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Polishing is a Key Factor to a fast Pinewood Derby Car

Todays Date: September 22, 2018

While your Pinewood Derby car is racing down the track, the inside of the wheel hubs rub against the axles. This creates a huge amount of friction that even the best lubrication cannot eliminate. So, it is crucial that you polish the axels extremely well.

The purpose of this step is to create a shiny finish on the axle shaft and the inside of the axle head. Anywhere the wheel rubs on the axle must be highly polished in order to reduce friction.

Most folks will tell you to polish you axles with sand paper up to about 2500 grit. That’s fine for those who want to finish in second place. The axles need to have a near mirror finish in order to eliminate as much friction as possible. To achieve this, you must polish your axles with the use of sandpaper all the way up to 12,000 grit and then finish them off with an ultra fine polishing compound and polishing cloth.

For best results, I recommend the use of the Ultimate Axle Polishing Kit in order to get your axles where they need to be to increase your chances of victory. This system consists of a total of 12 sheets of sandpaper fine from 400 grit to 12,000 grit, one jar of Monkey Jam Premium Axle Polish, one micro-fiber polishing cloth and instructions on how to put a district caliber polish on your Pinewood Derby axles.

Another option is to purchase a set of official BSA Pinewood Derby axles that have been professionally modified by an experienced machine shop. These prefinished Pinewood Derby axles are usually finished up to 3200 grit. Then you can just finish up the polishing process with the finer grit sandpaper. First make sure that your race rules will permit the use of after market axles.

Complete BSA Axle Preparation
1. Straighten axle with the Derby Worx Pro Axle Press.
2. Chuck the axle in a drill press or any electric drill.
3. While the axle is spinning, use a thin flat file to grind off the crimp marks near the axle head.
4. The polishing process will begin with a ¼” a strip of 400 grit wet/dry paper. Dip the paper in water and sand the nail and the inside of the nail head while the axle is spinning.
5. Allow the sandpaper to make firm contact with the axle shaft for 10 to 15 seconds.
6. Switch to the next grit strip of dampened wet/dry sandpaper.
7. Continue this process until all grits of sandpaper are used ending with the 12,000 grit paper.
8. Finally, apply the special axle polishing compound with a ¼” section of polishing cloth. Polish the axle shaft for about 30 seconds. Make sure to polish the inside portion of the axle head.
9. Remove all polishing compound using a clean, soft cloth.
10. Place the axles in denatured alcohol for about one hour in order make sure all polish residue is removed.

Now, your axles are ready to help your Pinewood Derby car scream down the track. However, before that, you need to polish the inner wheel hub bores. That process is addressed in another article.

Visit Derby Monkey Garage and Fast Pinewood Derby Tips for all of your Pinewood Derby needs.

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