SlotForum banner
1 - 20 of 65 Posts

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought it would be fun to keep a thread detailing my HO slot car 'closet track' transformation.

This 5 ft x 9 ft track was originally designed 16 years ago, to fold in half, and roll away into a closet in my old
loft cottage. The table DID do as I had planned, at the cost of having to remove 12 sections of
track each time I stored the raceway. It was a tedious process trying to pop AFX track sections in
and out of a screwed down layout. The downside of this table is it fit in a closet nicely, and after I
moved into a bigger home, it sat in a closet for over a decade... Real life got in the way.

I can say I maximized using as much of the table as possible, while creating a somewhat challenging track
with a fair amount of straights and hairpins.



The track was wired meticulously by yours truly... 馃き



...with an AFX plug in transformer for each lane that plugged into an outlet strip on the outside
of the table. Power was routed to 2 sections of the track, each about half way through the circuit,
with a common ground block. 馃 Okay, okay... I'm not proud of it either....

The table unfolded on door hinges, and stood on folding table legs.



Those of you that are really paying attention will see this picture also shows completely revamped
wiring, with 4 completely isolated circuits, new power supplies, one for each lane, with proper wire management. :cool:
Sadly, those legs broke shortly after this picture was taken.
(New folding legs were built. Properly supported hard wood legs.)



So that's a recap of where this journey started.

Where is this whole thing going? Good question....
(Spoiler: The table doesn't fold anymore)
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Let's talk about the room for a bit, and how this track will be incorporated into it.

The room was once a spare bedroom, that was painted by my lovely wife before we met.
Wifey is openly candid about her lack of 'design savvy', and decided to try sponge painting
in this room.





It made my eyes bleed. The circa 1985 beige berber carpet really completed the look.

I went a bit radical myself, and decided on a grey/dark gray color palette.





A fresh coat of paint goes a long way. I've since finished the paint, and decided
the carpet had to go.... and it did.

I found a slate looking laminate floor for a good price, and spent 2 days
completing the look.





The macho butchness factor has tripled, at least. The room is now ready for
manly slot cars... Ironically enough, the track never left the room.

You see, It raises up to the ceiling....



I've set up a pulley system on an electric winch..



Not too shabby. Table has been reinforced. I lag bolted the 2 halves together, and
incorporated a 4 wire pulley set up. I'm planning on the bottom of the table being
8-10 inches from the ceiling, leaving a tad more than 7 ft head space.

The design will incorporate safety cables for securing the table raised, safely, and
a soffit (ceiling island) for it to raise up into with LED Lighting for the room
and the track integrated into that soffit.

Ambitious, eh?

The track layout needed to change because of the lift points. The new layout
will look something like this:



Four 90 degree banked turns highlight the outside section of the track, into an overpass,
that leads into a tight chicane thiggy, then leads on to a technical infield.

The mock up barely ran, because of badly oxidized track, but it ran a 4 gear
round (keep speed on the outside!), and a Super G+ was frikkin' fast around
the circuit.

Now comes the track build....
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Made some progress this weekend. Because of the (4) banked turns (yeah... psycho), and the overpass,
I'm going to need some supports. The overpass will be easy enough. My real dilemma is in and out of those
banked turns, and the turns themselves.

On my original track set up, the (1) 180 degree banked turn was hot glued together, and propped up with a
hodge podge of cut up wood I had gotten from a friend. No real tools to speak of, so it was less than perfect.
All I can say is... it worked... kinda. :rolleyes:

My focus this weekend was on the (2) short straights between banked turns, and the (4) banked turns themselves.
All I really need to do is keep the angle of the track consistent, and on one side, put in powered tracks.



I fabbed up (2) 33 inch long supports, and put bases on them that I can use to screw them down with.
On one side I drilled holes to run the power wires through to each lane.







Pretty straight forward. The banked turns required a bit more creative intrepidity. First I took the old banked
turn set (destroyed with glue by yours truly) and mocked a turn up that was 90 degrees. With some plywood and
some 'envisioning tape' I set this up to make all the banking supports a consistent height. I clipped the tracks
together underneath, and used tape to keep the pieces in position. Screws in the plywood base made both
straights perpendicular. Now the track is in the position needed to support it. It seems just a few degrees off
of 90 degrees and the support heights tend to vary.



I then proceeded to cut out cardboard supports until I got what I needed. (tedious)
I really only need the center of the bank supported, because the straights will have supports
right up to the turn. I came up with this:



A support for each 45 degree piece of track on a base that I can use to screw down to the table.
This makes for a very stable turn, and all four turns will be consistent.



