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Welcome to the Highlands raceway...

11216 Views 30 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  dreinecke
Welcome to the Highlands raceway....

Welcome one and all... Come in... take a seat... you could be here a while this is one HUGE project and I guess its time for me to start a new thread for my much hinted at new loft layout... Over the next few posts I will show you the story as it has already evolved to date and the layouts that have led me to the choices I have taken for this new one. So to tune you in here is a brief potted layout history...

First of all here is a pic of my first digital layout that I built in 2009 a mainly R2 double loop layout with some 3 lane sections...

Sadly it only lasted 4 months before the uneven lane lengths and lane obscuring bridges began to annoy me... the entry/exits to the three lane sections were slower than staying in lane... so many things i needed to learn... thats why i joined the forum! but the boards and track were recycled into.

Second, my NASCAR oval track built in Jan 2010

Sadly this track is now disassembled to release the PBPro unit to sell and get at the track pieces to play with to help with planning the new loft layout.

Third, GT1 layout... Built in March 2010

This layout will also sadly have to be dismantled to re-use the track but loads of scenic tricks were learned building it but most bits will be recycled and reused

So with the history out of the way what did I learn from building those?... Firstly that folding layouts are a good space saving solution but the limiting factor is the width forcing design compromises that have some effect on the quality of the racing. My decision to build a fast oval and a twisty race track came from many years of playing Scalextric the two give very different types of buzz but to be honest an oval racing alone is pretty dull, even with fast pace cars... From my GT1 layout I learned that even a well designed small layout becomes less of a challenge with repeated use... you eventually end up lapping so fast compared to others that races become a little one sided and if you want pace cars to race against R1 curves mean they have to be set at such a slow speed that they are more like pensioners on a Sunday jaunt than racing drivers... These problems I wanted to address.

I guess that I have been lucky and spoiled by having a digital Scalextric club on my doorstep... Ben (BBENSCA) has done a fantastic job of building the club over the last year or so, starting from building tracks on the floor each Sunday with a 4 car PB to the current massive 24 metre circuit with full PBPro, SSDC, Pit Pro that is stored in the ceiling of the local village hall.

Racing on a large layout has really made me realise how limited my 40ft home track is by comparison... So I blame him for this big build!!

But Norfolk is also a hotbed of Scalextric clubs... NSR in Norwich, Presto in Aylsham, ASR in St Olaves, Mussel Bay in Kings Lynn... Although I have met many of these guys on line and in real life my work and poor health has meant not taking as much advantage of the club racing as perhaps I should one reason for this is that Analogue cars won't run on a digital track... OK so PBPro will allow one analogue car to run in standard guise, but it means that people cant bring their club cars to play with and I cant tune my club cars on my small home layouts... so a bigger track would be nice.

So with all this in mind the loft would be the new home for my next layout there would be plenty of space up there to do what I wanted, if I was going to spend that much money and effort to put together a track it would be BIG and it would have to be a combined digital/Analogue layout... having spent over £400 on chips it has become a real pain in the butt taking them back out when disposing of cars or just fitting them in some of the more cramped cars... Lotus47 for example! DPR makes it easier but good value auction buys normally means resorting to a soldering iron... Being able to run cars in races without chipping them would be a must have feature.

So with all of these decisions made my years of playing with Scalextric (started at 8yrs old) and the knowledge learned about Digital over the last 2 years... My experience was going to be pushed to the limits... I have been really grateful to all on the forum for their help and assistance to date. There is no substitute for experience and enjoy I learning from others and those of a more artistic persuasion and passing on the knowledge learned to help people get the most from the hobby.

So with the introduction done... Next post my layout wish list.
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Fascinating stuff, I'm really enjoying these developments as I am at the early stages of my serious track building adventures. I'm learning quite a bit by following these threads, though still need to research a few things (such as the Pit pro aspects).
A mate is in on it with me and we're having such a laugh learning how to put it all together. Our next venture is a serious revamp of the baseboard construction.
I should start photographing these evolution stages, but I'm a bit shy as I haven't even thought about scenery yet - my efforts look so bare and nakid compared to others first attempts!

