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Track design ideas, four lanes


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#51 Pappy

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 03:57 AM

That's basically it. Except when you go from a lefthand turn to a righthand turn or visa versa on the first lane. Check out page 8 post #108 of this thread https://www.hrwforum...ack-build/page8 to see the easiest way to do it. There's other pictures that should help you with routing your track.


Jim "Butch" Dunaway 
 
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All my life I've strived to keep from becoming a millionaire, so far I've succeeded. 
There are three kinds of people in the world, those that are good at math and those that aren't. 
No matter how big of a hammer you use, you can't pound common sense into stupid people, believe me, I've tried.

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#52 Tim Neja

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 11:45 AM

Matt, I forgot where I read a post where someone said they changed to 5” spacing and would never build a track with anything smaller again. Seeing how I have to use non-magnetic braid, this definitely has me second guessing my spacing. Being able to fish tail through a corner without knocking out another car sounds like a good time to me. NOW the math... 4 lanes, 5 inches between, 6 on the outside, 4 on the inside= 25”. That means I need a minimum of 8 1/2 feet across, for 4 lanes and that would be squeezing them together. Luckily, I have room to spare. I like the thought of wider spacing. What if I used the wider spacing for the corners ONLY? And went to 4” spacing for longer straights?

I LOVE LOVE 3 lane tracks for plenty of racing in a tighter area.  Trying to squeeze 4 lanes in a small space just is too limiting.  And 3 lane tracks are GREAT fun for racing.  There are plenty of 3 lane routed tracks --- look up "Pebblestone" with Dennis Samson. 

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#53 jimht

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 02:22 PM

If you want to see more ideas about tracks:

https://oldslotracer.com/


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#54 MSwiss

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 03:07 PM

Hi Mark,
Here's my eliptical router jig.

The rollers or cam followers, have multiple location holes.

Where you put them, in relation to the cutting bit will determine how soft or hard your transitions will be, in that first slot.

I have them in a single position, in a different plane at the moment, from using it to cut a slot on my drag strip.

As far as a track layout, it depends if you are looking for easy or a challenge.

You could easily do a scaled down version of my flat track, if you want to slow down for 9 different turns.

With no crossover, my Flat track is at one ideal level for marshalling, and there isn't any blind spots, for superior visibility for the drivers.


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Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
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Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, 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


#55 Tomark

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 11:19 PM

Has anyone ever tried routing the slot and the braid recess at the same time? Seems like it would save a lot of time and effort.
Mark Sampadian

#56 Tomark

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Posted 19 February 2022 - 11:20 PM

That's basically it. Except when you go from a lefthand turn to a righthand turn or visa versa on the first lane. Check out page 8 post #108 of this thread https://www.hrwforum...ack-build/page8 to see the easiest way to do it. There's other pictures that should help you with routing your track.

This is a gold mine of information! I have read it multiple times and the pictures help as well!!!
Mark Sampadian

#57 rvec

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 10:02 AM

Has anyone ever tried routing the slot and the braid recess at the same time? Seems like it would save a lot of time and effort.

 

Slot Car Corner has a braid recess bit.  After the slots are routed, simply set the recess depth on your router. The end of the router bit is the same size as the slot. Slip it into the slot, turn on the router and cut the recess - no jig necessary. see image below

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#58 Paul Menkens

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 10:39 AM

Has anyone ever tried routing the slot and the braid recess at the same time? Seems like it would save a lot of time and effort.

You'd have to find a bit, don't know if they are available. If you want to save time, effort and MONEY just go with copper tape, for a home track it works just as well as braid at a fraction of the price.



#59 MSwiss

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 03:42 PM

Has anyone ever tried routing the slot and the braid recess at the same time? Seems like it would save a lot of time and effort.

Even if you came up with the real specialized bit required to do that, you would want to.

Cutting that much material, in one pass, along with creating a humongous amount of MDF dust, would most likely overheat the bit, unless you routed at a painfully slow rate.

When I've routed my 3 tracks, I take 4 passes.

