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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Noob alert - first post!

Been toying with the idea of having a go at building a permanent track or at least a permanent space in the house for slot racing. We do have a spare room but thats not that big and is home to my PC and RC car stuff so the only place to go is up - the loft/attic.

My house is just a bog standard UK semi so access to the loft is via a hatch which is I'm converting to being hinged with a fold away ladder. This does mean my ability to get materials up there in order to build the layout is limited.

Can anyone provide some good advice with regard to building an attic raceway? The floor boarding is going down slowly and should be finished soon. Haven't got dimensions yet so not sure on track size but nothing to big if it goes permanent so scenery building won't take yonks.

thanks in advance
 

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Buy a good heater for the Winter and a Air con Unit for the Summer, better still have a window put in!
 

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Gary Skipp
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Make sure you have enough sockets etc for a power supply. May sound obvious, but think of things outside of the transformers; lighting, power tools, heating etc.

Good luck with your setup, hope to see some progress in the near future
 

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Its amazing how with a bit of effort you can get an awful lot up through a loft trap.

My dad hadnt boarded large sections of our loft so when I put my permanent track up I firstly finished off the boarding. Instead of using the 1 metre x 30cm boards from Homebase. I got 2.4m x 60cm boards from Wickes. These were only £4 each. These gave me a much larger smoother area with less joins. But imagine trying to maneouvre such large boards in your average loft as its not easy but is possible.
I also have a small sofa bed up there for us to sit on which also took much effort to get up there.

Get as many lights up there as you can. I have 3 normal bulbs spread over the track. Another up the other end of the loft and then fitted a massive Flourescent light which I was given. Together this lights up the track nicely but I did start out with a lot less and it got annoying. They also chuck out tons of heat for when it gets cold. I also have an Electric heater which does a good job of warming it up.
My Loft is just way to hot at the moment so I've not been up there for a month. Apart from Air Con as Jonny said I don't really know what can be done about cooling them down.
 

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Simon Moss (Undisputed #1 Racer Fan)
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Here Scoob, I've always wanted to say that.
I have had a permanent circuit in my loft for the past 8 years. It is made of plexytrack and is pinned down in strategic places round the track to stop the track buckling in severe heat. Like Bobo I have used the larger loft boards purchased from Homebase, Focus etc..
It does get extremely hot in the summer, so I built my circuit next to the loft hatch so as I can stand on the ladder with my head and shoulders just in and race that way. You will find if you open the windows downstairs that you will get a nice cooling draft. Of course this only works if you are racing on your own.
In the winter this is not allowable as you tend to get moans from downstairs that there is an icy draft. In this case I tend to sit right next to a fan heater.

Good luck in your project

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Made a quick start last night with the flooring. The insulation needs a sort out and theres all manner of baby stuff up there (ever hopeful wife refuses to let it go!).

Looking at the space I have, the track isn't going to be huge. Judging by where the hatch is placed and the support beams etc I have about 10 X 6 ft to play with but will need to build an n shaped table to allow hatch access.

Order Tracker software to start thinking up some tracks. Haven't even got anything to race with yet!

One small Q - is SCX track the same as classic style Scalextric track?
 

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I too am thinking of moving up into the loft so this is an interesting read. Dust seems to be a big issue as everything up there is coated in it. Lining the underside of the rafters may help but just to advise that if anybody is thinking of doing this then make sure air can still circulate in the gap between the roof and the lining.

The other thing is marshalling. Cars do come off.

Given that I would only want to marshall from one side, one of those "scoop up" type devices would be useful but of course this could lead to marshalling interfering with racing. However this would permit the best use of loft space for a reasonably mega circuit.

What recommendations can be offered here in terms of track layout from a loft installation point of view?


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Matt Tucker
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I was considering the loft but got a quote for a decent level of sound proofing, electical and lighting and giving better access and it was over £2k. Did not include any windows so temp control would be an issue. Still might be tempted but now plan A is to move my snooker table to the north wing of the house and set up a perm track in my cellar - logest straight there will be a measley 4m compared to a potential 25m in my loft.

Oh the hardship!!!!

Matt
 

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I already have the floor installed so its a matter of tidying up the walls and ceilings with a bit of hardboard or plywood, some studwork, and white emulsion. It would be very nice to have a skylight though. Lighting and wiring can be surface mounted with conduit. Power points will be from an extension lead. That should not be too expensive.

The other option I have considered is a shed in the garden. There are 30 ft x 12 ft sheds available for about £1500. Once a shed is insulated it is not too bad apparently.


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
LONG POST ALERT!

