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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I've recently decided to make a start onbuilding my first ever routed track. I am certain it wont be my last, and in many respects the track needs to fill the void of both a home test track to tune and perfect my driving whilst also allowing me to experiment with various elments of scenery.

I've more ambition than talent and having only just returned to the hobby earlier this year since my childhood i'll be needing all the help i can get - so feel free to leave any comments, hints, tips, links to other material which i may need to read and learn as i progress.

What i have in mind its largely ditacted by the limited space i have to work with - a spare room measuring 3x3 metres. Still i'd like to avoid the typical beginners layout and challenge myself by building something which will have a feel of the famous european racetracks of the late 80's early 90's - Le-mans, Spa, Monza and San Marino all spring to mind. Whilst i will by no means have anywhere near the room to make something representative of such tracks, i am to simply capture their spirit.

To date i've had some intial thoughts on the track design and have commenced building my frame - pics to follow as soon as i work out how to post the images - PM if you can help.

I'm planning on using a U shaped frame 1 metre wide around the outside of the room, 3 metres along the back wall and then 1.5 metres down either side. Access needs to be maitained to in built robes on the other wall.

I hope the build wont take more than a year (ambitious i know) and i would like to have the track at least running by early April (in time for my 31st).

So let the the fun begin!


Thanks,

Braith
 

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Bill Beggs
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You planning on a long vacation or what? A week to get materials together and build table. Then another to rout and tape a track. I have been rebuilding mine every year the past two. It is a Spring project as soon as it gets warm enough to work in Garage with door open.

I am not in favour of a U shape. Too much turning to follow car and very difficult if more than one driver. I would go with two sides. A nice raised big turn at the back in the corner.
 

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If you're just getting back into it, go with plastic and try different layouts first. It's the best way to get a track that you will be happy with for a while. Unless you want and have the funds to change on a regular basis.
 

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Prof I T
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hi
i would have a few different goes with the plastic as well,i stuck with the scaley sport track for 4 years before i was ready to start a routed one.

Despite being a chippy by trade it has still taken some 3 months to get to the stage where i am about to start taping.

The above time scale is for a digital layout and i have sunk the digital sections into the mdf wich is a lot cheaper and straight forward than some solutions.

Whatever method you decide on best of luck,the differing radii alone is not something you can achieve with the plastic track.

And from what i have read on here routed are also a lot quiter and smoother.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the comments and hints guys. When I got back into the hobby in April this year I went straight out bought a new scalextric kit (Bathurst) and joined a local club. The guys I race against all have wooden tracks that we race on and As such I find that the old plastic tracks which I am used to don't quite respond the same as a routed track - hence the need for a wooden test track.

Bigbird - I think that's the smoothness which you are refering to.

Black3sr - I hear what you are saying a good build requires a lot of time and attention. Fortunately I can find the time as I presently don't have kids. Also my old man will be helping, he's been a model railroader ever since I can remember and will be giving me a hand on the build. The u shape is more out of necessity given the lack of room than any real preference and I do acknowledge it's limiations, unfortunately it's all I have to work with - yes lots of curves of various radii but i think I've somewhat found a way to deal with this.

AAWSCC - I hope the track will last me for acouple of years before I build something else. Hoping to iron out any design issues here to avoid too many rebuilds.

Cheers

Braith
 

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Hi 90's

Looks like a really good track plan dude.

How did you manage to race on the Sport Track without more borders & barriers ?

Cheers

Si.
 

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Hi Braith,

Great the track plan.

I personally like the U shaped track idea. It works well for me. I think it is easy to marshal and adds character to the track.

As you can see from my link below I have a similar layout to what you have planned. Just a little larger.

I really enjoyed the build side of things as I'm sure you will. I started at Easter, so April and now I'm moving onto the landscaping and thats just working weekends and with 2 kids so I reckon once you get started you'll be really surprised how quickly things get moving.

I really look forward to watching your progress.

Therodster.
 

