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Nerdy Derby – Poundin’ Sand

Poundin' Sand

If you saw my last post about the Nerdy Derby we are planning, you probably figured at some point you’d see a car. Well, here’s my progress so far.

I cut the pieces from 3mm Baltic Birch plywood using the 60 watt laser cutter at Milwaukee Makerspace. Even the wheels are laser cut. I have no idea how well it will work, but I’m all for experimentation.

I’ve heard at least one person claim they will be building a car body completely out of lead, but I figured I already have plenty of sand around my house, so I plan to fill my car with sand, hence the name “Poundin’ Sand” (some of the runners-up included “Carl Sandburg”, “Sandoval”, “Sandy Bottom”, and “Adam Sandler”, but since “pound sand” sometimes means to engage in a futile activity, I thought it was fitting.

Besides, I’ve already awarded all the style points to Frankie for his belly tanker even though he’s not done yet, come on, just look at it!

Besides the glue to hold it together, the nails to hold the wheels on, and the sand, the rest of my car is 100% laser cut wood. I’m also planning another car that is (nearly) 100% 3D printed plastic. I’ve got some work to do on that yet, though the wheels should be done this week.

(Update: See the completed car.)

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Nerdy Derby

Nerdy Derby

Coming across the Internet via our old pal Matt Richardson is this thing called The Nerdy Derby which is, well, here’s how they describe it:

The Nerdy Derby is a no-rules miniature car building and racing competition inspired by the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby. With a larger, more undulating track and no restrictions on the size of the cars or materials participants can use, the Nerdy Derby rewards creativity, cleverness and ingenuity.

So I thought this was a cool idea, and I think I’ve been able to convince some of the other Milwaukee Makerspace members that’s it a good idea, and we’re planning out first race.

We’re still nailing down the specifics on the track. We may use a standard issue track at first, or meld it with our own modified parts, TBD. Anyway, I’m hoping we can have at least one race on our own, and then we hope to bring it to BarCampMilwaukee7 on October 6th and 7th, 2012.

Car Kit

So start building your cars! And yeah, (almost) anything goes. (As long as it doesn’t damage the track.) Electronics? Cheese? Magnets? Whatever you can come up with.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve built a Pinewood Derby Car, so I thought I should brush up a bit. I ordered a standard kit, just to see it and get the physical dimensions. (And you can get a kit for less than $5.00 or if you want 10, they’ll come out to less than $4.00 per kit.)

But you don’t need a kit… all you need is something that will roll down the track. You got a box of LEGOs? Or something roundish? Go for it.

Axels and Wheels

I ended up getting a bunch of nails that are close enough to the right size, and I plan to try two things: laser cut a bunch of wheels, and 3D print a bunch of wheels. If I can make enough wheels, I’ll supply them to whoever needs them. As for the body of the car, we should have enough scrap wood at the Makerspace to provide plenty of cars.

You want in? Good. We’d love to have you in our race… Details to follow!

See Also: http://wiki.milwaukeemakerspace.org/projects/nerdyderby