PokéMobile -vs- Lisbon

I had to make an important choice this week, one that I don’t regret: Attend the Lisbon conference or stay at home and attend to my business and do something very important with my son. See below.

Note: not an electric car

We think it looks just as good as the original. Tonight we had the Pinewood Derby weigh in, and thanks to furiously tweaking the weight with lead shot and sinkers and a digital postal scale, we came in at exactly 5.0 ounces (142 grams), the legal limit. Let me tell you, trying to get four nails aligned perfectly in a block of wood so that the car rolls straight isn’t as easy as it might look.

That, and the only sitting Pikachu figures I could find come from Japan as key chains. Thank goodness for Ebay. I’ve never quite understood his fascination with Pokémon, but I gotta tell you, the look on my son’s face when I produced this little monster for the drivers seat today was priceless.

Tomorrow is the big race, wish us luck.

It seems like the folks at Lisbon were having fun too, Steve Goddard provides this video. Congratulations to Judith Curry.

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January 29, 2011 12:09 am

It’s heartwarming to see Japanese people and items here today. Thanks.

Gary Hladik
January 29, 2011 12:23 am

Awesome car, Anthony! If the science thing doesn’t work out, you can always go to Detroit and restore American leadership in the automotive industry. Good luck in the races!
Great video from Steve Goddard. Nifty Toyota photo.
We’re in the same time zone. Don’t you sleep?

January 29, 2011 12:35 am

Pinewood Derby far outranks Lisbon. Great car. I miss those days.

January 29, 2011 12:41 am

Anthony here are some tips. If you can get the use of a lath use fine emory cloth to polish the axles and wheels. Also rounding the wheels. Graphite powder is used for lubrication on the axels and between the wheels and body. Also rub the outside of the wheels with graphite and the edge of the wheels where they will rub against the guide strip. If no time to use a lathe at least use the graphite. The competion is fierce.
My boys won a few competitions..

January 29, 2011 12:53 am

Lovely :))
Would putting easy oil on the axles be cheating 😀

January 29, 2011 1:15 am

That pinewood derby car is obviously a winner! Bravo!
And it reminded me of when my dad helped me win with mine (I went all the way to state and then lost) when I was a kid – just as your son will fondly remember your help when he’s old and gray, too!

January 29, 2011 1:16 am

Still not as much fun as the Kerwood Derby… but nice looking car!

January 29, 2011 1:18 am

I left off the final comment: to heck with Lisbon! Which do you think you – or your son – will remember in 50 years? Lisbon – or your efforts together? I got a $50 that says the latter…

January 29, 2011 1:19 am

Sweet! Little graphite on the nails/axles?
Best of luck = may the laws of gravity not be absconded with by some AGW/climate scientist hoax people.

January 29, 2011 1:35 am

Pokemon, you have to catch them all 🙂

Roger Carr
January 29, 2011 1:39 am

Go Son’owatt!

January 29, 2011 2:02 am

Hope you can post some video of the race tomorrow. Good luck to your son.
PS. Does gravity count as green energy?

January 29, 2011 2:36 am

Anthony, to hell with the Lisbon Conference, you made the right decision!
40 years later, I still remember the work my father and I did, to get my first Pinewood Racer ready; it actually won a couple of races, and I was overjoyed, and Pop was proud! (My father knew about using graphite for the axles!)
Hope you and your son enjoy the race!

January 29, 2011 2:58 am

Anthony and son,
Great mobile there.
All the best for the racing tomorrow.
Bravery, Enterprise, Purpose, Resolution, Endurance, Partnership, Assurance, Reformation, Enthusiasm and Devotion.
We’ll barrack for you both ……………………. from Australia.
Good to see Lisbon people also, thank you.

