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Gascarnut's routed track


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#1 gascarnut

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:04 PM

Some of the guys who race D3 regularly have seen some of these photos, but since I have made some progress now, I feel comfortable starting a thread to document the construction of my home track.

First, a little history. As many people know, I have a love of 1/32 scale cars apart from the 1/24 Retro stuff most of us race these days. When I got back into slot racing, I built a 12x6 layout using Carrera plastic track that hoisted into the roof of my garage in Irvine. When we moved to Colorado, I took it with me and then sold it there rather than bring it all the way back. My wife promised me the use of a covered patio behind our garage for a routed track, so once the summer visitors had left, I started the planning. It took probably 50 different drawings to finalize a layout, since the space is a bit limited. I have 16 feet by 6 feet to work with. I finally decided on a 3-lane representation of the old 4-laner that used to be my club track back in the 1970s. Having saved a bunch of large cardboard boxes from our move, I had the material to lay out a full-size replica:

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In particular, I wanted to be sure of the gradients over the bridge:

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Then once I was happy that it would all work, I started cutting wood:

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First off: Legs, lots of legs:

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Then it was the various parts of the frame. I wanted to do two things - firstly have a "table" of sorts on which the track would be routed, so I can have some place for a bit of scenery, and secondly, I needed to be sure I could take it all apart in sensible sections in case I have to move it. SO I came up with four separate frames, one at each end and two long sections between them:

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Since the patio is covered but not closed in, everything needed to be painted just to be sure, not that it rains in Southern California, right? :D

The whole lot is bolted together, lined up and levelled to about 1/8" from end to end.

Then I cut and laid out the MDF surface. It's all 1/2" thick, which is why I was worried about the bridge gradients, as the MDF is not that flexible.

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Next up was to cut and shape the bridge section to build the overpass. More photos and less writing:

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Once all this was done to my satisfaction, it was time to start routing the slots. I had laid out the slot lines before doing the bridge, so I had the design in place. Rather than use a trammel or a compass on the router, I bought a "routing kit" from Luf Linkert in Vancouver - he of www.oldslotracer.com fame. If you haven't seen that site, go there, you will be blown away by what he does. Luf's routing kit comprises a lexan strip drilled every 1.5" or so for nails, a plexiglass base with 3", 3.5" and 4" radii, and a length of Sintra plastic.

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The idea is to nail down the lexan strip where you need it, then route the first slot. Then you can use the sintra strip in that slot and the desired lane spacing on the plexiglass base to route the other slots.

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This photo also shows how I set up my shopvac to control the dust - it worked wonderfully. The router is a $30 Harbor Freight Trim Router that needed just a little "tweaking" on the collet to get the bits to run true. It did the job perfectly, showing that there is more value in spending bucks on the cutters than on the router itself. I found a Whiteside 1/8" upcut carbide router bit that routed all 180 feet of slots and still looks brand new. The lap length overall is 60 feet and 3inches, with 4" lane centers, a 3" inside gutter and 5" on the outside of the turns, so I should be able to run 1/24 cars quite nicely.

Using the lexan strip, it was easy to blend the curves into the straight sections, as well as blending from a 3" gutter to a 5" border between two turns, giving a nice impression of a "racing line"

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More in the next post, this one is getting kind-of long!

Dennis Samson
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#2 Craig

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:16 PM

Very cool Dennis, another garage/patio track to race on. Let us know when it's done. I am in the process of getting some 1/32 scale racers and I'll need a place to play with them.

By the way, where is your personal protective equipment that's required when using power tools? Steel toed shoes as well.... :D
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#3 gascarnut

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:26 PM

OK, next process - the straight sections:

Posted Image

Simple enough, just a long "fence" from a 2x6 to route the center slot, then use the Sintra strip again for the other two slots. I never did take a photo of that part of the process, it went so fast I was done before I ever thought of it!

So here it is - all the lane slots routed, along with a few other short sections that will hold walls and barriers. The barriers that are already in place help to support the bridge section.

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Tim Neja helped me out with the loan of a special rebating bit to route the recesses for the braid, It worked fine and took very little time once the proper depth was set:

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Then the long job of filling in all the nail holes from nailing the lexan strip down and the holes where the hundreds of wood screws hold the surface to the frame. My wife helped out:

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And the QA inspector approved:

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Next steps: preparing the slots for braiding and then painting the surface. I am painting the lane colors in the slot and on the braid recesses, so I won't have a lot of striping to do, or to detract from the surface color.

