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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. I had a track on here once before but when I moved, we didn't have room to keep it so I had to sell it. I've now commandeered a room in the new place and am starting to set-up shop.


The track is limited to 1800 (1.8m) x 3000 (3m) and the table frames are already completed. I have the table tops ready to be fixed on but I need to route the table first. That means I need a track plan. I've tried a few designs and I've settled on this one as my favourite for now:



I've learnt quite a bit from my last routing job and, realistically, we only had two people at a time over to race (3 was a little cramped in the old room) so I'm going for two lanes this time. I didn't want any crossovers but I want to keep the track lengths the same approx. difficulty. Currently the lane lengths are off by half a metre. I'm after a combination of fast straights with intricate corners. I've tried to make it as realistic (compared to a real race track) as possible.


If anyone has any opinions or alternatives, PLEASE speak up as I'd like some input on the design. Everyone around here at my place just says "yeah, that looks fine"...
 

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I would think designing a track using the current track design softwares would limit your design potential since they only let you use the current curved track radii. When routing you have unlimited design potential. Have you tried drawing a track design free hand? You can incorporate squeeze sections. closing radius corners, and so on. Let your imagination run wild. Then after running wild, comeback to the real world and see what would really work and incorporate those ideas. Just a thought.
 

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Hi Denney .. I'm not sure if that's SlotMan you're using as software? If so, you could make a totally new track library that could fit your needs, a bit in line what Tremelle points out. To get a multitude of different variations of radiuses, degree of turn and such.

I also toss in an idea here. You got a great space .. so how about making this into a partly 3-lane track? That meaning you can rout/and squeeze in an extra lane that runs sometimes close to left, sometimes close to right lane. And in the broader sweeps, from hairpin #2 [towards middle], straight running opposite S/F and via the broader sweep up and narrowing it down towards the back-hooked hairpin #4, that could be a fully-wide 3-lane. And of course, same at Start/Finish straight.

You'd have a choise of option. The two [outer] lanes runs normally unaffected by each other. Add a car to the middle lane, and you'd have to carefully time all overtaking ..

-- ron --
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Obviously being routed the track won't be exactly the same as the picture. I usually get the basic layout done with this (cause I can't be bothered creating a new track library) and then as I'm transferring it to the wood, I modify it to fit what looks right.


I thought about the 3 lane thing but I'm not sure It'd be enough room to have comfortable passing around the track. The primary racers on this track are very competitive and close running so I don't think there would be enough time to make a passing manoeuvre in those straights.
 

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Ughh.. I hate the fact we can't edit our own posts... Anyway, here is a new revision of the track:



The new design incorporates a flyover and adds some length to the track. It also evens up lane lengths a little more that before.

One without the flyover (easier to build):

 

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The second one is the best so far - personally I would keep away from a flyover over a corner and as you say it would be easier to build.

My suggestion would be to smooth out the two hairpins in the top left hand corner (entry into and exit out of the infield) - 6 R1s (or near equivalent) is going to be a lot to tiptoe around, especially when you are slowing down or speeding up into the faster outfield section. Itchy trigger finger and early/late breaking is bound to be a problem there.

Other than that, it looks like a really good track to drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I am tinkering with the idea of a 3 lane track, albeit a little less intricate. This track will be routed so any smoothing out of the corners will be done when I'm transferring the track design to the board.
 

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hi, Denney
I like your plan...pretty much doing the same thing myself right now. I think I'll build it in plastic first...and then route if I like it. The reason I am mentioning my own track is that 1) I like your plan and intend to borrow a couple of your ideas and 2) it struck me how similar our plans were...thought I'd share mine in case you wanted to borrow anything in return LOL I think our dimensions are a little different but shouldn't matter.

good luck!
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
They are quite similar aren't they! Heh. I tried creating a custom library in SlotMan but I can't figure out how to work out the corner radius' so I'm going with my last design and will modify it a little bit when I transfer it to the board.

The dimensions are just a LITTLE different.
but nice track.
 

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I laid out the new track plan on the boards last night. Didn't fit exactly like the picture but it was pretty close. It's much more complex than my last routed track and I love it.




Lane spacing is 100mm with a 120mm border around most of the corners. I stuck to a simple set of curve radii to make routing easier (120mm, 220mm, 250mm, 350mm & 450mm). There are 2 squeeze sections on the two inner hairpins. The outside of the track is quite flowing and the S/F is on the top right straight.

I cleaned out the room to put the track into and then built the frames.






There is just enough walking space around the table when the tops are in place. 4 pieces of 9mm MDF make up the table top.



