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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, it's not a routed track yet but I've got my mind made up on what I want to do -- I'm posting the sketches of the layout below. Since I'm cramped for storage space so 3.5 x 8 feet is the max I can go. I'm (mostly
) building this for my 4 yr old son so I don't want to get too technical. I plan to wire up a variable PSU so I can crank it back so he won't launch the cars too far into outer space!

If push comes to shove, I'll have a section of MDF left that I can route a second straight in and just give him a big oval to race on.


I posted in the cars thread about being in the market for cars, what do you all think the type, style, generation of cars is that best suits the track?

Please note, my current plan is to use the sketches to delineate the roadway. I'm planning to route the race lines of the roadway into the track -- I'll do that freestyle ala the Zippp method. I'm planning to landscape it with Styrofoam/FRocks for barriers but mostly it'll just be a racetrack. Besides, who could compete with you guys? It'd be like taking coal to Newcastle....

I have a 4x8 sheet of 3/8" plywood that's been ripped into 4" x 8' strips and 32' of Poplar 1x2's for support for the benchwork (think homemade I-Joists). It should be fairly light, but quite sturdy. I'll post pictures of the bench construction for posterity once I get started. I'm going to buy some cheap folding table legs to stand it on when it's lowered from the ceiling. I'm also planning on using the bench as my routing table (I'll take it outside and let nature enjoy the dust when it's time to route it).

Since the layout is symmetrical I flipped the second part of the second sketch to better show the final design

Questions and comments are very welcome.

One further note on the pictures. I'm going to build a webpage that will show the process/progress from start to end. When I do the path to these images will change and they'll disappear.

TIA





Best Regards,
Mark0

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Alan Tadd
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Looks Good Mark. Nothing wrong with small layouts....they are great fun and the bonus is they are easy to marshall.
Keep us up to date with your progress, both on the track and your website.

Regards

Alan
 

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Brad Korando / Brad Korando
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Your plan looks like it makes good use of the space you have. I like the idea of having an interchangable section to convert it from a road course to an oval. Based upon that, I don't think that you are limited to any one particular class of car or vintage.

The variable voltage is a good idea and will be very beneficial when racing with your son. I don't know what you budget is, but you might consider using magna-braid rather than copper. Magnets can provide an additional advantage to your son. My kids were racing when they were four. My cars are still in one piece (most of them anyway) because of magnets!

Keep up posted on your progress.

Brad
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK. I've built my web page and started the narrative of my journey. It's located at http://www.mccauleyweb.com/slotracing.htm

I'll try to keep you all posted regarding updates here as well. Thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I don't expect this to be fast but I'll try my best on this first (and if personal history is a guide -- last) routed race track project.

Kudo's to all of you for your inspiration, dedication, and willingness to help fellow slot racing enthusiasts. You ROCK!

-Mark0

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As promised I am updating the Forum on my progress.

I've begun the work on the base of the track in earnest. I spent a couple hours yesterday and a few more today and have updated the all progress made on my slot racing page (link in my sig). Building the crossbraces is quite tedious and I'll be very happy when I'm beyond this stage. Here's a picture of where the progress ended tonight.



Best regards y'all
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
QUOTE (Brad Korando @ 24 Apr 2007, 17:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Your plan looks like it makes good use of the space you have. I like the idea of having an interchangable section to convert it from a road course to an oval. Based upon that, I don't think that you are limited to any one particular class of car or vintage.

The variable voltage is a good idea and will be very beneficial when racing with your son. I don't know what you budget is, but you might consider using magna-braid rather than copper. Magnets can provide an additional advantage to your son. My kids were racing when they were four. My cars are still in one piece (most of them anyway) because of magnets!

Keep up posted on your progress.

Brad

Thanks for the kind words Brad.

Interchangable (inre building it as an oval) may be overstating it. More like a fall-back option if my son can't race with the finesse needed (yet)....

I plan to route some ferrous metal in at the curves (ala Claes). I think between some magnetic downforce and being able to limit the voltage I should be able to make the original design work.

