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Well, you can only talk about doing something for so long.

After filling-up several sketchpads from work with layout after layout, after consultations with some of the brightest on this forum, and after intense negotiations with the family CEO on space allocation, I built my table and started blocking-in what I hope to be a successful permanent set-up.

The basics:
Table size: 12x6 with a 4x4 extension to create an "L"-shape
Track type: Carrera ProX Digital with wireless controllers
Total track (feet): TBD
Lane-change sections: five
Corners: 13

I'm still tweaking the design of the circuit, and to that end I've used whatever I could find to prop the track-up: beer bottles, cans, bits of foam, small stuffed animals, old CDs, a slipper and I think at least one ham and cheese sandwich. On rye.

After having tested most of the track, save for a bit that needs to be grafted to complete the bridge, I'm changing the hairpin climb and sweeping turn to towards the bridge/chicane section so it pokes into the infield a bit farther. In testing, the track was far quicker than I reckoned it would be -- although I absolutely need to add powertaps. This weekend (as it's going to be raining) I'll be removing all the bric-a-brac, and replacing that with permanent wood-block supports and locking everything down.

Overview


Turns 1-11


Chicane view


"Monza" highbank


"Monza" highbank view towards chicane


Back straight and pitlane entrance


The goal is to create a realistic-enough looking, albiet fictional, GP circuit with all the details you'd expect. I'll post more pics as the thing takes shape.

I'd appreciate comments from the legions of skilled artisans and talented slotters here (just try to keep comments on a low-flame; plastic melts, you know
)
One thing I'd love suggestions on is how I could logically and realistically hide the daft Mobil-1 towers within the context of a modern racing circuit....

Cheers!
Mac.
 

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That pit is pretty nifty . I like the bank too.

I'm also looking for a way to disguise the wireless towers but haven't worried too much about it yet. All I'm certain of is that I'll lose the oil can. Brad Korando turned this dilemna into an art form. If you haven't seen his Pro-X track, it's definitely worth checking out.

Good luck.

Pete
 

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Thanks Pete & Dave, I appreciate the kind comments!

Dave, I agree on the scenery potential with the elevations, but as to how far I go with it I don't yet know.The fictional backstory for this track is that of a modern circuit (ala Tilke), rather than a street course in the European backcountry...so for sure they'll be plenty of sawdust grass, kerbing, signage, gravel/kittylitter runoffs, concrete retaining walls, bridges, a few wooded areas...etc...

Pete, thanks! I'll need all the luck I can get! I agree with you that so far the only thing I'm sure of is that the oil cans are gone.

I did see Brad's magnum opus (IMHO it should be on the reading-list for anyone considering building a scenic) and aside from making me weep, I loved his solve by designing the critical bits as the roof of his two water towers. I was thinking of using some Shell Oil tanks from a railroad layout to do something similar, but then you don't usually see large oil tanks at racetracks and the scale of the tanks is wrong at HO. You're right-on that it's low on the priority list, but I like to be thinking a few steps ahead -- it keeps me from painting myself into a corner.


Cheers!
Mac.
 

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Mac, where in Minnesota??

Have you done a trackplan that you can post? Its difficult to tell routes from your Photo's but the Photo's are excellent for viewing elevations. The combination of a trackplan with the photo's would be great
 

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Hey Todd, thanks for the props on the pics!

I'm a wee bit South of you I reckon...Circle Pines is a little town South East of Blaine and West of Lino Lakes.

Track Plan? Uh, er, you mean like REAL organized, computer-generated track plan?
Erm, no. I'm a Mac guy and none of those cool design applications liked my choice of computer.

So, I had to use a pencil (4B), and I have an entire marker pad filled with thumbnailed pencil sketches instead. I doubt those would help...


UPDATE: the track has now reached it's final length of 60 feet, and gets tapped this weekend. I'm using the "tap-every-10" method, but I'm still not clear on what gauge I should use...somewhere between 14-16 AWG I think sounds right. Once the track is painted, I'll be modding the rails with conductive adhesived foil tape (copper or aluminum I'm still debating).

Oh, and I'm already wishing I had built the table open-frame. Ah well...next time. 20 years from now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
John,

It's a reference to the oft-heard excuse in F1 this season by many teams (including Ferrari), that the problem in the team's poor on-track performance was down to bad aero data produced by an uncalibrated wind tunnel. I'm basically just using the same excuse preemptorily in case I screw this thing up
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for that, Jon...I might do that!

And thanks Graham! It's not going to have castles on it, but I'll try to do my best!
 

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UPDATE: 11.26.07

Todd had asked for a trackplan a while ago to go with the pics...



The layout shown in the pics was built from the above design.

However, since this was drawn-up and the pics posted back in September:

1. The center section (turns 2-4) leading to the overpass was lengthened so it reaches a bit farther South into the infield (I just can't stand to waste track); I've also taken one of the three LCs from the back straight and added it to the short straight on the center, to help minimize wagon-training and to have one LC per sector.

2. The track has been powertapped in six places, with the 16AWG runs leading to two busses (one for black, one for red)

3. The pitlane has now been power-tapped and connected to the back-straight, and the LCs down the back straight have also been changed to allow for the Pitlane LC to enter the mix (all lanes now change from outside to inside prior to the pit-entrance).