I went up to Red Racer last night and bought my first car so I could check the layout of the track plan. I love Porsche so, fittingly:




I have a more complete track progress on my blog but I will keep this up-to-date as I go. The original images in the posts above have been deleted from my server which is why they're not there. Can I get a moderator to delete the image links in the posts before this one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Some progress yesterday saw most of the track routed and I have only made 2 mistakes so far. Not bad for my first time ever routing. I bought the power supply and some paint today and tested it on a small test piece tonight. Tomorrow I plan to finish my routing and get the tables prepared for painting.

Here's the trammel I used for the corners:


Getting ready to start routing the tables:


All the corners routed, time for the straights:


Painting the test piece. Turned out rather well:


The power supply I settled on:


As usual, more photos in the gallery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sorry for the lack of updates but I've just been so sidetracked with this track. Basically I've managed to turn the hunk of MDF into a functional slot car track. I painted the slots white for lane 1 and red for lane 2. I then painted the table top and then taped up the lanes.









I had planned to make my copper tape laying thingmabob but it didn't work out as planned so I laid the tape manually. It was actually quite simple and quick and it meant that I had one piece of copper tape running the length of the track. There are a total of 12 power taps around the track. A little overkill but if the tape breaks on a join between the boards, it won't be an issue.



The wiring is all labelled underneath the table and each power tap runs to a central core of 4 wires running back to the front of the board. These wires will then connect to the controllers, relays and switches. The Phidget board arrived the other day and I gave it a quick test on my PC and it works perfectly. I bought a cheap computer off eBay tonight so I should have a PC running sometime next week.



For now, I've hooked up the controllers temporarily so I can test the circuit. It runs quite smoothly after the first few laps of getting used to it. I much prefer it to my last track. As usual, more photos on my blog and gallery.
 

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Denney,

Thanks for the wiring pic. It all looks very organized.
A question for you.... what guage wire do you use for your wiring?

I am thinking of doing the wiring something like yours on my new layout and was wondering how you did it.
I am new (again after 40+ years) to the sport/hobby and I am not clear on the purpose for the Phidget board.

Can you explain?
Cheers!
 

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QUOTE (Denney @ 3 May 2009, 19:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The wiring is light to medium duty figure 8 lamp wire cable. I'm not sure of the gauge. http://www.dse.com.au/cgi-bin/dse.storefro...n/product/W2020

As for the Phidget board, it's the lap timing, power control and light control board that interfaces with the PC using the PC Lap Counter software.

Thanks Denney,

BTW that is 18 AWG or 18 gauge wire (under the specs tab of your link). I have been told anything between 18 gauge and 12 gauge (Thicker) would work. The thicker the wire the easier for current to pass through, I understand, but smaller wire is easier to work with.

I have a roll of 14 gauge at home so may use that.

As for the Phidget, does that do the same job as RichG's PB to PC patch cable? I am still figuring out all the electroncs of this sport/hobby!

Cheers!
 

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Yeah, the wire I used is rated at 7.5amp which is plenty for my track. It seems to run fine and haven't had a problem. I used the same cable on my old track and never had an issue.

As for the Phidget, kind of. The Phidget is more akin to the powerbase and is controlled via a USB cable from the computer. Basically the Phidget is an input/output card and uses the USB cable to get/send commands from/to the computer. The PC Lap Counter software reads/sends the signals to the board and the board then reads the inputs or turns on/off the outputs.

A little pricey but it means I can control track power, lap timing, start lights, track call buttons, track lighting (for nighttime viewing
) and other things like that. And it's more reliable than my old set-up of the printer port for timing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Presenting Warril Park Raceway!



The last few days have seen the track completed and lap timing working a treat. The track times are around the 9 to 10 second mark but there is plenty of room for improvement on those times.

Here is the Phidget interface I have been talking about:





I mounted the Phidget card along with power control and the relay to what I call the computer control plate:



I then built the 4 controller stations (2 per lane). There is a direction switch on each one along with a brake on/off switch. I would like to replace this switch with a rotary switch at some point. The reason for two controller stations is so that you can control a car in either lane from either end of the table. It makes marshalling much easier. Doing this also required a switch panel at the computer control station to select which controller station is in use.









I added a track call button to both sets of controller stations. Here is an overview of the computer control station:



The light bridge is an infra-red based sensor system that is hooked up to the Phidget input. I added 10 LED's to the top (5 red, 3 yellow and 2 green) to indicate various things like low fuel and first place etc.





With that done I can work on the little scenery I plan to have. I want to break up the board by having lines marked on the sides of the road and grassy areas painted. I also want to hook up track lighting at some stage.







The next thing to do is to tidy up some of my wiring and possibly rebuild the controller station boards to be a little more, um, stable. They tend to bend quite a bit at the moment when pushing the controller plugs in and out. As usual, more photos in my gallery.
 
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