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Secret way into engineering and racing - slot cars!


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#1 Cheater

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 06:05 PM

Amen, Casey Putsch!



I've been saying it for years... if the people involved in the slot car industry had strongly publicized the connection between 1:1 racing and slot racing, the hobby's trajectory could easily have been different. My feeling is that 80 to 90% of the same factors apply to both full-size and scale racing: driving, horsepower, gearing, handling, tires, aerodynamics, the 'combination,' etc., etc.

My humorous quip is that the main differences between 1/24 slot racing and real racing are that in slots, bodies cost $7, tires are $13 a pair, and when the car hits the wall really hard, it goes home in the box, not you.


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap





#2 Cheater

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 06:32 PM

To understand where Casey Putsch is coming from, take a glance at his Genius Garage WEBSITE.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#3 Pablo

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 07:02 PM

He nails it.   :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:

 

Just like you taught me, Greg.  :good:


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#4 MarkH

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 09:49 PM

I have applied slot racing tricks to my racing karts and visa-versa. Excellent video. I think it explains more than what was stated. Having hands-on skills is looked down upon by those who we seem to find in decision making positions. To protect themselves, assuming their ego is fragile, they will belittle anyone who is a threat. 

 

This video reinforces those philosophies are loosing the firm grip enjoyed for far too long. Real skills matter and people like McLaren notice.

 

Thanks for posting this, Greg.


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Mark Horne

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"Racing is life... everything else is just waiting." Steve McQueen - LeMans
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#5 MSwiss

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 10:19 PM

Nice segment.

Mike Swiss
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#6 Jay Guard

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 10:29 PM

Yep, Casey "gets it"! I just wish so many others would.


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#7 Pappy

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 05:53 AM

How many of you noticed the BD5 airplane behind his left shoulder? I almost bought one of them back in the early 70's. Jim Bede was offering a completed, certified BD5 airplanes for $4,400. You had to put down a $400 deposit to reserve your spot for a plane. The problem was he never delivered and I think he ended up serving time in jail. He couldn't get an engine to work good enough to get them certified. He sold a bunch of kits and some guys put Honda engines in them and got them flying. He also had a BD5 jet that did fly and perform airshows all around the country. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Bede


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#8 Pablo

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 09:00 AM

I couldn't keep my eyes off it. Looks like a giant shark.


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#9 Cheater

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 10:18 AM

I recall the Bede plane that was featured prominently in one of the James Bond movies.

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#10 mark1

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:16 AM

The man is right! I can't figure out why racing is such a hard sell. Good fun for little money. 


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#11 Dave Crevie

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 01:06 PM

Having done both big and little car racing, I agree with most of what he said.

For me, the big difference is that you are not sitting in the slot car. You can't get hurt in a wreck. So you are more inclined to drive with total abandon, and live with a car who's performance
can be dangerous. There is no real "punishment" if the car is unmanageable. So we need to pay as much attention to the details that make a car drivable, and less on that super-fast lap time that we will never be able to repeat in the actual race.
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#12 Pappy

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 02:45 PM

You can't get hurt in a wreck. 

You obviously have never turn marshaled when Cheater was driving in the race.  :tease:


Jim "Butch" Dunaway
 
Anything is possible IF you don't know what you are talking about.
 
When you are dead, you don't know you are dead. It is difficult only for the others.
It's the same when you are stupid.

 


#13 Phil Hackett

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 03:28 PM

I have applied slot racing tricks to my racing karts and visa-versa. Excellent video. I think it explains more than what was stated. Having hands-on skills is looked down upon by those who we seem to find in decision making positions. To protect themselves, assuming their ego is fragile, they will belittle anyone who is a threat. 
 
This video reinforces those philosophies are loosing the firm grip enjoyed for far too long. Real skills matter and people like McLaren notice.
 
Thanks for posting this, Greg.

 
Yup... people who pass paper, or more modern, 1s and 0s, around think it's work when all they do is keep recycling the same material around and around. Just because energy is expended doesn't mean work is being done.
 
Some of the Doomsday books I have seen have one common point that is pounded into your skull: have a skill that pays. Seeing as most people today need a tutorial on how to use a screwdriver (slight exaggeration :D ) any mechanical skill would be good and the ability to solve problems better.
 
I raced with several people who became engineers who "grew up" with slot cars. Stuart Koford, Rudy Garriga, John Geddes, Chris Cook are the ones that come to mind.
Click HERE to contact Sonic Products. The messenger feature on my Slotblog account has been disabled.

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#14 Dave Crevie

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 04:16 PM

Anything in manufacturing is work, you'll never "squeak by." The company I retired from has gone through seven engineers in the six years since I left. And they have been having lower management people contact me about coming back, or at least work on a pay-per-job basis. They don't have the balls to ask me themselves (we did not part on good terms).

