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Pinewood Derby Axles Q&A
What is the difference between your 4094 and 4097 axles?
The 4097 axles are the official BSA nails that have had the burrs/crimp marks removed, the head beveled, and the polishing started. The 4094 axles are "clones" of the BSA nail without any flaws, and with a slightly beveled head. Essentially, they are "perfect" BSA nails.
Because the 4094 axles are full diameter (the diameter of the 4097 axles must be reduced to remove the flaws) they will outperform the 4097 axles.
Were can I find specifications on the axles you sell?
A comparison chart of the various axles can be found Here
. Specifications for each axle type can also be found by clicking on the photo of the desired axle type.
Are grooved axles faster?
In general, grooved axles perform better than non-grooved axles. I believe this has less to do with the idea of a lube reservoir, and more to do with minimizing the amount of contact between the wheel bore and the axle shaft.
Why are the Super Speed Axles less expensive than the Grooved BSA Pinewood Derby Speed Axles? Which are faster?
The Super Speed Axles (part 4098) are generally faster, however, they are not an official BSA part so they may not be legal in a Cub Scout race. The Grooved BSA Speed Axles (part 4099) are more expensive as each one must be loaded onto a lathe by a human operator. The Super Speed Axles are made from scratch on a lathe and do not require operator intervention.
Can Awana axles be used with BSA Pinewood Derby wheels?
Yes, Awana axles work well with BSA wheels. Just make that they are legal for your race.
How do you remove the flaws from a nail axle?
The nail is placed in the chuck of a drill that has been immobilized with a clamp or vise. While the axle spins at a medium speed apply a mini-file to the flaws. Note that files cut on a push stroke, not a pull stroke. So orient the file so that the axle material is rotating towards the file handle. Dipping the mini-file in water will result in a nicer job.
How do you bevel the head of the nail?
The nail is placed in the chuck of a drill that has been immobilized with a clamp or vise. While the axle spins at a medium speed apply a mini-file to the back of the axle head. Dipping the mini-file in water will result in a nicer job. Only a very slight angle is needed - about 3 degrees. The resulting bevel should be virtually undetectable by the human eye.
How do I cut grooves in an axle?
Use a similar technique to beveling the head, but cut into the shaft with the sharp edge of a file. You don't need to go very deep. Make sure the grooves are isolated to the area of the shaft on which the wheel will spin.
How do you polish axles?
The axle is placed in the chuck of a drill that has been immobilized with a clamp or vise. While the axle spins at a medium speed apply the polishing material. If you are polishing a nail axle, use an Axle Polishing Kit
. If you are using axles that are already partially polished, then a metal polish, such as Simichrome, can be used. Metal polishes are applied with a soft rag.
Why do you not sell graphite-coated axles?
Graphite works well as a lube because at the molecular level the graphite is formed into plates which easily slide over each other. To make graphite adhere to metal it must be mixed with a binder (alcohol or similar). When the binder dries, the graphite is no longer in the plate form and can thus no longer slide over each other. Thus, it no longer lubricates as it should. Because of this, graphite coated axles generally do not perform as well as polished steel axles that have been properly lubricated with graphite powder.
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