How to Build a Pinewood Derby Track How to Build a Pinewood Derby Track

What You'll Need
Crosscut saw
Plywood
Lattice strips
1-inch board
2x4 inch lumber
Drill
Screwdriver
1/2 inch screws
2 inch Bolts
Wing nuts
Hinges

The race of miniature cars on a pinewood derby track is an event that is anticipated and enjoyed by Boy Scouts and their fathers every spring. The boys race their cars down the track until a winner is declared. But, while the boys and their dad's build the racing cars, it is usually the Boy Scout leaders and parents who build the track. This track is another key to a fun and successful race. To build one, you will need information about needed materials and track building instructions, such as those you'll find below.

Step 1 – Lay out Your Plywood and Lattice Strips

Cut a plywood sheet into strips 14 inches wide and 8 feet long. Lay these strips end-to-end so that it will produce one 32 foot strip. Next, cut 4 lattice strips, each 1 3/8 inches in width and ¼ inch thick. Place these strips along the length of the plywood, to be used as guides for the four lanes down which competing cars will race. Position these lattice strips 3 ½ inches from center to center. These strips, when attached, will keep the cars from intruding into adjacent lanes.

Step 2 – Pre-Drill Screw Holes

Line up your lattice strips along the length of the plywood, so they are all in a straight line and parallel to the edge of the plywood. Using your drill and a wood drill bit, drill guide holes through the lattice strips and the plywood. Then, drive your wood screws into these holes to attach the lattice pieces to the plywood.

Step 3 – Prepare 1-inch Wood Strips

Cut your 1-inch board into 6 pieces. Place three of these pieces under the plywood and across each of the top two joints in the plywood where the plywood pieces come together. These pieces will hold the separate plywood pieces together. Through these pieces and the plywood, drill guide holes, then use your counter-sink bit to make wider holes in the top surface of the plywood, allowing a bolt head to lie flush into the surface of the plywood. Insert bolts through these plywood guide holes, and screw the wing nuts onto the bolts.

Step 4 – Connect the Final Track Piece

Position the third track section so it is butted against the bottom edge of the piece that was made by connecting the two other plywood pieces. Attach the hinges, one end to the large track section and the other end to the smaller bottom section. This will connect the two sections and allow you to create an angle, so you will have a flat end point for the racing cars. 

Step 5 – Build Track Legs

Cut your 2x4 inch boards so they will be 5 inches higher than the highest point of your track when the track is raised to a 30-degree incline. Attach the two legs to the track, using bolts with wing nuts that will allow you to easily dissemble the track and store it when the race is over.

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