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How can I 'hollow out' the bottom of a pinewood derby car?

How can I 'hollow out' the bottom of a pinewood derby car?

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  #1  
Old 05-15-18, 11:28 AM
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How can I 'hollow out' the bottom of a pinewood derby car?

What's the best way for a homeowner with limited tools (such as myself) to carve out the bottom of a derby car? Was thinking of buying a dremel or something like that, but wanted to get everyone's thoughts.

Thanks!

 
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  #2  
Old 05-15-18, 11:32 AM
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Dremel tool
router
very careful plunge cuts with a circular saw, a small blade cordless might be best
drill a series of holes and chisel out between them
chisel out the wood with chisel and hammer
burn (carefully) with a torch then scrape out the burned wood
go caveman with a old screwdriver as a chisel and hamer
 
  #3  
Old 05-15-18, 11:34 AM
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I would add router to the list.
 
  #4  
Old 05-15-18, 11:36 AM
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Thanks guys. I think a router would be best, but don't really want to buy one. I may try the drill lots of holes and then chisel them out idea...
 
  #5  
Old 05-15-18, 11:41 AM
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Any recommendations on a particular dremel? I see a few different models, some being cordless which is always nice.
 
  #6  
Old 05-15-18, 01:32 PM
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I do not like cordless unless you will use it a lot and regularly. Yea cordless is handy but batteries have a limited life so the tool will likely be thrown away in 5+ years when the battery is shot. And, if you don't keep it plugged in the battery likely won't be charged when you need it. An old fashioned corded tool can sit in storage for years and years and still be good to go when you plug it in.
 
  #7  
Old 05-16-18, 05:17 AM
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Don't know the rules for Pinewood derby, but can't a car be built using thin pine boards glued together? or does it need to be from a solid block of pine?
 
  #8  
Old 05-16-18, 05:20 AM
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Palm router / laminate trimmer. (Under $30 at harbor freight... cheaper than the Dremel you wanted to buy)
 
  #9  
Old 05-16-18, 05:30 AM
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Another option if you have a drill press - differing sizes of Forstner bits and cleaned up with good sharp chisel(s).
 
  #10  
Old 05-16-18, 05:36 AM
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Thanks guys. I'll look into those various tools. I think the cheap harbor freight stuff might do the trick
 
  #11  
Old 05-16-18, 05:55 AM
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As XSleeper said, I bought a palm router from Harbor Freight for about $20 on sale if I remember right. I used it just last weekend when building wooden dog beds. Even though it was cheap (priced), I've been happy with it, in the few times I have used it over the last year. Its done the basic jobs I've needed it to do without fail.
 
  #12  
Old 05-16-18, 05:58 AM
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  #13  
Old 05-16-18, 06:21 AM
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Either one. The bigger 2hp router will handle heavy duty jobs and could do it in one shot. The small trim router is for light duty jobs, like your car. Smaller routers are better for small tasks as they are easier to handle and it's easier to see what you are doing. That's why I recommend the trim router for this task.

You will also need a mortising router bit. Trim routers cant handle the strain of large bits or deep routering. So you'd want to use a small bit. Maybe 1/4"... and maybe take only 1/4" of depth per pass.

HF also usually has an online 20% coupon you can use for a one item purchase.
 
  #14  
Old 05-16-18, 06:30 AM
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Great, thank you! Would this be an appropriate bit set to go with the smaller trim router?

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-piec...set-66733.html
 
  #15  
Old 05-16-18, 07:03 AM
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No. The trim router only accepts bits that fit a 1/4" collet. Router bits are 1/4" or 1/2" shank... so as long as you have 1/4" shank, any bit will fit. Search for "straight router bit set".

But you will be limited to small router bits, because large ones will cause the motor to bog down, and that will eventually burn up a small router.
 
  #16  
Old 05-16-18, 07:05 AM
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A trim router normally only has a 1/4" collet so you wouldn't be able to use the other 2 bits (actually end mills).
Get the 3-pc straight set instead--they're carbide so they last longer, and all have 1/4" shanks.

https://www.harborfreight.com/carbid...-pc-68869.html

Also for safety and control of the router you should build up a platform to surround ("box in") that derby blank, made from the same thickness wood. When routing near the edge the router will get very tippy if it doesn't have a support platform.
 
  #17  
Old 05-16-18, 07:07 AM
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Awesome, thanks guys! Much appreciated!
 
  #18  
Old 05-16-18, 08:40 AM
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If you really want to win there are some good Youtube videos explaining the physics of pine wood derby cars and the tricks to make them fast.
 
  #19  
Old 05-16-18, 01:52 PM
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Hijacking my own thread here, but what would you guys recommend as far as a good sander for working on something small like a derby car?

Something like this, https://www.amazon.com/Hi-Spec-Finis...f=pd_sbs_469_8, just as an example, comes in 4 different styles (detail, disc, orbital palm, random orbital).

Thanks!
 
  #20  
Old 05-19-18, 07:39 AM
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I might actually go the route of dremel tool, and have been researching the bits, but can't quite figure out what the best bit would be. I believe something very course to start with, correct? Then something finer to smooth it out? And what shape (ball, cone, etc...?).

Thanks!
 
  #21  
Old 05-19-18, 08:55 AM
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Go to Harbor Freight & look at this set. This is what I bought to go with my trim router & has bits for a variety of jobs including what has been discussed in above posts.
https://www.harborfreight.com/Carbid...-Pc-68872.html
If you'll go look at the set, you will see that each bit has a picture of what it does, its design & cut. It will help you know what each bit does. Again, it has pictures... You'll be able to see just how simple it is once you look at it. Once you use it, you'll understand even better.
This was my first router & bit set, & was simple to learn to use for basic jobs.
https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-...ter-62659.html

I want to mention that this aint a "Tim the tool man" machine. It aint got a Dodge 500 hp, 440 magnum engine attached to it. You'll have to take your time & go slow, but will do the job you need to do. If you want more power & go faster, look at the 2 HP router in the previous post.
 
  #22  
Old 05-19-18, 10:35 AM
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I would probably start with the drill press, but a standard drill motor with either or a drill stop or a few wraps of tape on the bit to use as a depth guide would suffice. You could get your corners with a drill, then as many intermediate holes as you want depending on how you handle the next step. Then I would use a router to hog it out, but I generally wouldn't recommend that to someone who said they had "limited tools" because, although I am always an advocate of "more tools", it's not necessary, and depending on how much workspace you have it could turn into more of a chore to get the piece properly clamped down and set some guides than it's worth. Alternatively, I would lean toward a rotary tool, whether a Dremel or something comparable. With some closely drilled holes along the edges you could even work it down fine with an off the shelf wood chisel from your local hardware store or big box. As for straightening up the sides where you remove material from the bottom, as well as for the outside of the car, an oscillating tool, again, Dremel or something comparable should do a nice job, with a simple piece of sand paper to round off any sharp edges you end up with. They're pine, so easy enough to work with that you don't need to get too exotic.
 
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