Looking forward to the loft shots - hope you follow up with them tomorrow.
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QUOTE (hankscorpio @ 5 Feb 2011, 10:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think i enjoy the building as much as the running... Infact i enjoy planning the build as much as the build itself

Since I have decided to get into slot cars all I seem to have done is planning and have only been driving with little test builds to test ideas out. lately all I have been doing is building. Will I ever get to the point where I am happy with my layout and can get some driving in?

I'd like to know if i enjoy the planning as much as the running... In fact i love planning the build and hate the building itself.

It's great to see you back Hank and in full swing again.
Well every big layout has to start somewhere... and i guess this is it... creating the space!

Boarding out the loft was a great idea really I seem to have earned loads of DIY "Kudos" from the missus as she can get a few more bits stored out of the way!!!! The fact I get a Scalextric room in the process seems to have been missed entirely.... Now thats what you call a result!

My house is a new build... so there were no major issues with the loft itself... apart from a big vent in the middle of the loft which will have to be re routed... the main problem with building a layout up there though was the loft hatch.... This was a simple push up hatch which was only 18inches" square. This meant that it was going to be tough to get the boards through to build the layout. So widening the loft hatch would be stage one and I really fancied having one of the big folding wooden loft ladders which form their own hatch... for those who don't know what I mean its one of these.

The only problem with these is the weight about 30kg... they cost about £120 and are pretty good the whole mechanism fits within the frame and come pre assembled. In my current poor state of health I decided that getting the other half to hold 30kg's above her head while I sat in the loft was not gonna work...

The loft hatch was therefore replaced with a larger drop down door and a power assisted metal ladder... The hatch is a simple fit but did require the loft hatch being widened fortunately the frame around the hatch was only a 2x2 held in with a couple of screws so it was pretty simple to take out and the plasterboard then cut along the sides with a normal saw and the cross cut made with a plasterboard cutter in my dremmel... This pic shows the piece of framing that was removed

I actually saved the 2x2 and re attached it six inches or so further back for the new loft hatch The new lightweight plastic hatch was then a simple job to screw in place and the moulded outside frame covers any messy saw marks... Simples. These are available from about £30 upwards depending on the amount of insulation or fire retardance you want. Fortunately the loft already had a light and power socket fitted by the builders so

With that done I could get in and out of the loft a lot easier and there seemed to be plenty of space, the W frames are a bit in the way but leave a space about 12ft 6in wide from the outside beam of the middle sections of the W. So a quick before pic showing the gallons of insulation that had to be squashed down or removed as appropriate. The loft is 15ft 8in long. The layout will have to be built around the rafters but I'm hoping that will not be too difficult, but may require the use of many of the little quarter/short straights to achieve the design in the available spaces.

The boarding was then done using 2ft wide PG5 tongue and groove boards which are so much quicker than the little loft boards that the DIY shops sell. All my rafters are on 2ft centres and the little loft boards are 1220 in length so whatever I do I end up having to cut them to get them to join over a rafter so the bigger ones worked much better for me... at £7.20 each I only needed 8 so was not too prohibitive. I plumped for a Metal ladder with a Sprung Pull Arm to pull the ladder back into the loft and allow it to drop gently into place, so little strength is needed a 5 year old could do it... The ladder was fixed to a new crossbeam fitted in place above the 2x2 framing that holds the hatch, it also gave a good platform on which to build the "landing" at the top of the ladder, The integrated handle also makes getting on and off the ladder a lot easier as there is just over 5ft above the loft hatch so a bit of care is needed not to bump your head!!! I've already bumped mine loads. I will get some of that cheap pipe insulation to nail onto the beams to soften the blow!

