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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My on-the-ground based layout is starting to take shape and now my thoughts are moving towards how to make a real layout with the scenery. I have a basic layout that seems to be pretty promising right now but need to add a bit more to it before building it into a full-time track. My question is, how do I go about thinking in terms of elevation, I am assuming the backside of the track needs to be the tallest for visibility reasons but are there any other suggestions guidelines I should take into consideration?

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Here is my current layout. I am thinking to extend the length by about 4 straights allowing for an extension of the "S" section plus opening up more of free space on the left part of the track to hopefully allow space for a mountain climb section. I would also like to work in a tunnel section but not sure it is possible or advisable to do so. I have been watching Boon's Slot Car Garage so I have all kinds of crazy ideas bouncing around in my head now!

Cheers,

Roger
 

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Don’t do a tunnel unless you enjoy fishing cars out from the depths…I prefer smother flows, but with scenery the goal yours should be fine..try propping up sections..the trade off is between sight lines with elevating the back side, and often dodgy descents usually less is more..while dead flat looks odd vs reality, so do aggressive ev elation changes in a short space…maybe create a scenery reason for the elevations- a water feature under the track, a walkway thru…or set the whole layout into a slope to one back corner..
 

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Greg Gaub
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I'm in the camp of "tunnels should only be covering up straights with no fancy tracks to create crashing hazards."

Also, if you're happy with your layout, then by all means, go for it and have fun. Ignore everything that follows...

What I see, however, lacks flow and rhythm. I would suggest holding off on scenery beyond the imagination phase until you're done changing the layout. There are a number of things we all learn along the way, either over time by ourselves, or with help from those who have already been through it. You can speed up your learning process by inviting people over to race, and by asking for suggestions on how to improve your layout. I want to be supportive, and not discouraging, so I will leave it there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Don’t do a tunnel unless you enjoy fishing cars out from the depths…I prefer smother flows, but with scenery the goal yours should be fine..try propping up sections..the trade off is between sight lines with elevating the back side, and often dodgy descents usually less is more..while dead flat looks odd vs reality, so do aggressive ev elation changes in a short space…maybe create a scenery reason for the elevations- a water feature under the track, a walkway thru…or set the whole layout into a slope to one back corner..
Thank you, I was planning for the tunnel to be on a straight if I did it and in the style of European snow fall tunnels, the kind that are open on one side. I appreciate your feedback and certainly want to hold back on the desire to put too much into the layout just because 😏
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm in the camp of "tunnels should only be covering up straights with no fancy tracks to create crashing hazards."

Also, if you're happy with your layout, then by all means, go for it and have fun. Ignore everything that follows...

What I see, however, lacks flow and rhythm. I would suggest holding off on scenery beyond the imagination phase until you're done changing the layout. There are a number of things we all learn along the way, either over time by ourselves, or with help from those who have already been through it. You can speed up your learning process by inviting people over to race, and by asking for suggestions on how to improve your layout. I want to be supportive, and not discouraging, so I will leave it there.
I see what you are saying but since my Spanish is still less than adequate, it makes having friends come over here in Spain a little harder. I am good with direct feedback so feel free to tell me what you think, I know enough to know I know very little about this hobby!
 

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Greg Gaub
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What is your allowable space for your track? Not what you're currently using, but what can you get away with, given the following limitations: space for your other necessities in the room (work bench, display shelves, pouty couch (for when someone loses the race), TV, etc; Space to move round the track table in order to marshal crashed cars, drive from other sides of the track, work on scenery, etc; other. :) I ask because we all will inevitably make a track larger and larger until we cannot make it any larger, so I usually suggest cutting to the chase. ;-)

Given what I already see in your plan, I'll assume that an extra pack of some kind of track is not out of the question, and will design a track that checks all my boxes for what makes a good track for racing, as well as one with room for scenery, including pit building(s) of some kind.

Regardless of what I, or anyone else, suggests, you should build it and race on it a bunch before tackling scenery. Even when I think I have an ideal track designed, unless I've actually driven a car on it, there's no way to know for sure if it races as good as it looks like it will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What is your allowable space for your track? Not what you're currently using, but what can you get away with, given the following limitations: space for your other necessities in the room (work bench, display shelves, pouty couch (for when someone loses the race), TV, etc; Space to move round the track table in order to marshal crashed cars, drive from other sides of the track, work on scenery, etc; other. :) I ask because we all will inevitably make a track larger and larger until we cannot make it any larger, so I usually suggest cutting to the chase. ;-)

Given what I already see in your plan, I'll assume that an extra pack of some kind of track is not out of the question, and will design a track that checks all my boxes for what makes a good track for racing, as well as one with room for scenery, including pit building(s) of some kind.

