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3Derby: 3D printer + pinewood Derby = it’s gonna be HUGE #3DThursday #3DPrinting

Pla derby blank shape

Here’s a really cute in-house project from Brooklyn based digital agency HUGE that gave me fond memories of Nerdy Derby at Maker Faire New York last year — combining pinewood derby with 3D modeling and 3D printing.

Participants are making use of the web-based digital design tool Tinkercad to “chop into” the 3Derby “blank” to create their design — then print it out on the office 3D printer.

From a preliminary launch post at

A 3D printer recently landed in the Huge offices (the Makerbot Replicator 2). Everyone is excited about the concept of printing objects, however modeling things can be intimidating. Fortunately there are a lot of tools which make this a lot easier.

To prove how accessible this new technology is, we decided it would be fun to hold a contest. The easiest way to get started was to take inspiration from the Cub Scouts. One of the projects they do is a Pinewood Derby.

With a Pinewood derby you start with a pine block with holes drilled into the block. The scout will then shape the wood with tools and then paint it. Once detailed, the wheels get added. They are just plastic wheels that you hammer into the wood. The end goal is a stylish and fast car that gets raced down a sloped track.

In our case, instead of starting with a pine block, we created a 3D model which could be used as a base. People would then use to adjust the model by adding and subtracting.

Read more.

Pinewood derby1

Huge derby poster 662x1024

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1 Comment

  1. As a lover of everything pinewood derby and science/engineering, I have been thinking about this for a while. One of the problems with using a 3D printer for the “official rules” is that the wheel axles have to be in the actual slots of the kit-provided block of wood and that there has to be some amount of wood that connects the from and back axle slots. This last year, I had my kids help me model what they wanted in Solidworks and then we milled away the excess. It would be awesome if there was someone who sold a wood piece with the minimum amount of wood possible and them attach a 3D printed part on top.

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