Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

Pinewood Derby 2012

pinewood derby car

When I was a kid, my pinewood derby car was so terrible looking, the race marshal ran it backwards. I can’t say I could blame him though, there was no way to tell what it was supposed to be.

Well, like they say, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

This year, my kids wanted to join cub scouts, so we went to the meeting to find out more about it. I only heard one thing that night. Pinewood Derby. I decided to build my own car as a way to keep from totally dominating my son’s builds.

I happen to have a pretty severe interest in classic cars, and also I really enjoy model making, so this project ended up being the most enjoyable distraction I have had in a long time.

The car is not a model of any specific car, but really just a fantasy creation based on a combination of the sports specials of the late ’50′s and the Can Am racers of the mid ’60′s. But if you do want to create a model of a specific car for your derby racer, I have 2 pieces of advice.

1) Read this tutorial to find out how to add extra wood to your block in order to accomodate a full-fendered car design.

2) You can do a google image search for “your classic car” + “blueprints”, and you will usually find usable profile illustrations that you can trace onto your block for roughing out the shape.

The rest is just plain old time and craftsmanship. I made the intake stacks and exhaust pipes out of some 1/8th inch aluminum tubing, and the windshield is cut from the neck of a 2 litre pop bottle. The decals and driver figure are reproduction 1960′s slot car stuff. The steering wheel is a rubber 0-ring.

You can see more pictures of my project in this flickr set.

7 Responses to “Pinewood Derby 2012”

  1. Thad Says:

    Nice work. I guess the driver keeps the marshal from racing it backwards. ;) Did you race it?

    The thought of a Pinewood Derby did bring back some good memories. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Steve Says:

    Hey! No, I didn’t get a chance to race. We ran out of time, and didn’t run the open class. Maybe I’ll get the chance to run it at Maker Faire, or Bigfoot Lodge in LA sometime.

  3. Tracy Says:

    Nice! Love the velocity stacks. Great idea to build your own.

    When I was cub my dad helped me make my first car, but he made sure I did the work. It was a simple sports racer silhouette but I had sanded the hell out of it and sprayed it metallic copper. Kids showed up with these insanely detailed cars with spoilers and everything. My car floated down the track like a feather because we were clueless about weighting the car. BUT, the judges gave me the blue ribbon for looks, I think because they could tell the scout actually made it. Justice.

    Ironically, the first year my son was a cub I helped him too much with his car and when it was over he mentioned he would like to have done more of the work. I was gutted! Every year after that I literally did not touch car, but coached him through it. He did all the scroll saw work, sanding, painting (“You’re too close!”) axle polishing etc. He placed top three every year for speed. Much more satisfying for both of us.

    Thanks for posting.

  4. Tracy Says:

    Steve, I remembered I had a post about it. Thought you might like the Watkins Glen poster in the background. Check the names on there. Hobbs, Redman, Posey.


    Notice the cheater nose on the car to get over the pin quicker.

    Hard to believe my son is 15 and 6 ft tall now.

  5. Steve Says:

    @Tracy: Good looking car! Nice work, Mars.

  6. Lefty McGillicuddy Says:

    looookin’ goooood!

  7. Chumford Says:

    So awesome!