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Building the R-Geo Speedwagon


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#1 JimF

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:57 AM

So... I just got some more kits from Rick Bennardo at R-Geo and this is the first one of this new batch that I'll work with. This is the Speedwagon and is .032" brass, comes with a nice 1" bracket, and narrow, lightweight pans. The cutouts are for 3x.047" main rails and there is an angle cut on either side of the nosepiece to accommodate tripod rails. This will be built in stock configuration but with a few changes.

The inspiration for this car was my previous build of the 4.5 Warrior stock car. I wanted to lighten and shorten that one up and make it into a Can-Am at some point but it is awfully good the way it is. Since there are a lot of similarities here so I'm applying the ideas generated by the stock car to this frame. It was obvious that this was going to have the potential to be very light and such cars don't usually have a lot of success on our flattish tracks in NorCal. Some accommodation would be added for that later. Here are the raw parts.

j1.jpg

The bracket will need a small relief cut on either side to accommodate the two inside main frame rails. I also filed the face a bit to remove a little bit of a roundness on the bracket face. A few passes on a very good, sharp file and the bracket face is nice and flat.

j2.jpg

j3.jpg

OK... into the jig and getting started. This car will have 3x.047" rails per side. Here are the two/side main rails in place that run inside the bracket and the third rail bent, trimmed and ready to go in. This one butts against the bracket face.

j4.jpg

Main rails done and tripod rails in place. Here is the first departure from the norm. The tripod rails are spaced with partial rails fore and aft. This allows a little softer torsional flex than fully soldered rails with the ability to drop in and solder a third/side rail later. There are some gaps in the rail slots where the slot is not quite square. This will get a piece of wire on top of the nosepiece and laid alongside the rails as a filler and to the reinforce the joint. The second pic also shows the pans being placed and measured up. I like to have the front body pin about 3/4" behind the front axle and the leading edge of the pan about 3/8" behind it. Here, I'm figuring out where the pans will be cut.

j5.jpg

j6.jpg

Out of the jig and onto the flat block to check for flatness. You can see some additional bits of .047" wire as bracing and filler both at the corners of the front ears and running along the main rails on the outside of the main rail slots.

j7.jpg

This shows the tubes that will hold the "shaker" rails. I have had dubious success with shakers so this may get converted to conventional hinges pretty quickly. The front tubes are 3/32" square tubing with a piece of .062" wire lining them up (the shaker rail will be .055") The rear tube is 3/32" x 3/16" rectangular tubing and is left full width for installation. Excess on all the tubes will be trimmed later.

j8.jpg

Shaker tubes in place and trimmed. Pans are cut to the desired size and also a little pad of .015" brass is added at each spot where the shaker rails will solder in place. This will bring the pan thickness to the same as the main rail and tubing thickness. Thus, the shaker rail will sit flat on the bottoms of the tubes and be at the same height on top of the pans as well. This keeps the pans from hanging below the frame rails.

j9.jpg

A light cleanup and then the shaker rails go in. Front is one .055" rail while the rear is two .055"s. This will keep the rear shaker rail more bend-resistant and since weight is not a concern, the added weight is not a problem. There is also a piece of .055" soldered on top of the two rear shaker rails and right between the two tubes. This acts as a side/side stop by butting against the tube but leaving about a .015" space to move.

j10.jpg

Final steps... the front body mount tube is a shaker while the aft ones are solid. The front axle is soldered in place with a brass retainer on the inside and the outside of the upright. A little excess on the top of the upright is trimmed off. Finally, the extra weights are cut and shaped. These are not soldered in place yet but very probably will be after the first tests. FWIW... I usually like weight inboard and aft and fixed to the rails rather than outboard on the pans so that's the rationale for these extra weights. Ready for final cleanup and assembly.

j11.jpg

Here she is, ready for a body and then onto the track. This car weighs 91.6 grams as shown (without the weights) and will almost certainly be too light but I'll run and tune before I add the weights. I suspect that these two rear weights may be a little heavier than necessary and may also need to be balanced by a little out front as well. Our next Can-Am race is on a flat track so I doubt this car will get much play there. I'll get chance to test on the flattish King at Slot Car Raceway within a week. I suspect it will be too light for that really high bite surface but... that's what testing is all about.

j12.jpg


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#2 Cheater

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:26 AM

Great tutorial, Jim! Thanks for posting it.

 

I'll probably relocate this thread into the Tech How-Tos & Tutorials subforum in few days.

 

Noticed you didn't install the guide reinforcement. Not legal for the rule you use?


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#3 SlotStox#53

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:41 AM

Love the look of the R-Geo kit and your build up of it.

Thanks for the how-to, nice and easy to follow resulting in a great-looking car.

-Paul



#4 JimF

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:42 AM

The guide reinforcement bit turned out to be the wrong size. Rick is sending the right one so I'll install it later.

