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My son has his 6th Birthday coming up. With Covid, I have been thinking maybe we could safely socially distance with wireless controllers and do some racing outdoors. I could put one or two of these folding table things on our driveway and perhaps put 2 plywood sheets on top and make sure they are co-planar with clamps or screws.

https://www.amazon.ca/Centipede-Tool-K200-Expandable-Portable/dp/B00LSQK65O/ref=pd_ybh_a_46?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=8KC20NH4ZFW6NRV95TNA

I am hoping to then store it in the shed and pull it out when we want to do slot car racing. We may get into decorating it with foam-board buildings or other scenery ideas.

Mainly - the goal is to have a track outdoors and allow some neighborhood kids to come and celebrate my son's birthday while keeping their distance. The specifications are flexible. I would attenuate the throttles of all cars running on the track to minimize the number of crashes. There would be a lot of young kids having a go at this. Many parents too I am sure, and maybe some of my buddies. I would like Armco and borders with high fences where needed. The track hopefully would be low to the ground coffee table height.

I noticed that this set comes only with R2 curves. So I decided to get some more track pieces.

Here is a listing of the track parts we have - I hope to update with all the right part numbers - if it helps:

ARC Pro power base (1 full straight in length)
x4 Full Straight. +2
x4 Half Straight
x3 Grid Straight
x2 90-degree R2 turns
x8 45-degree R2 turns (standard turns)
x2 Quarter Straight
x9 Single Lane Straight
x1 Right pit set (in and out pieces)
x2 Straight Lane Changers (XLC)
x2 Long Bridge Straights (full + 3x1/3 (elevated crossover) straights in length)

We just received some extra track pieces:

x16 R3 Curves (which is parts breakdown of X2 C8555 8X R3 Curves)

x2 45 degree R1 Curves,
x2 Full Straights,
x2 Quarter Straight
x4 Swervy straights
Ramp jump up and Ramp down
plus armco and borders. (Which is parts breakdown for X1 Ultimate Hairpin Track extension)

x2 45 degree R1 Curves,
x2 Swervy straights
plus armco and borders.(Which is parts breakdown for X1 Hairpin Track extension)X1 Hairpin Track extension

I also had some R2 borders and fences 3D Printed, (3D files available on Thingiverse.com for free!)

Specifications? It's pretty open.

Maybe I should lean towards keeping it simple?

Any help appreciated - I will post some photo's of what we are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is a photo of our first build with the newly received track pieces.

Already I am learning a bit - next build will be better maybe
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would like to try some track design software - but we do not have a windows machine handy - Mac only. Any web based track design out there maybe?
 

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Greg Gaub
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I am both jealous, and saddened... that you have a Big Trak, yet it's being used to support the slot track. ;-)

I don't know of a web based track planner that works for Scalextric. :( Have you looked up AnyRail? I think that's mac, and has a trial version you can mess with.

Whatever you find, keep playing. It's better to experiment with virtual tracks. Saves wear and tear on the real ones. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am both jealous, and saddened... that you have a Big Trak, yet it's being used to support the slot track. ;-)

I don't know of a web based track planner that works for Scalextric.
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Have you looked up AnyRail? I think that's mac, and has a trial version you can mess with.

Whatever you find, keep playing. It's better to experiment with virtual tracks. Saves wear and tear on the real ones.
smile.png
Yah this is pretty expedient building here - So the big track came in handy - I just wanted to see if I could make it up on the fly and have an idea of how long the track can be with all these new pieces.

I am thinking that I may keep all the track on one level - no risers or cross overs. My 6 year old loves the jumps and it's very nice that they can pop in and out on the track. We'll have a few races with the jump ramps and then they can go away - the less crash happy the track is, probably the better.

We did drive this course and it was fun of course
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. room for improvement I'm sure. I dislike the shXthook (pardon my French "hairpin") at the end of the long diagonal straight. I'd like more "flow" maybe. Another layout tomorrow, I might still wing it.

I'm pretty careful taking it apart and there are tons of awesome layouts here already, and I have some PDF books of some Scalextric layouts.

I did not think I would care about scenery and so forth, but we did have fun making a garage about a month ago. It helped my son to learn to count on the ruler to cut foam parts and glue them up. It worked out good structurally - and we shall see how we end up decorating it - we had a fun evening building out of foam board.
 