I'm happy with the progress so far. I still have (5) tricky supports to build.
(2) supports on the back straight. Coming out of a banked turn, transitioning
to level then back to another banked turn. One support exiting a banked turn,
then transitioning to the overpass, one coming out of the overpass and
back to table level for the infield (which has been changing). The last, leaving
the infield and going into the 1st banked turn.

This is by far the most complex set up I've attempted, short of trying to run a
track up and down two flights of stairs when I was a 'wee lad'. I'm happy with
it so far, though progress is slower than I'd like.



The track in it's current configuration:

 

Registered
Joined
981 Posts
I built up mine in the following fashion: First, I made poster/cardboard templates. I made mine 2 or so inches wider than the track. A 180 will look like a "c" with the ends spread apart. Pull 'em together, and you got a banked turn foundation.

I transferred that onto thin masonite. Made the transitions as long as possible. I pulled the masonite together and attached at the end of the transitions first. I then placed supports every so often. Also, I feathered the ends of the masonite so the track smoothly transitions onto the plywood tabletop.

Screwed down the track in every available location.

Optional: Fill with low expansion foam, cover the foam with duct tape and then fiberglass (the 'glass eats the foam).

I have been following this thread and am very impressed with your work. All of it. That is going to be a beautiful thing when completed.
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I built up mine in the following fashion: First, I made poster/cardboard templates. I made mine 2 or so inches wider than the track. A 180 will look like a "c" with the ends spread apart. Pull 'em together, and you got a banked turn foundation.

I transferred that onto thin masonite. Made the transitions as long as possible. I pulled the masonite together and attached at the end of the transitions first. I then placed supports every so often. Also, I feathered the ends of the masonite so the track smoothly transitions onto the plywood tabletop.

Screwed down the track in every available location.

Optional: Fill with low expansion foam, cover the foam with duct tape and then fiberglass (the 'glass eats the foam).

I have been following this thread and am very impressed with your work. All of it. That is going to be a beautiful thing when completed.
Thanks, and thanks for the building tips! I鈥檒l especially use cutting templates larger鈥. Great idea. The Overpass and back straight are going to be a challenge!

A , P bass, PJ Bass , Epi Violin Bass and Elembic?...............and lefty too. My slots are stored with my Stratocaster, SG, LP Jr and Partscaster....rightys.:)
(L to R). My first 鈥榗heapo鈥 bass, 鈥榝rankenbassed鈥 with a proper neck, pickups and tuners. A Schecter Studio 4 (best player), A Fender Aerodyne, and a Hofner 500/1 Contemporary (every Beatles fan needs one!). My babies!
 

Registered
Joined
981 Posts
The trick is to fit the track to the template over and over again. Same with the masonite. On top of everything else, the banks want to have little dips in the middle of tbe sections. Steeper bank sometimes will fix.

Preferably, have the base meet the track perfectly. If you tie the track down, it WILL conform to the base. Make sure you like it...

I have done this dance twice. The second time 20 years later because I was unsatisfied with the first.
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nice track ! What kind of chassis will you run on this ?
Anything that鈥檒l hang on angled straights! 馃槀

I have a good variety of AFX Super G+, a few Mega G+, a bunch of Tbird/Autoworld, I鈥檓 not sure the Tbird stockers will run the outside of this set up without some modifications, but, it鈥檚 set up for sticky fast cars, so we鈥檒l 鈥榓dapt鈥!
 

Registered
Joined
284 Posts
(L to R). My first 鈥榗heapo鈥 bass, 鈥榝rankenbassed鈥 with a proper neck, pickups and tuners. A Schecter Studio 4 (best player), A Fender Aerodyne, and a Hofner 500/1 Contemporary (every Beatles fan needs one!). My babies!
Ah.....Im not up on my basses, Im a guitar player my axes as of now are a Gibson SG with 490t/490r pickups, Gibson LP Jr P90, Stratocaster Olympic White with rosewood board(all stock). And a Partscaster with a scalloped neck(by me) original 70s Dimarzio Super D pickup in bridge and dimarzio single coils.
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The trick is to fit the track to the template over and over again. Same with the masonite. On top of everything else, the banks want to have little dips in the middle of tbe sections. Steeper bank sometimes will fix.

Preferably, have the base meet the track perfectly. If you tie the track down, it WILL conform to the base. Make sure you like it...