The ladder was £75 so with the new hatch £30 was not much cheaper than the bigger and more elegant folding wooden ladders but so much lighter to fit which is kind of important for me at the moment with big pains from kidney stones which are made worse by too much bending... Umm yeah I know fitting the flooring required bending...
So today I started getting a few bits of board into place and get the first few key measurements to start planning the build... Started by building a bench out of some bits of hardboard and some folding crates... the little stools from Ikea have finally come in handy. So all up its cost about £175 to do the job to date including all the little ancillaries... Paid for by flogging off a couple of cars, A C7030PB, A Multigym and a few other assorted bits of unwanted tat... Infact there was enough cash left over from the pool to pay for the last RH pit lane I needed

All the bits for the basic track plan have been bought along with the borders which have been boxed up ready to go to the loft ready to go up... The entire NASCAR oval and all its digital bits are amongst the pile plus a big bundle of track bought from Ebay for £35 and a pile of straights from "Patrick" scalexxkid for £15, a bundle of borders bought from a local model shop selling off all its Scalextric stock cheap for £60 means I'm already £10 over my £100 budget... Kind of looks rather like a lot of work when you see it piled up in one place!!!!

And I still have my GT1 layout to dismantle for bits!!! Fear not though as I have a whole pile of bits to sell off on ebay next week to pay for the wood for the baseboards... there is also loads of wood in my two wall mounted layouts yet to be dismantled... so I'm pretty sure no divorce will be pending... If there is at least I have somewhere to go and hide!

Really now need to start getting some track built up to check that the track plan is workable around all the beams and rafters that exist... Once I'm happy that the design can be bent to fit without destroying the feel of the original concept will I dismantle the GT1 layout.... That may not happen before I go off on holiday on the 17th Feb. Loads of fiddling to do over the next few days before any real work on the baseboards can start in earnest, actually I kind of get the feeling I may have to build a temporary framework to know it will for sure... ho hum!

Thanks for watching.... Thats the story so far... There may well be a lull but we are well underway!
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Looks like you are off to a cracking start Sean.

You're making me look up enviously towards my loft hatch. Damn rental!
QUOTE (hankscorpio @ 3 Feb 2011, 01:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Sadly it only lasted 4 months before the uneven lane lengths and lane obscuring bridges began to annoy me... the entry/exits to the three lane sections were slower than staying in lane... so many things i needed to learn... thats why i joined the forum!
So, as I'm about to embark on my digital journey myself, could you possibly give any hints on positioning the changeovers to avoid this problem? (or should I start a general "where's the best place to put the lane change tracks" thread?)

It really is a matter of trial and error... and expect a lot of error...

No real rules because what works in one place doesn't work in another... but a basic rule of thumb...

Widening to three lanes works as long as you don't have to turn out of your lane go "outside" of the standard running lane and then pull back in... But the only single lane curves you can buy are R3 single lanes so they generally go on the outside or an R2...

The reason for this is if you are trying to use the extra lane to overtake another car the "switch lane" lane is approx 8cm further out than the one your are already in last and ends up being "longer" in terms of distance (2xPixR) and then you have to switch back to the inner lane to continue racing running the risk of colliding with the car you were trying to overtake... Generally you can't get ahead in a 180deg curve so you just end up back behind the car you were trying to overtake... so the hassle of lane changing becomes pointless...

Hope that is understandable... Basically you need to make it worthwhile to do the change... otherwise nobody wwill use it...

Using track planning software will allow you to measure the lane lengths.... The scaley free one (carp), Ultimate racer 3 (Good), Trackpower £15 (best) as it allows you to measure the lengths of the planned lane changes as well as the track as a whole.

Starting a thread is never a bad idea... try and keep it to one or two questions or you will find the thread will "drift" into free for all.

Hope it helps
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We have a (short) three lane section at ENSCA. It works really well. Have a look - ENSCA Track

It's the corner towards the bottom left. Past the powerbase (top left) round the banked R3, through the kink and into the three lane section.......
Bens example in the pic below is a good one....

It works because switching lanes puts you onto the shortest lane and if you take it puts you in the main "running lane" automatically and on the inside for the next complex of turns...

QUOTE (BB ENSCA @ 10 Feb 2011, 12:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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Came across this thread when reading another and wondered if there was any update?
Colin, Sean/Hank popped up on the forum again a couple of years ago but hasn't been seen or heard of since.
Good night is that alot of work! Really impressive thus far and I am always intrigued the lengths by which crazy, grown boys will go to have a track. That deserves a medal all on it's own.

Can't wait to see the track running!
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