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Hi there. I've decided my 2 week old son needs a hobby when he's old enough
and as such I'm thinking about ideas for a track in my garage. I have done some reading and it seems slot racing is massively different to how I remember! I have some old track and bits in boxes in the loft, so I'll get some of it down at some point soon to give me more ideas. I don't expect any of it to actually work though, so am deciding my parameters for a track based on:
  • My garage is a single garage, with power and light. It's not clogged up with stuff, but I can't let the finished circuit take over the whole space. So, I intend on a hinged lightweight base board (polypropylene?) with a 6mm MDF 'top'. The hinge will attach to the wall at waist height and legs will 'fall' out as it's lowered into place. At the moment, I'm thinking of one, maybe two boards in line, so a maximum of 16x8.
  • I would like digital, it makes perfect sense to me.
  • I love the idea of best racing line too. Not sure quite how to achieve it yet though.
  • I also see the benefits of a routed track - no magnets to do the work for you, cheaper construction and so on.
  • Digital in wood - I'm likely going to get Scaley stuff to butcher and transplant, as the majority of tracks I've seen are built this way and the availability of bits looks to be greater.
Since I'm starting from scratch I think it's good to get people's opinions (and please do share your mistakes!) so that I get the plan right before I buy anything at all.

My ultimate plan is to have my son's mates over racing at the weekends, and both my father and father in law to help out with modelling duties. Hope that it's going to be a kind of focus point and hobby we can all enjoy!
 

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1. Don't be surprised if your son shows no interest in slot cars - don't worry about it, it can be your hobby
2. If you want to keep the same layout for a longtime go routed, if you like changing round the track go plastic. The best thing to do is set a track up with what you've got and see if you become bored with it.
 

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6mm MDF is a bit thin for routed unless you are going for a particularly shallow slot.
It's normally best to have the MDF 3mm thicker than the slot depth, although some home set ups seen to be OK down to 2mm deeper.
 

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Greg Gaub
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Julian said it best, so I ditto what he said.


You'll want to decide on your track table size asap, though. unless your garage is 12'+ high, you won't be able to hinge down an 8' wide table. 5' wide is plenty, really, especially if you go 16' long. You can then design a track to fit the space. Base it on plastic sections, but go crazy with the different radius turns, because routed lets you do anything. Then, you can adjust the routed lines to be more like a racing line than following the edge of the track exactly all around like plastic does. Put lane changers at the end of straights on the entry to turns, and they'll work great.

But yeah, if you're not already sure, then take it a little slower. With a little TLC, I bet your old track will work fine. Check out the Track Maintenance articles in the Slot Forum Resources page if you need help.
 

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Welcome bazzer to this unique hobby! I hope you do decide to become a crazed slotter like the rest of us, its a fun hobby! Beware though, you may easily become obsessed with it and spend large amounts of time and money before you know what hit you. Like a lot of hobbies (and addictions) I suppose. And like most hobbies, do it for yourself first, then find some like-minded enthusiasts. There are plenty here! Asking questions before taking the plunge is a great way to get your feet wet first, and get the most out of this experience too, in the long run. Anyway, to answer some of your questions:

Don't choose to go routed because you think it will save money, it probably won't. There is still lots to buy, including tools, mdf, copper and braid and don't forget your time investment, it's a lot higher. Mistakes here will cost you some too. Instead, choose routed because you like the idea of a complex, original layout, and a smoother ride. 16X4 is a great size for a track.

I hope your family gets involved, that would be cool. Your son and his mates likely won't get too serious about it until age 7 or so, then up until they leave the nest (if they enjoy it), so you have at least 7 years to build, ha Good luck and have fun!
 

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Yea, right it's for your son.


IMHO:

The cost of routed vs. plastic is not a simple one. I started with a top-of-the-line Scaley set and by the time I got the track I wanted, the cost had doubled. And I still got that "clic clic clic" as the cars went around the track. 16' by 8' is going to cost you a bomb unless you shop for used stuff (not a bad option)

I decided to go routed for my second track. The wood totaled about $50, the router was a cheap trim router and cost $25, Luf's lexan strip was $40 (you could make something similar if so inclined) , the bit was $10, I got 100' of braid for about $50 and a quart of paint for $10. Now I have a 47' single lane hill climb for about $200. (I did borrow a recess router for the braid but you can always use copper tape.)