I have done this dance twice. The second time 20 years later because I was unsatisfied with the first.
History: I had (2) 90 degree banks on my 1st 'club' set up years ago. The turns were
propped up by the plastic supports supplied by AFX. Ummmmm.... they don't work. The 2nd iteration had the 180 degree bank which stayed in the layout, effectively stretching the
back straight another 6 ft.

Inspiration: Kinda wanted a 'brickyard' outer track with a road course infield... A little Laguna Seca nod, with the dropped chicane after the overpass. I'm tired of 1 dimensional
'Sebring' style tracks. My plans to revamp this room has made the track a major
feature of the room, so it needs to be done right!

I have the original power tracks and power supply, so I can tap power into the loop and get a feel
for the track when I want to. That's why the infield is changing. The outside is what it is.. done.
The infield has to be challenging, not aggravating. A fine line.

My 'plan' is to get the outside done first as far as structures supporting the turns and straights.
This part of the circuit is very straight forward. 90 degree turns and straight track.
Once that's in place I will focus on the overpass and then the infield. When the entire track
is clipped together and is free of cracked turns, I'll start securing the supports, and then the track.
Some of the elevated turns are going to have about 3/4 inch wide run offs so the outside lane
can slide out a bit. NOW I'm cutting those supported turns about 3 inches wider, then cutting
to size after the track set up is finalized. ;)

The finish work, aka the details will be done with 4 mil cosplay foam for curved walls and foam board
for run offs and straight barriers... but that's a bit beyond the light at the end of the tunnel...
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Real life is being a terrible nuisance, and getting in the way of my fun...

I did get some things accomplished. No I didn't. I got a whole bunch of stuff started, and
absolutely nothing finished. While there was a 'no noise request' for a hen clucking session,
I took some time to start some of the tedious things that will need to be addressed.

Rails... About 12 years of oxidation, and the prime contributor of a mainly crappy experience.
So I started wiping down each section of the track with a damp microfiber cloth, drying it with
another right away, trying to get the dust and remodeling soot up. I followed that with a good
rail cleaning with an 800 grit 'fret eraser' to find some clean metal. Fret erasers are awesome
for cleaning rails. A stiff eraser like block with an abrasive of varying grits... from 120 to 8000.
(Get 'em off the jungle site or wee bay, Stew Mac is pricey.)



Once the noise ban was lifted, I immediately stopped cleaning tracks and rails, and got to
work on supports. I made 4 larger supports for the track before/after the banked turns,
and 2 shorter ones for the back straight to 'shape' the transition to the bank.





The plan is to bring the track from bank to level in 30 inches. 1/4 inch plywood is being
used for all the transitions, and the overpass. This was fiddly, but I'm glad it's not quite done. :rolleyes:
I started to bevel one end of the plywood... needs more... YES! Another incomplete task!



As I was trying to position and test fit this piece of plywood, a lot of movement had occurred,
and the track was disassembling itself. (Been there?? Bet you have!) So I decided to switch
gears yet again... taking the time to clip about 80% of the infield tracks together with those
fiddly little AFX clips that shoot across the room into a micro black hole to be lost forever
(or until you're walking around barefoot. Yee-ouch!).



With most of the outside track already clipped, just a few key areas are not
clipped, so I can lift/move sections as needed. So, another job almost done,
time to move on... While I had the saw(s) set up, I figured I'd take a stab at
the overpass. I spent a looong time (too long) working out the cut lines,
because I wanted to keep turns in one piece, and shape slide out areas at
the outside of each turn.





They still need some sanding work to smooth out the run off areas,
but they fit beautifully after 3 or 4 'fit then trim' sessions.

The better half blew the whistle, and I was done for the day... Crap. That's five
things on the to do list started, none finished... I hate it when that happens.

To do:
  • Supports and plywood for transition from banked turn to overpass
  • Supports and plywood for transition from banked turn to level (exiting infield)
  • Supports and plywood for transition from overpass to level (infield)
  • Cut plywood for back straight (banked turn to level)
  • Cut supports for overpass
  • Finish cleaning track and Rails
  • Finish clipping track sections together

So far.....


Where I started... (at least THAT worked!) :sneaky:

 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not much progress this week, as I got the 'funk' at the end of the week,
and it took the wind right out of my sails. What little I did cobble together,
came out fairly well. I spent all of my time on one thing this time, beating
down my A.D.D. with Advil, Sudafed and Nyquil!

Most of the work was tedious, just what you want to do when you're not
in the mood to do anything but fester under a blanket sipping herb tea.