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I am hoping to then store it in the shed and pull it out when we want to do slot car racing. We may get into decorating it with foam-board buildings or other scenery ideas.

Mainly - the goal is to have a track outdoors and allow some neighborhood kids to come and celebrate my son's birthday while keeping their distance. The specifications are flexible. I would attenuate the throttles of all cars running on the track to minimize the number of crashes.

There would be a lot of young kids having a go at this. Many parents too I am sure, and maybe some of my buddies. I would like Armco and borders with high fences where needed.

The track hopefully would be low to the ground coffee table height.

Maybe I should lean towards keeping it simple?

Any help appreciated
I'm hesitant to offer any suggestions because whenever I do respond to requests for help, I never seem to be able to offer any useful information. It's like I'm tone-deaf to what people really want to hear, on a completely different wavelength. But I never learn, so here goes. Please take it for what it's worth.

First off, I've done a lot of public events. So my suggestions are based on experience with large crowds of hundreds of people queuing up to race slot cars. You may not be anticipating hundreds of neighborhood kids attending, but many of the principles are applicable to smaller crowds.

Your thinking that you should lean towards keeping it simple should be a fundamental guiding principle. Especially for your first time holding such an event. So in that regards, don't focus too much on the design of the layout at this point. Rather, focus your attention on practical matters, such as track access, equipment security and protection, race organization, ease of setup and teardown, storage. After you gain experience and know what to expect, then you can experiment with more complicated layouts.

Keep the track layout simple. While a lot of curves in a small space can be fun and looks interesting, it isn't the best for public events. I'd go for a simpler, yet longer layout, with longer straights and fewer curves. I'd avoid the crossover. If you are using 4' x 8' plywood sheets, place two (2) or three (3) sheets end to end. You will have a 4' x 16' or 4' x 24' long rectangular table which will give you a nice long track, which will look impressive. It will be simpler than a compact curvy layout, yet will be fun to drive, and you will have fewer crashes. You will still have endless crashes, but you will be able to manage them better. Visibility for you, the drivers, and the spectators will be better.

Keep your table simple. Plywood sheets on folding tables is a good idea. Lock the sheets together as the table will get bumped. Fix the plywood sheets to the underlying table. People will bump into the table a lot. If you can temporarily anchor the table to the ground, do so.

Use an adjustable voltage power supply if you can.

Table height. I'd suggest standard height folding tables (around 2 1/2 feet, 30 inches or so), rather than coffee table height. This is easier and simpler for you to manage, and will be adequate for the vast majority of your drivers, even the young kids. The young kids will be able to see the track just fine. Kids that are too short to see the track are most likely to be too young to drive anyway. The few very toddlers that do race will be helped by their parents and you can stand them on a small pedestal or sturdy chair.

Track access and protection. This is a touchy point, but you may need to manage the accessibility of your equipment - track pieces, cars, scenery, controllers, etc. People will often stand around the perimeter of the layout. This can block access and visibility. Many people will lean their hands or elbows on the table. They will bump the table. They will grab the equipment, scenery, cars, etc. This may, or may not be an issue for you, but it's something to think about. If people stand back from the table, even just a foot or two, rather than all crowding right up against the edge of the table, it is much more fun for everybody.

You should incorporate strain relief into the controller cables. Your equipment is designed for home use. It isn't designed to rugged commercial specification. The home set controller cables and the plugs are fairly fragile, and a few tugs on the controllers can break the cables, plugs, or powerbase.

Consider some type of barrier to prevent cars from flying off the track and landing on the ground. Again, this can be very simple. A few strips of cardboard placed at the ends of your corners can be effective.

Keep it simple. I hope you have fun and your son has a great birthday party!
 

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Awesome advice!

Yep, I will look at long straights and easier curves. I have about a month to get things prepared.

"Use an adjustable voltage power supply if you can." - will that work with Scalextric ARC PRO Platinum Digital to use a variable power supply? I do have one, and it was the first thing I thought of with slotcars when I was shopping at Christmas time, but I just went for the works with this set. I can limit the throttle with the app to a percentage. I can make 5 of the cars 55% limit throttle and birthday boy might get 70% on a particular race (I thought that would be a fun one). So that's kind of a neet feature. But in practice, and I'm not 100% sure of it - but I think after a race is completed, the throttles all go back to 100% - which would be bad for kids. Perhaps I will be trying to figure out that aftermarket iPad app for Scalextric - they deserve my support for sure. Maybe they have a kid mode built in that will make it easy.

