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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

I'm finally getting to some real building action on my 3 lane routed track.


Track size: 2750 x 1500 mm (9 x 5 ft)
Outer border: 120 mm
Lane spacing: 80 mm (one squeeze possible, not decided yet)
Inner border: 60 mm
Lane length: roughly 10 m (33 ft)

I'm going for a lot of curves of different radii with one "long" straight of about 1700 mm. I'm intending the track to be fun drive (lots of sliding) but also very challenging laptime-wise. I managed to get 8 mm mdf, it's a bit on the thin side, so my slots will be 5,5 mm deep or 6 mm, if test routing proves it rigid enough.

The track will be mainly populated by Carrera street machines (lowered, trued, weighted, de-magnetized Pontiac GTO 66, Ford Thunderbird 56, Ford Mustang 65, Corvette Stingray 63, Plymouth Barracuda 70), so I'll be going for a "country roads outside a small US town" look with the landscaping (once I get there, still a long way...).

Here is the plan of the track:


Comments are welcome although I'm very happy with the plan and have already drawn it on the mdf:



But I have got one question for the more experienced:
I understood from somewhere on Chris Frost's site, that I might be getting a "slow lane" problem (marked below) with two back-to-back tight curves on the inner lane if I space the lanes evenly. I have marked the spot here and also sketched a squeeze there. What do you guys think? Would it be better to just route the lanes evenly or go for a small squeeze that speeds up the inner lane and slows down the outer?



Thank you all (and especially big thanks to Bastumannen, who came up with the "sweeper under a straight" idea that forms the basis of my track plan)!

I'll be reporting back as my track progresses...
 

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Hello Jurbo,

a nice variation of Targa Lestrell.

this will be a track for learning drifting ....

i think its difficult to get 3 identical lane speeds. the middle lane is always the fastest using fixed lane spaceings. the easiest way to compensate this is running always three heats so every driver has to use every lane once.

Jens!Go
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I totally agree on the three heats system, Jens. I think I would organize the racing that way even if I managed to get the lap times about identical. I tried to do some detailed designs to theoretically even out the lanes, but couldn't come up with anything really good. So I guess I'll go with the evenly spaced lanes - after all, I can't really know yet if there is going to be real differences in lane speeds (other than that the middle lane is likely to be fastest).

Anyway, tomorrow the router will hit some mdf... Yeehaw!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A good point, Drummer, and I think I've got it just about covered. The two front corners of the table (or frame, actually) will be cut away at 45 degrees (doesn't show on the track plan image) like this \___/ so it will be easier to reach under the straight. But yes, it might still be something of a stretching exercise to reach a car that lies off the slot in the middle of the sweeper.

By the way, the track will utilise two legs in the front corners, and the rear edge will be hinged to a wall, so that it will be raised stored up against the wall and then lowered to horizontal position for racing.

Tomorrow will be routing day number two (not much to rout anymore), hopefully the frame will also get started. So far, the slots that are ready are nice, deep and smooooOOOOooooth, it looks like it's gonna be great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, now me and my brother-in-law have had two days of work on the track, and we are well on our way. We have routed all the track elements (2 larger curve complexes and two straight pieces) and the frame is also off to a good start.

We routed everything in four passes, each about 1,5 mm, totaling about 6 mm. The job was surprisingly easy, but time taking. We only managed to make a couple of slight misalignments that will be easy to fix. We destroyed two router bits on the way, mostly due to inexperience. Once the test/learning routings were done and the method established, it all went nicely.

Next we'll finish the frame and begin planning the elevations and track to frame construction!


Here are a couple of pics:



 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi again, all!

The building has been pretty slow, an hour every now and then, but this weekend me and my brother-in-law spent a good while on the track, combining the track parts and the frame. Then we fixed the slight misalignments we had where the straight meets the corners.

The elevations, although no more than 10 cm max, add a lot of life to the circuit, and we managed some pretty violent bends on the mdf without breaking. And boy, was it fun to push a car around the track (making noises mandatory!)!


Here is a shot of the current state - my camera batteries bowed out after just this one picture which doesn't show the hill part to best effect, but... Next we'll sand the filling-fixed parts, and then it will be time to lay down the tape and paint! Grreat!


 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello, everybody!

It's been a while since my last update, but slowly and surely I've been working on the track. I had to wait to get a second roll of copper tape, and that kept progress to a minimum for a while.

But now the taping is finished, and I have test driven all the lanes. What fun! The track works very much like I had imagined during the design phase - all the lanes have their own easy and hard spots, and I'm very happy with it so far. The long corner on the right is a real stomach-jumper with it's drop-to-the-bottom-then-rise-quickly-back-up elevations. Especially enjoyable on the outside lane driven counter-clockwise.

The track has plenty of room for sliding, just as I wanted. The MDF gives huge grip, I hope that the paint will have a bit less friction.

I found a cheap way to electrify my track:
I bought three 2 amp wallwarts at eBay, 4,30 euros each, with selectable voltages of 12-9-7,5-6-4,5-3-1,5 V, making it easy to have different voltages for different lanes if needed. It seems that 9 V is the ideal voltage for driving the track - 12 V makes the cars fly all around the room and 7,5 V is a bit tame but might give interesting racing, none the less.

