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Geo Jr. Speedway

79222 Views 500 Replies 43 Participants Last post by  Ade
Hello Everyone,

You may know me from my briefcase track with 1/87 scale cars I was working on some time ago. Well, I'm still working on it and hope to maybe finish it off sometime soon. But in the meantime, I have been looking up at the incredibly high ceiling we have in our garage and thinking about a track that I could lower down. I have done some extensive research on the site, and having a winch system to lower it down looks pretty doable, but before I even start to amass the items to build it, I have a couple questions I'm hoping you kind folks can help me with.

Let me tell you first what I have decided.

I want the track to be digital, and I am thinking routed with embedded Scaley or Carrera lane changers (unless there is some way to put the changer hardware into routed pieces. I did some digging on the forum and this doesn't seem to easy).

I think think I can squeeze out a 6' x 14' track area if I have a connection in the middle. Only 6' x 12' without the connection.

As this thing will be hanging from my ceiling, weight is an issue, so right now I am contemplating using 1/4"MDF laminated with 1/2" pink insulation foam, which I plan to test out soon with some I have sitting around my garage. The track will probably lower down on to some folding tables and will somehow be fastened down to them to keep the track steady.

On to the questions...

I have seen on the forum where someone made a track entirely out of insulation foam (Expanded Polystyrene) as a kind of temporary track, but has anyone tried laminating MDF to pink foam as a light weight alternative? It seems like I would be stuck without elevation with this idea, which I am not excited about. Any good ideas how to have elevations with with this?

I really love the look of the 1/24 scale cars, so I would like to run those in addition to 1/32. Can I do this using standard Scaley lane changers? Is 6' x 14' even big enough to run 1/24 scale cars well or am I just dreaming? Please remember I want to run digital.

So many people seem to go with Scalextric, but is Carrera a good option here? How easy is it to chip cars from other manufacturers with Carrera chips? I definitely like the Scaley controllers better, as controlling the cars with my thumbs seems awkward at best. I will be stuck with cheap controllers at first as I am trying to keep costs at spouse approved levels.

Regarding the winch and mounting it to my ceiling, most of the systems I have seen have been electric winches. Anybody have some ideas for a poor man's manual version? I have some hoists for bikes already in my garage, maybe adapting some of those? The only problem I could see is that it would be difficult to keep the boards level while lowering, especially since I would need two hoists in a row for each side of the track. They also are only good for 50lbs per hoist. Here is a pic...

Many thanks in advance for your help.

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QUOTE (turbofrenzy @ 4 Dec 2013, 23:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've used a pulley system like your bike one for my 4m x 1.20m circuit suspended from my garage ceiling.
I'll do a post with pictures over the weekend.
Pictures would be great. Can't wait to see how you did it. Still mulling over how this will all work.

QUOTE (sealevel @ 4 Dec 2013, 23:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If you check Minardi's thread on his build he used an aluminum ladder frame and styro insulation for his first track.

Then, check the Auslot website since there are several people down there (no pun intended) who have used various winches, manual boat type and electric, to raise and lower their tracks.
If you look at my build thread below to see how I am planning to use collapsible metal saw horses for my tables (plus an electric bike hoist from Costco).


Thanks for the tips Sealevel. I'll have to check out the ausie site. I took a look at Minardi's track. He is using insulation to give some elevation to his Scaley track. What I am thinking of is routing the track directly into is a thin piece of MDF glued to the top of insulation foam (expanded poly styrene). The MDF adds hardness and durability, while the foam adds thickness and stiffness but is much lighter than using thicker MDF.

Here is a somewhat terrible pic of the test that I did...

It's a little hard to see what's going on here, but I glued the MDF together with some foam and routed a slot. The piece is in my vice, just to show the rigidity of the piece. It seems pretty darn good to me! The foam also routed really cleanly. Here is a close up of the routing...

So after much consideration and searching the forum a bunch, I think I may just route the Scalextric lane changer in place rather than routing the lane changing pieces myself and adding the Scaley hardware. Much like Ade's track. I am still torn as I would love to run some 1/24 scale cars, but I think this would take me a lot longer to do. I do have access to a CNC, for a price, so I think I could make my own changers. Would Scaley changers still work fine if I made the distance between the slots larger and the lane change section longer? Would I need to make longer flippers?

I am also thinking that I will have the track on wheels, where it rolls up one of my walls. This way I could use the bike hoist I already have, and it wouldn't get in the way of the overhead storage I already have in the garage. Here is the rough plan I am working on...