So if I can put my variable power supply and set voltage at 11V and give it all the amps it wants to draw, will everything be OK? I don't want to screw up the electronics. I think the brainy part of the electronics should be running at 5V actually. 5V is good for any IC's. I know some electronics - but not much about Slot Car electrical or Slot Car electronics.

For sure I think it would be fun to have some pitstop action. For sure kids will be at least trying to do lane changes. My guy seems to do it pretty good!

But yeah - keep it simple. Safety First is a good idea - for the people and the equipment. We absolutely cannot start any sort of a real block party on the cul-de-sac - that would be horrible. Maybe I will get some posts and tape to let people know not to get too close to the table.

We have wireless controllers - and maybe I'll put the circles on the driveway for where people can stand and socially distance, and figure out how spectators can see things too.

I just ordered 2 of those centipede tables (link to amazon Canada on the first post of this thread). I got a 4X8 and a 4X6 - those things look pretty handy for other things around the backyard and garage.

I guess I should buy some green paint for the tabletop, or consider golf green carpet or craps table felt.
 

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Buddy, I'm not sure how low you can turn the voltage down for the ARC PRO digital and still retain complete functionality. I know that some digital experts on here will know and give you the correct answer. I'd suggest conducting a test with your digital variable power supply.

As to buying a cheap power supply to use for this track event, that may be a good idea. At the very least, it would be a good backup.

But you could probably get away with using your existing digital variable power supply - providing you protect it.

As for someone other than you touching the voltage knob, that is one of these pesky "practical" issues. You will need to prevent this. Whatever power supply you use, you should hide it. Keep it completely out of sight. Don't give anybody any ideas that the power can be adjusted. Don't even let on that a power supply exists. Out of sight, out of mind. It will be one less thing for you to worry about.

Go for the green paint. Cheaper, cleaner, easier than carpet or felt.

The pit lane sounds doable. Keep it on a long straight. That will be a fun working feature.

Social distancing requirements may assist you in managing the event. I hate the idea of using this miserable pandemic to control peoples' behavior, but you might as well try to make the best of the situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Buddy, I'm not sure how low you can turn the voltage down for the ARC PRO digital and still retain complete functionality. I know that some digital experts on here will know and give you the correct answer. I'd suggest conducting a test with your digital variable power supply.

As to buying a cheap power supply to use for this track event, that may be a good idea. At the very least, it would be a good backup.

But you could probably get away with using your existing digital variable power supply - providing you protect it.

As for someone other than you touching the voltage knob, that is one of these pesky "practical" issues. You will need to prevent this. Whatever power supply you use, you should hide it. Keep it completely out of sight. Don't give anybody any ideas that the power can be adjusted. Don't even let on that a power supply exists. Out of sight, out of mind. It will be one less thing for you to worry about.

Go for the green paint. Cheaper, cleaner, easier than carpet or felt.

The pit lane sounds doable. Keep it on a long straight. That will be a fun working feature.

Social distancing requirements may assist you in managing the event. I hate the idea of using this miserable pandemic to control peoples' behavior, but you might as well try to make the best of the situation.
Thanks for the feedback on this.

So - I think I am leaning towards a long skinny layout - maybe 14'or 15' Long and 5' width (this would be with some overhang on the "centipede" table supports from Amazon.

I would keep the track design on one level, and try to make the main turn around corners R3, with some R2 squiggles along the way maybe. I still don't know about that, but I think it will all be OK.

Green paint should be fairly easy and it would allow me to use Lex Loc "buttons" to hold the track in place, and if I change to some other designs in the future, it will be easy to change by unscrewing the lex loc mounting buttons. I have decided that the layout used for the driveway birthday racing won't be a permanent layout. I think I notice that half the fun for my kid is in the making and setting things up, and less about the real racing. His favourite thing to do is to try and use the lane changer to block me on the track! So I did buy a police car with siren and it works well to play that sort of a game together.,

Hoping to get a couple more wireless controllers and see what mayhem results from 6 cars on the track at once - might as well go for it. You only live once. I want to hear the sound of 6 cars hissing down the track :) The birthday kids probably are going to really have a great time. It's just a slight bit of a bet on the weather cooperating. I think it will be a good way to get some of my friends over in a safe way - on the front driveway. Pandemic is bad. We just got snowed on here. It's -12 degrees C with 5 inches of snow, and everyone is pretty tired of it. March truly comes in like a Lamb and out like a Lion.