After some proper measurements I'm looking at an L shaped table after all. 3m along the length with 2m along the leg. Its not going to be a big track and the main straight won't be more than 6 standard scaley straights long. I could go longer with the leg but the water tank and chimney are going to get in the way of building the table and marshalling.

Also I don't really want to bite more than I can chew regarding buidling the table and creating scenery once I decide on a permanent layout. The boards according to a mate come in 2m by 1.2m which cut down the middle will fit fine through the hatch.

For the table I plan to hang lengths of wood between the roof joists cut to the same angle so they effectively sit on the joists. In between the lengths I'll place legs to support the table to prevent sagging and to distribute the weight of the table evenly across the roof - this also stops the whole table being supported by the ceiling alone together with mine and my racing collleagues weight - the joists themselves are plenty strong enough to take the slight loading.

I've bought all the floor boarding I need already as it was on special half price. The construction of the table won't cost more than about £50 tops. The most expensive item is the foldaway ladder at about £60 for the kit.

The attic already has a flouescent light strip which provides decent lighting but I'll be installing more lighting and sockets etc for the track. I've done it before in my old house by tapping into the upstairs light circuit. May not be the "proper" way of doing things but I didn't have any issues bofore with the old house.

Got some good ideas using tracker 2000 which is an excellent little tool.
 

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Well I know about this because my dad used to have a permanant model railway in what sounds like a similar house to mine. He put some floor down and carpet. Then built some tables around the loft. He didn't use all of the loft but just the middle (about 5x5 metres). He had a light fitted but no heater and it was terribly cold in winter and hot in summer. There is also a ladder and hatch to get up there. I dont really like going up that ladder though cos you nearly hang above the stairs!!!
 

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Another "lofty" here - it was all the space I could get sanctioned by SWMBO!

I spent a lot of time on Tracker playing with different layouts and tested them in a larger room before deciding on the final one. I think you really need to test before building a permanent layout to make sure you don't get bored.

Some like long straights but mine (posted elsewhere on another thread) is very twisty as I wanted to squeeze as much as possible into a small area. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but it was what I wanted and I am not bored of it yet (I was using it earlier this evening!).

I also wanted a lot changes in elevation. I am mad keen on flat tracks anyway and I wanted to make it more interesting for my kids (from their height viewpoint). If you are stuck in a small space changes in elevation can make more of the space available.

Good luck

Mark
 

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Hi all,
I'm another that's heading for the loft, and also have the usual probs of access, and am just using an ally ladder at the mo, but there's heaps of room up there, and I can stand UPRIGHT in most places he he.
My track will be routed MDF, with two lanes running at around 100'
Because of the difficulty in getting stuff through the hatch, I found it a good idea to number the boards that were cut along the cut edge. This way they mate up perfectly if they need to be joined.
One major mistake was starting to rout the track up there... the dust just doesn't go away, and covers everything.
Design of the track was with SlotManager, and due to the roof supports it had to be designed around them, but I am still able to get some nice long runs, along with a few challanging turns and ease of marshalling.

Hatch is at the left between the two end curves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
^^^If only I had the space!!^^^

Came up with this track yesterday. Doesn't leave much room for scenery if it goes permanent so may have to reduce it a bit.



I want one straight as long as possible with a nice reasonably fast follow on corner. Granted 6 straights isn't much but I can't really get much longer in the space I have. The longest straight would also be elevated. Each lane is equal 13.78m

One thing has occured to me that perhaps I should build free tables rather than use the roof joists as using the joists will mean I won't be able to reach the far corners of the track for marshalling or for scenery building.

Should finish the floor today hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Having spent the best part of a day in the loft I can safely say its unlikely I'll be continuing with the loft idea. The insulation is micro-fibre and is very irritating to skin and lungs


Only thing I could try now is the parts that aren't borded over I hang old curtains up from the horizontal joists in an effort to reduce the fibres.

Either that or replace the lot which is one heck of a job and even done by me is going to cost a fair penny as non-irritant insulation isn't cheap!
 

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DT
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ScoobyDriver, cover up your insulation, either with 3 or 5 mm ply wood or a layer of plastic metalic insulation that can be stapled onto the roof joists. No dust that way.
 

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I agree with Nuro. You do have to create an environment in the loft that is dust free (and fibre free) and that does mean lining areas off. I would not want a loft circuit unless this was done first. Note my earlier comment in connection with lining.

As previously stated make sure that you have a cavity to allow air to circulate between your rafters if you are lining the underside of these. This is very important to prevent rot. In fact if you are going to be in the loft a lot it is well worth while getting a board with a thermal backing as lining as this will keep any rising hot air that enters the loft area through the open hatch within the loft space, keeping you warmer in winter.


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