Although our goal isn’t to be terribly competitive, my son and I enjoy the cub scout pinewood derby.
For 2012, we made a car inspired by Phineas and Ferb. It’s the Perry the Platypus “Inaction Figure”, from the episode “Toy to the World.” It only required six passes with the table saw, some sanding, the usual axle prep, and sticking on two “googly eyes.” It took 2nd place in the den, losing by a couple of inches.
Because the parents and siblings are encouraged to bring a car to the test-and-tune night, I slapped together a car with very little inspiration. It’s got a 808 keychain camera from Meritline on top, and no axle preparation, and no lubrication. It’s super slow on purpose, so that it can record its competitors’ runs.
For my son’s 2nd year, he wanted to go for performance, but when I gave him a suggestion based on his favorite video game, that all changed. This “Bad Piggies” car was pretty heavy, so I think we only added about 15-20 grams of purposeful weight. It’s about 3/16″ under the 3 inch height limit.
My daughter wanted a car shaped on a ballet slipper, but I didn’t know how to approach that, so we made one with her name instead. She lost interest in each step pretty quickly, but always wanted to be involved in the next step.