As for damaging the cars... they say if you don't hit fixed objects when you're racing that your not pushing the envelope far enough
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Legs. I'm tired of messing with the legs.

I spent a couple hours gluing and screwing *2* strips of plywood last night and some reinforcing blocks <sigh>. You know, I'm 50 yrs old and well aware (even preach it to my kids) that you get what you pay for. But gee, $20 for a pair of lightweight folding legs (even with bad reviews) was just too good a deal to pass up <shaking head>.

The problem with the design of the legs is that the top of the "L' on the legs is too short. When you try to fold the legs they try to cam out of the mounting screws. Since I don't want the bench any higher than necessary, adding some spacer blocks under the mounting flange (the easy fix) was not an option. So I used my ¾" brad point drill bit and drilled a row of holes to make some relief for the top edge of the leg, and I took a pair of channel locks and bent those suckers so that the cam's profile was even lower. Another couple short pieces of plywood to bridge the frame (reinforced with glue blocks) and the braces are mounted too.

The frame is very strong and light but a little more "flexible" than I thought it would be. I'm sure better legs and bracing would stiffen it up but for now I'm hoping that adding the roadway to the top of it will provide the stiffness. Time will tell. At least for now, I'm claiming to have a free standing bench to build (and work) on.

I promise that I'll post pictures once I get them off the camera.


=====

I have some questions for the experts here.

I'm thinking now that I want to simplify the layout&#8230;. I'll still keep the elevated long back straight but instead of the repeated sweeping turns I'm thinking I might just have one that curves up toward the straight from the bottom left then back to the other on the bottom right. Sort of like an "anthill" under the straight. This would give me more realistic opportunities to do cliffs dropping from the elevated roadbed, allow a less elevated long straight (for head clearance below it when stored), and saves me a piece of MDF (but still allows me to reuse the elevated section if I want to create the twisties once Michael has mastered driving the slot). Oh and did I mention it'll be a lot easier too?


Also my research found NILS' post on magnetic paint and I think that's the way I want to add magnetraction. Have any others tried it? I wonder if I will revisit Roland's 'shorting problem' by using it&#8230;.

Have any of you using the Pyramid PS-26KS had issues/problems with it? Is it reliable? How did you mount it to your bench (I'd love to camouflage it somehow)?

Thanks for your help and interest.

Best Regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My web page journal has been updated.

I bought the MDF Saturday and made the first cuts that separate the track into it's upper and lower halves. I was pleased to find that my bench works well as planned and supported the MDF pretty well.



Please, if anyone has opinions or answers to my questions inre track power and magnetic paint, I'd still love to hear from you.

BTW, speaking of magnetic paint I put the 3rd coat on my masking tape test strip tonight and will have the results of my little "no copper tape" track section experiment directly. I'm expecting the paint to be too resistive to power cars, but what the heck -- Columbus took a chance.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update:

Let the LAYOUT begin (albeit ever so slowly).

Friday night I added some blocking to mount the center section of the MDF to the bench in preparation for the layout work. Since I've been noodling the layout the whole time on graph paper, I have pretty accurate dimensions and locations for pivot points. I transferred those to the MDF and drilled a pilot hole for my homemade compass (a piece of scrap poplar 1x2 with a few graduation marks). Very high tech



Since I was extremely careful, I only drilled about 3 of the pivot holes in the wrong place. Nice thing about this MDF stuff -- it will be very easy to hide mistakes on. As my friend the contractor says, "caulk and paint, caulk and paint, makes a carpenter what he ain't!"


Since the MDF is oversized and inch I have an extra 1/2 inch between the middle sections of the ess turns that I hadn't initially counted on during the design phase. I plan to use that space for barriers when I get to the modeling phase (maybe steal a little Dremel-ed stone wall idea for there!).



I don't plan to skeleton-ize the center track section until I have the slots layed out and routed. Next steps planned include joining the upper and lower parts of the track together and laying out the center lane all the way around. I don't think I'm going to merge the lanes much so as to keep it easier for my little carpenter in training.



