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Have you ever heard of the Pinewood Derby? This fun event is part of cub scouting and a lot of people look forward to it. In such an event, you’d need to make your own car to enter the race. To do this, you can come up with your own Pinewood Derby design. Either that or you can download any of the Pinewood Derby templates here.

When it comes to Pinewood Derby car designs, there are endless possibilities.

Designing your own car is one of the most enjoyable parts of the Pinewood Derby. You can use your creativity to produce a car which shows your style and personality. You can take a template and modify it to come up with your own little race car to use.

Usually, children and parents work hand-in-hand to build the car. The more you allow your child to give input to the car, the happier he will be. This article is all about templates you can use to make your own Pinewood Derby car. But before that, let’s take a look at the event and how it all began.

Downloadable Templates:

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What is the Pinewood Derby?

Basically, the Pinewood Derby is a type of racing event performed by cub scouts. The scouts have to build their own wooden cars with the help of their parents. They can build their car from scratch while using a template as a guide.

They can also use complete kits which already contain all the materials needed for the car. As the years went by, the fun even became more and more popular.

Because of this popularity, other groups and organizations have started too. They’ve come up with events similar to the Pinewood Derby. Nowadays, there are industries which provide timers, scales, tracks, trophies, and much more.

They’re available to the public in order to support the event. Cub Scouts have other events similar to the Pinewood Derby. These include the Space Derby, the Raingutter Regatta, and more.

In May of 1953, the Scout House hosted the very first Pinewood Derby. The Cub Scout Pack in Manhattan Beach, California first held the fun event. The pack’s Cubmaster, Don Murphy, created the concept of the Pinewood Derby.

At that time, his son was too young to enter Derby races so he thought of the idea. The cars used for such races are small and easy to build, unlike regular Soap Box Derby cars.

Since the first time it came out, the Pinewood Derby was very well-received. Murphy and the sponsors sent out flyers to those who requested information about it. Because of this, information about the event spread like wildfire.

So, scouting groups held competitions of their own all across the country. Among all the groups though, only the Boy Scouts of America made the derby part of their official program. In May of 2005, they registered the event as an official trademark.

Types of Pinewood Derby templates

If you’re planning to build a derby car to join in the race, you’ll need a template as a guide. Building a car is a lot easier if you use a Pinewood Derby car template. Taking part in the event is a memorable experience for any scout.

So if your own child wants to join the derby, it would be great if you encouraged that. Aside from the thrill of racing, it’s also very exciting and enjoyable to build the car. The Boy Scouts of America host the Pinewood Derby and it’s one of their favorite events.

This is a prestigious race. In it, the participants build their own wooden cars and race them. As a rule of the event, the scouts need to build their cars using pine wood and other different materials.

The racetrack has a number of lanes and it slopes downwards. So basically, gravity powers the derby cars in this annual scouting event. There are different types of templates you can use. Here are some common ones:

  1. Blank car derby
  2. Car Pinewood Derby
  3. Comet Derby car
  4. Cub Bus
  5. Midget Racer
  6. Pinewood Derby bullet car
  7. Rocket

As we’ve mentioned previously you can make your own derby template. Either that or you can download one to use. You can download a template from here and design it as you wish.

These templates are highly convenient to use. It is so because they already have the right measurements. All you need to do is follow the template and build your car. There are many downloadable templates available on the website.

All you need to do is the choose one you like. This will save you a lot of time and effort. Once you have your template, you can focus on finding the materials to build your car.

Next, you can start to work after you’ve acquired all the materials you need. You can start building the car with your child.

Making your own Pinewood Derby template and car

There are different types of Pinewood Derby competitions and variations of them. There are different organizations and groups which host the Pinewood Derby.

Basically, though, the rules are the same. Also, you’d have to build the car needed for the race on your own.

Designing and building the car is one of the most enjoyable parts of the Pinewood Derby. You can design any kind of car you want, you can even ask input from your child.

