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Xlot's new digital track in progress....

114588 Views 458 Replies 71 Participants Last post by  h00ch
Our friend Beppe has been hard at work!

Here are a couple of pictures of the new track under construction. I'll leave it to Beppe to explain.....

With kind regards

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Great, Beppe.

I don't remember if we discussed this before, but I'm thinking in your guide system and I wonder how should car react when it spins more than 90º and less than 270º? If this happens, car would run in opposite direction.

I guess you plan to run in reverse direction to re-spin again and keep in the same direction. Is that correct?

By the way, hope this summer to have enough free time to dedicate to slot... or Xlot if you prefer
I'll let you know.
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Hola Narcis,

having the car run in the opposite direction before it re-spins (a la Carrera Universal) with other cars on the same lane would have spectacular - but perhaps undesirable - consequences !!

What happens is that as soon as the car rotates beyond 60 degrees (with respect to the pod, which runs inside the channel and therefore does not rotate) a spring starts intervening. For rotations beyond 90 degrees this effectively jams the pod against the channel, and the car stops.
If you then give full power, the car wheelspins in place, rotates back to the correct direction and then takes off

As I said before, the new feature I'll be testing now is a cam action on the spring : so, if the car stops between 90 and 180 degrees, it will rotate back - but between 180 and 270 degrees it will do a full 360 - from what I've seen so far, this should be the most frequent occasion

Do let me know if you have time available - when the time comes to adapt the Scalex Digital electronics package, I'll need help !!

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OK, I take it (or I think so)

Anyway, running backwards in reverse direction means running forward, the problem would be track invasion when car is turning (crossed). Perhaps a "overspin detector", something like "if your car turns up to 60º it will stop spinning but a drive-thru penalty will be applied". Just to keep it in mind.

Don't worry, during August I'm on holidays, hope to enjoy free time for Xlot, I'll let you know. I'm thinking to buy a cheap "Scalex/Fly truck set" without trucks and a "digital compatibility set" or a complete digital set, whichever be cheaper-waiting for prices...
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QUOTE running backwards in reverse direction means running forward
this would be the case if polarity was reversed when spinning, but I'm keeping it the same. Matter of fact, the initial idea was indeed to reverse polarity (memories of Scalextric pin-guide cars) - but tests showed there's too much drag on the guide/pod, and the car didn't swing back to the correct direction

You are right about invading the other lane - I'm keeping that to a minimum with a 10 cm lane spacing and moving the guide behind the front axle. Limiting the swing to 60 degrees (I believe some arcade game does that) wouldn't be realistic and put a high strain on the 1.6 mm stainless steel tube/brass sleeve junction

About Scalextric Digital/prices : you have seen the thread in the News board, right ? Indeed, if you developed an anti-collision on LC add-on, I believe you would have plenty of customers !
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QUOTE (Xlot @ 26 Jun 2004, 22:28)...
About Scalextric Digital/prices : you have seen the thread in the News board, right ? Indeed, if you developed an anti-collision on LC add-on, I believe you would have plenty of customers !
First, Prices fros Switzerland are not a real guide, I mean, they are higher than in Spain (and I hope prices be reduced

About LCCD (Lane Change Collision Detector), should be quite easy: just add a car detector on destination lane, just at the begginning of the curve piece. If a car is detected, lane change sensor should be deactivated and collision avoided. Let me buy one and I'll let you know about news.

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An update

I've completed the latest series of running tests on the 10 m half track, and I can say I'm pleased

- Track surface. Grip is satisfactory even with stock Scalex tires - probably slightly less than Ninco
There's a clickety noise as the pin guide goes from one piece to the next - I've put a 0.5 mm swage on slot entrance which seems to be the culprit, it's not needed and the next track will have far fewer discrete pieces

- LC. Silky smooth in one direction, a small bump in the other - can fix that, no problem

- Spin recovery. The new cam/spring action is a real beauty !!
I can keep the trigger fully pressed all the time and (depending on accumulated speed) the car will either do a 150 degree spin, stop, rotate back with wheels spinning and restart or do a full pirouette [ er, to be totally honest this works when the car's on the inside lane and spins on the track - the green Forex "lawn" is too slippery and I'll have to paint it with anti-skid - but again, for the next track I'll use HP laminate for the lawn as well] Of course this must look rather weird to a traditional slot racer !