January 29, 2011 3:00 am

by Anthony Watts
Let me tell you, trying to get four nails aligned perfectly in a block of wood so that the car rolls straight isn’t as easy as it might look.
There speaks a man of experience!
But remember with the changing kilo the limit is now only: 141.9929 gram

January 29, 2011 3:03 am

I knew that was too big … that should read:
But remember with the changing kilo the limit is now only: 141.9999929 gram

January 29, 2011 3:05 am

Your posts always have usually been interesting, sometimes important, sometimes funny and occasionaly inspiring. This one was all of those things. Sod this… I’m off downstairs to play with my kids.
Thanks for the reminder of ‘watts’ important.

January 29, 2011 3:29 am

Big ditto to Hyperthermania’s comment:
“Thanks for the reminder of ‘watts’ important.” :0)

January 29, 2011 3:30 am

I admire Dr Judith Curry so much. I hope I can be as effective in my career as she has been.

January 29, 2011 3:35 am

Of course you made the right choice. I’m guessing that you will learn more from the inputs on how to make what we in Australia call a billy-cart go faster than you would ever have in Lisbon. BTW, has the ‘Chatham House Rule’ meant that nothing of interest can be reported from this talkfest? Or, is there nothing to report?
Stay home, look after your business and family, and then WUWT. I say this with the moral authority of someone who was absolutely delighted with your visit to Australia last year. 🙂
Probably you know this, but graphite (eg WD40) is a great short term fix, but does not substitute for proper lubrication in the long term. I learned this dealing with ancient hinges in my house, since modelling on window hinges is thin on the ground.

January 29, 2011 4:06 am

@Tripod says:
January 29, 2011 at 2:02 am
Hope you can post some video of the race tomorrow. Good luck to your son.
PS. Does gravity count as green energy?”

Awww, ya’ beat me to it, Tripod. Of course gravity is the ultimate green energy. All we have to do is have the government mandate that all roads will slope downhill and we can get rid of motors altogether. Escher had it figured out, so it’s only a matter of scaling up from there. Why hasn’t the government been funding this important research?

George V.
January 29, 2011 4:12 am

Trip to Lisbon…. some large number of dollars. Pinewood Derby memories … priceless! And they last forever. In his first year I gave my son a can of car wax to polish the sides where the wheels would run. Not sure if it made the difference but he did win his pack’s races. But then, dumping about a teaspoon of graphite on the axles between races might have helped. Me: “You don’t need that much!” Him: “Yes I do I want it to go fast!”.
In Boy Scouts the troop “campout” in December was an all night party at the school. Featured event – Pinewood Derby cars with few rules – no power source, no model rocket engines and no adult help. A heavy car with bearings on the wheels gets up a real head of steam.
George V.

Frank K.
January 29, 2011 4:19 am

Excellent job with the car. My youngest daughter is a BIG Pokemon fan…

January 29, 2011 5:13 am

Great car William! And fantastic that you’re helping Anthony. Thumbs up on the priorities.
further to nc’s comment re: emery cloth and a lathe to polish the axles – I found that a drill worked well. We merely inserted the axles into the chuck of the drill (like a drill bit) and then polished with emery cloth as we ran the drill. Such fun !

Ianric Ivarsson
January 29, 2011 5:22 am

“I’ve never quite understood his fascination with Pokémon…” Well, a lot of people don’t understand our obsession with exposing the climate scam either.

January 29, 2011 5:26 am

Nice to hear Anthony.
A fascination for Pokemon can help him with math, the hidden mechanics of that game will see him well through at least middle school Algebra.

Alexander K
January 29, 2011 5:29 am

Anthony, congratulations, you did the right thing, no contest. Every hour I spent making stuff in my workshop with and for my kids, no matter what it was, turned out to be a blue chip investment as the years whistled by. More notable stuff included dance costumes and stage backdrops for recitals for a tiny beginning ballerina, a Formula Three road racing motorbike for no 1 son to celebrate finishing high school and going off to uni, building a feed box for a daughter’s horse, etc. Taking them to all sorts of regular sport, dance, theatre and music committments was equally an investment. It is now beginning all over again with grandkids, which is what life is all about.

