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Circuit Owner
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been thinking about trying to make a lightweight alternative to 18mm MDF for a robust board for a portable routed track.

I currently lug around Scalextric track mounted on 12mmm MDF and 8mm of ply raising the track surround to track height.

As my 6 boards are around 1.2metres square they are heavy and unwieldy.

My next track will be routed and portable which would normally mean 18mm MDF with the slot routed to a depth of 10mm. Too heavy for large boards.

SO - given that the floor of my house is heavy chipboard sitting entirely on 75mm of polystyrene - no extra supports just polystyrene! - it occurs to me that maybe 6mm of MDF with 6mm of polystyrene and 3mm of hardboard underneath it all would be enough to create a lightweight board.

The polystyrene will need to be very securely bonded to the MDF.

PVA is the obvious choice but I am worried about delamination over time caused by the track being regularly moved between venues.

Any ideas what adhesive to use?
 

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Circuit Owner
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Julian.

I will probably use some 6mm battening around the edges (to finish it off nicely) and a few cross members (but not too many because of weight) which will all be screwed and glued so that should help with stiffness.
 

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Mr. Olufsen
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Hi,

First, Julian is right - no-more-nails will do the job.

However, my experience tells me that the best thing for the job is white glue, i.e. a PVA type glue such as wood glue or glue specifically intended for bonding styrene (mainly styrene stucco) to plaster board, MDF and other types of wood, brick, concrete, etc. I use no-more-nails only for bonding styrene to non-porous materials such as PVC to which white glue doesn't bond well and tends to either not dry at all or peel of the surface when dry. There's a lot of resources in cyberspace pointing to white glue, many of them dealing with wargaming terrain and modular terrain boards.*

Br,
Christian

*: Okay, I confess - I do have an aggressive past on the 28mm battlefields. Now it's speedgaming instead
GT40's are much more fun than tanks fueled only by dice.
 

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Circuit Owner
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Mr Olufsen.

I have about 2 litres of PVA sitting without purpose in my office so that is a good option.

I also have some No More Nails in the garage.

I think I will glue some test pieces - one with each adhesive - before I commit to a few square metres of board!
 

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I find 12mm MDF with 1x2" planed timber screwed upright along either underside edge does the job holding 600x1220 long boards flat and its fairly light weight, two can be lifted without any trouble. Like this I guess:

And then the one next to it offset the 1x2" timbers so they fit inside on another, you can also do it width wise (my pics from a 8x2 - 600x2440 track). when you have 4 or 6 600x1220 board side by side you can clamp pairs together when butted up to on another. Hope that makes sense.
.
 

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Mr. Olufsen
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Oops - I forgot, what it says on the tube is important: Apply some pressure, in particular for larger surfaces.

Good luck with your tests.
 

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Circuit Owner
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Thanks for the suggestion.

The only problem is my track will be routed and the standard Slot.It wood guide is about 7mm deep which means the usual depth to rout is 8mm. If I routed a 9mm MDF board to a depth of 8mm there are going to be some major structural issues!

If I went to 16mm or 18mm I am back to my weight issue.

This is why I was asking about 6mm MDF laminated with polystyrene and hardboard as a backing. This would weigh half as much as an 18mm board.

Routing the sandwich to 8mm would give me 6mm of wooden slot depth and plenty of further depth to clear the guides. Rigidity would be provided by the bottom half of the sandwich and by the cross members and edging.

I will probably also paint the hardboard with laminating resin - it's cheap enough and would stiffen the backing board AND provide superb protection against damp.
 

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Mr Modifier,

I've used wood glue, it works Like a cham and adheres polystyrene to wood like S(tore) H(igh) I(n) T(ransit) to a woolen blanket.

But it can also be removed quite easily at a later stage with a stanley knife blade.

Cheers
TK
 

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Apologies I edited my post soon after its 12mm not 9mm. I think even with a 8mm slot you would be ok with 1"x2" timbers, you could always put some in perpendicular the the edge ones for support. Im sure that must be lighter than 16mm MDF.

I think you have a good idea with the polystyrene sandwich and no reason why is shouldn't work, you will just need all your layers in place and secure before you start routing. Look forward to seeing the outcome. You can go alot thinner than 6mm according to the place to save weight. http://www.mdfcuttosize.com/ I Wouldnt know where to find 3 or 4mm off the shelf.
 

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Circuit Owner
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Mr Olufsen - oh yes - plenty of pressure - that's what I keep all those half empty paint tins and half bricks in the back of my garage for! I also have quite a few lengths of 2x4 (50mm x 100mm) and loads of clamps.

TeeKay - thanks - that's the effect I'm looking for!!!

Witness - thanks for your reply. I would go thinner than 6mm of MDF but I am worried about how that would affect the deeper wood guides (fouling on stray polystyrene for example). I could try 4mm I guess - that would easily accommodate standard plastic guides.
 

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One petunia in a field of onions
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Mr Mod, I used 'Liquid Nails' (which would be the same sort of construction adhesive as 'No More Nails') however make sure your construction adhesive is polystyrene friendly. Polystyrene is used a lot currently in the construction industry, so all manufacturers will have released formulations of their glue that will not melt polystyrene. But they probably won't have taken the old formulation off the market.

I have also used standard PVA to glue polystyrene to MDF, but it did take a long time to dry. And by long I mean days.

Embs
 

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Circuit Owner
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Ember.

I can wait days if the result is the right one. Thanks for the heads up - my test pieces will be made and left in the warm for a week before I give them a bashing!
 

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Why don't you route your track in foamboard? That's what I finally did after numerous tests and it's wonderfully light, stiff, durable and easy to handle. Three sheets glued on top of another: one 1/2 in for the base, and one 1/8 and one 3/8 in both routed for the track itself, which gives about 8 mm depth. You don't even need to paint, since adherence is fairly good with urethane tires.
 

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One petunia in a field of onions
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If you want to go 1 step further than foamcore board which has a paper/cardboard surface, there is a product created for the sign industry which is a 3mm MDF faced polystyrene sandwich. Comes in a standard 8x4 (2440 x 1220) sheet. Trying to remember who makes it. There is also a PVC faced one by Stadur in 10mm thickness which comes in a 3m x 1.5m sheet.

Lots of interesting possibilities out there for lightweight substrates.

Embs
 
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