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Mag Racing Track Building

17264 Views 38 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  WesR
I have started building a small Mag Racing test track as per WesR magracing site.

I opted to try embedding the wire from under the track so it sits 1mm below the surface. I have it working but results are mixed. Not sure if its me being new to building mag tracks or what.
Conclusion, I 'm going to go for the Keld method and try that. I'll then have something to compare to also, but for me I think the previous method I tried will be dropped.
I'm aiming for a finish to the track surface that requires less filling.

Does anyone have any info on the lane change plates? Keld method mentions leaving them out but it would be good to have a picture to go by showing the layout of the wire/s. Also if anyone else is using this method, and how well it works?
Or do we just stick to the standard plates?
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I forget to say the reliability factor was regarding turning the wrong way and leaving the track, straight on and lc worked fine.
I later tried 22mm and is perfect so far.

I also agree about the possible low speed issue, but then thought, these cars are always going to be driven FLATOUT :).

These results make me think a reliable dual direction lc is possible.
You used 22mm instead of what?
Instead of a 10mm gap between the infeed wire and the default straight-on wire?
Or instead of a 10mm space between the default straight-on wire and the catcher wire for wrong turns?
How long is your catcher wire?
What is the angle between the catcher wire and the default straight-on wire?

Are you building your track so you can run clockwise as well as counterclockwise?
Does the catcher wire touch the default straight-on wire where they converge? I don't think it needs to in order to work properly. If it touches, it won't work when the car is running in the opposite direction.

If by a "dual direction" LC you mean left, straight, or right, I suspect that a reliable one is possible.

I sure would like to see a diagram of the final version of your lane changers.

Thanks for sharing Drifter.
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Hi Ned,
Yes dual direction = L&R
I've done a quick sketch ..please see link ..

The way it is, opposite direction to travel would not work without modification . But by having the catcher wire join the default rather than the way it presently is, should fix that without side effects. (I think)
The alt route just needs to angle over to the infeed to the left of the gap (as viewed on my sketch) for opposite direction of travel.

If the Catcher wire was replaced with another Alt route curving "down and away as viewed on sketch" this "should" create a L&R lane change. I will try when time permits.

It would be great if someone else could try this to see if it is repeatable.:)

Note slow speed on present set up (as per sketch) works fine for straight and alt route(LC). Wrong steer not tested slow.

Note the gap from end of leadin wire to start of catcher wire, measured horizontally is 9mm
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I like this development, I have been having problems getting the lane change plates mounted correctly so a solution which just uses routed wires is really an improvement. I will try this on my track as soon as I can. I just need to go and buy some filler now to fill up the holes I have for the lane change plates!

In your image. The catcher wire could be extended to the left for some way to run parallel to the incoming wire without any issues.
Dual direction (L & R) lane change works based on the sketch and discussion above!!!! Slow or fast

Reverse direction of travel works fine even wrong steer.

Interestingly normal direction of travel L to R the car defaulted right on low speed, straight on fast speed. This is with the Alt wires angled back to and touching leadin wire.
I cut one Alt wire (the right turn one) about 4mm away from leadin wire and default to straight worked fine slow and fast . I thought it might start defaulting left as the left was still touching the leadin wire. So the angle at which the alt wire returns back to leadin wire is sensitive. The Right one was a slightly shallower angle than the left.
I am trying to develop a method of track building which removes the need for routing. I have noticed that the cars stick well to a 0.1mm feeler gauge. It might be possible to go thinner than this, particularly if you use a larger magnet in the guide plate.

I am going to order some shim this week and try this out. 0.1mm shim steel is quite cheap when you buy it as a roll in a tin and can be cut with scissors. Shim stock in a tin is usually 6" wide x 100" long. As you are cutting this lengthwise in say 5mm wide strips you get a lot for your money (A tin is about £10.50). Also using the full width, by careful use, you can cut bends in quite long sections from the sheet which removes the need for "Pie Cutting" to turn a corner.

It would be a simple case of just gluing it to the baseboard. I believe with some textured paint it might be possible to hide this on the track without filling each side with paper. If this is required, ordinary A4 sheet paper is about 0.1mm thick.

