Choosing the casting to build

MDG_Racing Friday, 10/5/2018

I'm curious about something that gives me issues. I'm a fairly new builder of modified diecast race vehicles. Truthfully, I only started collecting diecast as a hobby in 2014. Before that it was the occasional gift from a relative or a dollar stocking stuffers for the step children. 

So when a race pops up on the calendar, I get to go into the boxes. I have several thousand cars loose and carded to choose from. And stores with new shipments... Choices. Some picks are based on a hunch. Then there are the ones with science in mind. 

I know right, science. But if you watch real racing action you understand weight, balance, downforce, aerodynamics or maybe you don't. The commentators are always talking about the factors of a Fast race car. So how do you approach finding your 1:64 to race?

Pinewood Derby racing has an immense history and the Internet is full of information. But how do you decide? 

Then once you do, how do you proceed. I personally use three different drill bits. A #50 to get a good center hole down the middle of the swedge/rivet. I tap my cars for 2/56 stainless screws so having the hole @ least 3/16" deep helps. 2nd bit is a 1/8" to get to the base, and 7/32 or 3/16" to pop the ring. Hopefully not nicking the baseplate.

wheel work, axle work, weight placement, all important decisions but you have to have faith. Believing that the casting you started with was a blank canvas and only you can make it go faster! Or at least try. Just some things I was pondering. Share your thoughts.


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LeagueofSpeed 10/5/18
Event coordinator

Ahhh, the Riddle of Speed...a good wheel base...good track stance...wheel many factors. I usually take all the known factors into account when deciding to build a car...then you have to consider the track...small wheels get up to top speed quicker than medium to large wheels, but max out at a certain 1/8 mile scale or shorter...small wheels may be the way to go...longer runs, then you get to experiment more. I also believe weight is not just weight, but the placement of that weght is key to gravity racing...I also think that a lower center of gravity is beneficial more times than not...but you can take all the steps and still end up with a TE say's..."One must build many slow cars in order to build fast cars"....the joy and frustration of the Riddle of Speed.

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Mopar_Mafia 10/5/18

A general question: do you use a corded drill or prefer cordless drill ? 

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Jav74 10/5/18

So far every car I’ve entered (7 in 3 races) has been the only one I built for said race. I’m learning that I have to build until I build a faster car for each race.

And from what I learned here at RLD, I look for the widest track width, longest wheelbased, biggest wheel cars I actually like the look of or can stand the look of. If they could only be metal body and base every time. Right? 

  • On a shorter track, small wheels will be quicker...they reach maximum rpm faster than the larger wheels — 72_Chevy_C10
  • And, plastic chassis can be just as Google as the metal...I like the plastic Chrysler 300 chassis...good starting point — 72_Chevy_C10
  • I have no idea what is considered a shorter track. I need to pay better attention to the specs of tracks I’ll be racing on. — Jav74
  • Being a rookie and product of the 70’s and 80’s, I like the metal base. It reminds me of the way the cars were as a kid and makes it easier for me to get the weight up. I feel like I’m taking a short cut when I don’t use the interior. — Jav74
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NDeavers80 10/5/18

Anymore I've been doing so bad I'm literally building anything. Im trying figure out a combo that works so I'm making notes on every car I send out so I know "how" I built it in case that combo actually works. 

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72_Chevy_C10 10/5/18
Event coordinator

I can go pretty deep on this subject, but there are also simple things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of your builds.

A cars length is very important...the longer that gravity can act on the weight of the car, the better. So, build as long a car as the rules allow.

Make sure your wheels are running true...there are whole threads dedicated to making your wheels spin well, but, if they aren't straight, it isn't going to do you any good.

The width of your car is also important...and it can depend on the track you are running on. Orange tracks are a little more narrow than Drag tracks. If you are running on orange tracks, about 1.25" wide stock width for a Chrysler 300, Beetle Turbo, etc)...Drag Tracks are little wider.  

Also, your wheels should be the widest part of your car...if the body rubs the side of the track, it will scrub a lot of speed. If the wheels rub the side of the track, it isn't as bad.

That's a start...from there, just start making a lot of cars.

Good luck!

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