 

I wanted to finish up rather than wait so that I could get some test laps in. Besides, I usually don't hit the wall tooo hard during testing so it oughta be OK.


Jim Fowler

#5 Phil Irvin

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 02:48 PM

I like the looks. Have liked the narrower, heaver pans better over the years... Let us know how it handles.

 

               OLPHRT

               PHIL I.



#6 JimF

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 07:41 PM

Can't disagree witcha as I've used 1/4"x.062" brass for most of my recent pan setups. However, these pans are actually .050" so... not that much lower in weight than an .062". It seems to me that for our tracks and... uhhhhhh... "variable" conditions, that 110 grams seems to be the lowish end of the sweet spot for overall performance and raceability. My "works everywhere" cars seem to run 112-115.

This car is going to be under that by 10 grams at least. Thus, I have the opportunity to try adding 5-8 grams in several locations. FWIW... I've found that smaller bits of weight seem to have more effect when placed inboard and aft as opposed to outboard and central (on the pans).
 
I will be testing this over a fairly long term against some established winners in the hopes of an epiphany (phat chance of that!!!) But... IAC... ongoing results will be posted.
Jim Fowler

#7 Rick

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:05 PM

Rick Jr. raced a Speedwagon at the R4/6 in Coupe that Ray Price had built. It was a floppy but more of a shaker with hinges.

To get it to 110 grams, I added a huge slab of lead across the main rails, right in front of the motor, plus two slices on the rear of each pan.

The car finished third, one lap out of first... IIRC Ray posted a pic in the builders forum.

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#8 JimF

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:45 AM

I got some extensive testing on the Speedwagon on Sunday, 5/5/13. The venue was Slot Car Raceway in Rohnert Park, CA, and I tested the Speedwagon on both the flattish King track and the Testa Rossa road course. Both of these tracks have a very high bite surface and the King is the flattest in our area. As a point of reference, the King here is 2-4 tenths slower than the one at Eddie's Slot Car World and 8 tenths-1 sec. slower than the King at Buena Park Raceway in SoCal. As a result of those factors, light cars are generally not great choices. FWIW... I think both of these tracks are highly appropriate for Retro cars. There are some track pics below for reference.
 
This is the "target" car for this test. This is a very basic, 1"x.078" all scratch car that has been my "old faithful" for a couple of years and has been very good at every track I've run it on both here in NorCal and in SoCal as well. This car is 4"x1", runs 112 grams without body, and has been through the wars.
 
a7ec440b-a85f-4ec8-9874-971fea721168_zps
 
King track: Testing on the green lane, target time was 5.25 sec. Target car ran an average time of 5.26 with a best of 5.21 using JK 8713T, Parma Lola 163 body. Bite was high today and conditions were fast if tricky.
 
89e06de8-6fce-437f-b419-668c6c6290d5_zps
 
Speedwagon stock form: (92 grams) JK 8713T. Very quick in all turns but way too much grip in all flat corners. Best time = 5.33. Not bad but had to tippytoe to get that.
 
Tire change to Koford Wonder soft: Better on turn exit and could get through the very flat finger turn better. Still somewhat unforgiving but got down to 5.25 best
 
Tires same, added weight as shown in pic below. Rear brass weights were 2.6 grams each and nose lead of 3.8 grams. Car was now 100 grams. Best time of 5.16 with several low 5.2s. Very good and the lightest car I've been able to run here.
 
Weight same, changed to Koford Super Soft Wonders narrowed as shown. Best yet with a lot of laps in the teens and a personal record for this track with a best of 5.08. More driveable on turn exit.
 
Weight and tires same, changed body to a TrueScale Ti22 long. Felt a little different but no change in times.
 
At this point, this is fastest car I've had on this track which is our most difficult to tune for. This should be excellent in the final form shown here at Eddies and Modesto. Maybe still a bit light for FTH.
 
--------------------------------------------------
 
Testa Rossa road course: Target time is unknown as I don't have records of the only other time we raced Can-Am on this track. There is a posted record of 5.33 but it's pretty old. I changed both cars from 9/27 to 8/29 gears and respaced the guides. The target car ran a best of 5.35 and was easy to drive. Bite was really up and the track was maybe a little too stuck for Retro cars to be at their best. Testing was on the tight purple lane. I didn't really expect great things from the SW on this track.
 
70318d4b-742a-4915-82e4-68ec60cf84d1_zps
 
Speedwagon at 100 grams: Koford Super Soft Wonder, narrowed. Really fast where the track was straight and good when the lane was outside but very tippy when the lane was inside. Was getting some chatter (pan slap I think) Best was 5.29 but it was hard to do.
 
Changed to Koford Soft Wonder, full width. Chatter calmed down some and car was now too loose. A bit easier to drive but slower at 5.35.
 