More shots as I go, hopefully the Thanksgiving weekend will see substantial progress.

Comments, remarks, howls of derisive laughter are all welcome. :D

Dennis Samson
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#4 gascarnut

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:29 PM

Thanks Craig!

Hopefully it will all be done by year's end, depending on my travel schedule.

Regarding the protective equipment - I guess growing up in South Africa rather than here had its disadvantages, we were never as safety-conscious there. I did wear a filter mask while I was routing, though.

Dennis Samson
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#5 Rick

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:42 PM

OK who gave Dennis power tools? Noose told me nothing sharp or pointy. :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:

Nice work there, Dennis...
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#6 redbackspyder

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:47 PM

Brilliant job, Dennis, and I like the fact that you have the mandatory INSPECTION CAT on the job. We could use that cat at the tech table with that glare for tire sizing!

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#7 Craig

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 06:59 PM

Thanks Craig!

Hopefully it will all be done by year's end, depending on my travel schedule.

Regarding the protective equipment - I guess growing up in South Africa rather than here had its disadvantages, we were never as safety-conscious there. I did wear a filter mask while I was routing, though.

That's okay, Dennis, I have pictures of myself wearing sandals while building a patio cover in my folk's backyard so I'm just as guilty! ;)
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#8 Noose

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:24 PM

Time to load up the 1/32s and get ready to come and play!

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#9 Jeff Easterly

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:05 PM

Very nicely done, Mr. Samson...

But, then again... Coming from one of D3's premier builders, I certainly wouldn't expect anything less...

Looks like it will be VERY challenging...

Looking forward to viewing further progress...

Thanks for sharing, Dennis... Take care, & good building! :good:


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#10 Tim Neja

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:28 PM

SWEET Dennis!!! I'm looking forward to racing on your track!!! Please CALL ME when you are going to work on it next--I'd be happy to help paint/ lay braid- etc> As I KNOW I'm going to try and get your help to build my OWN 1/32 scale track!! It's coming out GREAT!! Keep it up!! :D
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#11 Jairus

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:22 AM

Some day, I hope to build my own track. Very nice Dennis, I watch with great interest. :)

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#12 4laneron

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:05 AM

Some day, I hope to build my own track. Very nice Dennis, I watch with great interest.

Jairus, I build tracks if you're interested. I live in Springfield, OR. Here's one I am working on for a guy in Minneapolis. It's a three lane 16'x4' oval.

3_lane_track_003.JPG

3_lane_track_004.JPG
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#13 Howmet TX

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:02 AM

Dennis- that is SO cool! When is the first Open meeting? If I start saving up for a transatlantic ticket now....

And how great to have your wife helping out. If only I could persuade Mrs Howmet of the joys of Slot Racing. She seems to think there are more important things in life. How do you work that out?

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#14 JBriggsK9

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:42 AM

Hi Dennis

Very nice work... love the layout, you should have a ball running on that........ Now I have to make it all the way out to the west coast to play.....


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#15 Ed Endres

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:17 AM

Hi Dennis,

Great job on the track! As others have said, should be a fun track to run.
Now as a woodshop teacher :laugh2: be sure to wear eye protection.
Cat hair is very bad for the eyes :laugh2: .

Thanks for sharing
ed endres

#16 The Bugman

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:50 AM

Will my new Samson F1 car fit there to take some laps... LOL. If not I may have to have one built (hint hint) to just come by and race... Hey, wait a minute, Dennis hasn't invited anyone yet... Maybe it's just for the wifey and the cat, huh...
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#17 gascarnut

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:24 PM

Thanks to all for the compliments!

I'm having a lot of fun building this, working out how to do some stuff I have not done before, making mistakes and fixing them. I'm not a great woodworker, never did have the patience for it that my father had.

Hopefully I will get a few uninterrupted days over Thanksgiving to get ahead on the painting and the braiding. Tim, just give me a call if you want to come over.

Regarding my wife's involvement - when she met me I was heavily into 1/8 scale RC car racing, so slot racing is a very welcome change for her. In fact she was the one who got me started back into this, a decision she might regret now when she sees how pervasive a hobby it has become!

She is very talented artistically, and she was the one who did a lot of the scenery on my first layout:

Posted Image

I will try to get her to help with this one too.

Dennis Samson
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#18 CruzinBob

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:20 PM

She is very talented artistically, and she was the one who did a lot of the scenery on my first layout...I will try to get her to help with this one too.