Lane changing should be improved as there is no gap for the car to come adrift. see the image below.

The white lines in the image are an overlay of Drifter2's proposed wiring method. The shim design is shown in solid grey. As I can see it the plates should be functional in both directions and easy to lay. The force pulling on the car is also consistent as it operates across the whole width of the magnet. With a little more room for the wire follower to drift we may be able to add in two magnets one behind the other to give greater downforce for the heavier cars we are developing.

If this works it opens up many possibilities that I want to explore such as wide sections of steel shim track to give multiple racing lines, two way lane changing, T junctions and crossroads.

It would also be possible to have the lane changers laser cut in large quantities to a consistent design or even made using PCB / brass plate etching methods.
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Cool idea Martin,
it will be interesting to see how it works compared to other methods. Would you use contact adhesive?.

I must admit I spent a lot of time fiddling with the Dremel to get the depth of cut spot-on. I ended up making a jig out of off cuts of timber to hold the whole thing (Dremel with saw attach) and then using single pieces of paper in the jig to shim the blade height .

I was thinking that I could just use a couple of drops of CA glue after every few inches, then cover the whole thing with either paper, or at first use white / yellow automotive masking tape. This has a nice rough texture to it and is available in very wide rolls (200mm etc.) I thought that this would be enough to test it out and be removable should I have problems. If its OK it may take paint directly over the top.

Late last weekend I did a quick test with some 12mm wide x 1mm thick self adhesive steel. I pie cut a corner section and built a simple lane change very crudely shaped. It actually worked really well and the lane change worked without fault. If the shim method is as good a that it will be a real winner and really quick to do.

I have also been looking around for some 0.1mm thick strip on a reel. The narrowest I have found is 1/2". If anyone finds some about 5mm wide on a roll let me know. Just google for "Feeler Stock" and you get a few suppliers. Feeler stock is more expensive though as it has a controlled and measured thickness.
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It will be great if it works out, as you could use practically any base material you like. The foam that Ned uses springs to mind also Corflute ( the stuff they make cheap signs out of). That way tracks can be light weight and stowable when not in use.

I've been working on some new sections of track for my portable 8 laner, and boy does it chew up the hours! I'd much prefer to be building Mag Track.
Do you think that nickle plated steel strip tape .1 mm (.004") thick x 3 mm (.118") wide would work? It has no adhesive and is available on ebay. Apparently it is often used to assemble battery packs. Perhaps it could be glued down every few inches with super glue and then covered with .0025" thick x .5" wide Kapton polyimide tape which includes 1.5 mil of silicone adhesive...then painted. I've never worked with either product. Would the steel strip and the polyimide tape bend enough to go around tight turns? Would a water based latex/acrylic house paint stick to the polyimide tape? The combined thickness of the steel tape and the polyimide tape would be only .1651 mm (.0065"). The cars could cross over that without any trouble. What do you think?
Yes I believe it would work. Nickel is even one of the few materials that is also magnetic. 3mm wide x 0.1 thick is probably what I would try if I were going to buy some as the wider strip when used and the cars drift left and right on a straight a little. I don't think you could bend it, but you could cut it in say 60mm long sections and go around the bends "Facet" style. I have noticed that the outside of the bend needs to have no gaps at all when doing this, so cut them at an angle or overlay them a little to get a continuous outer edge. I also have a few crossovers on my track and on a few sections I just laid the tape one over the other and that doesn't cause any problems.

As for covering the steel strip, I don't think Kapton would work. I use it a lot on my 3D printer and I am not sure it would take paint that well, but it does stick down with some force . I would try super glue for the steel or some general contact adhesive then maybe one layer of paper mache using newspaper or pain A4 glued down with wallpaper paste. I like this as it is easy to take up again if you want to change things about a bit.

