Published: 1/11/2013

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.


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  1. Can you tell me more about how you made the bad piggies car? It’s awesome! I would love to try and do something like it for my little scouts pinewood derby.

    How did you make the block/boxes? Did you cut the block flat?


  2. Sure, here’s what we did.  Set the table saw to I think 3/16 inch.  Chop off the bottom, so that you have a platform that the wheels mount on.  Cut a few more strips as well.  The open crates are the same 3/16″ just glued to make a box (two side pieces and one top per crate – think stonehenge).  The back crate is just a piece of pine cut down to size.  We did that so you have a place to drill out and add weight.  In practice, we only needed to add about 15 grams anyway, since the car was so heavy.  

    The pig and egg we looked all over for.  We chose a $10 k’nex set which had them, and hot glued them on so we can play with the toy when we’re done with the car.

    Menards has a several drawers full of springs.  We just looked for a compression spring about the right size to cram in there.  It’s not even glued on.

  3. You should bend the axels to reduce friction on the wheels. Lifting one wheel would increase your speed. Also concentrating the cars weight on the back would increase the build of potential energy. The cars look cool but Suck!!

    anyways thanks for the post

  4. As I said, my son wasn’t all that interested in speed at the time. The past two years have been different. We know all the principles and tricks, and he made the finals at the district race with wedges. Those aren’t interesting to show pictures of though.

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