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  #1  
Old 09-02-2002, 11:03 PM
1coolskyline 1coolskyline is offline
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track materials and surface materials

let me know what works best as far as layout and surface type thanks guys give me some ideas. lata
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2002, 01:30 AM
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cowfish_29 cowfish_29 is offline
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well...semi-smooth plywood is good, and so is hard sound insulation board type things... anything with a little bit of texture. Things like glass, varnished wood, lanoleum ect are slippery and frusterating.
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Old 09-03-2002, 03:13 AM
Bootylactin Bootylactin is offline
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I'd like to see a whole forum dedicated to this topic, as it's sometimes difficult to find quality information picking through everything else!

We're building a modular track at work, from a 4' x 8' sheet of either plywood, medium density fiberboard, or something else (we haven't decided yet). I've tested small tracks on plywood, and it definitely works (as Cowfish stated above).

We bought blackboard paint for the track itself, but we haven't tried it out yet. This paint basically turns any surface into a 'chalk board'. I've read elsewhere that the texture created by the paint is nice and grippy for good control while racing. We're going to paint the areas outside the track green, and perhaps use foam rubber to create a grass effect (the type used on model railroads, etc.)

The track will consist of eight 2' x 2' modules, which will allow us to mix and match to create different tracks. It also allows us to create additions in the future (an over/under pass is slated for construction after we get the basic track done). Here are some pictures of the proposed initial design of the modules. They are fitted together to form some possible track combinations.


Now to the real issue.....what to use for guard rails?

Right now, we're using rope taped to the carpet on the temporary track we have set up at work. This works OK, but the cars will ride up the tape and jump out of the track on occasion. We stop the races for this, and it happens more frequently then we'd like.

Our criteria for a good guard rail material:
1) It should keeps the cars "in play" at all times
2) It should be bendable to create smooth curves
3) It should be smooth enough to allow the cars to rebound back to the track without getting stuck (more on that under "foam rubber" below).
4) It should not be such that "riding the rails" becomes an effective race tactic, the skill of the driver should prevail.
5) We'd like to be able to paint it up (in red and white stripes, for example), so it's asthetic quality is important.
6) It could be removable (not absolutely a must, but it would be nice for storage purposes.

What we've tried:
Rope and Tape -
Doesn't keep the cars in play all the time, and not easily painted to be sure. Doesn't look all that professional.

Foam rubber weather stripping -
I picked some of this up at Home Depot, and I thought we had a winner. The color was white, and I was able to paint red stripes on without too much trouble. The problem is, it's too grippy. Any contact with the rail, apart from the smallest angles (we're talking less than 5 degrees here) stopped the cars cold. The corner of the car would catch, and it would rebound backwards, usually causing the car to angle into the wall even harder. While I was OK with this, my co-workers wanted a more 'forgiving' rail that wouldn't require near perfect track driving. In an attempt to salvage what I thought was a good thing, I ran clear Scotch tape along the railing to create a smoother surface. It worked, but the tape just doesn't stick over time. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

Stuff we're experimenting with now:
Cardboard -
Yep, good old cardboard from boxes. Though it bends, you can't generate perfectly smooth curves. However it does seem to have the right smoothness characteristics as described above in points 3 and 4.

Thinly cut birch wood -
I saw some of this stuff at Michael's craft and hobby supply. I believe it's used for model airplanes? Anyway, the super thin stuff is .4mm thick, and bends quite well. Only dilemma is how to attach it to the board? One idea was to rout out a groove for each rail in the board itself (maybe a bit TOO much work for what we're trying to accomplish?). Another was to use small wooden blocks at evenly spaced intervals, glued or nailed to the track, then glueing or nailing the birch rail to these. Neither have been attempted yet. I'll keep you up to date when we get to that point.

Another idea was to use one of the two above for the guard rails, THEN add low cut strips of foam rubber (painted in the stripe pattern) around the insides of the walls. This would create a "warning track" inside each rail. The rubber would be short enough to allow the bits to drive up over it without getting stuck, but the uneven surface would cause a slowdown before they hit the wall. This might cause an effect similar to the plastic stuff produced by Tomy themselves. (I've not used it personally, but it looks like the bits could go over it with enough speed)

Stuff we've seen other people use:
Styrofoam -
Quite a few tracks I've seen online use styrofoam. I'm not sure it would look so great when trying to paint the striping - and alot of them just cut the track shape out of a sheet. All the non-track areas are just solid styrofoam, not guard rails per se. We're not particularly fond of this look, so we're going to avoid it.

Wood siding -
Good and sturdy, but unable to bend, which disqualifies it for us.

