These are pictures from the 3rd (and hopefully final) prototype - it's a 19.5 m track + pit lane, on a 6 x 1.6 m area
Happily it's a vast improvement, being cheaper and faster to build - I like a lot the new track material (3 mm thick HP laminate) which is extremely tough and comes with a surface finish fairly similar to Ninco - in fact, it was recommended by Italy's top track router who uses it in the more customary 0.9 mm incarnation
BTW, on my first experience with a CNC router, I chickened out and designed a slot width of 2.5 mm in the Xwitch area (as opposed to 2 mm elsewhere). Turns out accuracy is even higher than with a laser cutter, I'll keep that in mind for the future
You also see the LC actuator, which came out very simple - just an electromagnet and an L shaped rocker
I'll start the next series of running tests at the end of the month - I have selected a Scalextric Porsche 911GT3 (but a Slot.it 956 would do just as well) - I hardly need to touch the chassis at all, I'll just use the front body retaining screw post to install the new guide (you may remember it's 1.6 mm stainless steel tubing)
Actually, the toughest part will be waiting until year end for Scalextric to issue their electronics package - unless I somehow managed to get an advance copy - fat chance !! - or is there anybody who might intercede with Adrian on my behalf ??
PS : Narcis, your idea (installing the LC LED directly atop the guide, so that the sensor in the slot will pick it up even if the car fishtails) is very good for a conventional slot track - for Xlot, however, it doesn't really matter because the decoder etc. ride in the guide pod, travelling in the channel below the slot - so they do not rotate
correct on both counts - although Scalextric is limited to "only" 6 cars, 12 or so would be ideal (on a longer track)
As for the commercial aspect : I don't know yet . The track is obviously aimed at clubs, but my real ambition is to resuscitate commercial tracks - the fact that cars do not deslot (they spin, recover and get an automatic drive-through as penalty) and that both collisions on LCs and shunting are prevented makes car rental a real possibility
As the design stands today, once you get the track parts from the CNC router the rest is much simpler tham building a conventional routed track - it is still time consuming though, say 400-500 man-hours
The way I see it, a couple of enterprising youths could build a track and be in business for much less than opening the 1,000th pub or pizza place - but I may be out of touch with the times
What appeals to me most about the digital systems is the realism that it brings. I particularly like the idea of simulating pit stops and having "racing lines" through the corners.
I think that Xlot's system enhances the realism by not having pick-up rails or tape on the track surface and having such a narrow slot. To me, all the rest look like overgrown model railroad junctions!
Yess!! Many thanks to Photobucket and Tropi's idiot-proof (and printed) directions
This is the first half of the track [er, Russell, when are you sending that A380 over to collect it ? I need the space for the other half]
At the moment, I'm patiently (!!!) waiting for the new guide parts : it now works like a phone jack, the pod is simply attached with a set screw/ no wires to be connected - so effectively a driver will only need one pod (with decoder chip etc.) and swap it from car to car
The other change is in the spin recovery action : before, a spring made the car counterspin back in place - now it's a cam, so if a car makes a 360 degree spin (as is the case more often than not) it will be able to continue immediately
Of course, the drive-through automatic penalty is maintained - this meets Maurizio's comment about a spinning car holding up the others
QUOTE enhances the realism by not having pick-up rails or tape on the track surface and having such a narrow slot.
I couldn't agree more!
Unfortunately there are a lot of people who seem to prefer the surface metalwork, the big slot and the attendant possibility (almost certainty) to deslot and damage your own car and others. I feel that, even without the digital possibilities, Xlot's type of track is infinitely superior.
If you slide or spin, you still lose time, just as it should be - even without an additional, imposed penalty.
There is nothing inherently advantageous in suffering a total deslot and/or a damaged car and this system avoids that very neatly, while still requiring the same high level of expertise to put in good times and win. It's absolutely excellent and I can't understand why anyone could possibly prefer the big open slot. I see NO fun in deslotting, but a LOT of fun in learning to drive well without carnage.
That's quite apart from the fact that the appearance is infinitely superior too!
thanks as usual for the appreciation - but I'm afraid my track is inextricably linked with MCPL/Digital
Quite apart from the added excitement, this is due to its cost (man-hours mainly), which is proportional to the number of lanes
the only possibility of physical interference (i.e. carnage) is between cars on different lanes, while one car is recovering from a spin. But lane spacing is 10 cm and the guide is located just behind the front axle, so the window of vulnerability is fairly narrow - and cars will be on the same lane most of the time
The rest is taken care of by the anti-shunting protection - much to my regret, that's the one aspect (together with pod details) I'm coy about, but I assure you that absolutely does not detract from driving skill
QUOTE a LOT of fun in learning to drive well without carnage.
I probably should have said LESS carnage, really referring to embedment in walls, flights to the floor and more exciting flights through open windows! (someone once posted on flights down stairs via the open trap door from an attic/loft circuit!)
I had forgotten about Beppe's anti-collision measures and it looks as though we are going to have to wait to hear more about how they are implemented.
Beppe, I appreciate your system is based on digital control - I was just emphasizing the point that, even if it weren't, it's visual appearance alone is still head and shoulders above the 'model rail' look.
At the moment, I'm playing it safe and running the car as a tripod - with front weight on the braids and wheels barely touching the track. This because DCC experts from trains are paranoid about good contact to limit electronic noise
Another thing : perspective makes the guide look bigger than it really is - consider that the track surface is 3 mm thick, and the contact strips 19 mm below
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