PWD How to Build


Pinewood Derby is a simple race powered by gravity. Each scout builds their own wooden car from the official BSA kit and can enter it to race other scouts down our track. Awards are given for speed and design, see the full list.

The purpose of this event is for the scout (not the parent) to build and race a wooden car. The scout should do as much of the work as is appropriate for their age. It is expected that a Lion and Tigers will have quite a bit of help, but a AOL should be doing almost all of the work themselves.

Buying pre-made parts is NOT the goal of this event! Each scout is expected to build a new car each year.

Basic Instructions

Science fair


Each scout will receive an official BSA kit from your Den Leader. Additional car kits and accessories are available at the local Scout Shop or


Before you start building, please read our Race Rules and all the Awards for speed and design.

Quick Tips for Beginners

  • Looking at the side of the wood block, the rear of the car should be the end with the axle closest to it.

  • Max out the weight: Try to get the weight right up the weight limit of 5.0oz without going over.

  • Weight Placement: Place most of that weight towards the rear of the car, so it has the most potential energy when placed on the starting ramp. Too far back though and you risk the front wheels bouncing up during the run.

  • Weights are not included in the kit. Add weight to your car with added with coins, metal washers, special steel or tungsten weights. Do not use lead weights. Do not let weights on the bottom stick out and break the required clearance. See rules for more details.

  • Shop for weights at the Scout Store, hobby stores or online.

  • You can learn a lot from other parents and the videos shown below.

Speed tips & tricks

Mistakes to Avoid
PWD - Tips Mistakes

Helpful Videos


Here are some great sources of inspiration:

Tools & Help

Not every family has a garage full of woodworking tools so we encourage our pack to work together and share their expertise. Each Den Leader can coordinate time for your group to work on their cars together so those that need help can get it.

Check The Scout Shop for workshops

Additional building events may be coordinated by your Den Leaders.


See our Photo Gallery for creative inspiration. Have your own photos? Share them with us :)