3, in approximately 1/8" deep increments, to get the approximate .360" deep slot and the 4th pass for the braid recess, with a specialized bit similar to the commercially available one, shown above.
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Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, 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


#60 Steve Ogilvie

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Posted 20 February 2022 - 08:28 PM

I had a custom combo cutter made a long time ago but it was a total failure.The problem was that you cant cut your relief cuts with only one pass, they won't come out uniform. And as mentioned in an above post you are cutting a lot of material all at once making it hard to push around the track. Adding to the frustration level the 1/8" centre bit broke a lot. Luckily the centre bit was held on by a set screw so I just converted it to a relief cutter by replacing the bit with a piece of 1/8" axle and gave up on the single pass idea. 


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#61 Tomark

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 10:07 AM

I had a custom combo cutter made a long time ago but it was a total failure.The problem was that you cant cut your relief cuts with only one pass, they won't come out uniform. And as mentioned in an above post you are cutting a lot of material all at once making it hard to push around the track. Adding to the frustration level the 1/8" centre bit broke a lot. Luckily the centre bit was held on by a set screw so I just converted it to a relief cutter by replacing the bit with a piece of 1/8" axle and gave up on the single pass idea.

Nice to hear someone tried it. I have to admit - between you and Mike, I’m a little star struck! Thank you for your input. Mike Swiss says he makes 3 passes for his slot but in your post and videos, I thought you only made one pass for your slot, you just went at a slow pace. You make multiple passes for each slot as well?
Mark Sampadian

#62 Steve Ogilvie

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 10:58 AM

No I always use one pass for cutting the slot. I found that making multiple passes when you are cutting the slots will result in a slight widening of the slot with each pass, and that in turn caused my jig to feel sloppy as I cut more slots off the first cut slot. I do not cut as deep as Mike does, depth of the slot is determined by how far below the track surface the braid will be set at. I calculate the depth I want to the bottom of the slot, set the slot cutter depth, set the depth of the relief cutter. Then I make a test pass about 3 feet long on a piece of scrap mdf and check that a loaded guide flag sitting on some track braid  on the relief cut has clearance between the blade and the bottom of the slot.

     Once I am happy with the settings I cut the slots for the track. Making one pass for the slot will cause the sawdust to be packed in tight. I use a pointy ended key hole saw to push the sawdust out of the slot and then use compressed air to blow it all out. Then the next pass etc.

      Sometimes I cut the reliefs at the same time but usually I just do them all at once after. I will stand in one place, cut forward as far as I can reach and come back and then go forward again. On each pass i rotate the router 180 degrees. Once you do not notice any little half moon marks on the relief shoulders then its perfect.


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#63 Pappy

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 11:43 AM

Never thought about rotating the router 180 degrees. Next track I'll do that.  :)


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Jim "Butch" Dunaway 
 
I don't always go the extra mile, but when I do it's because I missed my exit. 
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No matter how big of a hammer you use, you can't pound common sense into stupid people, believe me, I've tried.

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#64 Tomark

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 01:52 PM

No I always use one pass for cutting the slot. I found that making multiple passes when you are cutting the slots will result in a slight widening of the slot with each pass, and that in turn caused my jig to feel sloppy as I cut more slots off the first cut slot. I do not cut as deep as Mike does, depth of the slot is determined by how far below the track surface the braid will be set at. I calculate the depth I want to the bottom of the slot, set the slot cutter depth, set the depth of the relief cutter. Then I make a test pass about 3 feet long on a piece of scrap mdf and check that a loaded guide flag sitting on some track braid  on the relief cut has clearance between the blade and the bottom of the slot.
     Once I am happy with the settings I cut the slots for the track. Making one pass for the slot will cause the sawdust to be packed in tight. I use a pointy ended key hole saw to push the sawdust out of the slot and then use compressed air to blow it all out. Then the next pass etc.
      Sometimes I cut the reliefs at the same time but usually I just do them all at once after. I will stand in one place, cut forward as far as I can reach and come back and then go forward again. On each pass i rotate the router 180 degrees. Once you do not notice any little half moon marks on the relief shoulders then its perfect.