MAGIC ARC App for iPad - I want to see if I can get that running and keep the throttle limit on the cars all the time. If that can be done, it will work as a "Kid Mode" without having to experiment too much with the power supplies. I'll test with the Scalextric app again, but I am pretty sure the throttle limits last ONLY for the race, and revert back to full throttle right after the race is over. Maybe I will search the forums for "Kid Mode" to see if it's been discussed, just as the power supply lower voltage has been previously discussed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Another Track of the day - winged it.

Tried to keep it simple and just about ended up with the original track out of the box
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Restrictions of 12' length x 4' width with a little "L" section at the end that does have 6'

I need to think out of the Frame - what I post here is just my progress - bit by bit

I am starting to appreciate the designs I see on this forum

I think I am going to open up the restrictions for the table size a bit after a few more tries at this size:
 

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Greg Gaub
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Go for a stretched out figure 8, with a long straight on the diagonal (as an underpass) and then reconnect with a variety of turns including the bridge. A popular version of this is known as the Bertrand-8, named after the originator of a specific series of curves to connect the ends of the straight. Something like this (though this is Carrera):
 

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I think I am going to open up the restrictions for the table size a bit after a few more tries at this size:
Yep, I'd recommend that you finalize the configuration - shape, size, dimensions - of your table as a first step. The configuration can be fixed, or adjustable, but at least determine your dimensional limits. After that, you can play around with the track layout to your heart's content. You can simply lay down track pieces and experiment to create an enjoyable layout.

I think that you could reposition your 4x8 platform. As it is configured now, the platform creates an "L" shape. Reposition the 4x8 platform upwards, by 1 foot, to form a "T" shape with the 4x6 platform.

Cut your plywood sheets to 4x6. Then lay down three (3) plywood sheets side by side on the T-shaped platform. On the left side, the plywood will overhang the platform by 1-foot on the top and bottom, but that's ok, the plywood is stiff enough to be self supporting of a 1-foot overhang (unless you use very thin plywood). You will end up with a rectangular table top surface of 12x6.

This will give you a width of 6 feet across the entire length of the table, which will allow you to open up the design of the layout. I would suggest that 6 feet should be your maximum width at any point on the layout. Apart from the overall length of the layout, which can be any length, do not have any spans greater than 6 feet. The reason behind this is that you do not want to try and reach across the table more than three (3) feet. For the typically sized human, adults and children, 3 feet is generally the limit of a comfortable reach when leaning across a table. This width keeps your layout easily manageable. Of course, you could make a very wide layout and use helping hand extension grabbers to pick up cars, but they are just one more complication that you don't need on a simple portable temporary track.

With your telescoping platforms and the plywood sheets, you can have a modular table system that gives you flexibility in the size and shape of the layout.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here is the centipede table 4' X 8'

Another one coming 4' X 6' so maybe I can plan for some overhang of sheets

We don't always have tons of room in the house for a large track layout, so the idea of a portable, stowable track might be a great idea.

I did see Mr Flippant's Portable track, and that would be great.

I have been researching lightweight alternatives to plywood.

• I think Poplar Plywood might be economical and lower density.

•Some interesting, but expensive choices might be Coosa Composites 3M reinforced polyurethane foam board - but it is probably not going to be easy to find.

•Homasote board -

•Pink or Blue 2" thickness Insulation sheeting
 

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Another member on here did a similar build technique of burning the slot into foam and made an awesome hill climb stage out of it. He took it all a step further than I did, and treated the piece of foam like it was a piece of mdf and actually did some through cuts and pulled the elevation changes into place. I don't think he bothered with the epoxy in the slot. For the life of me I can't remember who it was.

From time to time, I think about what the next step would be for this technique. There are some higher density foam board materials out there (tooling board, Renshape, a few others) that could be used in place of mdf or big box store foam. This could be machined/routed and provide a satisfactory slot. It would weigh more than what I did, but still be "lightweight" by conventional standards. The stuff is pretty spendy, so you'd have to have a good plan going into it.

I also keep coming back to the idea of using the pink foam, but building more structure onto the boards with conventional fiberglass techniques. I saw a youtube video of a guy that made a surfboard with all hardware store materials. The trick was that he wrapped all the pink foam in packing tape, to prevent the conventional fiberglass resin from eating the foam.

