I am more than positive that we will get tons of “fan mail” from this post. Just to clarify, we can make graphite coated pinewood derby axles if that is what we intended to do. However, we believe they are just a gimmick with short term gain. Therefore, we have chosen not to offer this type of product.
For the DYI, it is a simple process same as coating bullets with moly. You FIRST have to prep the axle to the level of polish you desire. The next step is basically impacting the graphite into the pwd axle with steel tumbling media. It will require more costs to invest in getting the right equipment than the average DIY will want to spend. In this sense it will be cheaper to buy the product outright if you choose to go this route. We do not believe it is the best bang for your buck.
Are the graphite coated pinewood derby axles faster than stock? Yes. How long will the graphite applied in this matter last? Usually less than 5 or 6 races. You will run this many simulated races just by spinning the wheels at home. The graphite is never applied in rotational layers needed for your car to perform at its top potential. You can review many comments on multiple sites that will tell you they are good for a few races, but loose their edge after a few runs. Since most pinewood derby cars will race at least 6 times or more to compete to the finals, think about a different way to make those axles faster than buying a gimmick. We have had great results with our treadmill tuning/break in technique. It’s FREE! Costs you NO money and is the best and easiest way to tune your car without a track or tuning board. Watch your car run in real time at its top speed!
The impact graphite application for pinewood derby axles does not yield the same results as applying the graphite to the plastic wheel. Most believe since the pinewood derby speed axles are “coated” with graphite, no additional work is needed. How wrong they are! We have tested many different methods from burnishing, to high levels of polish. We have tried many different lube coatings from firearm lubes to state of the art nano-lube applications. There is really not too many applications of spray on graphite, that really work to your PWD car advantage.
Our final conclusion is we believe that a graphite coated wheel will yield better results than a graphite coated axle for the simple reason that the graphite does not apply well to metal surfaces. We feel that graphite sticks or applies better to the plastic wheels than the metal axles.
Finding a sealant or wax that will reduce the co-efficient of friction of the metal axle is the key to axle lubricant. You need to find a product that will bond to the surface of the metal, not just coat it with