Not sure I would need the hinge in the middle, and after having to deal with all the hinges on my last track, if I can stay away from them I would be happy.

Anyway, planning continues. Please let me know any comments or suggestions you have.

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QUOTE (SplitRim @ 6 Dec 2013, 13:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>WB Heath,

the laminating idea sounds good I think using mdf the same thickness as scaley track is what Bill (jwsms) does and drops std scaley lane changers into it.

Look forward to seeing your progress, a friend of mine has a 6'×15' table in his garage and uses 2 Silverline winches which cost a total of around £130, so seeing a less expensive alternative will be intresting.


Thanks for the warm welcome back. Life has settled down for me a bit and the weather is freezing, so it's time to finish off some projects and get a new one going. A track where I can just buy completed cars will be a welcome change, but I need to finish than dang briefcase. My daughter keeps asking me about it, referring to it as "her" track.

I read Bill's thread, but not that part apparently. Any idea how thick scaley track is? I don't have any yet to measure off.

Most of the winch options seem to cost more than I am looking to spend on the whole track, at least initially. So I am exploring cheaper options.

QUOTE (sealevel @ 6 Dec 2013, 13:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Very clever idea for the bike hoist and guide wheels.

With respect to Minardi, look at his FIRST layout (Catalunya inspired) not the present one. The first one is mounting from the ceiling, which the 2nd is in the garage.


Thanks Sealevel. I have been racking my brain on how to make a track that would meet with spousal approval.

I'll have to look a little further into Minardi's profile. You told me first layout, I just forgot.

Good to be back on the forum.

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Hello all,

Ok. Lots of research going on, but little in the way of concrete progress. I'm about to purchase a digital conversion kit with the 4 car powerbase, a straight lane changer, two controller, power supply and a couple straight pieces. My question is this, is the track piece for the 6 car APB the same size as the 4 car power base? I want to upgrade to the APB, but I am waiting for the right price on the APB. I'm getting the set used at a price I would pay for just the track pieces and the controllers, so it's still a good deal. I looked it up, and the PSU seems to be the one that comes with the APB, so I can use this one as my psu when I upgrade? or as my second if I want to run more than 4 cars?

I hope to have a draft track plan up soon.

QUOTE (Ade @ 13 Dec 2013, 13:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi
Yes same track piece,and Yes again the psu will fit the C7042apb.

The apb does not come with a psu when purchased new but a used one might have one included.

Thanks for the advice Ade. I love your track, I hope that mine can be even close to that some day.

QUOTE (Minardi @ 13 Dec 2013, 13:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Both the 4 car PB and APB have a half straight attached. And they use the same PSU so you can use It for the APB (which you really need to get
Nice job Heath ! I still have the 2nd track unused to the ceiling, waiting for the day to make a routed rally track as an alternative to the main digital track, I had thought about removing all foam and cardboard (which I used between Scalextric track and foam) but yours is a much better idea ! Following this with much interest.

Thanks for your kind words Minardi. I'm hopeful that the foam laminate works. I'm going to try an even thinner MDF, to save weight and cost. I am crossing my fingers that it works. The stuff you guys are doing with RCS64 is awesome. I can't wait to use it! I have visions of the lighting on my track dimming as it gets to night, and maybe even misters to simulate rain (this may be over the top, but I can dream can't I?)

So some more questions. I might be able to get the older Scaley 6 Powerbase with RichD's upgrade for a good deal cheaper than an APB. Would this be just as good as the APB? Better? I am pretty sure that the power supply I have through the 4 car power base will not work, so will I need a second psu? Is the old version compatible with RCS64?

Thanks for all your help.

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Thanks everyone for your advice about APB. I'm now on the lookout for one on the cheap, so if anyone has a used one they want to sell, let me know.

Alright. Here is my first go at a layout. I wanted something fast with some good flow but a few tight curves to mix it up.

The direction would be counter clockwise, and the track is 12' x 6' (3.6576m x 1.8288). I will probably change the slot routing to take more of a racing line after I am happy with my overall layout. I would also like to throw in a few squeezes to spice it up, maybe in the tight curve right before the big lefter (going counter clockwise) and maybe a lane changer in the small straight before that.

I'm not really sure about the pit lane, should it be longer so maybe the exit is after the lane change?

Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I tweaked the lanes just a little to show what I'm talking about and added the extra lane changer...

Also tried the thinner MDF and did a small test run with the 9volt battery...

Works like a charm, even with the thin MDF. I think the copper tape I have is 3/16" and it looks like Ade used 7/32 on his track. I wonder if it would make much difference using the smaller width as I have some left over I wouldn't mind using up?