Well, I'll take a rest in August. Come September, I'll rent additional space in the car park and proceed at a leisurely pace with the other track half.
When Scalextric Digital finally becomes available, things will get serious !!

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This is looking like a fine way of running the thing Beppe. Are you building this as a future commercial venture or just to entertain yourself? It is looking decidedly slick either way - I like it!
QUOTE or just to entertain yourself?

are you kidding ?? Mine is just sheer, advanced-middle-age, mule headed stubborness

I have come to accept the fact that if this thing has a future, it'll be outside today's slot racing
So, once the prototype is completed and working, I'll see whether there's any interest from bowling or bingo (yeech) operators and tool up for a limited production run
Hey there!

Check out some video of Xlot in action;


Video is in Mpg format and is just under 800KB in size.


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Very cool! I did that self-reslotting thing. That car fixed itself right up and turned around in an almost exorcist-like fashion!!

The surface looks good too!

Julian/slik is a real master : he worked wonders with the crude "movie mode" (??) camera material I gave him

What you see is the spin recovery mechanism in action, and of course it can be modulated - right now it's very quick, which is good for not holding up following cars and minimizing the "window of vulnerability" with the other lane - but perhaps a bit slower would be nicer (thoughts of putting in a shock absorber from RC cars

I've noticed that as the track gains traction, the car doesn't seem to make 360 degree spins any more - so maybe I'll shelve the cam concept and go back to spring/lever, I can modulate return torque better this way

I'd like to seek advice on one thing : I'm not quite happy with the 2 mm slot still being visible. I selected a dark gray track (a lighter gray is also available), and I tried painting the bottom of the channel black (no, even more marked), white (no, it shows) before settling for medium gray - at some viewing angles the slot disappears, but mostly it's still there

I wonder if lighting the track from below would help

Other than that, SSD's arrival is suddenly imminent and the rent for the adjoining space in the car park runs from today ! I've already bought the wood for the track's second half, and you'll be relieved to know that I'll be rather busy for the next two months

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My congratulations Beppe, very good work.

Very good electrical continuity on the switch mechanic (it's very hard to obtain).

I finally got to see the video clip!
I had downloaded immediately but events conspired to prevent m from viewing it.

THAT is my idealised way to slot race, bar none.
The best track appearance possible, with no visible rail, tape or braid.
A barely visible slot and cars that slide, spin, can lose time easily through bad driving, yet the action fun factor is permanently retained because they don't deslot. Hugely reduced repair time and cost too (as long as the guide is tough enough to take the punishment).
I don't see how it can ever be better than that - it's marvellous!

I know Beppe believes in a drive through penalty for spinning and that's the only point where we are at variance. My opinion is that the act of spinning or sliding easily loses the driver enough time to make it well worth his while to learn not to do it. As for other cars possibly being impeded, I honestly don't think it matters - it's just a very minor racing incident and 'feels OK' to me.

Regardless of that small difference in opinion, the track is simply wonderful!
(and it would remain every bit as wonderful even without digital lane changing)
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Hi Beppe,

Also got to see it now.. Looks unreal buddy... I don't think lighting from under will work though, as you'll see the light more over the slot/track... The only way to totally hide the slot would be with some kind of thin rubber or material, that "folded" as the guide came past, then "closed" the slot once it's past. would have to be the same colour os the track surface natirally.. Too finicky though,. But otherwise, it looks cool..

Mine is not going to have this kind of trendy technology I'm afraid.. Tape will still be visable..

Not as clever as you my friend..

