POWER TOOL DRAG RACES

The Hazard Factory Power Tool Drag Race is all about taking ordinary power tools & electric appliances and turning them into drag racers. Power Tool Racing has been around as long as power tools themselves, ever since the first time someone zip-tied the switch on a belt sander and let it scream across the shop floor.

 

Since then, it has grown into a obscure but widespread sport. Races are held all over the world and all kinds of people race, almost anybody can build a racer in a few hours with a few items from a thrift store.

BUILDING A RACER


Building the racer is most of the challenge and half the fun! The important thing is to not take it too seriously. Some over-engineered racers have been flops, and some simple designs have been real winners. The best way to come up with a racer design is to look at what other people have done and go from there. Here are some basic guidelines:

MATERIALS

 

The basic racer recipe calls for:

  • A handheld power tool (typically a grinder, belt sander, or circular saw, and sometimes a blender or vacuum cleaner)

  • Wheels

  • A chassis

The best place to find a race-worth power tool or appliance is at a junky thrift store, garage sales, or Craigslist. Good working tools can usually be found for $10-$20. Skates can be bought by the cartload an many thrift stores or kiddie-stuff garage sales. For the chassis you can use anything that makes sense, wood, metal, zip ties… Most hardware stores sell perforated angle iron that is easy to cut with a hacksaw and has nicely spaced holes in it, like the metal from an “erector set.”

Watch Bre Pettis’ awesome MAKE: Video Podcast on building a racer!
 

CONSTRAINTS 

 

There are not many constraints on your design, but there are a few things to keep in mind: Track dimensions, material, power, and safety.

Track Dimensions: The track is made of 2x4s with a plywood base. The 2x4s are stood on edge as guide rails with 12 inches of clearance in between. A typical track is 50–60 feet long with an additional 10-20 feet of runout. *ALL SIDES* of the track rails can be used by the racer, i.e. you can build a “monorail” if you are so inclined.

Power: 110v power (and extension cords) are typically supplied by the race organizers. Your racer just needs to have a US standard 110v cord-end on it, and the trigger should be taped down or otherwise modified to be ‘always on’. If your tool uses another power supply, compressed air? linux? helium? The Gates Foundation? You will need to supply it.

Safety: Considerations are specific to the event, but there are some things to be aware of, especially for novice builders.

  • Grinders and saws spin *VERY* fast, so be careful what you attach to the “wheel.” In general, you should only use manufactured wheels that are mounted securely to the arbor, building a wheel from scratch is not recommended as it will come flying apart when spun up to 10,000 RPM.
     

  • A racer powered by electricity can be shut off immediately if necessary. Remote, battery operated, rocket, or gas powered chainsaws or cold fusion-powered reactor will have to be inspected and approved.  It takes a lot to make us nervous, so if we are then, no-dice.
     

  • If you have *ANY* concerns about safety its best to consult with an experienced racer, so send us a message or email.
     

  • Particularly challenging entries may be required to run a lap under 50% power.
     

  • You do not have to ride the tool, if you did, it would still have to fit in the track.
     

  • BTW chainsaws race very poorly.

General Notes:

This is a race only in the sense that it is loosely competitive. Is your racer funny as a lawyer with a face full of buckshot? Is it so goddamn pretty that you lie about the extent of your relationship with it? Is it such a marvel of engineering that it makes the heads of every engineer present visibly swell with the strain of comprehension and mute, tortured envy?

Our judges are notoriously corrupt, they will sell votes for lewd glances and warm beer. Our process is capricious and unsteady and possibly taking a cab to get home.

If you think you are by God the very best bar none at something and you can get the audience behind you, if you feel winning if you have either the right stuff, or just heaving metric fektons of the wrong, very wrong stuff, then you sir, madam, mizz, mizzter, you are IN THE GAME TO WIN!!!!! Our trophies however weigh about sixty pounds so you may need help if you do win. In fact, if you enter, you probably need help. We, obviously, do.

POWER TOOL DRAG RACE IN ACTION!

7800 Seventh Ave. South, Seattle Wa 98108

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