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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I'm beginning the planning of my next home track and I'm planning on going routed which for HO is going to be a bit of a pig!

I've been doing lots of reading up on track materials and I'd really like to go with what the US guys call Sintra and which seems to be Foamex or Plastikard here in the UK. The reasons for doing so over MDF are:

1. It is very light and easily manipulated for cambered corners, bridges and elevation changes
2. It comes in lots of colours but most importantly it comes in black or gray which will save having to paint the track
3. It is good for all types of tyres: silicone, urethane, rubber and sponge will all handle well on the track

So that's the good news. I've seen plenty of videos and photo guides on working with the stuff and routing in general so that (hopefully) will be ok too. Once I've practised a few times.


The bad news is the cost.

The US guys have been quoting prices of around $70 for an 8' x 4' sheet which is pricey but would be acceptable as the track will only need two or two and a half and it would be an investment. But to get a sheet that size in the UK costs something like £170 a sheet! Which is just ludicrous.

So, the point of the thread is to ask if anyone has found a UK based source for sintra/foamex/plastikard which isn't wallet breakingly expensive and can supply the necessary large sheets?

I should add that as the slot in an HO track is around 5mm deep, the foamex needs to be 6mm deep at least but I would prefer 10mm to be on the safe side.

Cheers

Gareth
 

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Digital Guru
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hi
6mm mdf could still be used for making cambered corners and the like if it was cut down to width like some members have done when it comes to 1/32 routed tracks.

And as mentioned above could then be covered in formica sheets and the like.
 

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Rich Dumas
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My MaxTrax is 6mm thick Sintra, the slots are 4mm deep, the same as the original Aurora track. Modern Tomy track has a deeper slot, but most cars seem to have guide pins for 4mm deep slots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi all,

Thanks for the responses so far. If I can get away with 6mm Sintra I will definitely go for it although I have still the problem of obtaining sufficiently large sheets at a decent price.

I would prefer not to go the MDF and Sintra combined route as I was hoping to do the track out of just the one material. I will keep looking.

Cheers

Gareth
 

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We use tons of the stuff in work for soft partitions in the clean room environment (we make silicon chips, it's cleaner than your Gran's Parlour in this place).

I'll find out from the site services lads what the trade name is and see the cost. I've got loads of off cuts at home, your welcome to pop up and collect some if you want. Not sure of the thickness, but it's around 6 or 7mm as I use it for track border on my scaley sport.

I may actually be visiting the Reigate office the week after next, could even drop a few pieces off if you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
QUOTE (snurfen @ 4 Jul 2012, 14:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>We use tons of the stuff in work for soft partitions in the clean room environment (we make silicon chips, it's cleaner than your Gran's Parlour in this place).

I'll find out from the site services lads what the trade name is and see the cost. I've got loads of off cuts at home, your welcome to pop up and collect some if you want. Not sure of the thickness, but it's around 6 or 7mm as I use it for track border on my scaley sport.

I may actually be visiting the Reigate office the week after next, could even drop a few pieces off if you want.
That would be amazing thank you! I actually work in Redhill which is linked to Reigate physically although a Reigate person would boff me on the nose for saying they're from Redhill!

Drop me a PM and we can arrange a meet up.
 

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As I am skanking a lift up to Oxford - and therefore won't be able to bring up a huge sheet, I'll bring a few samples of the different types to give to Julian to pass on to you.

We can discuss which is most suitable via PM and then arrange to get it up on my visit.
 

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Just as well I'm not thinking of routing an HO track then

But, if I were, I wouldn't make it magnetic, I'd use copper tape, which works and anyone who doesn't think it does can borrow my test track.
 

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Indeed, to make something that could be raced on with magnetic cars the rail spacing and height has to be very consistent, I suppose the same is true for magnetic 1:32 cars, which probably explains why I find 1:32 magnetic cars horrible to drive as Scalextric track tends to be bumpy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
QUOTE (montoya1 @ 4 Jul 2012, 15:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It is the rail situation that makes it very, very hard to do the HO thing well.
Just because it is hard, doesn't mean I should follow the one word which I'm pretty sure is don't.

To me it is a challenge. I've built a permanent track out of plastic track and while that is all well and good, I want to go to the next level which is routed. I'm not going to rush it and it will be a long and probably frustrating process but the end result should be something I am proud of.

Besides there are enough threads from the States side guys where a large number of home made routed HO tracks have been built.

In fact I am more than a little surprised that you advise against attempting it when normally you are so positive about all things HO.
 

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Gareth, it is quite simple, I have read of, heard of and seen people sink lordy knows how much money into getting the rail question right, with little or no success. We are not talking a couple of hundred quid, we are talking four figures and months of heartache and frustration. Why would I wish that on a mate with a baby and a new house purchase?

We are lucky that we can purchase fromm BB, and know we are getting the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I do understand it is going to be a bit of a nightmare but I do intend to practise a lot before I even attempt to do the circuit proper. And that's the reason I'm trying to get the material at the best possible price.

I'll be doing a crazy amount of searching when I start looking at the power rails as well.

I do appreciate your concern and worries mate, I really do. I see this one as a long term project. It is going to take me a ruddy age to get it completed and running but I think the (hoped for!) end result makes that worth it. And I'm sure I will end up asking you advise or physical help at some point! I know I'll asking Andy as he is local!!

And the great thing is that I'll still have the plastic sectional track set up next to the build so I can still practise, race and tune cars while I go.

Routing the track as Julian has done in the 1/32nd style is something that appeals as well. Definitely as a routing practise track.
 

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BB does a book that sets out how he does it. Not cheap, but worth every penny. I know people who saved weeks of sodding around, and 10 times what the book cost, but I must also add that most of those still ended up with a soup-to-nuts BB track done by him....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes I am tempted by Brad's book. Maybe Woodcote will come in on it with me!

I do like the idea of getting Brad or one of the other two guys in the States to do me a turnkey track but it is a lot of money up front to do so. And there would be less of a challenge/project/achievement if I went down that route.
 
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