From super-slick racers to funny and quirky ones, the possibilities are endless! Before you start building your car, you need to think about different things first. Here are some helpful steps to guide you:

  • Brainstorm ideas for the car
    The very first step in making a template is to think about Pinewood Derby designs. If you’re good at making plans, you can even make your own template.
    If you’re feeling stuck, you can go online and search for Pinewood Derby car designs. There are a lot of resources out there which can help you. Have fun creating the car’s design with your child.
    Come up with one which you and your scout both like. You can brainstorm ideas. Next, write down all your ideas. Download a few templates and look at them carefully. You need to think about how challenging the templates are.
    Also, think whether you have the skills to build the car based on the template.
    Your child may even have toy cars lying around the house. If you want, you can ask your child to pick his favorite one.
    Then base the design of your derby car on that toy. This will surely arouse the interest of your child to finish the project with you all the way to the end.
  • Illustrate your car’s design on a piece of paper
    If you’re really good at drawing, start illustrating your car’s design on a piece of paper. If not, you can download a template here and draw your designs on it. Do this so you can think about the final structure and design of your car.
    Remember, it’s a lot easier to erase lines on an illustration. That is as compared to modifying the wood once you’ve cut it.
    Once you’ve finalized your drawing, it will serve as your template. Then you can start cutting your wood. Put the block on a blank piece of paper and trace all the sides. Then draw your design on the boxes you’ve traced.
    Do this in order to visualize all the sides of your car. When you’re happy with the design, cut out the boxes. These will serve as your templates for cutting.
  • Trace your Pinewood Derby template on the block of pinewood
    After cutting your templates, place each of them against the body of the car.
    Then trace the templates one by one on the block of wood.
  • Cut your car’s design out roughly
    When all the sides of your block have guidelines, it’s time to cut your wood. Make sure you secure the block with a bench vice before you start cutting. It’s best if you do the wood-cutting.
    Never let your child handle the saw or power tools as he might injure himself.
    Before you start cutting, consider the type of weights you’ll use for the care. There are different types out there which vary in size, shape, and density.
    Also, think about where you want to place the weights. Drill the holes for the weight first. Do these before you cut out the rest of the car’s body? This will make it easier to secure your block for the drilling process before you start cutting.
    It’s also advisable to drill the holes yourself. If your child is old enough, you can ask him to help you with the cutting. In this case, consider using a coping saw.
    This is an ideal tool to cut your pinewood derby block because it’s easy enough for a child to maneuver. Also, it’s designed to cut sharp corners without much effort. Of course, you always need to supervise your child if you allow him to use the tools.
  • Shape your car’s design
    When you’re done with the cutting, it will still have rough edges. But by this time, you’ll start to see your car taking shape. This is the time to use your imagination once again.
    Try to see if your original design will look good on your car. Otherwise, you can make some changes in the design or even add cool features.
    While shaping your car, ask input from your child. As you receive the inputs, try your best to accommodate all of them. When you’re done with the shaping, it’s time to sand down your car.
    Do this so that it’s smooth and easy to paint. Then, you can seal the car and paint it.

Templates are very helpful but you’ll also need skills to actually build the car. As long as you work together with your child, you’ll be able to come up with a derby worthy enough for the races. Here are some helpful tips for you to make your template and the car.

Tips for using Pinewood Derby templates

Whether you make your own Pinewood Derby car template or download one, you should learn how to use it. The template will serve as your guide and your starting point. With it, you can visualize your end product as well as the design of your car.

Building your own car with your scout will be very enjoyable. But it may be quite challenging especially if it’s your first time.

This is why templates are very handy. If you download one, you won’t have to calculate the measurements to make sure they all fit. The best part is there are tons of different templates available.

Once you’ve chosen the one you like, you can print it out and start working with it. No matter what template you choose, you still have a lot to consider when building your car. Also, you’ll also need different materials to be able to build your car well.

  1. Think about what design you’d like for your car. Then find the template which would best suit the design of your choice.
  2. If you’re working with a kit, make sure you use all the available pieces. That is unless some pieces are really meant as extras.
  3. Check the dimensions and weight of your car. There are certain measurements which will allow your car to run faster and more smoothly.
  4. If you want to make your car heavier, you can. To do this, you can use coins, bits, melted lead, and more. Then use glue to attach them to your racing car.
  5. Ask for the measurements of the racetrack. Do this so you can make sure that your car will fit into the track you’ll use it in. Before you start making your car, ask for this information. Then you’ll be able to design your car accordingly.


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