SlotForum banner
1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
I've been thinking about experimenting with a portable digital routed (PDR) track. The easiest approach, I think, would be to rout the track, and then drop in the plastic digital pieces. Given my constraints, it would have to be portable. I'm thinking that two 5'x3' sections combining to make 10'x3' (that is about 3.5m x 1m) would make a significant size for fun racing, but small enough to put in the back of my van or store under my current table. I'm thinking (of course) of a rally type track with some small elevation changes. Here are two preliminary plans that I drafted. I'm leaning toward plan #2 because it's simpler to make as my first go at this. I'd love to have any comments or suggestions.

PLAN #1


PLAN #2
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Still thinking about a portable digital track... it did occur to me that by using drop in (digital) pieces for the connection between the two 5'x3' section I could also make the track interchangeably digital and analogue simply by swapping those pieces. Perhaps another advantage. I hear Gecko's suggestion, which I guess is just to embed the digital electronics in wood. I'm still thinking it would be easier to use the plastic pieces as it would seem to be so much easier. I see the other thread on SSD and wood, so if someone else pioneers this approach then it would be easier for those of us less electronically gifted to follow in their path. I'm leaning toward Plan #2, and still tweaking it... I put one squeeze into it. I'm thinking that the digital piece on the top straight would be an actual bridge crossing a small canyon.

 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
QUOTE (Gundam2000 @ 26 Sep 2007, 08:59) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I hope this works.

you can see the pockets and the evil magnetic paint


Did this get any further Gundam? I'm still thinking about this. Again, I'm thinking about (1) something that is portable/storable and (2) something that I might be able to convert back and forth from analog to digital. I think I might start with a test track, but something fun. One sheet of MDF would be good, but I don't like the idea of a 4'x8' track. I'm thinking that it would be better if it were 2'x12' or 2'x16' -- that would give me the opportunity to have a good straight in there, which I always like. I could make it two sections -- 2'x6' each (that is, about .7m x 2m each). Here's an idea (which also allows me some space to incorporate my SCX Rally Box). I'd probably have a couple inches of elevation, with the back "highway" a little higher than the front. I'd drop in the digital plastic sections into the routed MDF.

 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Wow, got tentative approval of the wife to go forward with this idea--as long as the track can be stored away when not in use. So, I'm continuing to develop the idea.
QUOTE (knoath @ 23 Feb 2008, 16:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I couldn't help think that, as a rally track, you could do worse than adopting oldslot's lane change board that drops in, allowing you to use all lanes when driving solo, without the need for the digital wiring issues.This is a great idea. I could make the analogue version a one-person rally track using a crossover. This got me looking at the OldSlotRacer's site for more ideas...

QUOTE (Tileguy @ 24 Feb 2008, 07:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Bill, I was thinking about this and one of your initial plans and I got to thinking.........It seems to me that realistically on most real world 1:1 tracks you have maybe a couple of passing opportunities.....perhaps 1 or 2 more on the largest of circuits...Indeed, with squeezes on a routed track, I could limit the passing in spots without having to add the electronics of a digital single lane. This would save even more money, and allow the track to switch between digital and analogue versions. While I understand the idea of limiting passing opportunities, I also think that if you limit them too much then it's just frustrating and I want to make this track fun for newbies. Also, perhaps a track that I can buy a Hummer to race!

I'm looking at the OldSlotRacer for ideas--what a great source. I'm stealing ideas for this from his Raid track and his World Rally. I especially liked the idea of a split track with a bridge and some water (but I'll stick with MDF--no lexan track!). I wanted to create three distinct driving challenges in this short track -- a long straight, a fast technical, and a slow technical area. The slow technical area will be done with a squeeze to prevent passing (and let me cram more length into the small track). All suggestions are welcome!!!
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I must admit that I didn't understand your sketches Dave. Upon further reflection, I decided I needed to shorten the track to 10'x2' (about 3.5x.7m) because that's the maximum width of my home office, and it would be nice to set if up in there when it wasn't in storage. So, two 2'x5' sections now. The swapout section will go along the straight. I think I'll make two swapout sections. First, an analogue crossover section for one car rallying. Second, a digital swapout section that will include both the powerbase and an XLC thereby reversible so that the track could run both analogue and digital in either direction.