Back to SSW narrow and added another 6 grams of lead out front. Car now at 106 grams and still felt light but was getting good with a best of 5.25 and pretty easy at 5.35.
 
Kept weight, switched to JK 8763T narrowed. I didn't think this would work but it did and the car dropped to a best of 5.21 but was now easy at 5.28-5.32.
 
At this point, I decided that with the right weight, tires, gears, this might be a winner on the flat track as well. It still felt too light but there are two other things I'm going to try as well as more weight. One, is try a 7t pinion which I didn't have time to do on this test day. The other is try a longer wheelbase. The picture below shows the car with the weight setup for the King track (100 grams) and the narrowed tires shown with a full width for comparison. This pic is also showing the new longer wheelbase although you can't really see anything different. I torched the rear end and moved the bracket back by .050". This may loosen up the car enough for this really high bite venue that I can get by without additional weight. I also tightened up the shaker tubes a little for maybe .010" less movement. For the King track, this weight as shown is fine. If necessary, more weight can go back in for other conditions.
 
7b79fd0c-4b32-4586-ad7c-179617cc00db_zps
Jim Fowler

#9 Rick

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 12:12 PM

Great report as always, Jim. I don't think anyone does as thorough a testing session as you do with a given car.

I am glad to hear that a car in that weight range reacted well to both tracks. In IRRA™, having the 100 gram minimum weight limit, this test is very positive.

Thanks for your hard work...

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#10 SlotStox#53

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 01:14 PM

Sounds like a very positive testing and shakedown of the Speedwagon chassis. Looks like with the right build you have got a very good chassis kit, Rick. :)

Wonder what a tuning fork version would turn out like?

-Paul

#11 JimF

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:52 PM

As usual, I learn stuff from all these tests. In general, there are some things out of this test (and the prior Stock Car) that give rise to future development both on this particular car but also on things to come. Much of the planning for this car was reflective of things I learned from the stock car. A few early conclusions...

  • Tripods have generally not been great for me due to their often having too much bite for my preferences. Wonder rubber tires are re-opening the tripod concept for me.
  • "Shakers" have never been great for me but this one is smooth as glass on this King at least, and doesn't exhibit the pan-slap-chatter that has bugged me in the past.
  • The basic layout of this kit is too light for our conditions, but I knew that going in. This is the lightest car that I've had any reasonable success with.
  • I got the idea for the spaced rails while working with the stock car. I think this rail layout is great and wouldn't change it.
  • I will probably build a stock car kit into a Can-Am and the rail layout will probably be much like this.

I have some wishbone projects in mind but honestly, I don't really know what they do so that'll be a longinsh term project with the first one likely being an F1.

 

I'm very interested to see what this longer wheelbase iteration of this car does. I may test on a couple of other tracks in the next week-ten days.


Jim Fowler

#12 Rick

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:37 PM

I guess there will only be one way to know if the wishbone is a plus-minus or wash. That would be to add it to a known chassis and retest again. Maybe Jim will have time, at some point and do that? Since this car is so light, it might be a good candidate for that.
 
I have several platforms now available and most are designed to allow tripod rails. One is designed for the tuning fork/wishbone and is straight multi rails. I believe Jim has them all and will, in time, build and test each...

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#13 SlotStox#53

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 04:59 PM

Which one of your platforms is ta

#14 SlotStox#53

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 05:01 PM

Which one of your platforms is designed toward wishbone /tuning fork Rick?

-Paul

#15 Rick

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 07:14 PM

This one Paul:

 

IMG_0903.JPG


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#16 JimF

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:48 PM

OK....here's a quick update.

 

The Speedwagon was a winner in it's first outing yesterday. The venue was the flat track @ Slot Car Raceway in Rhonert Park Ca. The track has hosted the D2 scale Nats twice and is considered moderately technical and very high bite. The Speedwagon was a fairly easy winner in some very inconsistent track conditions.

 

The final setup was as shown below with the exception of two additional 1.5 gr. weights that were placed on top of the brass rear weight tabs. One of those was lost at some point in the race and I peeled the other off afterwards. With Koford Soft Wonders narrowed, weight as shown to bring it to 110 gr (w/out body) and very low 7-29 gearing, this car was easy to drive and survived the variations in the track conditions well. I wouldn't have thought this at the beginning but I now think with the proper tire and weight tuning the Speedwagon can run effectively on literally any track configuration.

 

958f6c6a-140d-42f2-a241-5040d3df618e_zps


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#17 Rick

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:03 PM

I especially like the split angled rails on this build! I had not thought about that in the design, but think it is a PLUS..................