"Oh, What a LUCKY MAN he was." :D

Nice work, Dennis, I'll be looking forward to the chance of running on it.

#19 Craig

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:40 PM

"Oh, What a LUCKY MAN he was." :D

Isn't there a song that goes something like that?
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#20 Tex

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:56 PM

"Lucky Man" - Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
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#21 gascarnut

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:37 PM

"Oh, What a LUCKY MAN he was." :D


You have no idea how lucky.....

Best thing I ever did, marrying her. :wub: :D

Dennis Samson
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#22 Mark Wampler

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 06:45 PM

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD. Prov 18:22

Its the "finding' that is the hard part

You can quote me.

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#23 stumbley

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:41 PM

Dennis, superb work as usual! I could use your wife's help with scenery on my layout. Let me know when your track is finished...I'll pack up some cars and dice with you in Irvine!

stan
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#24 Big Durl

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 03:28 PM

Dennis,

It is great to see someone build a home track. I love 1/32 homeset cars, though I rarely get a chance to race them.

One of the first things to buy with my (pending, I'm sure) lotto winnings is a house big enough to install my own track like this.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Amazing work.

Darryl Vance


#25 Russell Sheldon

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:36 AM

The track looks absolutely superb, Dennis. Right down to the replica of the PMCC track bridge section, where you and Gustav Heyman would regularly nerf me off, even though I was on the inside lane...

Looking forward to the first proxy race to be held! Hopefully for 1/32nd scale World Sports Car Championship / GTP / Group C cars, with scale vacuum-formed bodies, scratch built chassis and open motors...

With kind regards,

Russell

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#26 gascarnut

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 01:30 AM

Thanks, Russell - now you have to come visit!

Dennis Samson
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#27 gascarnut

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 01:46 AM

Thanksgiving update:

Two days of work on the track have made for some serious progress.

I decided that rather than stripe the lane colors alogside the slots, I would paint the slot and the braid recess in the lane color. This will give a more subtle lane coloring once the braid is in place. It's a LOT of work, though, as I did it by hand with a small flat paintbrush:

Posted Image

While waiting for all that paint to dry, I added a few barriers. I had routed extra slots for them while I was routing the racing slots:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Then I needed to mask off the lane colors in order to paint the track surface. It took a few hours, and one complete 180-foot roll of 3/4" masking tape. I made a little burnishing tool to help get the tape where I wanted it:

Posted Image

Posted Image

With all the tape in place, time for paint. I have been thinking a lot about what type of paint to use, as I have a lot of 1/32 scale cars with silicon tires as well as foam tires. I eventually went with a paint called UMA - Urethane Modified Acrylic. It is actually a primer that is intended for application on difficult surfaces. A few of my Colorado 1/32 scale racing buddies had used it on their plastic tracks and it is surprisingly good with foam tires, so I decided to give it a try. I can always paint over it later if it doesn't work. I had the paint store tint it as dark as they could - the base paint is white and they can't add a lot of tinting as it messes with the paint's properties apparently:

Posted Image

That's what it looks like after two coats with a foam roller - pretty nice I think.

Then just before it was all too dry I took up the masking tape, which worked well, no bleeds or mess anywhere, and this is where I am now:

Posted Image

Next will be the two-sided tape that will hold the braid down, then it's braiding time. Or maybe I should paint the barriers and do some scenery first - if I get to a point where I can put power on this thing I might not get the rest finished!

Dennis Samson
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Life is scratchbuilt

Samson Classics


#28 munter

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 04:34 AM

Hi Dennis,

Can you tell me how you have painted under the bridge/flyover?

How will you braid this part of the track?
Will you need to cut the braid at all?

Can I see a lift off section in the pictures?

This is puzzling me for my intended build.

ps I have followd this thread and would like to compliment you on a fine build.

Thanks
John

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#29 Jairus

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 07:37 AM

Looking really good Dennis! :D

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#30 Tim Neja

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 01:09 PM

Looking really good Dennis!! If you want some help laying braid or anything--call me!! I'd love to come see it first hand-- YEAH--POWER!!! LET'S GET POWER TO IT!! :D
You can add grass and buildings and trees from the local hobby shop stock for train layouts!! :shok:
T
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#31 gascarnut

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 01:15 AM

Hi Dennis,

Can you tell me how you have painted under the bridge/flyover?

How will you braid this part of the track?
Will you need to cut the braid at all?

Can I see a lift off section in the pictures?

This is puzzling me for my intended build.

ps I have followd this thread and would like to compliment you on a fine build.

