PDX Adult Soap Box Derby, ADX Portland, and The Arrow

In early August, we got a shout-out on Twitter from Matt Preston, asking if we’d be interested in helping with the finishing  of his Soap Box Derby car. Matt is part the ADX Portland community, and we will talk more about the derby, but first we want to tell you about ADX. ADX brings together thinkers, makers, students and experts in a shared 14,000 square foot fabrication facility where dreams are made. Once you read about it, you will want to be part of it.

ADX lab

Now, back to the derby. Each year since 1997, Portland has been home to the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby. According to their website, “Now in its 18th year, the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby continues a beloved summertime tradition at Mt. Tabor Parkl—a community event that draws crowds of 7,000 – 10,000 people to watch a colorful and sidesplitting spectacle of 40+ coaster cars powered only by gravity, whimsy, and attitude.”

2015-Soapbox Poster-Final-Web

Matt’s entry was framed but not finished.

frame of soapbox derby car
frame of soapbox derby car
A cone for the nose of the car, fabricated in copper

Would we be willing to furnish some of our wool to cover it? Oh you bet.

Matt made a trip to our Woolen Mill Store in Milwaukie, Oregon. With the help of our manager, Mary, he picked his favorite. You might remember this Serape pattern from our second collaboration with Doc Martens.

choosing fabric at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Milwaukie, Oregon
Pendleton fabrics
Fabric is chosen!

It wasn’t quite “off to the races” yet. First, Matt went back to ADX for final construction.

Construction of the soapbox derby car
Construction of the soapbox derby car
Construction of the soapbox derby car
fitting fabric to the frame
Construction of the soapbox derby car
Construction of the soapbox derby car

We were delighted to see that Matt was inspired by “The Point,” the Harry Nisson 70s classic.

drawing of "Arrow" the dog from The Point

Arrow was a great best friend. Here’s a little clip for those of you who weren’t around back then.

Construction of the soapbox derby car
Arrow's "nose"

The derby was held on August 15th. We don’t have any images of Matt’s car in action. It was sidelined in a crash! Here’s what Matt had to say about it: The race was a great time and we got a lot of comments on our craft and on the wool covering. Unfortunately, our tire wrecked during the race and so the craft only got one good run in her, but we will be reusing the wool and structure for next year’s race and it will be even better!

finished car on the day of the race
"Nilsson's Arrow" painted on the car

So, let’s all think good thoughts for next year.

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