Power Tool Drag Racing

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Pages related to Power Tool Drag Racing
PTDR Cincinnati 2013, PTDR Columbus 2013, PTDR Louisville 2013, PTDR Poster Art 2013, PTDR prizes, Power Tool Drag Racing

Hive13 Project
Power Tool Drag Racing
Status: Inactive
Start Date: 4/1/2013




Registration is OPEN to enter your home-build racer in any and all of of this season's four head-to-head tournament bracket competitions with other makers. Experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat this year in Detroit, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Stay tuned for details about racing at the NYC Maker Faire too. The following links take you to the Eventbrite registration page for each event. Enter one or all.

- 2015 Season Schedule Registration Page

- Racer Registration - Detroit - July 25-26, 2015

- Racer Registration - Cincinnati - August 29-30, 2015

- Racer Registration - Louisville - September 19, 2015

- Racer Registration - New York City - September 26-27, 2015


LEARN HOW TO MAKE A POWER TOOL DRAG RACER - Making your racer is a fun weekend project. This (link) is a good introductory primer from Bre Pettis and MAKE:

TROPHIES - Custom-built trophies are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the Open Speed Tournament, and for the Judge's award for EXTREME merit.

RACERS - Eligible machines for the main tournament bracket event are single engine power tools with stock 110 VAC power sources as provided in the original tool. Unique drive trains and elaborate decorations are encouraged. A special exhibition class and demonstration runs by more exotic non-standard entries is allowed at the discretion of the judges. See the RULES section later in this post for additional information.

THE TRACK - The drag strip is two lanes of reasonably flat plywood track. The measured race distance is 75 feet. The overall track length is 88 feet; having a staging area at the start and an over travel distance at the end. Used tires give the faster entries something to crash into. The track is generally straight and smooth. All dimensions are nominal. There are some variations and bumps, particularly at the joints every 8 feet. That is part of the fun.



RULES - Machines are to be based on handheld power tools. A handheld power tool is a machine intended for handheld operation by one individual. A machine primarily used on a stationary mount, or rolled on wheels, or used by a group of people is not a hand tool for the purposes of this event. This event is limited to hand tools powered by standard 20 amp 120 AC electric power cords. Examples of hand tools are machines like belt sanders, angle grinders, circular saws, drills, chainsaws, weed wackers, vibrators, etc. Examples of things that are NOT hand tools are things like lawnmowers, floor sanders, generators, bench grinders, etc. No vehicles built from RC cars allowed, because they are boring.

AC electrical cords will be 100′ long per lane, originating at the starting line. They will have standard Edison 3-prong connectors. You will be responsible for “coiling” the cord on the ground or laying it alongside the track for your run. No spools or cord guides allowed, but duct tape will be provided so you can tape the connector together. Tangles or poor cord feed are your responsibility.

Eligible machines for the main tournament bracket are single engine power tools with no motor modifications or non-standard power sources (i.e. engine and power source needs to be box stock). Propulsion can be direct drive to track via the original blades, belts, etc, or via a custom gear/chain/tire configurations. Frames, wheels, guide rails, etc can be added as desired. Any motor or power type is allowed. But all “motors” must have originated in a hand power tool and be in their original form, with original power source driving it.

Due to the nature of the event these machines can be very fast and very dangerous. ALL entries for any class MUST REGISTER their machine and be inspected prior to racing to make sure they will stay on the track and out of the audience. We also reserve the right to say “no, unsafe” at any time for whatever reason(s) we find relevant.

ORIGINS - An informal Google/YouTube search turns up many examples of Power Tool Drag Racing (PTDR) as an off-shoot of the general maker movement over the past ten years or so. Similar to real drag racing in the real world, but made for the maker world, PTDR is a natural attraction at Maker events. PTDR provides a measure of excitement, suspense, and danger; but on a smaller, more intimate scale, and at a lower barrier cost of entry. There is a certain universal appeal to seeing two creatively modified electric-corded power tools compete in a brief, wild, semi-controlled flight down a two-lane plywood track, ending with a dramatic hay bale crash at the end. Kids of all ages get fired up (mostly the kids, dads, and grand-dads, but even the moms and wives) to hoot and point in disbelief as they watch the unfolding mayhem. The vehicle builder/operators and track volunteers have even more fun.

OUR EXPERIENCE - Never claiming to be original, and with a reputation for always being behind the times, in the Spring of 2013 it was decided to organize an outlaw Power Tool Drag Race as a feature attraction for the first annual Cincinnati Mini-Maker Faire (MMF) to be held in Cincinnati's newly rejuvenated Washington Park that October. We knew that nearby Columbus had some years of PTDR experience and that both Columbus and Louisville were also having their own MMFs around the same time that year. Member Jim reached out and contacted the Columbus Idea Foundry and LVL1 hackerspace from those respective cities to organize The First Annual, Mid-West Regional Triple Crown of Power Tool Drag Racing. With some arranged financial sponsorship, and working with several from HIVE13 and volunteers in the other cities, a re-locatable track was built and setup at the sequential events in each city that first year. A good time was had by all, all the way around, and nobody got hurt.


The 2015 season opens with a repeat event at the Detroit Maker Faire at the Henry Ford Museum. Then the three triple crown cities are back with Columbus making a last-minute schedule change to win-out over Louisville as the final event of the season. Here are the links to each festival:

- Detroit Maker Faire (at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn) July 25-26, 2015

- Cincinnati Mini-Maker Faire (at the Cincinnati Museum Center) August 29-30, 2015

- Louisville Min-Maker Faire (in the middle of the street on Museum Row in Louisville, KY) September 19,2015

- World Maker Faire New York (at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY) September 26-27,2015


- See the fantastic PTDR poster art from the 2013 season (view)

- PTDR at Louisville's MMF at the NuLu Festival - September 28, 2013 (view)

- PTDR at the Columbus MMF at COSI - October 13, 2013 (view)

- PTDR at the Cincinnati MMF in Washington Park - October 19, 2013 (view)

- On-board GoPro video view on JohnP's D6 racer at Columbus (view)