It’s time to build your Kinetic Derby Day Parade sculpture – Kinetic Derby Day is April 27

Sharpe Creations built this float.

The City of West Columbia will host the 2nd Annual Kinetic Derby Day on Saturday, April 27.

It is a unique celebration that includes a parade of kinetic sculptures. The parade, beginning at 11 a.m. is followed by an afternoon of adult and child soapbox derby racing.

Kinetic Derby Day sculptures – featured in the parade- are human-powered, handmade floats that highlight the community’s pride and creativity.

The soapbox derby course gives the young and the young-at-heart the chance to build something fabulous and test it against gravity as you race down Meeting Street toward the river. Participants can compete in one of two soapbox categories – Art Cars or Need for Speed. Soapbox cars can have no more than two occupants and must include operable brakes and steering.

Just about anything will work.

Also, browse the booths featuring local artists and vendors selling and displaying various arts and crafts. Food trucks will be on site, too, serving up tacos, hoagies, ice cream and more. Kids will have lots of fun activities to choose from, too. Go to the website for more info.

Brad Giles is very familiar with the Kinetic Derby parade floats.

“John Sharpe of Sharpe Creations built the float I rode on last year in the Kinetic Derby Day Parade,” said Giles. Sharpe wanted his creation to stand out and it did.

He said he found large wooden spools used to hold cable to begin his float design.

“I cut the round wheels in half, and spaced them apart, to make the float,” said Sharpe.

“It was a unique idea,” said Giles. And he is correct. Sharpe’s Kinetic Derby Day float caught a lot of eyes. It looked like a metallic space ship rolling down Meeting Street on Kinetic Derby Day.

The rules of the floats require they be made with no stored energy, motors, or electricity. Only pushing, pulling, pedaling or walking is permitted in order to move the human-powered floats along the parade course. Schools built units last year for the parade. And at least three Lexington District Two schools are building floats for the parade in 2019. Giles said the “Kinetic Derby Day provides a great learning opportunity for students.”

Participants must devise unique, human-generated ways to keep “vehicles” (defined as a device that has wheels or moveable legs) moving at a reasonable walking pace. You can be a costumed rider on a decked out bike or a crew driving a much more elaborate kinetic device.

To decorate his float, Sharpe used silver, reflective insulation from Costa Rica. It gave his float a spaceship look.

Sharpe was extra creative with his device. And there are many ways to build it.

One of the first steps for a float is to find a frame, or a chassis, where the wheels and drive mechanism will be attached.

Bicycles parts are popular on Kinetic Derby floats. You can build a frame entirely from bicycle metal.

Go to a garage sale or thrift store to find a bicycle. You can use a hacksaw to take apart the bike, and incorporate it for use on the float. The Cola Bike Collective will give free parts as well. Click for the Cola Bike Collective Facebook Page

When considering a bike, look at the sprockets and chain to use as a propelling mechanism.

City of West Columbia photos

To make your frame, consider thin wall steel tubing to support your design. EMT—Electrical Metallic Tubing—conduit—can be used. It’s not expensive and it’s light and available in the hardware store. Wood is another possible frame option. You can assemble a float by screwing together plywood and 2x4s.

If you are really adventurous, aluminum or fiberglass, can be used to build a body.

Anything round can become a Kinetic Derby float wheel even old satellite dishes.

Barrels are used as both wheels or the frame on floats. But remember wheels work better the larger they are. It is suggested that nothing smaller than a bicycle wheel is used.

The most fun part of building the Kinetic Derby float, is to be creative. Get the sprocket on for propulsion, or get friends to push it. But the more outrageous the look, the more attention you’ll attract. And that’s important.

We look forward to seeing you April 27, at West Columbia’s Kinetic Derby Day.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Cayce, Lexington County, West Columbia