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Having had my plastitrak for a couple of years - complete with a few design clangers
, I have made the monumentous decision that It has To Go.
I want to replace it with a routed single track circuit.
You may consider me 'Converted'!

Anyway.
Some questions:
MDF. 3mm or 6mm which is best / easiest to work with?
I am planning elevations but they won't be high so the slopes won't be steep.

Recommended width/depth of the groove.
Is there a min/max to the slot width/depth?

Router.
Any make / model that is recommended or to be avoided
My ££'s are limited, but if it means splashing out on a decent router then ok.
(I estimate I have about 80 ft of track to prep

Lack of magnetic effect
Is there a recommended way of scaling down the volts to the track e.g. a variable voltage unit or similar?
(Keep this one simple, please!)
I'm not too worried about this right now, but it will become an issue with the faster cars on the wood so it would good to know there are options out there to slow things down.

Any other problems you routed builders have come across that I need to be aware of?
I'm sure there are a few... !

Feel free to interrogate as necessary.
Any/all help appreciated.

Thanks
Alan.
 

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Alan:

You could do well by visiting this site: http://www.oldslotracer.com/ Lots of info on track building, a routing kit (well worth the money), and a video that explains a lot. Additionally, this site: http://www.slotcarcorner.com/ has lots of info and useful tools like a bit for routing the "gains" (depressions in which you put the braid for power), as well as wiring diagrams and the like. Between those two sites, you'll get a wealth of knowledge about how to route a track.

As for power supplies, a very popular choice is the Pyramid PS26KX, a variable power supply that is quite adequate for almost any home track.

I used 1/2" MDF for my track, slot depth of 1/4", lane spacing 3.5". Hope this helps.
 

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Make each corner different and try to steer away from constant radii corners. (no pun intended)
 

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I have found that a slot width of 4mm and depth of 7mm is perfect. I have found on a previouse routed track that 3mm is not wide enough for carrera guides if you have tight turns, I have used 9mm MDF In the past but the current track is 12 mm to allow some strength to remain in the mdf when undercutting for elevations and allowing for a 7mm slot depth.
For power supply i have just adapted the standard scaley sport power supply (as used on the NERCS club track routed) and it works fine.

Wayne
 

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Giacomo
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Alan,
I am just building a two lane wood track with the option of the third lane already incorporated for future.
This are the specs I am using:
- 12mm MDF
- 9mm slot depth
- 3mm slot width
- 78mm distance between slots as scalextric since I have not much space (I would go for 100mm -Carrera- having the space or at least 90mm -Ninco)
- 150mm from outer lane to outer border
- 70mm from inner lane to inner border
- For the PSU I got from Maplin the Rapid PS1525S 3-15.4V - 30A (It is even too much Amps but you never know, 10A should suffice)

As far as it concern the router bit I got a 3mm of good quality double blade ("Luna" Swedish brand, I think). I had a Chinese one and lasted 200mm of routing => good quality is a must in the routing bit.
A good guidance is given here (Christ Frost site)

Good luck,
JamieG
 

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Hi Alan
Your questions
MDF. 3mm or 6mm which is best / easiest to work with?
I am planning elevations but they won't be high so the slopes won't be steep.


You need MDF at least 2 or 3 mm thicker than the slot depth.
Slot depth depends on the deepest guides you are going to use. 5 or 6mm slot depth is enough for home set type cars. At least 8 mm slot depth is used for fast cars.
12mm MDF works well, 9mm is OK if you are using relatively shallow slots.

Router
DIY stores "own brand" routers are cheap and good enough. Low end routers are not made that accurately, so for example the cutter may not be concentric with the base plate. With a little thought it is not difficult to work round that sort of thing.

Lack of magnetic effect
Is there a recommended way of scaling down the volts to the track e.g. a variable voltage unit or similar?

If you want magnetic effect , there are ways of doing it such as "magnetic" braid.
Variable voltage power supplies are useful for reducing the power. This can be very useful when trying to run cars intended for magnet traction on non magnetic tracks or making driving easier for inexperienced drivers. Cars intended for running without magnets run well on full power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all for replying - much appreciated.
Some good advice and some good ideas/inspiration from the links.
I've enjoyed having a look through them and will certainly refer back to them.

The suggestion to have different radii corners will be taken up - tbh I hadn't considered that..