Sweat equity - Personally I would pay to do it again. I enjoy building the track as much as running it but that is me.

But most of all - the smooth running sound of nothing but a well set up car is bliss.

I think when you add in digital it takes the work volume to another level. I base this on some of the SF threads where people have built there own "switches" and it does look daunting.

IMHO
 

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Wood is awesome, far superior to plastic track. I recommend buying Lufs router kit and video, makes the job so much easier. oldslotracer.com

- Cam
 

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Hi Bazzar

If you up date your profile with a location you may find someone local who has something like this

If you have a look How we built The THORNDIKE Oval

It is pretty easy to do

Now if we were to make it again we would just use the electronics to put into the routed track and then the lane changers can be tailor made

One thing I would say is if you do actually do a best line track it will be very hard to ever overtake on it much better to do one that looks like a racing line but painting the road surface to come into the slots and go away in the correct place

Also dependent on how handy you are with a router as long as you have a straight edge and a piece of flexible tubing to be able to route 1 lane then setup a jig/guide to follow the 1 slot routed already it is pretty easy

Also copper taping is easier as you only need to rout the slot and not a rebate aswell

Michael
 

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Cutting rebates is about the easiest part of a routed track - you just have to adjust trhe cut depth right on a pice of waste timber.

Once that's done, you can just push the router around a track at about half walking pace.
I can do 30 metres of rebates an hour no trouble.

- And if you have a bridge, it needs to be removable so you can route the rebate under it, or extract the section of track under the bridge then fit it again.
 

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I have to say that the rebate was very easy to do with the right bit. A friend of mine got one from Slot Car Corner Canada and lent it to me. It just follows the routed groove. I have tried laying copper tape on plastic and found it very fragile. Braid and double sided tape was much easier although more expensive. I think it also looks much better.
 

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QUOTE (Slots-O-Fun @ 6 Mar 2012, 20:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Yea, right it's for your son.


IMHO:

The cost of routed vs. plastic is not a simple one. I started with a top-of-the-line Scaley set and by the time I got the track I wanted, the cost had doubled. And I still got that "clic clic clic" as the cars went around the track. 16' by 8' is going to cost you a bomb unless you shop for used stuff (not a bad option)

I decided to go routed for my second track. The wood totaled about $50, the router was a cheap trim router and cost $25, Luf's lexan strip was $40 (you could make something similar if so inclined) , the bit was $10, I got 100' of braid for about $50 and a quart of paint for $10. Now I have a 47' single lane hill climb for about $200. (I did borrow a recess router for the braid but you can always use copper tape.)

Sweat equity - Personally I would pay to do it again. I enjoy building the track as much as running it but that is me.
But most of all - the smooth running sound of nothing but a well set up car is bliss.

I think when you add in digital it takes the work volume to another level. I base this on some of the SF threads where people have built there own "switches" and it does look daunting.

IMHO

I couldn't agree more about the comment concerning enjoying building the track as much as racing on it.

Another thing to consider when deciding on digital vs analog. Do you have friends and family that are into the slot car hobby, if so, what do they use? Will you want to race at their tracks? If you are building the only track you plan to race on then it doesn't matter. If you want to race else where then your choice may be impacted by what others have.
 

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Damien Straw
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I started with a similar excuse to you which was an enormous lie, I wanted a slot car set for myself and I suppose the kids could join in too if they had to! I chose Scalextric Digital and have really enjoyed it so far. What appeals most is the ability to modify and tune cars which makes it a very intriguing hobby. I may go routed one day (it has some real appeal, especially BLST) but find that what I have and what I plan to do with it is a great way to learn and start. Having plastic to try different corners and lengths of straights etc... gets you better prepared to know what you want in a permanent or semi permanent track.
I drew up a plan for a track and as I get more pieces towards the total amount, I set up different corners and modify the plan as I see fit. When it is finished I am sure I will be really happy with it and that it will suit me for a good few years at least.

Good luck with it!
Damo.

P.S. the kids will love it! My 5 year old daughter does and even my 17 month old son can drive, he isn't strong enough to push the trigger all the way in so he never deslots!
 
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