January 29, 2011 5:42 am

Have fun guys!! We never won, but the cars still sit proudly on the bookshelves years afterward.

Atomic Hairdryer
January 29, 2011 6:10 am

climate science dad to son- “Well, according to my model, you won”.
Nice story and cute car. Good luck with the race!

Ed Fix
January 29, 2011 6:19 am

Don’t those ears ruin the aerodynamics???????
It’s obvious from the comments that a lot of us have fond memories of the Pinewood Derby–I certainly will never forget building those cars with my son.. You obviously made the right choice. After all, Judith Curry went, and all she got was a stupid t-shirt!
Knock ’em dead.

January 29, 2011 6:53 am

Enjoy every minute! Tempus fugit and children grow up. Have a great day!

Gunnar Strandell
January 29, 2011 7:11 am

Best time spent ever is with our youngsters. And you might have choosen a good activity.
My father spent a winter season building a submarine with rubber band drive, using the bathtube to get weight and balance perfect. First dive in the Baltic Sea with manual loading of the rubber band was 30 m under surface and a success. For the second dive we used a handheld drill to load the energy store and we have never seen it since.
We call it the real Nautilus.
But I do think it was value for the effort. Two hundred hours of my fathers time gave 20 minutes of excitement for me and my brother and 50 years of waiting for the submerge.

January 29, 2011 7:47 am

When my kid was younger he had all things Pokémon; it’s huge in Germany. Later when he lost interest in his Nintendo DS i managed to snag it and now i’m running the Korg DS 10 analog synthesizer emulation on it. Great sounds! 🙂

Leon Brozyna
January 29, 2011 7:51 am

Ain’t Daddyhood great?!!
Puts the whole world in a new perspective.

Harry Bergeron
January 29, 2011 8:08 am

Lubricant hint: Tri-Flow It’s graphite and Teflon in a very light silicon base.
I swear it’s the best for other mechanical applications, YMMV for this application.
Worth a test. You DO have a test track, don’t you?
Hint #2: If any wheel wobble is detected, the tiniest amount of toe-in should
eliminate it. Same goes for the rear wheels.

Mike from Canmore
January 29, 2011 8:20 am

Great to see the Pokemobile project happening vs. D.S. or WII. You and your son got more out of that than you would have ever seen from Lisbon.
However, remember, today’s faux environmentalists/watermelons are opportunity thieves. They have no idea how to create real wealth so must take it from others.
It’s probably the main reason I personally actively oppose the Suzuki’s/Gores. They are quite possibly the largest threat to my children’s future opportunities. Don’t think by maintaining WUWT your son/children aren’t benefiting from it.

January 29, 2011 8:22 am

As a former Pinewood Derby Champion, I salute your wisdom. Good luck to you. And keep working graphite on to the axles.
REPLY: I’ve developed a graphite saturation technique that I hope will work. – Anthony

January 29, 2011 8:49 am

A great choice–Pinewood vs Lisbon. My son succumbed to cancer several months ago at age 47. I cherish the memories of the many things we did together.
Best of luck in the race!

John Blake
January 29, 2011 9:37 am

Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts reached their Centennial Anniversary last year. We have two Eagles (count ’em!), neither of whom ever won a Pinewood Derby but cheered like mad as friends’ constructions hurtled down the track.
There’ll be other Lisbon gatherings, but Scouting’s serious. Go get ’em, Poke-critter!

January 29, 2011 9:51 am

Brings back memories. We melted the lead (might have been wheel balancing weights) in a tin can on the kitchen stove, put the car on the postal scales, and poured right up to the weight limit. The judges gave it a long sidewise look, but when they weighed it, we were legal. Good luck!

