Pinewood Derby Speed Axles - Axle Polish Grit Level. Which is best for you?

March 19th, 2012

Pinewood derby speed axles are far from the offical pinewood derby axle that comes in the kit. It takes time and skill to turn remove those imperfections that come on the official axles into speed axles. There are many how-to's and books that show you how to do it. It just takes time and practice. Let us take that headache away. We can do it right the first time and free up that extra time needed to spend making your car body and tuning. Visit our online store

We have taken all the hassle out of figuring out this complicated process. Save time and money and check out our axle line. If you only have a few hours to dedicate to your derby build, think about maximizing that time and purchasing a set of prepped axles and wheel. Know that the job is done right. Our prepped axles have been deburred, shaped, straightened and sanded down to a 1000/2000 grit finish. From that point, each axle goes through a buffing process up to 60,000 grit. We use separate buffing wheels to ensure no cross contamination.

For dry-lube users, we offer axles that have been polished to what we believe is the perfect level for dry lube. This is the easiest way to explain it. Take a pencil. Try to write on a surface that is super shiny. See how much (graphite) sticks to the metal. Now take the same pencil and write on a surface that is a little more coarse. See how the pencil (graphite) sticks. We started from the highest level of polish we offered (60,000 grit) and worked our way down. We found that 2000 grit is that level that offers maximum speed and maximum lube retention. Although the higher grits "sound" faster, we find that after a few races, the deviation in time increases quickly and greatly.

Why is this an important thing to understand? Graphite such as Derby Dust™ Dry Lube is an effective lubricant due to its unique blends of plate like structures known as lamellae. These lamellas lay parallel to the direction of motion built during the "break in" process. The unique characteristics of Derby Dust™ Dry Lube allow the layers or lamellas to easily shear over each other resulting in low friction.

Basically explained. The coarse surface allows the graphite to stick or bond to the surface of the metal. From there, with proper break-in technique, layers of lube can be built on top of each other to ensure a friction-free surface. Check out the coefficient of friction of metal on plastic, then check out the coefficient of friction of graphite on graphite. See which is lower which means which is faster. Give yourself the best possible chance! Get the right lube for your build.

For oil lubed cars: We have found that higher the grit, the faster the car. This is why we offer 60,000 grit if you want it. Coming PWD season 2012-2013 we will offer 100,000 optical polish level! Don't waste any more time that you have to. Order yours now!

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Can you see what you are really doing to your axles?

September 15th, 2012

Be careful! A recent fellow derby dad sent us a car to evaluate. He could not understand why he did not place as well as previous years. His COG for weight was appropriate at about 7/8" in front of rear wheel. His car was mostly aerodynamic with no obvious drag designs.

The car was a 3 wheel rider with a steering axle used for tuning. Upon quick observation, I noticed one of the axles had rough edges. I figured that was the main cause of his less than expected performance. So I took off the three wheels and this is what we found. As you can see there is damage on each axle. The tooling used to install/tune each axle permanently damaged the axle by providing rough almost burr like edges that rob your car of speed needed. Every little bit of damage matters when you are talking about .001 seconds from first to second place.

This derby dad was totally surprised when I sent him my findings. He could not believe what damage he had done to his axles.

Pinewood Derby Speed Axle the wrong way
Pinewood Derby Speed Axle the wrong way
Pinewood Derby Speed Axle the wrong way


Recommendations to remedy this problem.

#1 First is to make sure that the bend of your axle happens outside of the area where the wheel spins. A bend in this vital area of your axle causes the wheel to bind as you can imagine the wheel is no longer rolling on a straight plain. Its path around the axle is an elliptical rotation. With each pass of the wheel, the diameter of the inner wheel hub is being wore larger which is making the car drive different with every race. This car will never run the same race twice.

#2 Notice the burrs around the edges. This is caused by improper tooling. Probably a regular set of needle nose pliers were used to adjust. Solution: Pinewood Axle Tuning Pliers

#3 What can also be seen here is that the graphite flake is too large and not soft enough as it is still on the axle without being ground down into the layers necessary to build the frictionless surface. It does matter what graphite you use. The stuff at the hobby store, might not be your best bet.

We highly suggest our graphite which is seen below

Pinewood Derby Speed Axle the wrong way

A Grand Prix 3 spoke wheel Pinewood Derby Speed axles

March 23rd, 2012
Hey A Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Racers! We have not forgotten about you! We offer the A Grand Prix Axles ranging form 2000-60000 grit in polish. The great thing about these axles is that they are almost near perfect from the factory. Someone actually thought the process through.

We do add a slight bevel under the head of the axles to reduce the contact surface with the wheel. It's a beautiful thing! Check it out! The factory axle is above, and our axle is below. We have been getting great speeds out of the axles with the use of Derby Dust Dry Lube and the treadmill break-in technique.

Pinewood Derby Speed Axles March 2012 Customer Reviews

March 19th, 2012
Very Happy! Buyer: Member id gkus48 ( Feedback Score Of 175) Mar-18-12 10:12 Pinewood Derby BSA Super Tuner (tm) Axle 60,000 grit MIRROR Finish KRYTOX Sealed (#170750464745) View Item Pinewood Derby BSA Super Tuner (tm) Axle 60,000 grit MIRROR Finish KRYTOX Sealed

1st place, on to the district race Buyer: Member id dmt_surplus1 ( Feedback Score Of 224) Mar-14-12 20:19 Pinewood Derby BSA Machined Wheel and Axle Set Legal 60,000 grit MIRROR Finish (#170791224399) View Item Pinewood Derby BSA Machined Wheel and Axle Set Legal 60,000 grit MIRROR Finish

good axles Buyer: Member id 987654321*309 ( Feedback Score Of 146) Mar-04-12 23:43 Pinewood Derby BSA Machined Axle Set 60,000 grit MIRROR Finish KRYTOX Sealed (#170739840029) US View Item Pinewood Derby BSA Machined Axle Set 60,000 grit MIRROR Finish KRYTOX Sealed

What are speed axles?

February 11th, 2012

Official Pinewood Derby axles are far from speed axles. It takes time and skill to turn remove those imperfections that come on the official axles into speed axles. There are many how-to's and books that show you how to do it. It just takes time and practice.

We have taken all the hassle out of figuring out this complicated process. Save time and money and check out our axle line. If you only have a few hours to dedicate to your derby build, think about maximizing that time and purchasing a set of prepped axles and wheel. Know that the job is done right

For dry-lube users, we offer axles that have been polished to what we believe is the perfect level for dry lube. This is the easiest way to explain it. Take a pencil. Try to write on a surface that is super shiny. See how much sticks to the metal. Now take the same pencil and write on a surface that is a little more coarse. See how the pencil (graphite) sticks. We started from the highest level of polish we offered (60,000 grit) and worked our way down. We found that 2000 grit is that level that offers maximum speed and maximum lube retention.

We offer polishing ranges from 1000-100,000 grit mirror finish. We offer steering axles that have been bent from 1.5-2.5 degrees. Add Krytox sealant to reduce friction and keep your axles from oxidizing. We even offer the Super Tuner Axle upgrade to allow EZ fine tuning of your axles to make your car super fast.

What are you waiting for? Take 5 minutes of your time and see what we offer.