Thank you for all the great information. Can you please share your method to getting the steepest banking and how you would approach a four lane track? I have seen where you pull two straights together and it bows all by itself, but are you stacking weights on it over night, using relief cuts underneath, whats the secret without breaking the wood? I know my track will be mostly flat, but I would love to incorporate one “as steep as possible” banked turn.
Mark Sampadian

#65 Tomark

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 01:56 PM

I see in your post you were talking a table top track.
Are you open to a free standing track design?
What lane spacing are you wanting to use?

Mark- did I see you used plywood for a turn to get a steeper banking?
Mark Sampadian

#66 MarkH

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 02:54 PM

No sir, everything was 1/2" MDF from Home Depot.

I used 2 layers of 1/4" plywood on the tighter radius walls. It will bend enough to match the tighter turns.

 

My bank is probably as extreme as one would want to go. It is only about 8ft across and 28 degree banking. There was a lot popping and other noises when we first pulled the bank before it snapped somewhere in the middle. I did not know the correct technique of pulling it with the straight sections. I tried to pull it together near the tangent of the turn and straight. Bad idea.

 

I would not go that steep again if I were building this track from the beginning. Something more like 15 to 18 degrees might work. Steve or Mike would be better qualified to answer that for a good angle.

 

We basically run flexi cars with FK/H7 type of motors. The cars you plan to run will make the final decision. I would plan the track around a car combination that is a step faster than you plan to use because you will likely use faster cars at some point in the future.

 

NOTE:

The Home Depot MDF that I used is not the heaviest stuff you can buy but it was what I could get here in my area without extra cost. SO, that said I did have some issues in my tighter turns when the cars were driven too fast and they rotated out. The guide was causing some damage to the 1/8" slot top corner. After some experimenting I found the Ultra-Thin super glue applied to the 1/8" slot walls stopped the damage. It wicked into the wood very nicely and did not require any sanding. I did both sides of the 1/8" slot.

So if I were to build another track I would do that before paint to toughen it up and make the slots last longer.


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#67 Steve Ogilvie

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 05:05 PM

Calculating how much bank you can bend is dependant mostly on how big the hole is in the centre of the corner. You need to use the formulas in my track building thread to make everything fit together properly too. How much you can get away with is a matter more of experience than anything. But you can safely bend a 15 degree bend on an 8' diameter corner if it is going to be a 4 lane track. This is using 1/2" mdf. I don't do relief cuts underneath, put weights on or anything other than using ratchet straps to pull the sraights together after raising the corner up above the level of the straights.

   In my track building thread I made a chart with demensions for making banked turns. The gist of it is that to make a banked turn you increase the radius of the turn while using the same circumferance as if it were a flat turn. That gives the splay out and when it is bent the corner will have the same diameter as the as drawn curve.


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#68 Brian Czeiner

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Posted 21 February 2022 - 06:36 PM

 The guide was causing some damage to the 1/8" slot top corner. After some experimenting I found the Ultra-Thin super glue applied to the 1/8" slot walls stopped the damage. It wicked into the wood very nicely and did not require any sanding. I did both sides of the 1/8" slot.

So if I were to build another track I would do that before paint to toughen it up and make the slots last longer.

   We did something similar except we used thinned out acrylic polyurethane for floors. We also used the polyurethane for the braid recess to help with removal when it came time to replace a section. Removing the braid didn't tear the MDF underneath and the new braid then remained flat as if nothing happened. We did do two coats with light sanding in the groove just to be thorough. Maybe overkill but it was our first time building a track.


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#69 MSwiss

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 01:55 AM

Thank you for all the great information. Can you please share your method to getting the steepest banking and how you would approach a four lane track? I have seen where you pull two straights together and it bows all by itself, but are you stacking weights on it over night, using relief cuts underneath, whats the secret without breaking the wood? I know my track will be mostly flat, but I would love to incorporate one as steep as possible banked turn.

One nice thing about making your own track is you are not constrained by time/worrying about your next job.