Here's the track at its current state, with my bold USA street machines thrown in for scale:



I'm currently building a timing system using the Dingo Strip design. I built a Dingo Strip system earlier for my friend's 2-lane Scalextric Sport, and it worked marvellously with Slot Race Manager, so I decided to go with it on my own track, too. It's reliable, simple enough, and the PC's parallel port is safe as the track power doesn't go to the PC because the connection is optical.

Here's an image of the circuit board (damn, I didn't have enough 390 ohm resistors at home, so one of the circuits is only half done) for three Dingo Strips:



Next up: get the timing ready, paint the track surface, get some temporary track barriers, attach the track to the wall with hinges. Scenery will come at some point, but before that I'll probably take some time off the project, as I want to get rid of the slots and rails that I see in the roads when driving a real car...


Later, mates!
 

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Nice track! You will have a slow lane - the one the white Mustang is on. But this is really challenging and you will find a good driver will come into his own through the twiddly bits. A win on this lane will be worth it!

For me, on that lane, I know where I will come off - after the kink, go under the bridge, put the power on - too early! - the car comes off before it gets onto the 'underneath' sweeper and spears tail first into the barriers under the main straight.

It would be really good to see how this develops

Best, Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the response, guys!

I have just finished the timing system for two lanes (still need the third 390 ohm resistor...), and was able to get the first timed laps in on Slot Race Manager. Seems that the lap will take about 6 seconds. The best time on lane one was a 5,9 (the inside lane on the main straight) and 6,0 on the second lane, both times on a Scaley Camaro. It was also nice to see my Carrera Mustang very close to the best times. Probably after some practice the middle lane will turn out to be the fastest, theoretically.

Now I'll have to get the resistor and paint and then... And then...


@ Turbokev - A lot of people here on the board have said it's good to paint the track after taping, so that the paint will rise to the height of the tape, smoothing the surface up. I decided to take this approach, even if the painting will have to be done very carefully, avoiding the tape. Hope it will go well...

@ Roblees - I was worried about the slow lane problem in the design phase, but actually it feels that the lane with the green GTO is the slowest - go figure... Well, after some more timed sessions with all lanes active we'll know better. The track will be driven in both directons, possibly more counter-clockwise, as my initial feeling is that it's easier and a bit more flowing that way (the picture shows the cars going in clockwise direction). Clockwise driven, the summit of the bridge is very difficult to drive, as there's quite a tight S turn happening simultaneously with an uphill turning to a downhill.
 

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This track is fantastic!
Just shows what can be achieved in any available space.
I would love to build something like this and seeing what you have done and how you are doing it only inspires me more.
Gotta get on and floor that loft,then maybe I can realise the dream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys! I really feel that the track has size enough and is going to be a hoot (already is!). My aim was to have as many different curves as possible, and I think I pretty much got it. As I have said before, it was Bastumannen's great design that kicked me in the right direction, and I 'm very happy with the track design.

The Dingo Strip is a variation of the dead strip system, basically there is an integrated circuit that includes a led that gets its electricity from the track through a "dead strip" when a car passes, and the IC also includes a light detector side, that lets electricity through when the led inside lights up. The detector side of the IC is connected to a PC's parallel port. So the track to computer connection is optical, not electrical, and the track electricity doesn't get to the computer. Easy to build, and the computer is safe.

You have to be on the throttle when hitting the strip to activate it, so half way through the main straight is the place for it. Works accurately.

For more information, the page of the Dingo Strip designer:

http://dingotimer.ringodingo.com/dingostrip.asp
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi again!

It's been a while, and I have been busy with my track in a slow way...

The track has been painted, hinged to the wall and electrified.

Anyway, about the paint job, it's grey acrylate latex. A single coat, applied to a cleaned surface with brush, no sanding. The paint evened out the tape height just as I had hoped, so the surface is very level. The slots are unpainted, and will remain that way (doesn't seem to matter much anyway). The grip is just perfect with stock rubber - the cars bounce much less than on unpainted MDF, and sliding is nice and controllable.

Here are a couple of shots to show the paint, and this time I also managed to get some feeling of the elevations into the pictures as well:







And this is how the track folds up against the wall when not in use:



The latest addition are the finished electronics. Today I spent the afternoon hours making the driver station panels, and I think they turned out great. I used 3 mm thick PVC and put a direction switch, a Scalextric compatible controller jack and a power jack in each panel. The panels are attached to the track frame facing down.

And here come the panel pics:







So far I have had a couple of two-racer sessions on the track with my bro-in-law. We have used the outer lanes, and the racing has been very even, with best lap times always very close to each other, even with different cars. We constantly get about 5,3 to 5,4 seconds best laps on the Carrera cars. No slow lane problems yet, but once we get three drivers to race, we'll see how the middle lane races against the outer lanes and we'll also see how crowded the track gets. Some door banging will happen, for sure!

Next I'll put up some temporary barriers, and hopefully organize a race night (or two!) for a bunch of friends. The scenery will come along once I come up with a decent plan and the courage to start it!
 

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Fantastic.

Any chance you could tell the name of the surface paint and where you got it.

Sorry,but I've really got a thing for finding a decent surface paint at the moment,and what you have there sounds perfect.

Cheers.
 

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Phil Kalbfell
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Several Tracks here in Australia are using a structural paint called Ferrodor made by Dulux and is used for painting steel. It has a texture surface and provides great grip.

Phil
 
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