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Tore
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I've used a lot of extruded polystyrene boards and high density foam boards when constructing the base and scenery for my permanent track. And I've been thinking for a long time if it would work to use these lightweight materials to build a "routed" track instead of heavy, and hard to work on, MDF and plywood.

So I created a tiny tabletop circuit for the kids, that they can pull out when wanted, and slide under the bed when finished playing with slotcars.



The track is painted with acrylic wallpaints. I had plans for making a detailed scenery on it, but I soon discovered that my small kids love to build on it with building blocks, and constantly change the buildings, so I think some more detailed painting (green paint for grass etc..) and maybe some movable structures will be enough for this track.

The track base is one 10 cm (4 inch) thick sheet of 60x120 cm (2x4 feet) extruded polystyrene board laminated with 2 layers of 3mm (0.11 inch) )thick Dupren high density foam boards. Rails are made with copper tape, and connectors is a bashed Scalextric Sport powerbase (these are very cheap on eBay).

QUOTE (Material info)- Extruded polystyrene is the same material as used for protecting TV's, washing machines, etc.. inside the cardboard boxes. The 4" thick 2x4 foot sheets are sold at hardware stores and are really cheap.

- Dupron high density foam sheets have a very high density and have a very smooth and solid surface. This material is used by glide-airplane and boat modellers, but I think the cheapest is to buy big 2x4 foot sheets from tile or hardware stores that are meant as insulation below concrete floors with heating cables. A big sheet costs about 5$

The track was made in 1 day including painting
and the total weight is no more than 2-3 Kg (5-6 pounds).

this is how I made it.

- Sketched up the slot and track on the thick EPS board until I found a suitable layout
- Taped clear cellofan "gift wrapping" foil over the board.
- Drawed the final layout on the cellofan and removed it.
- Mounted the two layers of Dupron sheets on top of the EPS board using double sided carpet tape (sticks like crazy to these materials, and doesn't require boring drying times as when using glue).
- taped the cellofan with the layout on top
- Made a "router knife" of a 3mm thick wood stick with one exacto blade superglued to each side. which gives me a 3mm wide slot.
Cut out the slot by cutting through both layers of dupron sheets. Then just pull out the middle strip and the 6mm deep slot is ready.
- Painted the whole track dark gray (75% black).
- Taped down the copper tape and burnishing it to the surface.
- Cut out a square on the underside of the base board, to make space for a powebase and some wiring.
- Pushed copper wire through the copper tape and all the way into the cutout on the back of the baseboard. Then made an angle on the top which was taped down on top of the copper tape with a new strip of copper tape to seal it in place.
- Bashed an old Scalex powerbase and soldered to two wires from one of the lanes to the copper wire, after checking polarity. Btw I designed this track to go "backwards" (left to right). Then hotglued the powebase to the base board.
- painted borders, and light grey as basecolor for scenery (brown or green could also be used).

As mentioned it was built in one day, but most of the time actually went into planning the layout (measuring borders and corners to get most out of the limited space) and painting the track. I'm a lousy free-hand painter so it took a lot of time to "touch-up" the borders.


The small track is perfect for the smaller cars, and especially small 4wd rally cars are very fun. Since the layout is so small its best to run the cars at low voltage. I run them with perfect powerslides at 9 Volt, while the small kids get some tail action without deslotting at 7,5 Volt. Too much voltage and the cars fly off the track.

There is no magnetic downforce on this track, but the surface has very good grip, so the standard tires works perfect. I was most worried that the slot wouldn't take the beating and demolish, but its been used hard for a whole day now (the kids, and I love it) and there is no signs of wear on the edges. The only problem so far is some spots where the copper tape was taped over the edge of the slot. It lifts slightly after hard use, but I guess that problem will be gone after some trimming of the copper tape with an exacto knife.

After only having a permanent track for two years, its fun to play on the floor again on a small layout, you can lie down an watch those powerslides very close up, which is a lot of fun


The track could possibly be extended by building several similar modules, but you have to figure out a good way of connecting the modules together.

As for total cost, I have no idea, since I was lucky enough to have all the materials as leftovers from other projects, but I bet its a lot cheaper than any slotcar sets. Go check your basement for leftover materials and build a tiny track
 
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