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Greg Gaub
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14,638 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heya, peeps.
After my experimental "routed" track using cut foamboard several months ago, my son and I have been planning to snag some MDF to put a router to. A couple weeks ago I stopped at Home Depot, bought a 4x8' sheet which I had them cut into four 2' strips for me, saving me a bunch of money over 4 2x4' patch sheets.

My dad found an old router he had. It's not a plunge router, other than putting it down on the wood, but it runs. I was about to get a fancy bit, but digging in the box, I discovered that there was already a 1/8" straight bit. It was "high speed steel" and single flute, but I figured the worst that happens is I break it and THEN buy a new bit.

Just 'cus I was in the mood, and we figured if I ruined the attempt we could always flip the piece over and try again, I totally freehanded this one. First I made sure I could put the bit into the wood and make a slot. It works great! So, we drew a line around the board, and went to routing. I did my best at keeping it steady and straight. I ended up making a couple corners that were a bit tight, but I was able to shave a little off the inside so that the guide would be able to make it around. I even eyeballed the rejoining of the end of the slot to the beginning and then tried to clean it up a bit.

The slot itself isn't super straight like you would get with a kit from oldslotracer, but a car was able to go around in each direction. So, we cleaned up all the dust, and I painted the slot with some matte black spray paint I had sitting around. I also dug up some old matte latex interior wall paint that had a kind of light brown/tan color, and decided that would be good enough. A stir and a small roller and a few minutes, I had the whole thing painted over. I didn't use any magnetic paints because I didn't feel the need, plus I knew how much of a pain it could be if done wrong, and I knew that tire choice was as much a factor as anything else.

After the paint was dry, I couldn't wait to tape it up so I did the whole thing one evening, and started driving cars around with a 9v battery right to the tape. The next day, I pulled back some tape and drilled a hole under each side to set up a saddle tap. After I put the wires through, I got lots of solder on the ends, laid the tape back over, and heated it up from the top to flow the solder to the bottom of the tape. Worked great.

I had previously made a hookup box with DC power inputs, 3 bolt and mic-type controller connectors, and then outputs for the track rails. With the new track wires hanging out of the bottom, I plugged it into my hookup box, powered it up, and took it for a properly controlled spin.

WOW, that paint has a lot of traction. Even my worst cars for their hard tires had enough grip to get around, and the cars with good tires seemed to stick like glue with very little drifting.

Anyway, here's a video I did a couple days ago. This is a Ninco classic, box stock, tooling around the track. When I pause, I'm switching the output wires to change polarity and then start running it backward.


The next test track will be on one of the other boards, and will probably have a much longer lap with loop-backs and crossovers, like some of the very cool SLOP tracks I've seen. After that, I'll probably try to integrate a lane changer in order to work toward my dream of a routed digital track.

Thanks for reading!
-Greg
 

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Cool stuff Greg. Nothing as smooth as wood to race on, Add digital on top of that and just to cool. I will be back at it soon, just to much real life stuff had been going on. OhYea, the garage has been cleaned out.

John W.
 

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Greg Gaub
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14,638 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, John and Steve.
I remember seeing your track before. Well done.
More and more digital wood tracks keep popping up, and it's great to see. I still quite enjoy my plastic, so I'm not in a huge rush to convert. That gives me plenty of patience to test and learn so I can get it right the first time.
 
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