As far as I'm concerned you can't beat TrackPower. It cost me about £15, but the ease of use and the quality more than justify the relatively small outlay and I have spent literally hours designing and tweaking plans - great fun!
I know there may be others but I get the impression from this forum that TrackPower comes out as the overall favourite.
Hope that helps,
I'm also a big TrackPower fan. I tried a couple of the others. Scalextric was a waste of time due to reliability issues. UltimateRacer3 was pretty good, but I didn't like the way track was laid and modified. TrackPower was easy to lay track, VERY easy to move and modify track that was already laid, and the look was very appealing to me. Like Dave, I felt the low cost was well worth it, and I also spend too much time playing with it.
Drawing tables is easy with TrackPower. You can set up a grid of pretty much any measurement, and snap boxes and lines to the grid. You can even turn off the snap and draw mostly freehand. You can't draw true freehand, or curves, but for table borders, that's rarely needed. If you need to mimic a curve, it's easy with multiple short lines.
Yep! That's where we get them. Track designer apps don't magically design layouts for you. Though, if someone invents one that can take a list of pieces and a defined space and make a bunch of layouts, the inventor will make some money.
We're using our imaginations. Rather than add to the wear and tear of the plastic track connections, regardless of brand, we like to put our imaginations into pictures using a track designer. This lets us make tracks using just the pieces we have, or ones that only need a couple more pieces, and of course those ones we could never make without a very large area and a lottery winning's worth of track. Without a track designer, we're left to simply wonder what it would take to make our fantasy tracks. Without the track designer, we're left with sketches of tracks that may or may not every meet up at the end with the pieces we have. RikkiGTR's awesome Suzuka track, thanks to JL-F1, would not have happened so smoothly without a decent track designer program.
I guess if all you have are full straights, half straights, and R2 sections, you can pretty much just go to town without worrying much about it. I prefer to build more exotic designs, where it could take hours of swapping pieces in real life to do the same thing that would take a fraction of the time on a computer.
I used 4 basic tools.
Trial and error laying pleasing shapes out in track.
Test driving to see which pleasing shapes were pleasing and challenging to drive.
Pen and paper to record the pleasing shapes that were also pleasing and challenging to drive.
And then a track design program to tie together the pleasing shapes that were pleasing and challenging to drive and get them to fit into the space I had available.
I used SlotMan for my layout tweaking, but anything at all that you find easy and instinctive to use is the go.
U may notno but i am new to this hobby and just wandering to save money if i can make my own pieces out of wood with some steel inside? Will this work? I wanna do this coz i wanna build a large layout.
I'm a newbie too, but after reading several posts, can tell you that you can make your own tracks and this forum is full of how to(s). Most track builders use MDF and a router to construct their tracks and use copper tape or different types of braid for connectivity.
If you look through this forum (tracks & scenery) you will find numerous posts with pictures of people building their tracks. Designs from basic to fully fledged with scenery etc that blows the mind.
The good news on SlotMan is that it's a free download. Official site. It is a full race management system but I believe it requires proprietary hardware to interface between track and computer.
Routing a track is apparently a fairly simple process, provided you have access to power and a router. Choice of copper tape or braid (magnetic or non) is usually dependent on budget, proposed longevity of track and position of track. My other half is currently planning a hill climb track, but as it will be outdoors and subject to temperature fluctuations braid with be the preferred method for supplying power to the cars.
Ah, see now if you said you wanted to custom make your track, then the answer would be different.
If you're going to rout a track on wood, then your track designer is a pen and paper. Heck, some people don't even use that, but it's a good idea to tweak on paper rather than while you're doing the routing.
Spend a few minutes (ok, days...) at oldslotracer.com, and you will see what is truly possible with slot car tracks.
SlotMan really isn't that complicated. It just covers a lot of stuff. Go into the 'Track Editor' and the rest is easy. But I agree that, if you're routing, there's no better starting point than oldslotracer.com and pencil and paper.
TrackPower is the best there is I think for basic track design. All hands down!
SlotMan and UR.3.0 are versatile and easy to customize if needed. You can make Track Parts Libraries to suit Your needs. So 'parts' for a routed track is no problem with those. All parameters can be changed [radius, lane spacing, track width etc]. But if doing that, each work just a bit differently.
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