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A good way to design a track you will get lots of happy hours out of, is to pick bits from others.
You say you race against others with woodies, get them to let you have a go on theirs and see which bits you like and copy them.

Saying that your design looks pretty good anyway, so if you are happy then go for it. I'll be watching with interest.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Again,

Time for a quick update.

But firstly thanks all for your comments - Ember, 1 32, Therodster, SI and AAWSCC - much appreicated. SI your right it certainly wasn't easy, I really only had one fully functional lane for non magnet racing.

I made a start on the frame this weekend just gone. As there is a possibility I could be moving house in either a year or two i thought i would follow some very good advice which i saw recently on another members build recently and try to ensure it was modular or at least could be taken into several large pieces for relocation.

I decided to break the frame into 4 roughly similar sized frames measuring 1.5 metres each in length, this will add a further 200mm to the length of sides of the u shape in the track plans above - a bit more space to work with. First i checked to ensure that i can still access the built in robe and after being satisfied that it wouldn't cramp access too much made the decision to go for it.

So far i have frames for two of the tables constructed (see below) and have commenced attaching the legs to the first table - Unfortunately i also believe i've now made my first mistake - table height. Currently its 900mm - too high i think, so i'm considering dropping it down to 800mm. In the pics above the window was 900mm off the floor to give you an idea how it would stand in the room.

I'm sure the track i've been racing most on (a slot fire track imported from Germany at a friends house) is only about 700mm high - its great for competitive racing but i was thinking of having mine a bit higher for scenary and photography. Be keen to your thoughts on the matter, is there an ideal table height for a layout? What do others recommend?

Cheers,

Braith



 

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One petunia in a field of onions
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I think you might find 800mm too high. My track is at about 760mm if I recall correctly (started 2 years ago, so perhaps not) and it can make for awkward reach to the back of the table. Admittedly, I am undertall. Howe Dr, the height of my track does make for comfortable driving from barstools when feeling decidedly lazy.

I guess really important consideration for height is the likelihood for driving by munchkins, err sorry, kids. No point in setting table height above their heads if they're going to want to use it.

Congrats on making a start.

Embs
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
QUOTE (Ember @ 13 Dec 2011, 21:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think you might find 800mm too high. My track is at about 760mm if I recall correctly (started 2 years ago, so perhaps not) and it can make for awkward reach to the back of the table. Admittedly, I am undertall. Howe Dr, the height of my track does make for comfortable driving from barstools when feeling decidedly lazy.

I guess really important consideration for height is the likelihood for driving by munchkins, err sorry, kids. No point in setting table height above their heads if they're going to want to use it.

Congrats on making a start.

Embs

Thanks for the tip Ember - i had a look at your track and it looks great - really hope i can come out with something even half as good as yours and i'll be very happy!! Such attention to detail, its definitly being added to my list of tracks for inspiration.

I've taken your advice on the table height, after a week of walking past the room and glancing in i decided to drop it down from 900mm to 780mm, i'm just a tad under 6ft so reaching the back wall should not be a problem at that height.

Cheers,

Braith
 

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Circuit Owner
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Hi Braith,

Nice plans.

A couple of observations/suggestions....

Your track is not a figure of 8 so the inner track will be shorter than the outer - for purist analogue racers that's a no-no. But if you are planning to go digital then it's a non-issue. You could modify your track slightly to make it a figure of 8 by going straight up the far left hand side and putting some evil tight radii to join where the left hand flyover is now to the right hand side of that bottom section. It would keep the spirit of your track but even-out the track lengths. If you don't like this idea then I guess you will just have to race once on each lane and decide the result on cumulative times.

You could consider rounding off the corners of your boards so they match the borders of the curves (I'm talking about the inner corners of the bottom of the horseshoe). This would make moving around in the room a bit easier and avoid a few bruises. If your under-frames won't allow this you could modify them by cutting off a corner and putting in a 45 degree timber.