 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
QUOTE (lavenlaar @ 2 Mar 2008, 19:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Bill - how about speaking with Injectorman (Rick) about getting Scorpius.... im sure for the works of art that you design, and wanting digital... its a beautiful fit.I'd love Scorpius, although it seems to be still in the testing stage and probably a bit expensive for my current budget...

I was also thinking about the height of this. I was thinking of putting removeable legs that were coffee table height so you can sit in a chair and race.
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·
QUOTE (RobBG @ 3 Mar 2008, 23:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I had hoped to stay with my SCX track but am struggling to design anything worth doing to fit 2' wide
Hey Rob, I think you'll be pretty limited if you use plastic track. I'm choosing 2' wide for practical reasons-- (1) it's a nice small footprint and (2) it's half a sheet of MDF. And, this is essentially my test track design.

The other element to my plan has to be carving out a place for my SCX Rally Box, which I bought cheap at a LHS closeout a while back. So, I redesigned (again) to find a place for it. I also want to test the design of the swapout section. I'll build this with elevations of 5", essentially the long straight will be elevated. I'm trying to figure out much length I might "squeeze" in if I used squeeze sections for the right side of the rally section. Is this too tight? I estimated the sections using the width of R1s on my Scalextric track.
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 ·
QUOTE (RobBG @ 10 Mar 2008, 00:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I decided to play about with a bit of elevated track design and using a few r2 lane changers too get some nicer radius bits going on. Here is where I am so far but it's a little over length so I need to lose a bit somewhere ...You lost your rally start, which I liked. It's better to have straights through tunnels (under elevated track) so that you're not deslotting in the tunnel. Looks fun to drive though.
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Well, I got started. Went to Home Depot and got the MDF and the wood for the frame. Unfortunately, Home Depot didn't have the proper router bit, but we can get started without the router bit.

Here's the frame, and the outline of the track on the MDF. The main straight is raised about 5 inches and I'll put storage under it.


And, here's the general outline--as it currently stands-- of the layout. STill thinking about the details and suggestions still welcome. The main straight will be about 10' and elevated about 5". The road will go offroad and dip down...



 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
I got started on the routing today with the help of a friend from our club. (Actually, he routed his own track-- a very cool 4-laner you can see on YouTube). Basically, we got the left side routed in about two hours work. Now that I've got the hang of it, it should go even faster. We used Luf's flex strip for the routing. I didn't get the turns quite as tight as the plan (because we thought the strip might break), but I'm pretty pleased nevertheless on how smooth these turns are. Obviously, it's a sqeeze section here before the straight so you'll have to make your pass before the switchbacks!

The Left Side Routed


The Plan
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #42 ·
QUOTE (Graham Lane @ 29 Mar 2008, 23:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'm interested to know how tight you can get the Luf strip before it breaks. When you are routing esses left-handers are tight radius than the curve to be cut and right-handers are looser radius, right?The guy I was working with had broken his "Luf Strip" twice. Mine didn't break doing this, but we didn't push it either. I suspect it might have broken if we'd pushed it tighter. Still, we got pretty tight in a couple places as you can see. It was a bit time-consuming because we did these "switchback-esses" in smaller sections so that the "Luf Strip" would be used with a gentler bend.
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Okay, some lessons learned today. #1 -- if you undercut MDF, it's pretty easy to break MDF. #2 -- 1/2" MDF doesn't like to bend a lot (should have used 3/8", but couldn't find any at local stores). #3 -- I don't like working with "Bondo" very much, but it fixes everything...

So, here's the catastrophe ... it cracked in one place and broke in another place.



But nothing that can't be fixed with a lot of bondo. I blocked it on both sides of the break, screwed down the MDF, and patched it with bondo filler. Here's what it looked like after the repair. So, in the end, it just took some extra time, but no permanent damage done.


