11.15.2014

Rocket Powered Pinewood Derby Race

We've written about our love of pinewood derbies before. Well, our love of making cars anyway. But this time, Andrew took things to a new extreme. 

I decided to do a rocket powered pinewood derby race for our Elders Quorum at church. And the race was a great success! But it all started with designing this speedy little car. I wanted it to kind of look like a rocket and have wooden fins carved from the original block of wood. I used my bandsaw, Dremel, and belt sander to shape my car. 




I also wanted the rocket engine to slide into the car and have the engine exposed a bit. This would serve two purposes. Having it open like this made it so my car wouldn't explode when the reverse charge went off. Also I thought it would look pretty neat. (Just so you know we used Estes C6-5 rocket engines. These rocket engines have a reverse charge at the end that blows the nose cone off of your model rocket to deploy the parachute.) This is important to know because if the engine is jammed inside your car and there is no vent or anything for the reverse charge your car will explode!


Well here was my finished car with a fresh coat of paint. I couldn't wait to see how it would race!


This was the line up of the rocket cars!


This is my car after two races. I love the way it looks with the burn marks on it! On my last (third) time across the parking lot I lost my front wheel and the race was over... It was a ton of fun. The track consisted of two long thin cables stretched tight about 100 feet long. The cars have little eyelets on the bottom that you clip onto the cable to keep your cars from flying into the neighbors yard. At the end the cars ran into an old ratty sleeping bag strapped to a board that was smoldering by the time the race was ending. 

Here is a link to a movie of the race. There are a couple of neat things to watch for in this clip. Watch for the orange car on one of its races...mid way down the track it starts spinning around and the rocket engine flies out of it and shoots over the fence! Also on the last run the orange car had its engine glued in so it wouldn't come out. When it reaches the end of the track and the reverse charge goes off the car explodes and you see a chunk of orange wood spiraling out from a ball of fire. We have it all in slow motion and it is great! Here is the link: 

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