To put all of this another way, the biggest problem isn't getting the cars to work, it is dealing with the people who will interact with the track by moving it, leaning on it, stepping on it, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
To put all of this another way, the biggest problem isn't getting the cars to work, it is dealing with the people who will interact with the track by moving it, leaning on it, stepping on it, etc.
I'll be using our track pieces - pretty sure of that - I'll be keeping it "fairly simple"

I am leaning towards doing some carpentry and make a 4 part interlocking table. The goal would be for it to fit in an area of my shed for storage. If I made it ultra-lightweight this would make it easier to bring it out to play outside in summer. It's a fun activity for father and son, but I'll be doing the heavy lifting myself.

Maybe I will paint the inside of the table grass green for now.

I'll lay track down on the table, and see how lex lock 3D printed "buttons" work. No problem to redo the track layout after the party.

The track design will be secondary to the quality of the setup. So I will indeed be trying to accomplish something for the long term - but Rome wasn't built in a day. Right now we change the track every few days and drive it - no rhyme or reason. Just fun. We break whale tails off the cars a lot
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. I'm buying track pieces etc and learning.

Having said that - I am really leaning towards this "Thunderdome" track layout - it looks amazing, and I do have a feeling that if I did this track, I might just hit a home run for a track we can use as "our track" for a long time. If we had room for "Joker laps" I think that would be a stretch goal.

I have some 3D printed borders and fences, and have some more coming.

I "was" thinking maybe I would keep the track all on one level... but I think I personally crave a little more length of track, and the way to do it is to have an overpass - even if it means some special storage requirement. This stuff gets pretty complicated
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Everything is still flexible - I could change the plan. One way or another I'll be putting the slot car track on the driveway as fun part of my son's 6th birthday. If it rains, it will still happen in the garage.

It's time to get to building the track table parts. I think next weekend will be the time for that, and test fit it to the centipede supports, and see if it can all work on the sloped driveway :)

Here are some photo's of tracks that really caught my eye, as well as a Costco crowd control stanchion thing that will definitely help to guide kids and parents:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just in case anyone was wondering how I made out with my slot car track plans, we ended up travelling to USA in April, and so I have not yet built up the track for an outdoor birthday party event for my son, and that's OK for now.

It's still a work in progress.

I did get some R4 curve pieces (Scalextric) - those R4 curve pieces are extremely hard to find - I ended up ordering from the UK!

Anyways - I decided to lay down a track - trying to copy an existing track, but without any map showing what order of pieces to assemble - just winging it a bit. It's the Tim's Thunderdome copy that I thought I'd have a chance to duplicate. It would be so nice if I could find a " track piece map" of that particular course - but so far I only have related information, but not exactly what I need.

I'm not satisfied with it yet - so I'll take another shot at laying the track down and snap some photos.

I may then turn towards making set of portable boards and bring it all outside. We just don't have the space in the house to have the track for more than a week at a time right now.

Plywood prices apparently went sky high - so I might end up using super expensive lightweight marine Coosa board. I should have ordered it when I was on travel. Hate to have to wait now that we are back. We still have one week of quarantine isolation to do - but a lot of that has been catching up on yard work - we were gone for 2 months, so lots of things to catch up on.
 

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Font Rectangle Auto part Automotive exterior Art


Hi Bud. Sorry for the extremely late reply to you message.

I lightened the picture when I made it up so it was easier to recognise the track pieces.
Here is a track plan going from left to right from the Powerbase.

Main track.
PB. R4. R4. R4. R4. L/H Pit Exit &3x Single Half Straights. R3. R3. R3. R3. R2. R2. R2. QS. HS. R2. R2. R2(.5). R2. S. S. HS. QS. R4. S. SLC. QS. R4. R2. R2. R3. R3. R3. S. HS. SLC. HS. QS. R3. R3. R4. R2. R1. R2. S. SLC. R4. R2. HS. L/H Pit Entry &3x SHS. R2. R2 &4x R3 Single Curves. R4. R4. HS Start. S. HS Start. S. HS Start. S. S.

Pit Lane is.
Inside of an R2 cut up. LH Pit Entry. S. SLC. S. LH Pit Exit. Small Straight Halved. Inside of an R2 cut up. R3. R3.

Hope this helps. Lol.
Simon
 
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