Thanks
John


John,

The whole bridge section lifts off as a separate unit. I will take a photo or two tomorrow and post them.

I will cut the braid in a number of places, mostly because I want the track to be modular. There will be joints in the braid wherever the 4 sections of the track join, so 8 places in all. It osunds like a lot, but Iwant to be able to take it all apart easily.

The way I am going to wire it all, there will be two power taps that will both be on the same section of the track, yet nearly half distance apart. That will make disassembly easy too.

I painted barriers today and hopefully tomorrow I can start the braiding. Once the braid is down under the bridge I can screw it down in place for the last time. It has been on and off maybe 10 or 15 times while I've been building.

Dennis Samson
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Samson Classics


#32 gascarnut

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 01:23 AM

I'd love to come see it first hand--


Give me a call tomorrow - I will probably work on it all day until it starts to get dark.

You can add grass and buildings and trees from the local hobby shop stock for train layouts!! :shok:


You didn't see my previous track, did you?

Posted Image

Pebblestone Raceway

Dennis Samson
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Samson Classics


#33 Tim Neja

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 11:13 AM

Yeah that looks cool too!! Oh Oh---Xmass decorating day at the Neja's!! I may be able to get by late afternoon!! Looking really good Dennis!!
T
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#34 gascarnut

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 12:27 PM

Today's updates:

First off, Munter - here's the bridge photos I promised:

Posted Image

Posted Image

The whole thing is held down with 24 wood screws. I hope this helps give you the idea.

Saturday I spent some time painting the barriers that I had installed Friday:

Posted Image

Posted Image

The unpainted sections will be getting some scenic detailing later.

Posted Image

Then I set about applying the two-sided tape that will hold the braid down. This is a special 3M tape called VHB - it is super sticky, but not too difficult to apply. The only issue is getting the paper backing to bend around the curves. It tends to lift, but at least the adhesive is left in the right place:

Posted Image

I laid the braid under the bridge section first, so that I could reinstall the bridge for good as soon as possible. The braid goes down real easy, but as it was getting dark by then, I did not manage to do too much:

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Close-up:

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I have planned the whole track in such a way that it will easily dismantle in 4 pieces, so that means a number of braid joints. These will be done underneath the track, with the braid being passed down through 1/4" holes in the surface:

Posted Image.

I have offset the holes in each lane so as to be sure I don't get any bits of braid touching and shorting out. Also, the way it is designed, when I come to put in the power taps, all the wiring from the powersupply and controllers will be on one of the sections of the track, so if it has to be taken apart, it's just the braid connectors and the bolts that hold the frame together that have to be loosened, all the other wiring stays in place.

Last thing for today, a decent cover to keep out the dust (and the cat hair!):

Posted Image

Not long now, and laps will be turned!

Dennis Samson
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Scratchbuilding is life
Life is scratchbuilt

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#35 Craig

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 01:30 PM

Hey Dennis, the first picture is somewhat deceiving, looks like a drive through window for the hungrier bunch. :popcorm1:

The way the picture was shot the fence seems to blend into the window frame. May I take your order?
Craig Correia

Team CORT!

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#36 redbackspyder

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 01:48 PM

Give me a call tomorrow - I will probably work on it all day until it starts to get dark.



You didn't see my previous track, did you?

Posted Image

Pebblestone Raceway


Dennis, once again your track is a tribute to your building skills, and as usual is brilliant. Fantastic work, and thank you again for the wonderful build pictures, it is very inspiring.

Mill Conroy
 

AKA : TWO LAP CONROY, Anointed Trigger Monkey by Mike Swiss

 

Deal me life's toughest cards, without chance for hope nor fame, just let me play this one last hand, and I'll win this whole damn game.

Second Most Interesting Man in the World.


#37 gascarnut

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 01:48 PM

Hey Dennis, the first picture is somewhat deceiving, looks like a drive through window for the hungrier bunch. :popcorm1:

The way the picture was shot the fence seems to blend into the window frame. May I take your order?


Craig,

LOL - none of the turns have names yet, but that section might just become "the Drive-thru" now :)

You want fries wit dat?

