Nerdy Derby ReCap

Derby Car

It’s been a few weeks, but honestly, it took that long to recover! Yes, we all survived Milwaukee’s First Nerdy Derby race (well, a few cars may have been damaged) so here’s a look at some of the coverage.

Ed put together this great video of the race…

Kevin put together a car that was deemed too dangerous (or was it ‘too awesome’?) but you can read about that here.

Sling Shot

Collin’s car won the “Longest time” category, and here’s a video of Rolling Thunder in action…

Have Blue put together a super-detailed blog post about his car, which definitely won the speed competition, and also won the “Run backwards up the slope and launch” category.

There’s more car photos on Flickr. I’ve been told a few people want to have another race, and this time we may even need “motorized” and “non-motorized” categories as multiple cars sported propellers, motors, ducted fans, etc.

I’m not sure if anyone bothered to keep track of all the winners in all the categories (we created about 8 categories you could win) but the main thing most people will remember is the fun we had. Kids and adults were cheering and laughing during the race, and also had a fun time just building cars out of all the scrap we supplied. It was probably the most awesome thing that happened at BarCampMilwaukee this year.

I’d also like to give a big thanks to Buggs, Vishal, and Brant for providing the track and running the race. A little organization goes a long way!

Milwaukee’s Nerdy Derby

The Nerdy Derby

One of the things happening at Maker Faire New York this year is the Nerdy Derby, which is described as such:

A no-rules miniature car building and racing competition inspired by the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby. With a larger, more undulating track and no restrictions on the size of the cars or materials participants can use, the Nerdy Derby rewards creativity, cleverness and ingenuity.

We thought this looked like fun and decided to get in on the act and hold our own Nerdy Derby right here in Milwaukee. There’s been a bunch of talk around the space about car design, melting lead, putting the new lathes to work making wheels, and of course, laser cutting cars.

I’ve actually finished my first car, which has a body make entirely of laser cut Baltic Birch plywood, and is filled with sand for weight, which I call “Poundin’ Sand”.

Poundin' Sand

We’ve also got interest from people outside the space, in the greater maker community in Milwaukee. Here’s the amazing progress of Frankie Flood, who is building a replica of a “belly tanker” for his car.

Frankie's Belly Tanker

I can see this thing winning on style points alone! :) (And yes, there are multiple categories you can win, not just “fastest car.”)

There are other cars in progress, and lots of ideas being thrown around the Makerspace about what people are planning to build, so it’s just a matter of time before we start careening down the track. Speaking of the track, we’ve got a regulation Cub Scout track so far, which we may try to modify to match the “official” Nerdy Derby track before the big race.

And when is this “big race” you ask? Well, we’ll probably do a good test race at the space this month, and then if all goes well, we will have the big race at Bucketworks on Saturday night, October 6th, 2012 during BarCampMilwaukee.

And we want you to join us! All you have to do is build a car, and show up. I know we said “no-rules” but we do have two semi-rules: don’t damage the track,and don’t make anything so dangerous it could easily injure someone. Besides that though…. anything goes! Don’t have all the parts you need to build a car? We’ll do our best to provide some parts at the race so you can make one on the spot.

See you at the races!