But most of that went out the window when my son lost one of the regulation axles needed for the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.
|Scouts contemplate the trophies before the first race at the 2010 Pack 89 Pinewood Derby, hoping to take one home for themselves.|
While searching the internet for official axles, I stumbled upon a high-tech pinewood derby replacement part and customization industry that would have been unimaginable 40 years ago when I was a kid. They have everything you need to make your car go fast - from pre-polished axles to de-burred wheels to a magic substance called "tube-o-lube". This is the special dry graphite lubricant all the other dads had been talking about - the only type of axle lubricant allowed under Boy Scout rules.
By the time I hit the "Buy Now" button I had spent about $20 - on axles, lubricant, and the all-important lead weights. Pinewood Derby cars can be no heavier than 5 ounces - and ideally should hit that number right on the nose to maximize potential energy at the top of the track.
|Click on this image to see a series of four photos taken just one second apart. These cars are really moving - at scale speeds over 200 m.p.h.|
As is the case with most fathers of seven-year-old scouts, I ended up doing most of the work on the car. But the design was all his, and, ultimately, it was that cool design which got us to the finish line first.
That and the tube-o-lube!