Thanks for following along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Brief update to the prior "layout" update:

I finished this weekend's track-making session by joining the upper and lower sections and trimming off some of the excess MDF from the very bottom of the outside corners. I also layed out the curves for the upper straight turns, and layed out the center slot going all the way around the track.



I think I'm going to change the corner radii so that they're not so sharp (currently a 10"D circle), but otherwise I'm pretty happy with the layout.



After tweaking the sharpest curves in the center slot I'll be ready (he says with some trepidation) to route the slots.

Thanks for following along (feedback would be welcomed
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Routing:

Saturday I moved the two pieces of MDF, the bench, and my tools outside to the backyard. I built a couple of router bases out of acrylic plexiglass ($4.88US) to use as a pivot arm and base for my theoretical "secondary" routing (I thought I'd route the center lane and then use that slot as a guide for routing the other 2 lanes). I used hotglue to glue the plastic to the bottom of my router base. I had a solid carbide 5/32 router bit that I bought on-line for cutting the slot and I used it to cut approximately a ¼ - 5/16ths inch deep slot in the curves in 2 passes. After I had the curves routed, I took a putty knife and "cut" the pivot arm off the router base, then I reset my depth back to the midpoint depth setting, set the bit into the slot at the end of one curve and took a straightedge and set it flush to the router base (which conveniently has a 3 inch radius from the bit) screwing the straightedge to the track. Then I went to the other end of the curve I was connecting and set the bit in the slot and did the same thing. I double checked my original spacing and found that the straightedge had pivoted away from the flush edge point that I first set. A couple of back-and-forths later and the lane distance was set right. The first couple times I got lucky and started at the end that my routing direction had the base turning into the straightedge but eventually the law of averages caught up with me and I walked the base away from the straightedge a couple of inches at the start of a cut, making a nice curly cut instead of a straight one. Eventually though and with only a few minor errors I finished routing the center lane.



Now it was time for my lane spacer base. I glued the other 8 x 8 inch piece of plastic to my router base and scribed a line 3 inches parallel to the bit. I drilled 2 holes on that line for the pins that would run in the slot and guide the router around the track with perfect 3 inch lane spacing. I thought (erroneously as you will soon see) that it would be better to space the pins as far apart as possible. At the first curve I came to I saw the cutting progress of the slot moving closer than the desired 3 inch space. $hit! Well I wasn't going to experiment with pin spacing to try to find the ideal distance so I removed that base, glued the pivot arm base back on and commenced to routing all the radii and all the straights the hard way. It took me the best part of 7 hours all total to do all the routing. I have a bad back (disk problems) and the tired-er I got the more frequent I made mistakes too. Below is the picture with all 3 lanes routed:



After finishing all the routing, I screwed a poplar 1 x 2 to the top of the side straights to support it while I cut ¼ inch slots (to help bend the elevations into the upper section) into the bottom of the track perpendicular to the slots on the opposite side. I did manage to do that without accidentally sawing the track in half. I'm taking my victories as they come now - however insignificant!


I purchased a can of bondo and am planning to fill my mistakes in and start re-routing them next weekend. Mostly, at this point, I'm hoping I haven't wasted a day and a sheet of MDF.


These are a few of the things that hindsight has taught me:
  • I was foolish not to route at least a partial "test" track for the practice.
  • If I ever route another track (and the jury's still out on whether it's this same one) I will *not* try to be as good as Claes at routing radii first and connecting the straight sections to them. I'm too darn old to maintain that level of concentration/vigilance in my work (apparently). I would either buy Luf's Lexan strip or do the garden hose guide like Zipp did -- I had way too hard a time getting the starting points and ending points lined up with my straight edge.
  • I would paint/tape an arrow to the router to remind me which direction to route in (although by the end of the day I could tell by feel if I was going "forward or backwards").
  • I'd buy a *real* router with a plunge feature instead of making do with my old Craftsman "twist to adjust the bit height" model.

With a little luck all the work last Saturday may be salvageable&#8230;.

Thanks for following along
 

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Looks to be going well there Mark.
I did many of the mistakes you have mentioned .The painting of the arrow on the router sounds like a good idea.
I can remember the router wandering off on its own little path a few times, the arrow would definitely help.

