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1/32 Vintage Revell comes back to life

13805 Views 66 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  MrFlippant
I'm reviving my 40 year old 1/32 scale Revell set. 55 feet of track on a light weight 5'X12' torsion box table in my garage. The table will be on an electric winch that will raise up to the ceiling. I've selected a layout and am now about half way finished building the table.

Track layout

Test of 1/4" Ventura tape on track

Test of soldering brass strip into track for power tap

I pulled the stock Revell contact rail out of the track and cut a notch in it

Brass strip under track. From here I can solder a wire on

Track numbered and awaiting table

Baltic birch plywood for table top and bottom

Taping tool for laying down tape. Sweet!

Pins on bottom of taping tool slide in track to assure easy alignment of tape on track

Laying out the 5'X12' torsion box table

Ripping the ribs for the torsion box. I don't have a table saw so I built a sled for my circular saw. Now I get nice straight consistent cuts

Pile of ribs. Main ribs (2 - 12' and 5 - 5') are 1X 1 3/4" KD pine. Secondary ribs will be 1/4" ply.
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Thanks for the feedback.

A torsion box is basically like a hollow core door. Light weight interior structure with a skin on both sides: Torsion box
My torsion box will be 5'X12'X2". The perimeter and main ribs are 1"X1 3/4" kiln dried pine. Light and straight. The secondary ribs will be 1/4'X1 3/4" baltic birch plywood. The top skin is 1/4" baltic birch ply and the bottom skin 1/8" bb ply.
I'm guessing now it will be under 1 pound a square foot or 60 pounds total. Everything will be glued and brad nailed.

As for not doing routed - I needed something light to hang from the joists in my garage. Routed adds a lot of beef in material. And perhaps the biggest reason is I had the 60+ feet of track for 40 years and always enjoyed it. With continuous tape and a new Pyramid power supply it should be pretty sweet.
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Finished all the ripping and dados today. Learned a lot about woodworking and tolerances... and double checking everything. Bottom line a couple of bad dados. No problem.

Tomorrow I assemble the skeleton!
Basic skeleton complet. And surprising (since I am not a woodworker) it turned out pretty flat and square. tomorrow the top 1/4" baltic birch goes on. Then flip it over and add secondary ribs and bottom skin.

Since I didn't have a 5'X12' flat surface to build the table I did it on my 4'X8' work table. clamped everything down as I worked to keep it square and flat. I built out from the middle and added thes blocks of 3/4" ply to keep thing square.

These blocks will be the hoist mounts.

These are the secondary ribs that go in after the top is on.
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All the overlap joints are dados. Like I said I'm not a woodworker and I'm learning as I go. I don't have a table saw so I notched the lumber with a router. Learned a lot. Nice snug fits are important and fractions of an inch add up fast. I learned from mistakes and moved on. Everything is glued and 18 gauge brad nailed. A brad nailer is a wonderful tool if you work alone. All in all very rewarding experience so far.

Just a guess but I'ld say 25lbs for the skeleton so far. Very happy with that.

Thanks for the feedback.
Got the Pyramid 26XK power supply today. Change of plans. The PS weighs 25 lbs! I was going to inset it into the table but that's too heavy. My idea was to have the track ready to race when it was lowered from the ceiling. Now I'm thinking making the PS a stand alone unit that will set on a shelf until it is needed then moved to the floor beneath the track and hooked up. No big deal really just not as slick.
Finished the top skin of 1/4" ply. Also added handles to the Pyramid power supply. I was going to hang the ps with the table but now I will keep it on a shelf when not in use.

1 1/4" 18 gauge brads and TightbondIII

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I'm so tempted to lift the table but have to wait 24hrs for the glue. But it seems really rigid already. And light. I swear the Pyramid PS weighs more than the table so far.
Secondary ribs cut, fit and drilled for wiring. Monday I'll glue down ribs and the bottom skin.

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Good question. I'm going to rout out some of the grid... basically leaving a 2" webbing across the ribs. Still planing as to which areas I need access. Planning ahead and all.
Thanks John. Very good points and something I have spent a lot of time thinking about. Originally I wanted bottom up access for attaching supports for elevated and banked track. I have change my mind about that and can do all I need from the top side. Aside from perhaps some lighting I really only need access for driver station wiring and 2 power taps and I can confine that down to a few places. I'm going to lay in some string through the holes to allow for later pull through of wire.
So John - I only need one track connection to the power with the copper tape? I have nearly 60 feet of track and thought I would need 2 at a minimum.
Stalled out for a bit trying to get the wiring done before the bottom skin. My wiring will feature 2 drivers stations that are duplicated on the other side of the track. In other words either lane can be controlled by opposite sides of the track. That in addition to 2 power taps and my head hurts.
Finally nailed down a plan for wiring. As I said I am doing duplicate driver stations on both sides. I'm using XLR plugs, 14 AWG wire and Blue Sea 12x terminal strips. I'm trying to shop locally because I want to see what I'm buying and have the option to run out and get more when I need it. I'm in a rather small town so first I went to Radio Slack and they basically no longer carry anything but antennas and cell phones. Bad selection of "parts". Then I went to the only local electronics shop and bought a bunch of stuff. But the terminal strips were just too poorly made. I ended up with the Blue Sea strips that I found at a marine supply place. Heavier than I need but oh so sweet. Thicker in every dimension with more space around the terminals with longer #8 screws. Much easier to work with and the terminals accommodate more wires. I'll post photos tomorrow. Tonight I am honing my soldering skills.
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Assembling the wiring. XLR jacks for the controllers, terminal blocks and switches. Banana plugs won't handle the 12AWG from my power supply. Not sure if any do. Could use srew posts but would like a jack.

Here you can see how beefy the terminal block is. Made my own jumpers.

XLR jacks are nice.
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Been busy and not much time for the track. Finally got it wired with some help on the forum with the switches. Crimped, soldered and shrink wrapped all the connections. Tested and checked the schematic over and over again and all seems fine. I am doing this with the table upside down so everything is reversed. Wrote lots of notes on the table and marked everything with color tape to keep things straight. Nice learning curve for the beginner I am.

Duplicate drivers stations on other side of table.

Main wiring terminal block and drivers station 1A with switch.
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Thanks for the compliments Brad. I'm in Eureka, California.

Did first live test of wiring. Shorted out a controller resister somehow. Also at first had a problem because I refused to accept I had swapped the red and black wires in the XLR jack. Fixed that and all is good. Now I can button up the bottom of the table.

Any suggestions for controllers. 60ft of taped track with old Parma Womp Womp cars and some new ones from Carrera and such. You can see the layout above.
Brad - I have circuit breakers but my wiring screw up avoided them. I grew up in Shawano, Wisconsin.

Thanks for the controller info.

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