How about replacing your wardrobe doors with sliding doors? I know you have made the boards to fit but you may find sliding doors make life a little easier when you are moving around doing stuff.

Having seen a couple of tight builds I know that an extra few inches of space here and there can make a big difference.

Looking forward to seeing this one come to life!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
QUOTE (Mr Modifier @ 19 Dec 2011, 21:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Your track is not a figure of 8 so the inner track will be shorter than the outer - for purist analogue racers that's a no-no. But if you are planning to go digital then it's a non-issue. You could modify your track slightly to make it a figure of 8 by going straight up the far left hand side and putting some evil tight radii to join where the left hand flyover is now to the right hand side of that bottom section. It would keep the spirit of your track but even-out the track lengths. If you don't like this idea then I guess you will just have to race once on each lane and decide the result on cumulative times.

Hi Mr Modifier,

Thanks for the observations. I actually hadn't given thought to that at this point, glad you pointed that out!!

I was planning on keeping this an analogue build for now. I'll need to do a bit of thinking as to whether it is going to be an issue for me - its meant to be a test track but i've just gotten a bit carried away. Ideally i'd love for the two lanes to be of equal lengths. No doubt some races will be held but we usually do race in all lanes and record cumulative lap times.

Perhaps when i move in a year or two i could expand the track and address the lane length issue then.

Might have to think about this one abit longer.

Cheers,

Braith
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi All,

With Christmas rolling around its been hard to get some time to continue with work on the track. Multiple christmas parties, recovery sleep-ins and family duties do little to assist in maintaining the momentum. Fortunately i have been able to consider some of the issues that have been thrown up as well as think through the next steps.

I've decided that i'm really happy with the frame dropped down to its current height of 780mm. Thanks for the assitance Ember and Camber. I did think about going lower, but as i usually stand it works best at that height for me - I do like the idea of bar stools though


Old height:


Current height:


I decided that i wanted to have some back boards for the layout - this will help to protect the walls of the house from deslotting cars. I am also hopeful that these can help capture the spirit of the track which i am trying to achieve. I have seen quite a few members who have used these to great effect with their tracks. I also realised that i will have to do this before i can screw the 4 modular pieces of the layout together.

With only a tiny amount of space between the layout and the wall, i settled on 3mm MDF sheets measuring 600mm high. Once painted I will screw these to the frame, they should come up about 500mm above frame height providing for some background scenary to blend with the layout. Since reading here that MDF can suffer from moisture damage, i've started painting the boards with an acrylic undercoat which i can then paint over the top of. I'll do both sides of the boards just to be safe.





The pics above are after painting the first side of the boards, they should be almost dry enough now to go and do the other side.

Braith
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi All,

Another update as i've been making quite a bit of progress at the moment.

Finished the under coat for the back ground boards for the 4 frames and decided on a nice sky blue colour to use as a base for the background. I set up a small production line in the garage and painted all the boards with the selected shade of blue, it was much easier to do them all at once - even if i only have two of the 4 frames built for now. I thought about painting in some scenary at this early stage - mountains, clouds, etc, but decided against it for now.



Once the paint had dried i set about attaching the new back boards to the frame - a bit tricky considering that 3mm MDF is probably too flexible for the job - in hind-sight i should have used something else, Macenite perhaps?



To counter any likely flexing i've added in a few smaller structural support elements at the rear of the back boards - metal brackets which look like Mechano - they were about $3.50 each from bunnings and when used with some flat, button type screws (didn't want to use counter sunk screw heads on 3mm MDF) take up very little space between the frame and the wall - in fact with the MDF, screws and metal brackets i'm lucky to take up 5mm of space beyond the frame which is just as well as i have nothing left to work with.



Finally i put the 2nd frame in place just to make sure everything was going to fit.



Tomorrow is going to be my last chance to do some work on the layout for a while. Hopefully i can finish attaching the backing boards to the 2nd frame and put the 3rd frame together, as i now have all the wood for that.

Thanks for looking,

Braith
 
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