Dont worry all should be salvageable.Bondo will save the day.

I used auto body filler on my track for all those router missallignments etc and none of it is noticeable when its been
sanded and painted.

Cheers
THC
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
QUOTE (THC @ 30 May 2007, 12:40) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Looks to be going well there Mark.
I did many of the mistakes you have mentioned .The painting of the arrow on the router sounds like a good idea.
I can remember the router wandering off on its own little path a few times, the arrow would definitely help.

Dont worry all should be salvageable.Bondo will save the day.

I used auto body filler on my track for all those router missallignments etc and none of it is noticeable when its been
sanded and painted.

Cheers
THC

Thanks for the encouragement THC. I'll be a very happy camper when the routing process is completed.

I've never mixed Bondo before.... I wonder how "pink" I should mix it?

Best regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi all. Wanted to let you know that there aren't any new developments in my track. I still need to bondo the mistakes and reroute the track there before I can do much else. I've just had life interfering with my plans some (gardening, painting, and a nice vacation in Cape Cod to celebrate my wife's and my 20th wedding anniversary).

I'll be back on it soon as I can. Thanks for the interest and support.

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QUOTE (Mark0 @ 31 May 2007, 13:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...I've never mixed Bondo before.... I wonder how "pink" I should mix it?

Depends on how quick you want it to dry. Also depends on relative humidity, dries quicker with less humidity. Try mixing pretty pink (
) and see how quick it dries. It's probably fairly humid where you are.

Re Pyramid PS. I've been using this PS for about 5 years now with great success. I also sell this PS when I make a complete track sale. I've bought/used several dozen and they've performed w/o fail. The only drawback is it's limited to 6-15v variable. If running the 1/24 Carrera Cars, more voltage might be desired. I'm not quite sure tho as I'm just beginning to get into these cars. Am waiting for some aftermkt tires I just purchased from a fella in NY to see how well they'll perform. Reports are exciting!

Although I personally favor non magnet racing, I've been using Magnatech braid on my tracks for a long time to help handling for newbies & kids.

Feel free to email any more questions you may have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
QUOTE (CruzinBob @ 26 Jun 2007, 04:46) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Depends on how quick you want it to dry. Also depends on relative humidity, dries quicker with less humidity. Try mixing pretty pink (
) and see how quick it dries. It's probably fairly humid where you are.

Re Pyramid PS. I've been using this PS for about 5 years now with great success. I also sell this PS when I make a complete track sale. I've bought/used several dozen and they've performed w/o fail. The only drawback is it's limited to 6-15v variable. If running the 1/24 Carrera Cars, more voltage might be desired. I'm not quite sure tho as I'm just beginning to get into these cars. Am waiting for some aftermkt tires I just purchased from a fella in NY to see how well they'll perform. Reports are exciting!

Although I personally favor non magnet racing, I've been using Magnatech braid on my tracks for a long time to help handling for newbies & kids.

Feel free to email any more questions you may have.

Thanks Bob. That stuff definitely dries fast. Also thanks for the Pyramid info -- I won't be using 1/24 scale on this track (too tight).

I finally got around to Bondo-ing the mistakes I made routing. Man that stuff stinks -- good thing I used it outside! Since I had the track outside whenre I could freely generate some sawdust, I finally got around to sizing the MDF to my bench (using a jig saw and a flush trim router bit).

Next step is re-routing. I think that I'll be using Zipp's 'hose' method to do the layout/setup....

Best regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
QUOTE (Mark0 @ 28 Apr 2007, 23:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Best regards y'all


OK. So it's not much, but I have finally demo-ed the area so that I can hang the track on the wall. I included the picture from before so you can see what I had to do to make space. I reused most of the old bench's frame for the casing for shelves in the corner. The plan is to add some heavy duty shelves across the entire wall to store all the junk I've accumulated (and all the stuff still hanging) and then hang the track slightly lower than the peg board is hanging now.

Anyway this is the first step in the prep for getting the track routing errors re-routed before cold weather sets in again. I may be the king of all procrastinators!

Sorry about the lousy phone picture.



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