Regardless of what I, or anyone else, suggests, you should build it and race on it a bunch before tackling scenery. Even when I think I have an ideal track designed, unless I've actually driven a car on it, there's no way to know for sure if it races as good as it looks like it will.
The space available is not yet established, the room that I have been setting up in is an option and is capable of holding a track about twice the length and maybe a little wider while still having space for a couch etc. I know I am a bit away from adding scenery and want to do more testing as suggested, I guess it is really more about how do I continue to test and adjust the track in a way that will work for my end goals of having it with scenery and a climb.
 

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Greg Gaub
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Gotcha. You're not so close to final planning as I had feared, so plenty of time to test and learn and adjust. Great!

Here are my general tips for digital track design.
1) start with the longest possible straight.
2) end that straight with the widest possible turn. This "extends" the straight by allowing one to enter the turn at a higher speed. Note that it's not necessary to do a FULL turn using that largest radius. Closing the radius works well, too. E.g. an R4, R3, R2, R1 combo works nicely.
3) If possible, do the same at the beginning of the straight, so that you can carry more speed through the final turn. Sometimes this allows you to make a track with a "straight" that is two or even three sides of your table.
4) Put your pit lane along that straight and make it as long as you can. If possible, add a second pit lane (two lane pit) with a lane changer in the middle, to give multiple racers the option of where to stop to perform their pit functions, so that they are not blocking, or blocked by other cars doing other things. It's OK to have the pit lane bypassing the CU/lap counter track. There are ways to make sure cars going through the pit lane get their lap.
5) Connect the ends of your long straight with a wide variety of turns and straights. Any given turn should not be identical to any other turn on the layout, if at all possible to avoid. Remember, you'll be doing thousands of laps. The lap itself should not be repetitive.
6) break up the "slot car track" look by using partial turns to create interesting angles.
7) when you make "esses" don't just string a bunch of R1/60 in a row. (See #5). A single back and forth is enough. Anything more and you're just filling space and making it monotonous.
8) Lane changers of ANY kind (straight, curved, chicane, pits) should be preceded by at least one full straight whenever possible. Even magnet cars can slide and result in a missed lane change. This is especially important for SSD, which doesn't reset the flipper when the car passes through. At least with Carrera, you won't get unintended lane changes. You can break this rule without too much consequence EXCEPT for the pit lane entry. Make sure it's practically impossible for a car to be sliding while passing over the pit lane changer sensor.
9) use a single bridge to create a figure 8 track, NOT a paper clip (see image below). Ideally, the underpass should be straight so that you are not needing to use fine control of the car while you can't see it. If you need to have turns where the track crosses over itself, put them on the top, and the straight on the bottom.
10) BORDERS BORDERS BORDERS. Even if you'll be making your own borders during the landscape phase, please, for the love of all that is holy, include room for cars to slide on the outside of EVERY turn, and some at the exits of turns for when cars are still sliding/wiggling as they straighten up. You will never regret keeping this in mind, but most people regret ignoring it sooner or later.
11) have fun. :)
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Good stuff Greg…think About what the goal is- a full on race design…a quasi model railroad layout focussed on scenery…or a home track with scenery as visual interest …with the scenery think of access- once done it can be challenging to get at spots on the layout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Gotcha. You're not so close to final planning as I had feared, so plenty of time to test and learn and adjust. Great!