Dennis Samson
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#38 Jeff R

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 08:41 PM

Great looking track Dennis, my son wants to build a small track for a school project maybe a 4' x 4' or a 4' x 8' depending on the size limit. Great idea on the lane color choice wasn't sure how it would look but it is such a clean look. Enjoy tour track and I will post my son's as soon as we start.
Jeff Russell

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#39 Tim Neja

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 02:08 AM

Looking GREAT Dennis--- how soon should I bring over my cars to play???? :D :D :D
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#40 munter

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 12:34 PM

Thank you Dennis
Your pictures and words confirm that I have to follow your example when braiding the flyover part of my track.
At this stage I am still building the table frames but I am also gathering info and materials.
Thank you once more
John

John Warren
Slot cars are my preferred reality


#41 vfr750

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 04:38 AM

Hi Dennis,

An inspirational build. Do you have any photos of how the 4 pieces join together please?

I'm planning on building a new track. I've recently torn down my old one and hopefully have learnt from my mistakes.

Here are some photos of my old track: http://www.oldslotracer.com/JohnR.html

Cheers,

John
John Roche
Bedford, UK

The Devil made me do it

Classic Slot Car Racing Association
Rockingham Slot Car Club

#42 gascarnut

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 02:36 PM

Thanks John - your own track always looked good to me!

The only photo I have that shows some of the detail is this one:

Posted Image

What I did was to line up the individual frame sections using a bubble level, by adjusting the legs. Then once everything was lined up, I claped the mating surfaces together and drilled through both with a 1/4" drill, which was a failry tight fit on the 1/4' carriage bolts us then used to bolt it all together. At the same time I drilled the second hole in each leg and bolted them solid as well.

The photo was taken before I had them all done this way so only the joints closest to the camera are complete.

It sounds kind-of basic, but I did dis-assemble it all once or twice early on and it all reassembled straight and lined up again.

Dennis Samson
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Scratchbuilding is life
Life is scratchbuilt

Samson Classics


#43 MSwiss

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:52 PM

A local guy used the tape for his braid on his fairly large basement track and was really happy with it.
He invited me over to look at it and I had to be the guy to point out the outer braid in most turns had crept into the slot.
I have heard good things about using double-stick so I'm assuming he used the wrong tape or pulled it too tight.

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
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Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
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#44 gascarnut

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 04:55 PM

A local guy used the tape for his braid on his fairly large basement track and was really happy with it.
He invited me over to look at it and I had to be the guy to point out the outer braid in most turns had crept into the slot.
I have heard good things about using double-stick so I'm assuming he used the wrong tape or pulled it too tight.


Maybe he just pulled the braid too tight?

It did not seem to me like the sticky part of the tape was going to move much at all. The paper backing was difficult to keep in position, so I taped some then braided it almost immediately then did some more.

I will check tonight whether the outer braid has moved any.

Dennis Samson
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Life is scratchbuilt

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#45 MSwiss

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 05:09 PM

I wouldn't fret too much. I seem to remember it was a situation with the guy building the track, a professional carpenter,
getting told what he had was the same as the 3M and it wasn't.

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#46 vfr750

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 03:44 AM

Thanks for the photo Dennis, it's helpful.

The problem with my track was that the crest coming up the bridge was too close to the curve so that if you got the nose in the air it would miss the slot as it dropped down. I tore the bridge up to insert a small straight and then kept seeing other areas that needed improvement. This will be my third track so hopefully I'll have learnt from past mistakes.

Cheers,

John
John Roche
Bedford, UK

The Devil made me do it

Classic Slot Car Racing Association
Rockingham Slot Car Club

#47 Edo

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:00 AM

All I have to say is:
Fantastic job, Dennis&wife!
EdoTBertoglio - Maverick assembler (formerly troubled)

Finish Line: the movie

#48 gascarnut

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 12:24 PM

All I have to say is:
Fantastic job, Dennis&wife!


Thanks!

Her name is Adrienne.

Dennis Samson
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Life is scratchbuilt

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#49 Ed Endres

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 02:23 PM

Hi Dennis,

That is one very nice build. And if King Edo says it is nice, that means that you
should run Thingies on it too. I ordered 3 thingy bodies yesterday so I could start to build one.

Thanks for sharing.
ed endres

#50 gascarnut

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 11:05 PM

Thanks Ed!

I got the center lane braided today, and managed to rig up a power supply and a controller. I must have turned about 500 laps with a number of my 1/32 cars that have not turned a wheel since I left Colorado in January!

It looks like the grip will be good for pretty much any kind of tire - I ran rubber, foam, various brands of silicons and Ortmann urethanes, and everything works, some better than others of course. It seems to me that the older Ortmann tires work the best so far, but clean unterated foams are very nice too, and very smooth of course.

Photos later.

Dennis Samson
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Scratchbuilding is life
Life is scratchbuilt

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