But bore prep and axle prep can win any pack derby without getting into rail riding etc.
Do talk about com though. That's always a big secret to most dads... where to put the weight.
Oh also..... check with Evolution for some weights, I don't know if he still has any but he had a great deal on steel weight cylinders that were very cheap. By using cylinders, you can have everyone drill the same weight holes in all of their kits. Then they can put the weights in themselves on their own time and determine com.
Post by DC Gravity on Jun 12, 2012 20:23:15 GMT -6
X, Mr. Slick - thanks for your advice. I've attached a photo of the car bodies on hand that the kids will have a choice of. We would have to get creative on where to drill weight holes with a couple of the designs, esp. if we're going with the pennies idea, which I really like. An update -- we have only 1 hour per day , not the 1.5, making cutting corners and taking short cuts even more imperative. There will be no dads at the camp other than those who volunteered to attend and lead other activities/workshops; I will probably be assigned two volunteers to help with the one PWD workshop I'm leading. The rest of the details are sketchy--still trying to find out what kind and length of track we'll be running on.
Test it out.... Based on the bodies I'm guessing that two holes drilled most of the way through will let you put in enough pennies to achieve weight.
Stack up enough pennies with the body and wheels/axles to get to 4.8 oz. This will leave enough for paint/decals/etc. Use that to see how many holes you need. The cars could be pre-drilled ahead of time. I would let the kids push the pennies into the holes.
Post by X-Ring Racing on Jun 13, 2012 8:42:38 GMT -6
1 hour.... that sucks!!
Well, if i'm building cars with pennies, give me body B ;D
One time saver- make a picture "or goggle something and print it" showing what COM is in PWD. I know there are pics out there...
Try to find out who your helpers will be ahead of time and school them before the workshop, so the kids can come in a get right to work. It's key you waste no time discussing things more than a brief 2 minute greet
Post by DC Gravity on Jun 16, 2012 11:39:59 GMT -6
Evo - thanks for the offer. At the end of the day what really matters is that the kids have a fun and memorable experience that'll hopefully stay with them at least until racing season starts again (and that they don't throw away/lose the handout of speed tips I'm working on as we speak) when they'll have the opportunity to "race for real".