I have another question regarding MDF:
It looks as though 12mm MDF is the material to use (3 & 6mm? Clearly a typo on my part. Yes, indeed. A typo
) , however I plan to have a few [gentle] elevations on my track and I have found that even 6mm MDF doesn't want to bend very much.

What methods can used to make MDF be safely bent for elevations?
I've seen work-in-progress pics which show the underside being cut out or grooved, but can a small amount of water be used to 'encourage' an elevation?
Is leaving the thinned and weighted MDF on a 'form' for a period of time to gently distort it sufficient?
(These are the only ideas I have atm)

On the power supply front:
This looks to be the one that JamieG mentioned:
http://www.rapidonline.com/Electrical-Powe...-supplies/65063

Some 'Electronics 101' for me please!
The PSU is 25A fixed - what effect does that have on the track?
Would my cat be ok if she stuck her nose on the copper when powered?
Apologies for the silly questions, but I got electrocuted several years ago, and have been 'twitchy' around large values of amps ever since...

Thanks.
 

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Trevor Gordon
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I can't remember where I saw it, but someone glued some 3mm mdf together to get the bent elevations. I think they glued it together but before the glue set they bent it, then held it in place waiting for the glue to dry. Hmmm, not really sure how the routed it though.
 

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Giacomo
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I had the same idea about the 12pm thick MDF, so I got a couple of 8pm boards. Just before beginning the construction I suddenly decided that if I had to spend so much efforts I want have it right and with proper rigidity.
So I got 12mm MDF and tried cutting, routing and create the banked curve with the elevation.
It went all right just trying first with temp supports and clamping the pieces to the supporting table and eventually creating the dedicated supports that hold the the track in place.
Remember that you should make gentle bending to have the cars always with the right distance from the track.
Sharp changes in elevation will lead to deslotting.
I am not sure but MDF is quite sensitive to water and even humidity. I left one evening the last board out in my car port and that night it rains. Even with the board under cover I noticed a difference withe one already in place inside the house. So, my advice, if someone here have prove that water for bending is ok, don't do it. You can achieve good results without.

About the PSU what I can say is that a fantastic unit. The Amp are given when you demand them, you do not have them always on the track. Max I reach is 4-6Amp while tring a Parma D16 motor (and my controller resistor blow).
I would say your cat is safe but eventough if something happen (I doubt) he will learn the lesson --> no cats on the track.
I leave the details to tech experts anyhow.
Cheers,
JamieG
 

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It's advisable to fuse each lane separately to just above the maximum current your cars will take in normal use.
Should a short circuit ever arise, an unfused power supply can put all 25 amps into the short.
A fuse limits the maximum current that can be put into the short.

12mm MDF clamped or weighted to shape will take a set sufficient for more than enough gradient for many track designs. If you want more exstream bends then cut some transverse grooves in the underside before clamping or weighting.
 

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QUOTE (Chicanery @ 13 Aug 2011, 12:48) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>What methods can used to make MDF be safely bent for elevations?
I've seen work-in-progress pics which show the underside being cut out or grooved, but can a small amount of water be used to 'encourage' an elevation?
DO NOT USE WATER!!!!!!!!!!!

MDF is exactly what it says medium density fibre. It is made by compacting wood fibre i.e chippings and dust together with a glue. This glue is NOT water proof. so all that will happen when it gets wet is the board will fluff up (expand).
12mm mdf will take a lot of stress before it gives way (snaps). You should be able to use supports under the track and screw down the board to hold it in place. this will give you a nice smooth incline/decline reducing the chance of desloting.
If you want a steeper incline/decline then scoring the under side of the board will allow you to get alot more movement.

Regards
CB
Gaz
 

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Sounds like (if you can hear folks typing) you are getting some good advice

Just a little tip I would like to add; If you are going to tape your track,do the main painting after the tape is laid.

I have been putting down the tape last,but decided to try a different approach on my latest build.
"Primed" the slot and tape area with a thinned version of the top coat,sanded smooth,layed the tape,masked the copper tape,painted the magnetic primer,painted 2 brown top coats,dusted with spray cans for effect,then unmasked.










The tape outside edge is protected by the paint build-up. This track has had very hard use by new drivers with no tape damage.

Have fun with building your new track.....its an adventure
 
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