I used relief cuts on almost all the sections of my King track, which is highly banked, and compass routed.

Probably the only section of the track without them is the middle of the main straight, and the middle of the back straight.

I mapped out where the slots were, using the same homemade,MDF compass, that was used to route the slots, and trim off the MDF, for the inside and outside shape of the turn.

I used a large diameter, round nose bit.

At first, I clamped down a straight edge, and the reliefs were perfectly straight.

After awhile, even though I didn't want to take any shortcuts, I found I could an adequate job, cutting the reliefs freehand.

Be aware it makes an incredible amount of dust.

Between the relief cuts and routing the slots beforehand, while the MDF was flat, the track banked quite easily.

IIRC, my big bank is approximately 14 ft. in diameter, and the max banking on it, is 33 degrees.

Back to the 3 passes.

I did some tests and a single pass was too slow and hard on my arms.

I would sooner do 3 quicker passes that didn't kill my arms, vs. a slow one .

Also, once I start a slot, I don't want to stop midway.

On my elliptically routed flat track, I went the whole 117 ft. round trip nonstop, albeit 3 trips per lane.

As someone who only does it occasionally, it taxes my arms in a way I'm not used to, making sure you have constant pressure against your guide.

I got a reminder about 22 months ago, when I made the long passes on my 102 ft. drag strip.

The time spent cleaning the slot after each pass, gives your arms time to recover.

And I never noticed the issue of the slot widening with each pass, as Steve mentioned .

I'll post a pic below, where it shows the slots on my my 15 year old flar track are still tight enough in the turns, to suspend a Koford 1/8" axle.

And a few other pics where the slot shows no indication that 3 passes were taken.

IOW, no "stepping".

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The relief cuts in my big bank. On some of the tighter turns, there are additional perpendicular relief cuts, or "crosses".

20220221_193650.jpg
On my drag strip you see there is no evidence the slot was cut in 3 passes.

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The 15 year old slot on Yellow lane, the fastest on the track, and 6th one that was cut, when the track was elliptically routed, is still tight enough to suspend a Koford 1/8" axle.

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In my opinion, all MDF is not created equal.
This pic shows that MDF from King, compared to a scrap piece from my Flat track, are distinctly two different colors, despite both being bought from the same vendor, and both in 5 X 10 sheets.

The King track's more yellowish MDF, couldn't be more rugged, but the tannish MDF of the Flat track, does occasionally chip on the top edge.

That said, it could possibly be related to the turns being tighter on the Flat track.
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Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, 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


#70 MattD

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 07:34 AM

I used the cheap mdf from HD.  routed the slot first with compass arm and straight edge, one pass, Vac the dust as you go.  Use an axle to clear the slot.    Cut the reliefs with the special bit from SCC.   Used a trim router and free handed it, with the center pin guiding the router.   So easy.   Cut the reliefs in an hour or two with no mistakes.   

 

Painted the whole track gray latex.   2 days later painted each slot and reliefs.  Used pre-taped braid from SCC and did  the whole track in a day   There has been no damage to the slot edges anywhere on the track.   

 

Banked corner was routed flat and connected to straights, then pulled till I had appx 30 degree bank in an 8 foot wide piece.  Bent easy with no relief cuts anywhere underneath.   Been running 3-4 years now with no errors or problems,

 

   I did have 3-4 inches of braid lifting in the bank.   I used some silicone adhesive to glue it back and clamped it with a piece of mdf that conformed to the bank.    I figure I pulled the braid too tight along that short section.    I made a similar guide to what Mike showed or Steve showed in his thread and cut all the curves using the edge for first slot, then the slot the next lanes.   It all worked  fine and those two guys explain everything you need to know from wood and paint, to electric.    

 

I would like to do another track.   Maybe some day.  Little trial and error, but the track came out pretty good and it's fun to race on,

 

I suggest anybody even thinking of building a track, jump in and do it.   