Following the line of travel on the course, the last banked turn leads into
the overpass section, so there's combined angle and elevation changes
to be made approaching the overpass.



The last support on the right is angled to help get the track from a bank to flat in about 25 inches.
Just that 1/2 inch drop on the inside smooths out that part of the track nicely.



Here's a quick look at the underside. All the supports are wood glued and screwed together with one inch screws.
The elevation of the overpass is 2 inches from the table, 1 3/4 inches from the top of the track. Supports sit flush
to the sides of the plywood to act as additional support for walls.

Here's a lovely picture of a splinter of wood on the carpet with the bridge supports blurred in the background. :rolleyes:



The banked turn leading into the supported overpass



The second part of the overpass, is an "S" curve leading to a short straight going down to the infield. I cut and attached
the supports to the "S" curve and finished shaping the plywood around the turns to accommodate the run offs.



There is a seam (far right) that landed in a terrible spot, that I will secure a bit better with some wood glue, veneer
and clamps next time. What really adds to the suck is it lies right under a spot tracks connect, so I can't 'cheat'
and use the tracks to suck it back up... Way to go Me!

Here's a fantastic shot of some scrap plywood, with the other side of the "S" curve supports in the background. :rolleyes:



Overall, a fair bit accomplished. The overpass is my bane, because I've never constructed
one properly for a permanent layout. That last piece of plywood leading down to the infield
will likely put the track back on the table after the turn.... indicated by a strategically placed
crumbled up green microfiber towel... (that came in handy.)



So, while I didn't get nearly as much done as I would've liked, something was
accomplished. (Besides using 8 or 9 rolls of toilet paper that's been lying around
since the pandemic for blowing my nose... (wifey STILL not living that one down! :devilish: )

Hoping this upcoming weekend is more productive... Having all the supports in place
and buttoned down with the track tacked in place would be nice.

  • Supports and plywood for transition from banked turn to overpass
  • Supports and plywood for transition from banked turn to level (exiting infield)
  • Supports and plywood for transition from overpass to level (infield)
  • Cut plywood for back straight (banked turn to level) - 1/2 done
  • Cut supports for overpass
  • Finish cleaning track and Rails
  • Finish clipping track sections together
  • Finish overpass plywood shaping*(I added this to make myself feel better)
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Looking pretty impressive!

Along the way I have learned that any "breaks" in your support surface work better if they are in between joints.

Maybe something to consider as you forge along.
Thanks!

Yeah鈥 still kicking myself in the arse for that little blunder. It鈥檚 what happens when you 鈥榝orge ahead鈥 without thinking it through. Not much weight, fortunately, so it鈥檚 fixable鈥. (Shhhh no one else will know when it鈥檚 done) 馃ぃ
 

Registered
Joined
981 Posts
As is perhaps self evident, the above should have read "in between track joints".

Only about half of mine are like that (took a while for the lightbulb to go off). Also, if I am going to have two pieces of "surface" that are elevated, I use a vertical chunk of 2 x 4 for that support so there will be plenty of material to tie both pieces to.

"(Shhhh no one else will know when it鈥檚 done)"-- Mcfly
Heck, ain't sure of what I know now (regardless of topic).
 

Registered
Joined
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
The pace seems to have fallen off this week, but any progress is welcome. I'm getting real close to
securing the track, and all the supports and elevated sections are wood tone, which will completely
ruin my 'road course motif'. Soooo I grabbed all the half full rattle cans of black spray paint that
infect my shelves in the garage and started makin' things 'blend in' a bit more.







I think part of the 'slow down' is black paint after each piece is constructed eatin' time up.
The run-up to turn one is now constructed, and screwed in place... painted.





I also have the whole back straight supported... with some catch up painting to do!!



Keep in mind, that the track itself is not screwed down yet, so things might look a little outta whack. I'm also
going to cut a couple of more braces to 'shape' the back straight a little smoother. Fine tuning, if you will...
...that will have to wait until I can get some laps in at speed to see how the transitions work.

The last of the supports to fab up is coming off the overpass into the infield. Then I can start screwing more
supports down.



So a little back peddling with the paint, and some progress forward...
  • Supports and plywood for transition from banked turn to level (exiting infield)
  • Supports and plywood for transition from overpass to level (infield)
  • Cut plywood for back straight (banked turn to level)
  • Finish cleaning track and Rails
  • Finish clipping track sections together
Got a 3 day weekend comin' up. I think I'm going to switch gears a little, and get some
lighting in the room... then I can do a bit here and there in the evening. :cool:
 
1 - 20 of 65 Posts
Top