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Except that the driver is driving like my - er - self
, it looks very sweet. It'd save me a few bucks to stop throwing cars at the walls & just cop a time delay thing like that.

Please keep posting as you go - it's a terrific project


(My 2yo breaks less cars than I do - and is quicker too - but that's motor racing!)
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Love the setup great work

Hmm just had a thought (yes it hurt)

Most common problems with the new GP bikes.

Don't get me wrong I have 4 on my track and they are fun but on this track well............. the possibilities are endless.

1 They Don't lean
2 The bars across the track commonly referred to as electric track/paint strippers
3 They deslot much too easily.
4 They make a less than desirable noise rubbing plastic on plastic.

Well I am guessing on this track the Bikes would be awesome

They could be made to lean (easily I would assume ) No need for the bar and they would with their power to weight SCREAM

If you get a chance could you test one and post the results and VIDEO Please.
That would be great Thanks

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From the moment I saw PDL's concept for a Cox motorbike track in the seventies, I knew this question would come up !

Well, there are a couple of issues :

- Moto GPs are what, 1/18 scale - a 2 lane track looks terribly narrow, if you make it wider you need more space, and floor space is expensive for the revival of commercial tracks that is my ultimate goal

- for the pendulum/counterweight to work, the channel under the slot should be deeper than the 20 mm I've adopted - so I'd need to redesign the track

But I guess that basically, I'm not a bike person (sorry Edo & Thomas) - as much as I like the mechanics, the rare times my sons give me a lift on their maxiscooter in Rome, I kiss my kneecaps goodbye !!

Everybody, thanks for your encouragement - it's very much needed/appreciated - expect an update in a few days

And, once the basic work is done, I think there is a way to introduce actual understeer in the cars - it'll be a scratch builder's hog heaven !!!

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Well, I've assembled the base, pinned down track pieces and cut out lawn parts for the second half of the track - this is roughly 20% progress, and confirms my estimate of 400 man-hours being needed for the entire track. Of course working alone it's a pain in the backside, but for three people it would be actually fun (hint, hint)

I should complete it by mid November - SSD will be on sale in Italy by the end of October, take two weeks for the adaptations.... hey, that's good planning !!
Seriously, I expect to have digital cars running by mid December

One feature of the layout I particularly like : entrance to the pit lane is from the "normal" semi-lane, while exit is on the much less trafficked "overtaking" semi-lane. All the same, there will be an interlock preventing ingress if a car is approaching (actually, it's part of the anti-collision interlock in the LC before) - don't call me a control freak, it's just that with restrained cars collisions are definitely a no-no


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getting there, inexorably.....

The first picture shows the track assembly method : quite simple and forgiving, if a bit long

I've also been thinking about Tropi's suggestion that the automatic drive-through penalty on spinning is not needed - it has the additional merit of making my life simpler, so I'll adopt it and see what happens

Further thoughts on track layout : in the present configuration, it's 19.5 m long on two 3 x 1.6 m modules. With SSD, I'll run 6 cars and I figure up to 8 could be accomodated when (not if) higher capacity/ampacity aftermarket electronics packages become available - that should be right for commercial tracks, where floor space is at a premium
But for a club track, the two modules can be expanded like a domino : inserting another module in the middle (and just one more LC) you get a nice 30 m track for 12 cars, add one more in a T and you reach the ultimate 16 car capacity
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Xlot.... Im not sure if your come up with a solution yet to making he slot "invisible", however, for you to consider.

Have you considered Brushes? I think I saw some say thin rubber strips, which might be just as good, but would produce some friction/drag.

Thin strips of plastic brushes would provide a suitable stoppr of dirt/debris and also hide the slot a little.

They would offer less resistance/friction/drag than a thin rubber strip, by easily being "brushed" aside by the guide system.

There are a numbe of products on the market, in a few colours, white, grey, black. Commonly used, as draft stoppers on doors and windows, or in the eaves of houes to stop bird ingress.

For consideration is all.

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