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Hi,

I have access to a garage in the mountains. Thinking about a track on hinged frames that folds up on the wall when not in use.

I would appreciate your advise on the selection of materials for such a project. Main design constraint is temperature, it will range from +25C to -25C througout the year, with severly alternating humidity (talking the mountains of western Norway).

Preferably MDF and cupper tape would to the trick as it's easy to work, but I really don't think it will last very long. I have lots of Scaley Sport track laying around, might be a solution but will probably corrode? Braid?

In case I go ahead it will be analog and fueled by a 12V battery, timing on laptop with Ultimate Racer.

What you guys think?

B
 

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Forget copper tape...the temperature variation wil kill it for you....you would have more soldered repairs than tape after a while.
Maybe well sealed/painted mdf and braid would be the go??
regards
 

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QUOTE (TheBruce @ 14 Oct 2011, 20:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi,

I have access to a garage in the mountains. Thinking about a track on hinged frames that folds up on the wall when not in use.

I would appreciate your advise on the selection of materials for such a project. Main design constraint is temperature, it will range from +25C to -25C througout the year, with severly alternating humidity (talking the mountains of western Norway).

Preferably MDF and cupper tape would to the trick as it's easy to work, but I really don't think it will last very long. I have lots of Scaley Sport track laying around, might be a solution but will probably corrode? Braid?

In case I go ahead it will be analog and fueled by a 12V battery, timing on laptop with Ultimate Racer.

What you guys think?

B
Hi the Bruce, check my thread Three year itch to see how i fitted a hinge table, I would go with plastic track with those temperature variations. I used Clout nails along side the track, these hold the track to the board but allow expansion.
Good luck

Cheers Geoff
 

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One petunia in a field of onions
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You're probably going to get as many opinions on the plastic track or not as there will be people that respond to your query.

However. I'd suggest routed track and braid given the environment you're working with.

Plastic track will contract and expand greatly in the temperature shifts you can expect. Unless the track is protected in these temperature shifts you can expect either buckling in the heat or gaps in the cold. The same could also reasonably be expected from copper tape as it is quite thin it'll be prone to shrinking and breaking. Braid, either magnetic or not, will not be prone to breaking in the same way.

Note, this is coming from someone who is currently running a plastic track in a tempered environment and in the planning stages of a routed one in an outdoor but sheltered position.

Embs
 

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Bill Beggs
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About same temp variations here in my garage and I have had no problem using MDF and copper tape.
 

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Greg Gaub
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I agree with the MDF and braid people, though I currently run on plastic.
I believe that in some places, one can get "marine" grade MDF. No, not plywood, but treated MDF. I could be completely wrong, though, but I'd swear I'd seen it somewhere. That would be the trick to get. Then seal with paint for extra security.
Otherwise, with normal MDF, you want to seal all exposed MDF with something, especially the slots after you rout them. With all sides sealed, under/top/edges/slot, you won't have to worry about moisture ruining the wood. And with braid, the expansion and contraction due to heat and cold won't ruin the rails, since the braid can easily expand/contract with the wood as needed.
 

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Rich Dumas
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Changes in humidity will have a greater effect on MDF than changes in temperature. You can minimalize problems with MDF if you paint every surface, top, bottom, sides and the slots. Most of our tracks have copper tape, but our latest ones have all used tinned copper braid that is stuck down using double sided tape. If there is a chance that you might get water on the track you might consider making it out of Sintra, which is an expanded PVC material. Sintra is far more expensive than MDF, but it routes easily enough and is immune to water damage. In the US custom made HO tracks are mostly made of Sintra.
 

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You can get a moisture resistant mdf which is green in colour but if you have a lot of moisture in the air I would suggest painting all sides ASAP the cut and router and repaint as all mdf attracts moisture which can quickly affect the surface also try using a single flute cutter,I find them a lot smoother to use
 

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Hi Bruce

I'm in the process of finishing my track which lives outdoors, under a tarp when not in use.
It is constructed of 12mm mdf, with tinned copper braid to prevent corrosion.

I have sealed every surface (top, bottom, every edge, slot) with an enamel base primer/sealer/undercoat all in one finish, then used a local favourite called Ferrodor as the top coat.

Make sure you cover the slot edges properly! I put the paint on a bit lightly and while i was on holiday overseas some water seeped in, causing swell damage which had to be fixed.

The braid is secured with contact adhesive (Selley's kwik grip).
On the first application with a light amount used, the braid lifted in the harsh sun (under the tarp of course). I had to reapply it fairly generously to ensure it stayed stuck down.

Apart from those minor issues it has worked well.
You would be better off as your track will at least be under cover.

Cheers
Bry
 

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My track is on a veranda with open sides. I used MDF and tinned copper braid, after having a plastic track corrode severely. Since using the MDF and braid, I have had no power issues or damage from water or humidity.

As others have said, ensure that your MDF is properly sealed: paint the top, bottom, sides, and slots with a couple of coats of paint. Using tinned copper braid will ensure that your power stays constant throughout the track.
 
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