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No comments on the track layout???

I've been thinking about adding some banking and some small elevation change to the track, but due to the sandwich construction I'm not sure the best way to go about it. I'm thinking about doing it in a similar fashion to the way I did the elevations on my briefcase track, routing around sections of track and then bending them up. My question is this, is there anything wrong with having a slot with an open bottom? I think I read somewhere that it wasn't recommended.

Thank you for your help.

QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 18 Dec 2013, 09:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ok, since you asked...
- The XLC at the top, in the twisties, will be missed like crazy. It would be better to not be there, or change your twisties
- Squeezes in digital? No. Stuff like that is for analog tracks where you have to force car interaction. Digital has that to spare, so don't add more with squeezes and forced crossovers and stuff.
- make the pit lane as long as possible, with the exit AFTER the lane changer.
- don't forget this is a routed track. Even if you use stock pieces for the sensors and flippers, there's no requirement that the exits for the lane changers be so abrupt and into a straight before a turn like it's plastic track. Let them lead into the turn more smoothly. Seriously. Design new slots from the back of the flippers going forward.
- where are your drivers? If the twisties are against a wall, then you need to rotate the whole thing and put the pits against the wall, 'cus cars will be coming off in the twisties all the time. If access and drivers will be all around, then that doesn't matter.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having a slot with no bottom. If anything, it prevents the guide from riding the bottom of the slot, which is bad. Graham Lane did open slots on the rally portion of his SSD track, and it appears to work well, and looks fantastic.

Hey Mr Flippant,

Thanks for your reply. By redesigning the lane changers from the back of the flippers going forward, do you mean on all the lane changers, or just the pit exits? Only routing space for half the changer would save a lot of work, but I am a little nervous that I won't be able to match the exit angle well with the routing and screw things up. There will be all around track access.

I haven't yet decided where the start should go, also I looked at my space a little more closely, and I figured out that 6 feet is just a bit too wide I am going to have to pare the track down to 5 feet wide. So I redid the track layout a bit...

Got rid of the lane changer in the twisties, extended the pit lane, tweaked the layout. Got rid of all the squeezes. Would love some more feedback.

I did get a chance to buy the MDF and the foam and weighed the MDF as it seemed pretty heavy. 40lbs, so that works, as I now have found a bike hoist that goes to 100lbs, so that should be plenty of left over extra weight.

Picture of foam is a little boring I know, but I'm excited about it. I just have to sell this filing cabinet we have to make space. You can see the file cabinet in the pic. Come on craigslist! Don't let me down.

Any way, things here are progressing. I have taken all your advice and I am going to buy the APB, I just need to sell the 4 car power base I bought and a few other things to fill up the PayPal account.

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Alright. Thinking about adding the digital pieces, and getting nervous about chopping them up and ruining the resale value. So my plan is to buy a couple normal straight pieces and cut them in half so that I can keep the lane changers and the apb intact. Can I just cut these with my miter saw?

QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 13 Jan 2014, 17:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As long as the blades are sharp and you go really slow, then take the rails out and clean up the burrs from both the metal and plastic, it should be fine. While you're at it, do some metal and plastic work to widen the slot at each end so that cars transitioning from wood to plastic won't slam into the end of the plastic track's rails. A taper on the entry back to wood wouldn't hurt, either.

As for resale value, is that really a consideration? Are you not planning to paint the track, then? Your nice routed track will look kind of silly with black plastic where the lane changers are. Plus, you're lengthening the amount of space needed for the lane changer, by adding bits on at each end.

If you can route the slots to match up with a full piece of plastic in the wood, then you can certainly route them to match up with only part of the plastic track in the wood, plus you gain so much more flexibility with the slot after the flipper, and how much room you need for the run up to the lane changer after the prior turn. I'm not going to claim it's easy. I haven't done either. But I don't see how it would be harder to do it this way than not. Measure twice/thrice, cut/route once.

As always Mr Flippant, good advice. Forgot about the whole painting the track thing. I'm still a little wary of routing the back of the LC as it is a lot easier for me to line up a straight line than an angle, but I am going to give it a try on a mock-up and see how it goes.

It's been a while, as I have been combing Ebay, looking for a deal on an APB. There was one for $118 on Amazon, that popped up momentarily, but it was either an error, or was bought instantly. So I finally bit the bullet and bought a digital conversion kit for $199 as I needed the extra controllers, power supply and lane changers anyway.

The APB has been ordered, and soon the track will be in production. The pit lane and the cable for the APB will have to wait a bit until my Paypal account is built back up.

