How to Bend Pinewood Derby Axles

Jan 11, 2024

At Derby Dust, we understand the importance of having a competitive edge in pinewood derby races. One crucial element that can significantly impact your car's performance is the bending of the axles. By bending your pinewood derby axles, you can enhance stability, reduce friction, and achieve maximum speed.

The Science Behind Axle Bending

Before we dive into the techniques of bending pinewood derby axles, let's explore the science behind it. When you bend the axle, you are essentially altering its alignment. The bend creates a slight toe-in angle, which helps your car travel in a straighter line by minimizing wheel wobble. This reduced wobble translates into less friction and a faster overall speed down the track.

Tools and Materials You'll Need

1. Pinewood Derby Axles: Start with a set of quality axles to ensure optimal results. Using axles made specifically for pinewood derby races will give you an advantage.

2. Axle Pliers: These specialized pliers are designed to grip the axle firmly without causing any damage. They provide the necessary leverage to bend the axle precisely.

3. Axle Bending Jig: An axle bending jig is a handy tool that helps you maintain consistency in your bends. It ensures that each axle is bent at the same angle to maintain balance on your car.

The Step-by-Step Process of Axle Bending

Step 1: Prepare the Axle

Start by removing any burrs or imperfections from the axle using a fine-grit sandpaper or file. Ensure that the axle is clean and smooth before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Set up the Axle Bending Jig

Place the axle bending jig on a stable surface, aligning it according to the desired angle. The jig typically has a guide that you can use to set the bend accurately.

Step 3: Secure the Axle

Take one axle at a time and insert it into the jig, making sure it is firmly secured in place. The axle should be positioned exactly where you want the bend to occur.

Step 4: Bend the Axle

Using the axle pliers, gently apply pressure to bend the axle in the desired direction. Be cautious not to exert excessive force that could damage the axle. Repeat this process for each axle.

Remember, the amount of bend you need depends on various factors, including the track's shape, weight distribution of your car, and personal preferences. Be sure to test different bend angles to find what works best for your car.

Step 5: Test and Fine-Tune

After bending the axles, it's essential to test your car's performance on a practice track. Observe how it behaves and make any necessary adjustments to achieve optimal speed and stability.

Tips and Tricks for Axle Bending Success

  • Start with small bends and gradually increase the angle until you find the optimal configuration for your car.
  • Always use a reliable axle bending jig to maintain consistency.
  • Ensure your car's weight distribution is balanced to maximize the benefits of axle bending.
  • Regularly lubricate your axles with a high-quality graphite or dry lube to reduce friction.
  • Experiment with various bend angles and setups to find the perfect combination for your racing goals.


Bending pinewood derby axles can give your car a competitive advantage on race day. By following the step-by-step process outlined above and utilizing the right tools, you can optimize your car's performance and increase your chances of victory. Remember, practice and experimentation are key to finding the ideal bend angle for your specific race conditions. At Derby Dust, we are dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and resources to succeed in the world of pinewood derby racing. Happy racing and may the best car win!

how to bend pinewood derby axles