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Not so long ago I posted a series of potential hill climb layouts and SF members gave me some great feedback. With that in hand I have started my first routed track.

Of course every track needs a theme and so I will base this one on a fictitious stretch of road in Austria as I spent some time in and around Innsbruck. One of my favourite places was the Brenner Pass.

The Roman Road runs through this valley. It is named that because it was built in the time of the Roman Empire and is one of the few passes through the Alps. Apparently Attila and the Huns drove the Romans back down the pass when they invaded Northern Italy.

This routed track was motivated by the fact that my two lane Scaley simply took up too much space in our small basement.

I returned to this great hobby about six years ago but I soon got tired of the "clickity clack" ride. A very long time ago (even before my visit to Austria) I raced slots at Lorne Park Plaza in Mississauga, Ontario and I loved the nice smooth run of a routed track sans magnets.

So I ordered my sheet of 3/8" (12mm) MDF. A millwork shop I know was able to get me a special sized piece that was 10 ft. by 5 ft. I cut it into the necessary pieces to get my L shape and carefully maneuvered it down the stairs. There are just four track joints.

Having watched Luf's video and using his strip I laid out the track. I routed it with a Harbor Freight Trim Router ($27!) and a 1/8" bit. As I am going to use braid, I then routed the recess.

Like Russell's Peak and Luf's hill climbs, I will have a reversing loop. (I am really going to need some help with this one as electrical schematics look like alien language to me!)

Below are photos of the final layout diagram, the current routed MDF overall, the omega shaped curve, the progressively increasing / decreasing radius corner and in the final picture you will see some of the columns that will progressively elevate the track. It is not a radical hill climb in terms of elevation. Over the 50 ft., it will rise 28 inches.

Finally, many thanks to Luf and especially Keys and Slots for their help and encouragement.









 
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QUOTE Over the 50 ft., it will rise 28 inches.

And since you'll be going both ways, you really have a track over 100' long in that little area!!
Nice work! This track looks like it'll be a LOT of fun!!
 

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Thanks all,

Graham I am very interested in seeing what you did structurally. I checked your gallery but didn't see anything.

I struggled a bit with this as I want to get the slope right without developing an elaborate framework of support too early on. You see I can't imagine the ascent without really seeing it.

My plan is to slide the columns in starting with shortest one at the top of the mountain. I would inch it along adding the next highest column to the highest point - wedging the track up if you will. (I am concerned that the MDF will break if I am not very careful although so far I am surprised at how strong it is.) Once 60% of the columns are in place I can play with the elevations and add the final 30% of the columns. I was then going to "tie" them together to make them more stiff. I think also that adding scenery will stiffen it up.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Datto,

There are several schematics around for reversing loops so I figure I can pull it off with some help from someone. Apparently the model train guys do it all the time.

Did you build a hill climb? Any photos?
 

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It's all pretty simple. What you do is cut and route the track as you have already done. Then using any old boxes you can find lying around, books are good, elevate the track a bit at a time until you are happy with it.

Then draw a plan and measure all the important dimensions working from the base and one end. These are called datum and prevent accumulation of error.

Draw all this on to a piece of 10mm ply and cut out, ideally using a bandswa but a jigsaw will do. The bits between the tracks can be cut to suit your scenery.

I then screw through the backdrop, also 10mm ply, at either end and screw down through the track into the ribs. Rigid as anything.

Repeat at any point where you think the track needs supporting.

I hope you can understand the attached rough sketch. I've just added a few arrows and screws.



One other thing. Keep the corners relatively flat and add most of the rise to the straights. I find a minimum slot radius of 12cm ideal. I also use 6mm MDF for the track and route right through but it's a bit late for you to follow that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Graham,

Great idea and I will replace some of my columns with bulkheads as you describe. The columns were super cheap and not hard to build. As you can see, I am not so far along that they can't be jettisoned.

My tightest radius is 12 cm and that is on the single tight hairpin. I hear you on keeping the corners pretty flat but I do want them to rise slightly for effect.
 

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Bill
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QUOTE (Slots-O-Fun @ 4 Mar 2011, 06:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Looking very nice!
There are several schematics around for reversing loops so I figure I can pull it off with some help from someone. Apparently the model train guys do it all the time.All the information you'd to build a single lane double reversing loop would be on the old thread on my track. There are other ways to do it of course. I found the electrical aspects to be a fun challenge, but definitely something you could handle. You can find lots of pictures of the build on my photobucket site. Here's a selection of photos of the old build, which is now used regularly at Nomad Slot Racing near San Diego. The unique part of this track is that I tried to model it on all four sides However, I very much like the way Graham is currently building his mountain--something to copy.






 

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Thanks Bill,

I have spent a lot of time looking at your hill climb. It remains inspirational! I know I learned a lot about the reversing loops from discussions on you track. I need to look it over again as the extra photos are really helpful.

A few questions:

1/ Bill, how thick was your MDF?

2/ Bill, Graham and anyone else, what span would you recommend between supports with 12 mm or 3/8" MDF? 18"? 24"?

3/ I am also wondering about rock faces. I know Luf's styrofoam method is super cheap but the woodlands method looks fantastic. I think you used the latter didn't you. Can you tell me how much Hydrocal you went through making the rock faces on this track?

4/ Woodlands Scenic sells 1/2 gallon for $10 but there is an online sculpture company here in Canada that sells a 10 lbs. pail for that much! How do you guys buy it? Is it all the same stuff?
 

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The spans will be determined by the width of the track between them. The wider, the stiffer, so you'll need to judge this by pressing down on a piece of track and bring the ribs closer together at that point. Remember, my track is only 6mm thick and you can see how far the ribs are aprt on my track, with no problems.

6mm MDF flexes well and there is the added advantage that any bits drop right through the slot. I have added access doors all round in case that 'bit' is valuable! It also provides a lot of storage. In the castle for example will be a CD player playing a hour-long track of sounds from our village. I have also added lights in all my buildings, all routed under the village.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
G you crack me up! Well I am glad all the bits that fall off my car are going to get run over and not lost.
 

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QUOTE Hi Datto,

There are several schematics around for reversing loops so I figure I can pull it off with some help from someone. Apparently the model train guys do it all the time.

Did you build a hill climb? Any photos?

I've had the road portion done for awhile. I think I 'm one session from having the rough rockwork done. Groom Lake Link
 

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Bill
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QUOTE (Slots-O-Fun @ 4 Mar 2011, 09:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>1/ Bill, how thick was your MDF?3/8"

QUOTE (Slots-O-Fun @ 4 Mar 2011, 09:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>2/ Bill, Graham and anyone else, what span would you recommend between supports with 12 mm or 3/8" MDF? 18"? 24"?It depends on the elevation changes. It really doesn't take much to support the track. The cars don't weight too much! It's really just a matter of fixing the changes in elevation.

QUOTE (Slots-O-Fun @ 4 Mar 2011, 09:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>3/ I am also wondering about rock faces. I know Luf's styrofoam method is super cheap but the woodlands method looks fantastic. I think you used the latter didn't you. Can you tell me how much Hydrocal you went through making the rock faces on this track?

4/ Woodlands Scenic sells 1/2 gallon for $10 but there is an online sculpture company here in Canada that sells a 10 lbs. pail for that much! How do you guys buy it? Is it all the same stuff?Don't buy Hydrocal from WS. You'll probably need at least 10lbs. You can pour Hydrocal quite thin--it's really hard.
 
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