And, with both sides routed, a quick spray coat of gray primer, and here's what it's starting to look like. Now I've got to do the "swapout section" and then route the connections between the two sides.
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
I connected the two tables today, so now I'm ready to finish the routing this weekend. I also have the legs all set up, but I'm wondering how high to make this. I was thinking "coffee table height" so that would be about .4-.5m (~15"). How does that sound? I should be able to start the scenery and even lay the copper tape this weekend. I have a question about wiring, however. I saw the following suggestion about an easy way to do wiring on the SCI site. Has anyone tried this?
QUOTE The simplest way to wire a routed track is to get a Ninco terminal track section, the green one that has 2 jacks for separate power, unscrew the terminal part and throw away the plastic track section. Connect the 2 pairs of wires to two lanes of your track and you're done. You now have separate power to each lane, plug-ins for your controllers, working brakes and a switch to reverse the direction of your track. The Ninco terminals are nice because they use a 1/4" jack for the controllers, have a reversing switch built in, and are wired for brakes.As it happens, I picked up a used Ninco terminal track, power pack, and controllers for $1. Couldn't beat the price, so I thought this might be worth a try. I'd love to know whether anyone has tried this, and any suggestions?
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #47 ·
QUOTE (bleep @ 5 Apr 2008, 01:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have not used the NINCO terminal track but that is exactly how I did mine using a Scalextric terminal section.Thanks Ian.

I'm done with the routing now, and I've put in all the hardware to attach the two sections of the track nice and snug. I'm still thinking about how high to make it. I'm thinking 1/2 meter. I've starting with a bit of painting, which gives some feeling for the main road and the off road. I'm still thinking about exactly what I'm doing for scenery, but I'm leaning toward a desert oasis type landscape. You can begin to get a feel for the main "paved" straight and the off road now that painting has begun.



 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
QUOTE (bleep @ 5 Apr 2008, 01:41) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>That bend to the left is going to be a major challenge.You're right!
I looked at it more carefully, and I tested some cars through it, and it's way too tight. So, I filled it in with bondo today, and I'll re-route an easier bend. When you look at it, you see that somehow I put an almost 90º kink in it. I've got to have something smoother.


In the meantime, I started doing some scenery on the right side. First, some mesh that I'll cover with plaster. On the bottom, I've got plans for a little oasis that I've framed out with foamboard.


Next, I cover the mesh screen with Sculptamold and then put up section by section some "sandstone" using Hydrocal and a mold from Bragedon Enterprises.


Now, the trick is to try to match typical sandstone/desert colors for the rock formations. I used a base of raw umber, then some raw sienna, tan and white. I think I need more raw sienna. I don't quite think I have the colors right...


Rob, you asked...
QUOTE (RobBG @ 5 Apr 2008, 22:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Looking great so far - can we see some detail on how you are joing the track pleaseIf you look at the left edge of this photo, you can see that I've put in two dowels to line up the two tables perfectly, and you can see a bolt that holds the two tables together nicely.
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #51 ·
QUOTE (Graham Lane @ 6 Apr 2008, 20:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>.. fishing around underneath to find the hole for the bolt or trying to do it up proved too difficult and time-comsuming so I opted for sprung loaded clamps. They are so much quicker it's untrue. The pressure is high and they don't have to be positioned accurately.Nice idea. That would be quicker and easier. Anyone know where I'd buy such things in the States? On the internet?
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Working on the colors some more. I decided the last photos were not useful because they were taken outside in full sunlight. I need to take the photos inside (where the track would be located) under typical lighting. I added more raw sienna and white drybrushing. Still not quite right, but better (IMHO).


 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I'm pretty happy with a new "popsicle stick" bridge that I made. I tried to give it a worn look using a dremel.



And, I worked a bit with a new "sandstone" rock mold. I'm still experimenting with colors. This was painted with tan, raw umber, and raw sienna. I used raw umber as the base color and then highlighted and lightened it with the raw sienna and tan. Still not happy with the way the colors look, but I'll keep experimenting on it.
 

·
Bill
Joined
·
2,888 Posts
I wanted to give this layout some rock formations like one sees in the windswept desert. I made this one by molding plaster around a piece of styrofoam. While I think the colors look okay, it's certainly not what I'm imaging in my mind. In this one, I tried to "wash down the colors" by spraying the wet paint with water, but it didin't really work. I just don't have the skill and/or knowledge to accomplish it. I'd love to be able to create something like the colors of "Red Rocks Canyon" or Colorado's "Garden of the Gods." Maybe I need different base colors?




And, this track is taking a lot more time to do than I thought it would. But it's a learning experience. I've got some cool ideas for the rock formations, but let's see if I can actually pull it off.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top