bobquasit: (Sebastian Riding)
[personal profile] bobquasit
The Pack Pinewood Derby race is tomorrow. Sebastian and I hadn't been able to go to the cutting event, so we emailed a design to one of the dads and he cut it for us. But it came out rather flatter than we'd intended. It's considerably flatter than last year's car, and that was the thinnest car in our whole pack (and the fastest, probably not by coincidence).

But this time I was worried...very worried. We'd picked up another metal stud plate at Lowes to weight it, but unlike last year we didn't get a second smaller plate to put under it; there simply wasn't enough thickness for me to fit another plate under the first. In fact, I had serious doubts that I'd be able to hammer in even one plate without destroying the car. There just wasn't enough wood left to work with. It didn't help that I didn't have the leftover wood that the car had been cut from to use as a support when hammering in the stud plate, as I did last year.

So after some thought I decided to skip the stud plate entirely. Instead, I used as many car-weights as possible. I hollowed out the car, carefully; it made a mess. shavings everywhere, but this year I didn't cut myself and the process went more quickly and smoothly than I'd expected. The weights fit well into the hollow, almost flush with the underside, and were fastened in with little screws. We're still light, so one more large weight will be fastened on top, towards the back. It should look pretty cool. It may produce a bit of drag, but the rest of the car is very smooth and flat, and the top weight doesn't stick out too much I think. Besides, we're not going to beat the cars made by professionals anyway!

Sebastian and I sanded it out back - there were a few flakes of snow falling, go figure - and the car ended up very smooth indeed. Then I used a pencil to put a heavy layer of graphite over the points where the tire hubs may touch the car body. Teri and Sebastian laid down the first paint job. They'll finish things off tomorrow, and I'll screw the top weight into place. Then we'll race. A lot depends on how well I fit the wheels in, of course, but all in all this car seems to have a smaller body than last year's, and it's so close to five ounces that the paint job just might take it over the limit! I'll bring a piece of sandpaper just in case.

I think we'll do well, barring accidents.

July 2017

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