January 29, 2011 9:57 am

Pikachu no kuruma totemo kawaii! (Pikachu’s car is awful cute!)
Some of my best memories are of my dad working with my brother and me on our pinewood derby cars. Slight toe-in of the wheels, graphite lubricant, and a lot of sanding. BTW, one thing to help with the nails is pre-drilling the holes. That was the advice of 40 years ago.
But my very best memories are of me working with my own son on our many projects. Conferences come and go. They are always the same. But every opportunity to work with ones children is precious and unique and only comes once. On the other hand, spending time with the kids pays off with interest. My son (28, yikes), just called the other day. He wants to do a father son restore of a 60’s era truck! I’ll finally get a chance to teach him to shoot paint.

January 29, 2011 10:11 am

One of these days I am going to hack into your website and shut it down for two weeks so that you could spend some time with your wife and children.

January 29, 2011 11:01 am

BTW, thank you Anthony, for bringing back so many fine memories.
And thanks to all of you, who shared their own memories and inspiration.
You have made my day much more pleasant then it would have been otherwise.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
January 29, 2011 11:25 am

Anthony, you made a choice that you will never regret! I still remember my own cheesy car 40 years ago (my block of balsa was harder to carve on one side than the other, forcing me to change my design!).
I had to do the weights using coins as I recall, and I came nowhere near winning, but it is the process, not the outcome, that matters most…..father & son working together, planning, using physics & insight.
Enjoy the day, take lots of photos & best of luck to the young Cub!
Charles the DrPH (former Asst. Cubmaster, Pack 13, Talahi School, St. Cloud, MN)

January 29, 2011 12:47 pm

My heartfelt congratulations. Family and kids are about a million times more important than the Climate Wars.
I had three boys all come up through Cub Scouts, often with me as the Cubmaster, but ALWAYS with me as the Master of Ceremonies of the Pinewood Derby. Since we didn’t have any sound system, I always came home hoarse from shouting over the cheering crowd. Every boy that entered a car got a prize of some sort, even if it was just for the “Wackiest Car”.
Love that PokeMobile!

January 29, 2011 12:51 pm

Well, then here’s to achieving graphite saturation!

Dacron Mather
January 29, 2011 1:37 pm

Given its mass to area ratio, only a rambling wreck from Georgia Tech would fail to add solar cells and a DC motor.

January 29, 2011 2:10 pm

Awesome! Good luck at the races. My son and I raced last weekend in the Pinewood Derby sponsered by the local Cub Scout dens. 35 cars and 70 heats, Cam came in 7th. Not enough for a trophy but a great showing nonetheless. I’m sure you’ll have a great time! Go get ’em!!

January 29, 2011 7:03 pm

Harry Bergeron says:
January 29, 2011 at 8:08 am

Lubricant hint: Tri-Flow It’s graphite and Teflon in a very light silicon base.
I swear it’s the best for other mechanical applications, YMMV for this application.

No graphite, at least this bottle says aliphatic hydrocarbons and PTFE. No silicone either (or silicon!).
I use it on bicycle chains, it doesn’t seem to pick up as much crud as oil does. I looked at some under a microscope, the PTFE comes as tiny flakes that ought to slide against each other. I’d goop some on, make a couple runs to trap some flakes in any pits and blot off the excess.

January 29, 2011 7:36 pm

Ianric Ivarsson says: “‘I’ve never quite understood his fascination with Pokémon…’ Well, a lot of people don’t understand our obsession with exposing the climate scam either.”
It has to do with preventing the greatest evil the world has seen in 65 years.

Steven Hoffer
January 29, 2011 10:20 pm

I remember my car was very possibly the ugliest car in the entire race. But it sure was fun. I work with my hands and even today, I have to apply “pretty” with a hammer.

George E. Smith
January 31, 2011 1:54 pm

“”””” Ric Werme says:
January 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm
Harry Bergeron says:
January 29, 2011 at 8:08 am
Lubricant hint: Tri-Flow It’s graphite and Teflon in a very light silicon base.
I swear it’s the best for other mechanical applications, YMMV for this application.
No graphite, at least this bottle says aliphatic hydrocarbons and PTFE. No silicone either (or silicon!). “””””
My vote goes to Molybdenum Disulphide; the slipperiest slippery other than that; well you know that Owl product !

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