Hopefully soon I will have a good update with some pics of the routing. Now I just need to go back and read Jen's thread on routing a track to make sure I don't mess it up
I always have a hard time matching the routing on the curves where my plexiglass guide ends.

Thanks for reading.

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Ok. Got the APB, the power supplies, 2 lane changers, and a couple cars now. Connector cable is on it's way. Any ideas on how to test the APB without having the whole track in place? I only have the two straight lane changers for track. I want to test things out before I route it all into place plus, if there is something wrong, I want to to find out in time to return it to the vendor.


Ran some cars off on to the carpet. As far as I can tell, everything is working correctly. It seems that what I have heard about the APB interface is true. It is not intuitive at all! Can't wait to get the interface cable, and more importantly get the track routed.

Stay tuned.

QUOTE (Minardi @ 11 Feb 2014, 13:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Heath,

Sorry If I missed, but what direction are the cars going ? You really need a LC not too far away from pit entry. In your last design, you really need a 3rd XLC, or skip the one parallel to pit lane (which could be a great main straight with Start/Finish if you consider conneting to a RMS) If you only want 2 XLC's.

Can't wait to see how the routing goes !

Hey Manardi,

The track direction is counter clockwise. Trying to save money on the lane changers, so I want to stick with 2 for now. So you're saying I should get rid of the lane changer on the main straight? Then put the extra lane changer where? On the next straight up (next straight working up from the bottom)? I am definitely going to use an RMS.

Thanks for the advice. I can use all the help I can get.

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QUOTE (MrFlippant @ 11 Feb 2014, 14:30) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>He could probably squeeze an in-to-out CLC at the beginning of the last turn before the pit entrance.

After looking at it a bit more carefully, maybe the solution is to change the direction of the track to clockwise, move the xlc on the main straight, to the second straight up right before the tight curve, and move the xlc on the top straight to the other end of the straight. Then, instead of using the Scaley pit piece, I could use the In to Out clc on the curve immediately before the main straight, but just on the outside lane, the inside lane would be routed.

Do you guys think that would work? I'll put a revised track plan up tonight.

Many thanks for all your help,

Does anybody know the radius of the in to out clc? I am working it into the layout, but I need exact dimensions to line it up with the rest of the track. I thought it would be easy to find online, but I have so far had no luck.

QUOTE (Minardi @ 11 Feb 2014, 22:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It is the size of a standard R2, that may help.

That does help Minardi, thanks. I didn't get as much of chance to work on this last night as I would have liked, I'll be putting an updated track plan here later today or tonight.

Thanks again,

QUOTE (Minardi @ 12 Feb 2014, 11:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>You probably are aware, but just in case, a CLC is a 90° R2 (2 standard 45° R2's), and a half straight with sensor(s).

I saw the straight piece on the ebay pics, and I assumed the sensor would probably be in there, but it is good to have that confirmation of that. If I cut the straight piece with the sensor in half so it is essentially one lane, will it kill any of the electronics?

Thanks for your help Minardi,

Finally got a chance to rework the track layout. This time I used images of the lane changers to get more accurate proportions...

The clc will have to be chopped to fit on the board, but I'm assuming this will not be a problem. Not sure about the best place for the APB/Start Finish, I just put it dead center of the straight. Is there a better spot?

Thanks for reading and all your help. I finally got rid of the filing cabinet that has been blocking the space in my garage, so routing will commence soon.

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QUOTE (MikeySlotCars @ 12 Feb 2014, 17:31) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>@ Flaq slot racer

Sorry! if it as been suggest before but I didn't read all of your thread...

Why not build a table that you can just flip on it side & put it against the wall?

That way don't have to worry much about weight or spending money on pulleys , cables & crank/motor
Not to mention trying to finding the beams in the ceiling (I am really , really bad at this finding beams in walls or ceiling)

Anyhow I don't remember who or which site it was from but a guy build a big table I think it was something like 20'x7'
He could flip the table on it side all by himself without any effort

Search with Google (image?) for slot cars folding/tilting table or something like that & you should see a couple of them


EDIT: Find the name of the member at SCI for the 20'x7' tilting table its cgyracer if you want to look it up?

Thanks for the great idea. I'll have to look those up, it might be a possibility. I do have a garage door support hanging down in front of the wall where this is going to go, so the track hinging directly down would not work without narrowing the track down a bit, which I was trying to stay away from.

I'm pretty far down this path and have all the materials I need right not and I'm not really worried about finding the studs and the cords and pulleys as I already have 6 of these bike hoists that I have put up without issue in my garage already.
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