 

This thread is basically for commercial style tracks, but if you check Home Racing World you will find lots of tutorials on building a wood table top track. Many with copper tape.   Those tracks work great and maybe it's a first step to a routed commercial style track.  Maybe  a table top track is what a slotter might want..

 

I would probably buy/borrow a cordless router if I was to jump in again.


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#71 MSwiss

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 08:50 AM

I would probably buy/borrow a cordless router if I was to jump in again.

That would be a nice luxury.

Back in 2005 and 2007, I don't think cordless routers was a thing.

That's one thing I wanted to touch upon last night, and I guess I was too tired, and forgot.

The importance of cord management.

I stressed to my helpers on the Flat track and drag strip, that cord wrangling was their primary focus, vs. MDF vacuuming.

If one does not have a helper, make sure you make a simulated pass, to make sure the cord isn't going to get caught on a leg, etc.

Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, 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


#72 Steve Ogilvie

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 11:43 AM

    I never found it hard to push my jig along cutting the slot in one pass. Maybe it was just the type of bit I use but my jig does not have wheels on it, just 1/8" axles sliding along the side of the track and it moves easy enough. And the jig I use cuts the slots elliptically in case people are getting the impression it doesn't. All offset router jigs do this. The effect varies depending on the spacing of your pins (or rollers). Every track we built has ellipticall slots.

    The main thing I was always concerned about when banking a turn was to make sure that when I put a straight edge on the curve pointing to the centre of the corner, it sat flush with the surface. So I never wanted to do anything that would weaken the board or make it flex easier. 1/2" mdf bends well enough on its own to do this. On tighter higher banked turns after about the first 50 tracks I built I started adding more cross supports and extra legs to hold the shape better. There are always more ways to do things right but I simply do not see the need to put in extra work unless it is absolutely necessary. On some of my competitors tracks you could take an 1/8" axle and check the slots on a banked curve and see that they got tighter on the middle lanes of the curve. When the surface is concave like that, tires are not making perfect contact to the track.

    As I have mentioned in my track building thread, on curves I always lightly chamfer the tops of the slots. This is barely noticeable but I found that it reduces the chipping that happens when a car goes full lock then flips out of the slot. I also paint the entire track surface with clear solvent based polyurethane, to harden up the slots as well and get a good base coat on the braid reliefs. Rustoleum water based gloss epoxy sticks very well to the clear coat in case people are wondering about that.

    Anyway I wish everyone great luck in building a track no matter what method you use. Take your time wear the best dust mask you can get and enjoy your building.


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#73 Steve Ogilvie

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 11:49 AM

  A track build in progress in California. Probably finished by now but pretty impressive.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                msg-8217-0-11677100-1619541070.jpg



#74 Steve Ogilvie

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 12:29 PM

Some pics of the bits I use. Slot cutter is 1/8" two flute carbide tipped. Unfortunately no mfr ID on it. Do not use a solid carbide, the tip will break off after you cut about 6' of slot. The relief cutter I make myself by drilling an 1/8" hole in the centre and epoxy or solder in a piece of 1/8" axle. How to in my track building thread.

 

IMG_5089.jpeg

 

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#75 MattD

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Posted 22 February 2022 - 02:02 PM

Always go slow the router bit to keep it from breaking.   Let it cut it's way thru.    \Before you strat routing, make sure the cord is to the front of you and not behind you unless a helper (what is that) can keep it free.   Wear  the mask.    If no helper is available, try taping the vacuum hose to your router.   That works fairly well.    Another helpful  thing is to have a big fan blowing dust away from you.   I do this with  the belt sander,, bench grinder, lots of  work that creates dust or fumes.

 

Mike I would have bought a cordless router before I started my track if I had thought of it.   I did buy a trim router when I cut the gains.    MDF cuts so easy, that a small router is all you need.   Lot easier to use.

 

Nothing hard about this, just have to start.  That seems to be the biggest problem most guys have.   On another forum where lots of guys have built tracks, a common piece of advice is to go buy a piece of MDF and some copper tape to see what you can do.   Most guys quickly see this isn't rocket science.


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Matt Bishop

 






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