4. I've copper-topped from turn 12 through 13 to the start/finish line heading towards the straight -- as an experiment to make sure this mod would be all everyone who recco'd it said it would. It is, and now I'm a huge proponent of it. I've also tested masking the copper tape to make sure I can cover it during painting. No problems there.


5. The track is now on its permanent support structure and track filling, sanding and painting is the next milestone.

Geeze, Rome was built faster than this!
 

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David Collins
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Mac,

If you want to set the circuit design down formally, try RailModeller from here. It works fine in demo mode (there are versions for OS 9 and OS X) except you can't save the layout. But you can take a screenshot of it and save that...

Keep us up to date - the track is looking good!

David
 

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This is shaping up to be a great track.

Look, I know you spent hours and hours on the design but....and this is a very personal thing to me....I hate esses with more than two curves. Unless you can bring the slots together and form a racing line the cars do a silly wiggle as they go through, which would be fine on a real road (assuming you would keep to your side!), but on a race track?

Secondly the outside lane is outside the whole lap as you have inverted the bridge. I know that the difference on a two-lane circuit is not so significant as a six or eight lane track, and digital lane changers even the whole problem up even further, but it does wear the outside tyres somewhat.

Please don't take offence at these comments....you did ask for them. At the end of the day it's your track and you do what you want. I do and I know I've used a lot of styrofoam, but I love the stuff. It's breaking the mould that turns out some great ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No worries Graham!

Everything on this forum is personal to someone or other


Professionally, and over 15 years of verbal beatings as a designer, an art director and a former newswriter I have grown a thick-skin and am used to feedback of all kinds. I don't take anything personally;)

I apprecate all feedback!

IMO The outside lane is a non-issue for the reasons you stated. From a competitive standpoint, digital gives all drivers the opportunity and freedom to move inside and outside so the balance is restored. From a tire wear perspective, you do raise a fair point -- but as you can shift lanes, it shouldn't be much of an issue in this regard. Still it is somethign to consider...

You do make very good points on the esses, and as nothing is ever "final", I'll take a second look at that section before it's really too late to change it. If I hit on an idea I like better and that fits-into the banked section, I can scrounge a bit of copper tape and custom-up a solve...

However, let me explain why those hated esses are there.

First, the inital design was based on the F1 circuit at Suzuka, which has a section of esses. In all the multiple iterations these kept getting worked back in. I showed many of the designs to F1 and motorsports friends and they kept picking designs with esses -- for the technical, as well as "changing-up" the flow of the course.

Secondly, I have them there because I wanted a balance of fast, slow, technical sectors -- rather than a "hold-it-down-and-go-flat-out" trackplan.

Third, and most importantly, I have little kids who'll be the primary drivers of this table, and I need the esses to slow them down (I could buy whole new cars for all the spare parts I need to carry because of the "offs" the kids often have).

Fourth, and actually a more frustrating, if understandable reason: I have a really limited budget. I'm building this thing on the cheap. So, what I have for track is what I have -- I shot my track allowance buying $300 of 30 and 15-degree curves, LCs and pitlanes, for this layout. My wife (the family CFO) and I actually figured the track-build into the household project budget (that also includes home improvement jobs, etc.) So, what I have, is a whole lot of 30-degree curved track and no budget to get any more if I want to move onto the landscaping, etc. portion of this.

I agree that the usual ess-"wiggle" is silly, but, as the curves are a bit longer the "wiggle" is less evident and doesn't really bother me. I COULD twist the esses a bit and give them some camber, like mini banks or change the elevation a bit to give it some visual interest....or...I was thinking that I could impose a pseduo racing line on them to improve the overall visual impact, as you did.

But, having said all that, you've raised some excellent points. I appreciate it all, Graham! Keep it coming!

Since you've challenged me, let me return the favor: What do you suggest to improve that section? Keeping in mind the bank stays right where it is
 

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Well, I'm glad you took it in the spirit it was intended. My suggestion for the esses would be to introduce an R2 cross-over in the central right-hander. That would make it flow better. Presumably your track supplier does one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, if you mean something like this:



That would be a solid, "no". However, it doesn't look too difficult to fashion out of MDF and copper tape.

I can see the "fun" that would add, as well as the potential for some nice collisions if two cars are side-by-side. THAT part I don't like. However, it would really add to the overtaking-on-the-corners "realism" if the entire ess section was done with these ("Hamilton gets taken on the inside of the turn by Massa, who loses position on the next corner right back to Ham...")

Thanks!
 

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Hey ProXDriver,

I think that there actually is a solution out there for what Graham suggests; I happened to be browsing another thread a week ago and was frustrated that Carrera doesn't produce any corner change-overs (as you say - the Hamilton effect), but then I found this other external link to an outfit that manufactures specialty parts. Its German so I had to do the language conversion thing offered by Google, but once converted, it was cool to see some of the specialty products that they make.

http://64.233.179.104/translate_c?hl=en&am.../language_tools

They also appear to have conversion parts which will allow you to go from Carrera to Scalextric.

Pricing doesn't seem to be listed.

However, one of the really cool pages on the site is a scale model of Monaco GP circuit that they are currently constructing.

Allan
 
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