Here are my general tips for digital track design.
1) start with the longest possible straight.
2) end that straight with the widest possible turn. This "extends" the straight by allowing one to enter the turn at a higher speed. Note that it's not necessary to do a FULL turn using that largest radius. Closing the radius works well, too. E.g. an R4, R3, R2, R1 combo works nicely.
3) If possible, do the same at the beginning of the straight, so that you can carry more speed through the final turn. Sometimes this allows you to make a track with a "straight" that is two or even three sides of your table.
4) Put your pit lane along that straight and make it as long as you can. If possible, add a second pit lane (two lane pit) with a lane changer in the middle, to give multiple racers the option of where to stop to perform their pit functions, so that they are not blocking, or blocked by other cars doing other things. It's OK to have the pit lane bypassing the CU/lap counter track. There are ways to make sure cars going through the pit lane get their lap.
5) Connect the ends of your long straight with a wide variety of turns and straights. Any given turn should not be identical to any other turn on the layout, if at all possible to avoid. Remember, you'll be doing thousands of laps. The lap itself should not be repetitive.
6) break up the "slot car track" look by using partial turns to create interesting angles.
7) when you make "esses" don't just string a bunch of R1/60 in a row. (See #5). A single back and forth is enough. Anything more and you're just filling space and making it monotonous.
8) Lane changers of ANY kind (straight, curved, chicane, pits) should be preceded by at least one full straight whenever possible. Even magnet cars can slide and result in a missed lane change. This is especially important for SSD, which doesn't reset the flipper when the car passes through. At least with Carrera, you won't get unintended lane changes. You can break this rule without too much consequence EXCEPT for the pit lane entry. Make sure it's practically impossible for a car to be sliding while passing over the pit lane changer sensor.
9) use a single bridge to create a figure 8 track, NOT a paper clip (see image below). Ideally, the underpass should be straight so that you are not needing to use fine control of the car while you can't see it. If you need to have turns where the track crosses over itself, put them on the top, and the straight on the bottom.
10) BORDERS BORDERS BORDERS. Even if you'll be making your own borders during the landscape phase, please, for the love of all that is holy, include room for cars to slide on the outside of EVERY turn, and some at the exits of turns for when cars are still sliding/wiggling as they straighten up. You will never regret keeping this in mind, but most people regret ignoring it sooner or later.
11) have fun. :) View attachment 281604
Wow, this is like the guidebook to building a digital track! Thank you so much for all the good info! As you guys can probably tell, I am a bit excited about this whole new hobby! I had RC cars back in the States and always thought I wanted to try slot cars but never had the chance then when I moved to Spain I found out slot cars are popular here so eventually I jumped in, glad I did! Thank you again for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good stuff Greg…think About what the goal is- a full on race design…a quasi model railroad layout focussed on scenery…or a home track with scenery as visual interest …with the scenery think of access- once done it can be challenging to get at spots on the layout.

Good point. Originally I thought I was going to be more about the scenery but now I think it needs to be a mix of racing and scenery. Looking forward to coming up with something fun to drive and cool to look at!
 

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Greg Gaub
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I think, if planned well, a track can be all of those things.

Certainly, though, if someone primarily enjoys one aspect of the hobby, they don't mind if their track does not cater to other aspects. For example, my track is a technically challenging digital racing track. Decorations are an afterthought and are kept to a minimum to reduce any obstruction of the view of your cars while racing. As much as I love seeing really nicely modeled scenic tracks (so many wonderful examples on this site), I've never particularly enjoyed doing it, so my track table barely has room for any. :)

If scenery is your favorite part, then the driving can take a back seat and you'll probably enjoy the track all the same whether the layout has "flow" or not. :)
 

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@Minime
The track in posting one does not look like is produces any fun, especially not for a longer time.
You have around 590x210 as space, there should be something much more interesting to drive possible.

The Bridge/Tunnel is for same length of lanes.
If you want side-to-side fightning, you should take a layout with same lane length.

edit:
an idea: Softy Bahnplaner - DER Online Streckenplaner
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Minime
The track in posting one does not look like is produces any fun, especially not for a longer time.
You have around 590x210 as space, there should be something much more interesting to drive possible.

The Bridge/Tunnel is for same length of lanes.
If you want side-to-side fightning, you should take a layout with same lane length.

edit:
an idea: Softy Bahnplaner - DER Online Streckenplaner
I am sure it can be a much better track and thanks to your feedback and feedback from others I have a better chance of making it fun! It is actually really exciting to know the current layout is missing some key points since driving it is already fun for me and it’s just going to get better! Thanks for the help.
 

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It’s your track, your hobby..so don’t let anyone tell you how to have fun..run what you have and in a short while expereince will tell your where the frustrations pop up…is fast, flowing your style or more to the on/off touring …those are personal preferences..as well consider who else might use the layout. For kids a flowing track, power turned low is less frustrating thst something more demanding …do you enjoy scale modelling with your cars sugh that you don’t want to risk crash damage, or are you ok with missing wings/mirrors..for now, enjoy..adjust your voltage, run every car you have…and ask yourself if it’s getting dull or if it’s got some annoying aspects..
 

