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Track planning - digital, routed or plastic...

1684 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Damo
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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QUOTE (Slots-O-Fun @ 6 Mar 2012, 20:53) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Yea, right it's for your son.


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.


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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