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#18 Jim Lange

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:14 AM

Jim, here's something else for you to try. Now that you've raced it and know that the lead up front helped it. Make another chassis identical except extend the pans .250+ on the front side and shorten them .250 on the back side. Move the weight where it is needed and lose the lead. Test the car in that config then remove the rear wings and test again. I think you'll find the wings are dead weight.  I love the way you document your testing. Kudos



#19 JimF

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:26 AM

Jim, here's something else for you to try. Now that you've raced it and know that the lead up front helped it. Make another chassis identical except extend the pans .250+ on the front side and shorten them .250 on the back side. Move the weight where it is needed and lose the lead. Test the car in that config then remove the rear wings and test again. I think you'll find the wings are dead weight.  I love the way you document your testing. Kudos

 

Thanks for the suggestion. The nose lead was only there for this flat track. On all of the higher speed tracks, it wasn't necessary. The pans can't go plus anything in front as they are very close to the front tires as is. FWIW.........I'm generally not a fan of heavily nose biased cars. When I started out, this car was too light for any of our tracks @ 92gr w/out body. During the first session, 3.8 gr. were added to the center of the nose pan and later that was balanced by the two rear weight tabs @ 2.5 gr ea. On the Buena park track, the rear weight tabs would not be necessary as a light rear end can work there. On most of our tracks up here, it doesn't seem to.


Jim Fowler

#20 Jim Lange

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:41 PM


 "The pans can't go plus anything in front as they are very close to the front tires as is. FWIW "                                                              I was referring to the very front of the nose piece.



#21 SlotStox#53

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 06:56 PM

Congrats on the win , sounds like a very promising start to Ricks speed wagon and your design in putting this one together .

Thanks for all the great reports .

#22 JimF

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:11 PM

Here's the "War Wagon" (Warrior chassis built to the Speedwagon layout)

 

Goal for this was to utilize the heavier components of the Warrior stock car kit to hit a more reasonable weight for our Nor Cal tracks. In race trim minus body, this will hit about 103 gr. This is in the range that my testing has shown to be optimal for the Speedwagon, but it took quite a bit of add on weight to get there.

 

Although there are differences, (split rails in the main frame vs. the angled rails for ex.) the flex of this car is very similar to the Speedwagon. I don't really expect it to be much different but I have found that expectations can be a little.........uhhhh......unreliable.

 

54cb0ef0-378c-4965-ad74-cf19c295a544_zps

 

f94f7a79-d2de-4516-a064-7664452991c4_zps


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#23 Phil Irvin

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:30 PM

I have built 3 tripod type chassis.  1 with .062 rails, one with dual .055 and one with dual .047. On all I had to add brass weight around the motor mount to help. On all I did not solder the rails together other than at the ends. The .047 rails. I started soldering them together at the front finally doing them all the way to help stiffen them up some. I like the spacing of the outer rails. Gonna have to try that.....

 

                    OLPHRT

                    PHIL I.



#24 JimF

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 05:58 PM

For the $0.02 that it's worth.......there doesn't seem to be much if any difference in the flex when the spaced rails are in the main section vs. the angled section. This frame (war wagon) came out a little stiffer than I thought (and maybe hoped) it would. I may have goofed by making the half rails in the rear of the center section too long.  I'm learning a lot in this spate of building/testing and playing off the development of the Speedwagon/War-Wagon Vs. the tuning forks will be some fun.

 

I have my first Can Am "forker" done and am wrapping up F-1 "Forker 2.0" right now. Will probably get some laps later this week/weekend.


Jim Fowler

#25 MikeC

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:21 PM

I still think your builds are un-forking believable.  :D


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#26 John Streisguth

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 04:28 AM

Keep in mind the angled rails are shorter, so it's natural the chassis would be stiffer

#27 SlotStox#53

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:32 PM

I still think your builds are un-forking believable.  :D


Love it!!! :D there are unbelievable builds, love seeing them .

#28 JimF

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 01:31 PM

I got testing in on Saturday 5-26-13 @ TNT in Modesto. The fast hillclimb was the venue. Conditions were good.

 

The Speedwagon is stripped down to fighting weight for high speed tracks and is 102.5 as shown. The rear weight tabs will remain and the nose lead has been replaced with a brass weight that is easier to keep in place. The Speedwagon ran a best of 5.04 with 9-27, Koford SSW narrowed, Parma Lola 163.

 

 

The War Wagon remains as built initially with no added weight or other tuning except tires. This weighs 104.2 as shown and worked out of the box. The War Wagon ran a best of 4.99 with same motor and gears, Koford SSW full width and same body.

 

 

Basically the two cars feel the same. The Speedwagon had been the fastest car in my box for this track. The War Wagon now joins the fleet as is for high speed tracks. The War Wagon will probably be easier to bulk up for road course use as it hits the 104 mark with no additional weight. I suspect that these will allow me to retire a couple of old standbys that are a little long in the tooth and beat up. Then.......I'll have room in the box for more weird, experimental stuff....... :)

 

L - War Wagon, R - Speedwagon. These are both great, versatile cars.

 

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Jim Fowler





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