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There are some issues with which you prevent tracks from being funny:

short straights in corners same direction (as we have her at 3 corners), feel weird when driving
tight - wide - tight corner (and the other way) (as we have here 3 times again), no flow in the corner
to little space after corner into lane change (1 time here), frustrating when then cars can't work the sensor because your are drifting
narrow lanes are for crashing not racing

If you prevent those from the beginning you will have a better track from the start.
Maybe you want a track with a bad flow in corners and possible crashing with destroying your cars on purpose...
Then forget my 4 lines above an go on.

edit:
I took the Track from posting #1 and transformed it with "basics" I mentioned.
The layout did not really changed. but I think you can see in the flow.
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p.s.: And yes I am german and sometimes we (Germans) are ridiculously annoying when we think we got a point... sorry for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There are some issues with which you prevent tracks from being funny:

short straights in corners same direction (as we have her at 3 corners), feel weird when driving
tight - wide - tight corner (and the other way) (as we have here 3 times again), no flow in the corner
to little space after corner into lane change (1 time here), frustrating when then cars can't work the sensor because your are drifting
narrow lanes are for crashing not racing

If you prevent those from the beginning you will have a better track from the start.
Maybe you want a track with a bad flow in corners and possible crashing with destroying your cars on purpose...
Then forget my 4 lines above an go on.

edit:
I took the Track from posting #1 and transformed it with "basics" I mentioned.
The layout did not really changed. but I think you can see in the flow.
View attachment 281652

p.s.: And yes I am german and sometimes we (Germans) are ridiculously annoying when we think we got a point... sorry for that.
LOL! I had a good laugh with the line about "Maybe you want a track with bad flow in corners"! The example you showed is great and I see how it could have a much better flow than what I have. I will continue to play around with it and see what I can come up with. I have brought some of the tips into the track planner and thus far I have a pretty crazy-looking pretzel!

Cheers!
 

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It’s your track, your hobby..so don’t let anyone tell you how to have fun..run what you have and in a short while experience will tell your where the frustrations pop up…is fast, flowing your style or more to the on/off touring …those are personal preferences..as well consider who else might use the layout. For kids a flowing track, power turned low is less frustrating thst something more demanding …do you enjoy scale modelling with your cars sugh that you don’t want to risk crash damage, or are you ok with missing wings/mirrors..for now, enjoy..adjust your voltage, run every car you have…and ask yourself if it’s getting dull or if it’s got some annoying aspects..
Hi. I'm new to slot cars and SlotForums. Started 2 years ago,never had any previous contact,Starting at a young 86 YO.Have built an approx; 94 foot + Scalextric digital track " JEDAREVRAY RACEWAY" with 3 crossings and two pit lanes and will post plans with all items used, number and position of each,should anyone wish to build something similar, will also include pictures.Size of layout is 4.8 m x 2m. given time and how to! All track has R2,R3 & R4 curves, a few mixed and a slightly raised section, partly scenicd. A few buildings and some trees and shrubs

Oh need some conifers at a few cent each? Buy a cheap artificial Christmas tree, use each of the fronds, branches! and you have, hundreds of them, ranging in size, in my case up to 7 inches high. Stick them in with a 1/8 or 3/16 hole. Mine have a soft wire trunk? so also make a good soft barrier for any stray cars! And the trees easily straightened out after.

I'm from the land down under, Melbourne Australia Currently have 60+ cars mainly Scalextric and love them all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi. I'm new to slot cars and SlotForums. Started 2 years ago,never had any previous contact,Starting at a young 86 YO.Have built an approx; 94 foot + Scalextric digital track " JEDAREVRAY RACEWAY" with 3 crossings and two pit lanes and will post plans with all items used, number and position of each,should anyone wish to build something similar, will also include pictures.Size of layout is 4.8 m x 2m. given time and how to! All track has R2,R3 & R4 curves, a few mixed and a slightly raised section, partly scenicd. A few buildings and some trees and shrubs

Oh need some conifers at a few cent each? Buy a cheap artificial Christmas tree, use each of the fronds, branches! and you have, hundreds of them, ranging in size, in my case up to 7 inches high. Stick them in with a 1/8 or 3/16 hole. Mine have a soft wire trunk? so also make a good soft barrier for any stray cars! And the trees easily straightened out after.

I'm from the land down under, Melbourne Australia Currently have 60+ cars mainly Scalextric and love them all.
Fantastic story, looking forward to seeing more about your track!
 
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