By the way if we get this working and get the steel to glue well, maybe it might be possible to do a track that could roll up for storage. Would a track made on linoleum work?
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I also saw the 3 mm. nickel tape. Ordered a role. Contact cement should do the trick for adhering the tape. I am thinking the nickel tape will be able to be finagled around the corners without to much effort. Time will only tell.
I'm eager to hear about your experience with the 3 mm wide x .1 mm thick, nickel plated steel tape.
I wonder if:
1. the attractive force between the tape and the guide magnet will be strong enough.
2. the cars are more prone to high speed front end shimmy (front wheels "dancing") at high speed compared to music wire.
3. the tape can be applied around a curve nice and flat without having to cut it and piece it together.
4. it can be glued down easily.
Please let us know.
Perhaps a combination ow widths may work, 3mm for the straight sections (where you don't need high magnetic shear force) and slightly wider for the bends. It is quite easy to cut a taper section to join the two widths.
Here's a thought from "left field"

place a piece of scaley plastic track upside down on a 3D printer bed (for illustration proposes only), now imagine duplicating this in 3D print but instead of pausing the print to insert the rails , you insert the metal tape / shim or piano wire, then continue the print.
Just a quick update on using shim for a track.

The 0.1mm thick shim at about 5mm wide seems to work well when using a 6mm diameter x 3 mm deep magnet. There is no hunting left and right on the straights. Perhaps if you are using the standard magracing 4mm diameter magnets this width should be reduced a little.

The 0.05mm thick shim at 5mm wide is too thin to give good magnetic adhesion (Seems about half the force which is logical). It is also not that easy to work with. It cuts with a more serrated edge when worked with scissors and is quite sharp on the fingers.

In conclusion the 0.1m is my choice so far (You could go thicker I suppose) as it is just about right adhesion wise. This weekend I will glue a few sections down properly and cover them with paper and see how well I can hide them.
More progress this weekend.
I managed to get the shim track down and painted. It works very well and it is hard to see the shim under the paper. I used ordinary A4 sheet straight over the top and I think with newspaper ripped roughly in smaller sections this could be improved. Here is a close up. The shim runs from top to bottom between the two black dots. Some sections of the track you cannot see it at all. Perhaps textured paint would be better than the emulsion I had to hand.

I have also had some success with the lane changing design. As a few here are finding, a gap in the wire is actually better than a change plate as long as you can contain any wrong turns. Here is what I am using at the moment. It is very reliable. I have extended the gap to 30mm, but with the wider shim I believe you could go much more than that to get even more reliability. Even if you steer the wrong way, the deviation from straight is hardly noticed.

It looks a little complex, but I have made myself a template using plastic card. I mark the shim using a CD marker pen through the template and then cut the sections with scissors. It is proving very quick to do. The design above also lends itself to a two direction lane change by using the same shaped pieces.
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Car Urban design Vehicle Grass Art

I built around 6 tracks for the original 686mhz system cars and now 2 more so far for the new 2.4g cars.

I have tried all methods so far considered for track building but there is only one method I would now use and that is to lay straight lengths of piano wire directly to a smooth baseboard and then infill flush with either grey board (cardboard) or plaster. I returned to the board system with this track but I have made several modifications to the wire routes, as always happens, and the card is more difficult to cut out insitue than plaster so overall I think plaster (ready mixed) is better.

This track was really designed for 1/24 cars but I am liking the new 1/32 cars better on it. See you tube video. The wider run-off areas make driving back on to the track very easy.

Wire is 1mm. I have used thinner wire but 1mm is also about right for 1/24 cars.


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Further to my last post, I have persevered with 1/24 cars and now have 4 cars running very well. All using Flysky 2.4g radio which seems excellent. 3 cars have 2 amp escs without brake (no problem) and one uses Martin Prices rx/esc board which has a fierce brake but just about acceptable with the larger and heavier 1/24 cars.

Tyres are low grip foam (drift!) at the rear and least possible grip at the front for best possible lane changing. The increased grip at the rear and the larger track radii means that the cars exit corners faster and reach higher speeds on the straights so overall speeds are proportionately faster than1/32, despite using the same motor.

Lightweight bodies are essential for serious racing and pics show my first 1/24 body. Cars use the CR123 li-ion which seems to run forever and is easier to buy than the AAAs used in the 1/32 cars.


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