Cardwood Derby Car

I got the idea for Obi’s car from a Jim Clark poster I used to have hanging on my wall. It’s a late-60s Lotus, open wheel and open cockpit, taken at the Grand Prix of Belgium.

The design didn’t take long. I made a few notes for the name, Wildest Dreams, and the number, 394 in honor of the recently deceased Alan Rickman.  I wanted more of a WWII hand drawn cursive-y letters that are seen on the front of a fighter plane, but I couldn’t find them and my idea wasn’t strong enough to replicate with my hand lettering.

I started building it on a Tuesday with a deadline of Saturday. Had I started earlier, I could’ve worked out the axles a bit better.

My initial design was to have the axles going through the body. This lower center of gravity would have given more stability, but I couldn’t engineer around paws or tails becoming caught in the hole in my short time frame.

This one worked better than the rocket ship design of the last derby. The biggest change being the use of tempera paint instead of spray paint. The smell of the spray paint was a big deterrent to the driver and crew; they didn’t mind the tempera paint at all.

The simplicity of this design made it fast and easy to build. There are four wooden pieces to the car: two axles and two embroidery hoops, one round and one oblong.

Areas that would need work include: Changing the wheels. The rolled up corrugated cardboard is great for a wheel save for the press fit onto the axle. The weight of even the smallest cat compressed the corrugations and made the wheels fall off.

The axles were initially run through bog roll tubes. This was a very loose fit and allowed a ridiculous amount of under steer in the car.  Attempts were made to stabilize the axles using large binder clips. This helped but there was still a lot of under steer.

A closed in front would look better, but any type of grate was left off for alternate means of feline ingress and egress.


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