Monday, January 30, 2017

Pinewood Derby Car Stand

So a few months back I was toying with the idea of building a Pinewood Derby Display Shelf.  My thinking was that it should hold a car for each year of the Cub Scout Experience.  I looked all over online and finally found something that I really liked, the problem was the cost, at $30 each it just wasn't a feasible den project, plus they seemed to no longer be available.

One of the dens in our pack builds an individual stand each year for that year's car, and that's great, but who has space for 5 stands, I wanted something that could hold all 5 cars either sitting on a dresser or hanging on the wall.  I also wanted a project that they'd do as Tigers or Wolves so they'd have empty shelves they were eager to fill, a project that can double as a retention tool seemed like a good idea.  As a child lays in bed contemplating if they want to continue on in scouting I want those empty shelves to remind them they still have more cars to build.

Below is the prototype I made up with some scraps I had lying around my makeshift shop.  It was only 3 cars high but it allowed me to come up with some general dimensions to create my design.

So I figured out my ideal dimensions, and then spent a few hours on-line and in-store at the local home centers deciding on what materials would work best at the lowest cost and developing my materials list for screws, paint, etc.  I need materials for 9 finished projects.  The cost per project worked out to be just under $10.

What I ended up with were four 8' long kiln dried 2x4's and two 2'x4' sheets of 1/2" MDF.  If I were making any more than 10 it would pay to get a full 4'x8' sheet but that would have required using the truck and moving the saw outside to rip down, so I'm glad I only needed 9.

The MDF sheets were cut down to 9 1/2" wide by 24" high pieces as the back panel.

The 2x4's were cut to 7 1/2" long blocks.

I then cut 1/4" off the side of each block to square them up. The scrap makes for good fire starter.

I then cut a little more off the other side to make them 2 3/4" wide.

Once the sides were squared up it was time to cut them to height, I wanted them to be 1 1/4" high to account for the 1/2" notch and still have 3/4" of material to fasten to.  This whole thing could have been done using 3/4" pieces and fastening 1/2" thick strips to the top.  I'm not sure which method would have ended up being easier, one is more cutting, one is more assembly.

I ran each piece through the saw 4 times with the fence at 1/4" and the blade height at 1/4" to create a notch for the wheels.

Now that all 360 cuts had been made, I then sanded each side, especially the ends.

Now that I had all of the shelves cut I made up the template for the back panel.  There is a hole at the top to allow it to be mounted on the wall, there are 3 holes to attach each shelf, and the top corners were dog eared for aesthetics.  Once the template was made up I gang drilled the back panels on the drill press for the 144 holes.

I made up and positioned a makeshift fence for the drill press to drill pilot holes in each shelf.  This will aid in lining everything up when the boys assemble them.  The fence kept the holes centered top to bottom on each shelf.

Once these 135 holes were drilled the parts were ready for hand sanding and painting.

The back panels were painted first.

Then the bottom shelf (Tiger).

The next shelf (Wolf).

The middle shelf (Bear).

The WEBLOS shelf, I did it as the pants of the uniform, or if you do one shelf red it could be the green in the Weblos Colors.

I did the AOL shelf in Khaki like the uniform shirt but you could make this the red shelf of you wanted to do the Weblos Colors.

Everything painted and curing before assembly of the example.

There are the screws we'll be using, they're long enough to grab but not so long that it takes the boys forever to install them.  They're a T-20 drive so I had to gather up all my universal screwdrivers and torx bits, but they'll be a lot less slippage than trying to use philips head screws, they also have a type 17 point so they'll go in easy, especially with the pilot holes I drilled already.

This is the back of the assembled unit with the screws installed, they recess into the MDF easily enough for a nice smooth back when it's done.

Here are some shots of it assembled with some of the cars that I've made on it.  The sticker of the pack crest I had printed by Sticker Mule in anticipation of doing this project.  The top point covers the hole I drilled for hanging it on the wall, but you can easily poke a screw through the sticker if you want to mount it.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Balance Beam

So we needed to do the balance activities to finish the Running With The Pack adventure for Wolf, and while we could have just dropped a piece of wood on the floor I took the opportunity to make the balance beam that my kids have been asking for.

I took a 2x4 and cut it to 6' long, then cut three 1' sections for support and 2 lengths of 2x3 for additional support.  Glued and screwed everything together so that it would be nice and strong for a bunch of kids jumping around on it.

Painted the bottom blue to seal it.

Painted the top yellow.

Then masked off the yellow in the center and painted it blue to get a blue and gold striped effect.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stanchions and Plastic Chain

So last year at our Pinewood Derby, and then at our Blue and Gold, and then at the Mall Show, I kept wanting to come up with some better means of crowd control than cones and rope because while they did work to an extent, they were very easy to knock over or push out of the way.  Plus they weren't Cub Scout themed.  This is what I came up with, and will be building more of.

The finished product.

 I had decided on 6mm yellow plastic chain, as it's highly visible and relatively light. The next step was to design the stanchions.  Originally I wanted to utilize PVC pipe with a threaded flange so that they could be broken down for storage but that was going to get expensive.  We could have bought the ready made plastic stanchions for the same price it would cost to construct them.

Then I stumbled upon these 2x3 balusters at Home Depot and they were just the right size.  I still wanted them to be able to be broken down and considered utilizing hanger bolts and wing nuts to attach them to the MDF bases I had made, however I was running out of time and using what I had on hand won out over tracking down the right hardware.  I ended up using 5/16" x 4" lag bolts.

The edges of the MDF bases were rounded over with a router, as was the top of the baluster.  Once everything was assembled it was all sprayed blue.  The last step was to attach the chain to the stanchions and for that I ended up going with 1 1/4" white safety cup hooks.  These are the perfect size to hold the chain and offer a certain amount of deterrent from just unhooking it to walk through.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Pinewood Derby "Race Official" Neckerchief Slide

I was online trying to find "Race Official" vests for our Pack Leaders and Den Chiefs that are involved in running our Pinewood Derby.

I stumbled upon this little truck in my search results and immediately knew that it needed to become my race day neckerchief slide.

I used a large step bit and drilled an angled hole through the truck bed so that it would sit at the desired angle.  Then I flipped it over and drilled it from the bottom as well to make for a consistent diameter hole.

The size of the hole actually cause the rear wheels to separate from the rest of the car as I had removed most of the material holding it together.  I hot glue the back wheels back on using black hot melt glue and then filled in the other voids as well.  Then I coated the entire opening with glue to smooth it out and prevent the neckerchief from getting snagged on any rough edges.