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Hi All, Im new here. Ive been reading and taking in some research so that I could attempt something I have wanted to do forever; build my own routed wooden track. It will be a modest size due to lack of space but I intend to use the initial sections later down the line to expand the track into something much larger. Ive never used a router before so wanted to keep it simple.

Here is progress to date. Made a couple of really small errors which I have corrected easily. Learned to hold the router tight to the fence on start and finish to reduce slot steps... I improved my technique throughout. I made 1 more substantial error that I am really annoyed about: 1 of the 4 lanes doesnt quite line up between the 2 sections. I can correct this with a bit of filler and sanding.
I have found using a guitar plectrum works best for applying filler in the slot. I use a really high strength filler that bonds well to MDF and sets really hard...
I also plan to build a 3rd section in the near future to go in the middle which will have lane changers.
I have plans for that and a much larger track with 6 sections..
You can see in the last photo me testing slot depth and width with a variety of cars from Slot.it, Scaley, Fly and Ninco..
 

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Lookin' good, about to embark on building my own wooden track soon so will follow your travels and hopefully learn something along the way.
 

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Looking good for first time attempt.
Will this be braid or copper tape?

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Lookin' good, about to embark on building my own wooden track soon so will follow your travels and hopefully learn something along the way.
Happy to share learning experiences. I spent a lot of time routing different radius corners on scrap wood. I also tried applying braid etc to make sure I could do it. I also made my own router bit to do the gains for the braid... can share what I did too.
 

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Nice work! Yes, it would be interesting to see how you have made your own router bit to do the gains for the braid.
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Nice work! Yes, it would be interesting to see how you have made your own router bit to do the gains for the braid. :thumbsup:
Well in tests I felt a 3mm slot worked best for me at a depth of 7.5mm.

My braid is 5mm in width so I wanted 6mm gains. So I went with a 15mm diameter router bit for the gains... 2x6mm gains + 3mm slot = 15mm.. I found the centre of the bit with careful measurements and drilled a poker straight 5mm deep hole. I then cut 15mm off the end of an old 3mm drill bit. I inserted this into the bit as the slot pilot. I glued this in place with a combination of high contact cement and loctite...

Result:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Practicing with gain router bit and different depths. Really impressed with how deep it will cut without trouble!!
You can also see where I practiced gain depths and widths with braid. This gain is too deep and too wide... wide by 1mm and too deep by 2mm. Maybe it would be ok but wasnt happy!!! So kept tweaking and learning all the way...
Im sure my efforts wont be up to those more experienced but I like to think I am learning quickly!!
 

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That's looking very nice. I like what you did for the recessed braids.

Heath
Thanks. Do people generally leave 1mm of space on the inside slot edge so that the braid doesnt lift as Ive read on here somewhere? I have practiced sticking the braid down with
1. Contact Cement - stinks even after doing a small section. Sticks well but lifts the MDF if you make a mistake and need to pull it up
2. Glue gun - works really well in terms of sticking but makes the braid uneven.. correcting errors and re lifting the braid is ok and doesnt damage the MDF.
3. I have 3m style double sided 5 mm tape (ape tape) yet to try..
 

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Hi

It's not unusual to leave a small gap, it's what the analogue boys do, this allows the builder to paint the slots different colours for id ing the lane..

The mdf lifting is down to your choice of mdf, it looks like it is fluffing up once you've machined it so indicates contract grade mdf, no issue with that but it does require a little more work to get a nice finish, one trick is to paint the slot with diluted pva, this hardens the surrounding mdf but it will all the fluffy buts stand up so it will need sanding before fitting the braid..

Regards fixing, yes good quality double sided tape will work great, especially if the steps mentioned above are taken as this also seals the mdf and stops it bleeding dust which obviously effects the adhesive on the tape...
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And welcome to the forum
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and to the world of routed slot car racing
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If it fluffs its usually old stock thats moisture damaged even if you cant see it.
The 1mm gap is do the guide never touches the braid so it never rips.
Recess is generally 0.8mm deep and double sided tape is the only way to go.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi
It's not unusual to leave a small gap, it's what the analogue boys do, this allows the builder to paint the slots different colours for id ing the lane..

The mdf lifting is down to your choice of mdf, it looks like it is fluffing up once you've machined it so indicates contract grade mdf, no issue with that but it does require a little more work to get a nice finish, one trick is to paint the slot with diluted pva, this hardens the surrounding mdf but it will all the fluffy buts stand up so it will need sanding before fitting the braid..

Regards fixing, yes good quality double sided tape will work great, especially if the steps mentioned above are taken as this also seals the mdf and stops it bleeding dust which obviously effects the adhesive on the tape...:thumbsup:

And welcome to the forum :thumbsup: and to the world of routed slot car racing :thumb:
Thanks for the helpful advice - very kind. The close up pictures are scrap cheap MDF that I'm practicing on. The actual circuit I'm building (first set of pics) is on HD MDF - was quite a bit more expensive and the cuts are cleaner and sharper. Diluted PVA sounds like a great tip - essentially seals the MDF and protects - nice!!
 

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Hi Jim,

yes, we always leave a small gap between the braid and the slot, mostly for reliability but for both reasons stated.

when we need to pull up braid which has been aggressive-type contact cemented down, a big hot soldering iron iron works. we use an old Ungar 90W, usually turned down a tad with a lamp dimmer to tame it a little. use No solder on the iron (usually a sacrificial element), just lay it on the braid til it starts to smoke a little, then start to pull the braid up and push the hot tool along ahead of you. we also use this method on commercial tracks (same recessed braid) along with a roller to re-glue it when a piece sometimes lifts. (overuse of braid juice can contribute to this.) the hot iron melts the glue nicely, for either purpose.

special double-sided tape from SCC in lieu of glue is also used around here (recess painted first, I believe), but I haven't tried to pull any of that up yet.

Speedy
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks all, some great advice which I will follow. My next action is to cut the gains in my actual circuit (not just on scrap MDF). I hope it works out!
 

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A router bit for doing the gains is available from Slot Car Corner. All of our newer tracks used 3M double sided tape to stick down the braid. The gains must be paintede and a solvent must be used to remove any oil from the braid before it is laid down.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BPVudAkaOKKtvn3kPx9G9DUrOWcN44HK/view?usp=sharing
Great- thanks.
Update: Gains are now done. All perfect with no errors. It was surprisingly quick to do. Ive also applied PVA to the area (slot and gains). Its looking really good. My router skills have improved! I find when cutting the gains with the pilot bit, its best to let the router just find its way with gentle very light pressure.

Testing with PVA on scrap MDF - it really holds the fibres together well. I tried different ratios of PVA to water ... 4 parts water to 1 part PVA had the best results for me. It soaked into the MDF well and stood up well to scrubbing with a microfibres cloth once dried pretty well. I then secured test pieces of braid to scrap MDF and let it dry. 4:1 allowed the braid to pull up without damaging the MDF. 2:1 didnt soak in very well and 5:1, 6:1, 7:1 didnt make much different with the microfibre cloth scrub test! So I think I have found a good balance.. some updated photos:
 

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If youre in the Asia Pacific region Mr Slotcar in Melbourne sells braid cleaned and double sided tape attached ready to go.

Rick
 

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I like the non constant radii curves. I find constant radius curves predictable and not the challenge I like. Looks more realistic too. Not easy on your first attempt.

Rick
 
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Hi Slotjim

Really great looking so far , I hope i will eventually get to the stage you are at now ... I cant wait to see your expansion plans .

What size are the boards ... 4x4 and 6x4 or a little smaller ?

All the best

Ian
 
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