You just can't take someone from trade school and throw him into the water hoping he can swim. The sharks will get him. And certainly, growing up around mechanical things will give you a leg up.
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#15 Phil Hackett

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 04:49 PM

Agree, 100%...
Click HERE to contact Sonic Products. The messenger feature on my Slotblog account has been disabled.

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#16 eshorer

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 05:20 PM

Excellent video that resonates with many of us, I'm sure.

This is really great timing: I'm just getting started on my fourth presentation about slot cars for the National Association of Popular Culture Conference, which will be in mid-April in Washington, DC.

I'm chairing the Vehicles panel, and this time I'll be presenting about 'Builders of Slot Cars,' in all of its facets. If any of you have the time and/or inclination to add to my project, please get in touch with me and I'll get you a questionnaire and further info.

Email me here: eshorer@gmail.com.

Much appreciated,

Eddie
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#17 Cheater

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 06:58 PM

... engineers who "grew up" with slot cars. Stuart Koford, Rudy Garriga, John Geddes, Chris Cook are the ones that come to mind.


One of the outstanding examples of this path is F1's Ross Brawn.
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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#18 Bryan Warmack

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:42 AM

I turned scratchbuilding slot cars as a teenager in the '60s into a pretty decent and very interesting and diverse lifelong profession of race car mechanic, engineer, fabricator, and restorer of vintage race car parts... and I'm still scratchbuilding slot cars!
 
I was kind of lucky as I was blessed with certain skills and more importantly I kind of knew what I wanted to do! After reading the Road & Track race reports of Henry Manney and Rob Walker, I wanted to build race cars! Unfortunately, I'm not sure that kids today could have the same opportunities that I had 50 years ago and I'm not sure many of them have a clue what they want to do...
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#19 Highnoon

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 08:13 AM

Great read. For me all i did was design and build slot car chassis between 1965-70 then off to college. Got interested in computers and after two years quit and got into computer operations, then programming and large system design and implementation. Then mangement, which was a big mistake.

Slot racing taught me the design, build, test, improve loop could be applied to computer system development in the early 1980s.

Slot racing was much better education than college actually.
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#20 mgerbetz

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 09:21 AM

I have always thought every college Mechanical Engineering program should include some sort of slot car program. Affordable for the school, fun for the students, and packed full of learning.

Could benefit track owners as well I believe.

Colleges throw around a lot of monies to programs that help students learn from hands-on experiences.
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#21 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 09:27 AM

When I think back to my high school days and ask myself what I learned then that is usefully served me throughout my life, aside from some extracurricular activities that would be really very much of the point here, three subjects stand out.
 
Latin: discipline and an understanding of language structure
 
French: with further study and experience and the later addition of German, the basis of becoming functionally trilingual.
 
Mechanical drawing: (in essence, another language) the ability to put down on paper ideas and inventions that can be universally understood.
 
My first car was a 1941 Plymouth bought for $85. It was a good tinkering platform and led rapidly to association with the local speed shop and from there on to dabbling in the 1950s sports car racing scene. My withdrawal from the latter for a variety of reasons coupled with pre-existing experience in model railroading made my reaction to the first (tinplate) Scalextric sets predictable.
 
I am of two minds on the connection between slot cars and 1:1 racing cars. There are certainly some basic principles in common – traction, weight distribution, weight transfer, etc., as well as an emotional component.

 

On the other hand while the basic principles are similar, the fact that the front of slot car follows a single predetermined path makes the application of those principles somewhat different.


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#22 Dave Crevie

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:28 PM

Wow! Henry N. Manney III. Forgotten about him. I really miss his "prose."

 

R&T was such a great magazine for someone who wanted to study the engineering aspects of a race car. it's still around, but I have not been as impressed as I was back in the '70s.



#23 Cheater

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:39 PM

R&T was at its best when it was still owned by the magazine's founder, John and Elaine Bond. It's been sold several times since they passed and IMO is a shadow of its former self.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#24 Ecurie Martini

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:53 PM

Wow! Henry N. Manney III. Forgotten about him. I really miss his "prose."

 

R&T was such a great magazine for someone who wanted to study the engineering aspects of a race car. it's still around, but I have not been as impressed as I was back in the '70s.

 

Yes - he had a really entertaining style. Stan Mott's "Cyclops" cartoons were another high spot.

 

Must agree with Greg as well - my subscription lapsed many years ago.

 

EM


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#25 Dallas Racer

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:39 PM

It seems a childhood slot car hobby infatuation paid off for some, but most of the guys I've raced slot cars with are unsuccessful in life and dumb, including myself. So this thread is not helping my self esteem!  :o


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