How to prepare pinewood derby car body for gluing axles in place

Before even starting the process of tuning, a builder needs to address the following.  If I am drilling my own axle holes, how do I keep the axles in place?  After all once I install them, I will not be able to drill through the metal.

A series of holes need to be drilled prior to painting, prior to installing the wheels and axles.  It is not crucial to make them perfectly spaced, or in a perfect line.  What is important is that you leave room from the edge so that the glue doe not accidentally leak on your wheels.

Pinewood derby axle glue holes
Pinewood derby axle glue holes
Pinewood derby axle glue holes
Pinewood derby axle glue holes

Graphite Wheel Channel Pinewood Derby Body

Unless you build a lot of cars, one of the problems you will quickly find out is that with drilled axle holes, there is practically no way to add graphite to the hub once you have installed the wheel and gapped them properly.

Here's a builders tip.  Add a graphite lube channel.  With the BSA slots, you have wood removed that allows you access the inner wheel hub.  With Drilled body you literally run into a brick wall.  So just add some angled channels that allow you to to get to that spot.  I do mine with a rotary tool.  This can easily be done withe a file or some sand paper.  I just like power tools

If you accidentally take off too much and end up in the axle  hole, no worries, just remember that with the BSA blocks, there is an entire slot all the way across the body.  It's not going to hurt a thing.
Pinewood derby axle graphite channels
Pinewood derby axle graphite channels
Pinewood derby axle graphite channels
Pinewood derby axle graphite channels

What glue to use to glue Pinewood Derby axles and wheels

Super Glue or CA glue is glue of choice for many years.  Just remember this stuff is super runny or liquid, a little will go a long way and I have ruined many wheel sets because of this.  Little drops, I mean little.  And make sure your car is nice and flat so that it does not run into the wheel.  It WILL.  

Expert builders are now choosing RED locktite screw thread anti-vibrate treatment.  They apply it the same way as super glue.  It seems that it penetrates the wood better and it literally locks the axle in place.  Not going to move the tune job.  So if you are out of super glue, or want to give that a try I highly reccommend it.  
 
 
Here's the answer to the million dollar question.  What do I suggest?  First I say check you rules......  Then use the following advice.

So my choice:  Physics car body 3-wheel racer.  Lead Weight. 3k bent axles (3x 2.5, 1x 1.5), pliers, Wheel Polish kit or service, Derby Dust graphite.  You will have to choose what wheels you want to play by, but they will determine speed of car second to tuning the axles correctly


Pinewood Derby Tuning is the Key

So you are going to need to focus mainly on tuning or adjusting your axles.  You want your car to go down the track as straight as it can without going side to side.  Easiest way to do this is 3 wheels touching and make it ride along the center strip.  So you purposely make it track to the high side.  Takes time.  Not technical, Not complicated, just time.  The correct tool-- axle pliers.  This $25 purchase is the difference between a headache and a breeze.  what you will need is 4x bent axles so that you can do this:  for 4 wheels I always suggest 3x2.5 1x1.5 angles

If you have to do 4 wheel tuning....

Pinewood Derby Speed Axles

polish level.... 
3k for graphite with break-in 
100K for oil or graphite with just dust and spin.  You are substituting the lube for a higher polish metal.  
Bent axles will be fastest (rail riding) however each axle needs to be adjusted (tuned) so that it steers the car down the track and not side to side.  Each axle will have to be adjusted:  Watch the tuning video above...substitute treadmill for tuning board if needed.  Bent axles for the wheel to ride in one spot and also change the amount of tread presented to track.  Ice skates vs rollerblades just the inner part of wheel will touch. (red wheel). 
Picture
Picture originally published on Derbytalk.com forum

Pinewood Derby Speed Wheels

Wheels

Lighter the better. Lighter wheels will require use of tuning pliers however to remove axles/wheels.  
Polish the bores.  Either you or me.  Its pretty simple.
Flawless bores will eliminate any abnormal rotation in relation to wheel spinning around axles.  

Weight reduced wheels start around 1.7 grams. Have all the lettering.  Charlie Bravo or Black Op's will be those weights. Charlie Bravo has factory outer tread.  Black Op's will have lathed outer tread.
Derby Worx makes a 1.5 and 1 gram wheel, but a little more noticeable machining done to them.   Lighter is always better! They are all very fast wheels.  Choose what will meet your pack's rules.

Pinewood Derby Graphite Lube

Graphite on graphite has a lower coefficient of friction than steel on plastic.  Our theory is build layers of lube on layers of lube.  Then you have graphite on graphite peeling off each race.  Break In / Lube building process
 
 
Picture
Http://www.derbydust.com

This video shows you how to install wheels and axles for your pinewood derby body without breaking chipping busting out your slots!  NO MORE HAMMERING!  Do not hammer!


Tools:
  • #44 Drill Bit
  • Pin Vise
  • Derby Worx Axle Guide
  • Clamp (optional)
  • Patience!