I'm hoping this message will generate ideas from others.....stuff we haven't even considered. All the information I've collected makes me think it would be nice to access this from one source. I may throw a web page together that compiles all this info. If you have ideas, please reply to this thread or perhaps send me a personal email. When we do get around to building our track, we're going to document it with a digital camera. I'll post a step by step guide with pics when we're through. I would encourage other track builders to do the same with their projects, if they have the means available. That way we can all learn from each other.

If you'd like to send your tips/ideas to me personally, my addy is jon at digitdevelopment dot com.

Jon

Last edited by Bootylactin; 09-12-2002 at 09:14 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2002, 04:04 AM
payaso payaso is offline
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Wow, very well thought out, but I have to disagree with you on one point.

"Only dilemma is how to attach it to the board? One idea was to rout out a groove for each rail in the board itself (maybe a bit TOO much work for what we're trying to accomplish?). "

This is the exact same idea that I had for my track. I saw on TV they sell a hand held router. Just like a dremel. You could do 20 tracks in an hour. These things are so awesome, cause they're so fast. You could do a bunch of track designs, and then just switch the guard rails...

Other than that, it all sounds good.. In closing I must insist that the router idea must go back on your drawing board, at least until you look into this little dremel router.. Don't dismiss such a fantastic idea so fast...

I also think there should be a designated place for these posts. Good idea. Keep em coming.

silla
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2002, 08:15 AM
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cowfish_29 cowfish_29 is offline
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In our first real attempt at a track, TheFanMan and i did this: we used sound isolation board (2x 2-4' sheets) that can be cut pretty easly. we then used 1/32" plywood strips about 1 1/2" tall and, using a ruler, pocket knife, bottle opener (haha..be quiet) we set them into the track about 1/4th inch. See a pic here:

http://www.kassatsu.com/Enduro3.htm
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2002, 10:52 AM
Bootylactin Bootylactin is offline
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Payaso wrote:

Wow, very well thought out, but I have to disagree with you on one point.

"Only dilemma is how to attach it to the board? One idea was to rout out a groove for each rail in the board itself (maybe a bit TOO much work for what we're trying to accomplish?). "

This is the exact same idea that I had for my track. I saw on TV they sell a hand held router. Just like a dremel. You could do 20 tracks in an hour. These things are so awesome, cause they're so fast. You could do a bunch of track designs, and then just switch the guard rails...


Actually, the other individual--who's working the hardest on this with me--has a router attachment for his dremel tool. I didn't think it would be practical, but I've never actually seen it in action. If it's as good as you say it is, that may in fact be the answer.

What does everyone think about using low-cut foam rubber (with painted striping, mentioned in my previous post) just inside each wall? Overkill? Or should we just paint the wall itself red and white?

Jon
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2002, 12:20 PM
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Namuna Namuna is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bootylactin
I'd like to see a whole forum dedicated to this topic, as it's sometimes difficult to find quality information picking through everything else!
Actually, there IS a 'Tracks' Forum specifically for this type of discussion (towards the bottom of the Forums listing)...I'm going to move this thread there. Please continue this discussion in the new location.

Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2002, 01:03 PM
Bootylactin Bootylactin is offline
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My apologies to the folks at TinyRC. Admittedly, being only a Bit Char-G user, I had never scrolled down far enough to see it!

I'm wondering if others are doing the same, as it doesn't seem to get much traffic down here?

Jon
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2002, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bootylactin
My apologies to the folks at TinyRC. Admittedly, being only a Bit Char-G user, I had never scrolled down far enough to see it!

I'm wondering if others are doing the same, as it doesn't seem to get much traffic down here?

Jon
This Tracks Forum is brand new, so it's going to take time for folks to get acquainted with it
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2002, 02:18 PM
Tortoise-Licker Tortoise-Licker is offline
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STOP THE PRESS!!!!

You want an ideal grippy track surface??
How many of you live near a yachting chandlers??
If so go in there and ask for the additive that they use to paint deck surfaces. This is very small grains of polycarbonate which, when added to a suitable paint, will make an extremely grippy surface.
Warning though using this material will start to eat into your tires if you are really harsh with your charg. Just like real racing though.
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  #11  
Old 09-03-2002, 04:40 PM
1coolskyline 1coolskyline is offline
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i tell ya what i think would make a fantastic surface would be dense particle board (not plywood). It is dense and has a good realistic texture. And its better for routing or drilling then plywood it is a lot more dense. Has anyone tried this yet? I dont agree with the idea of the grip paint because you want to have some challenge having a track with total grip would not be as challenging. I might be new to micros but i used to race indoor onroad and monster trucks so i do know about track design. I am not sure on paint. Something semi gloss but its gotta hold up to abuse. the sides I have a neat changable idea but i will wait and try it first. I am not worried about landscaping my track all that matters to me is being able to change layout and the surface and side rails. keep the ideas coming guys lata.
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  #12  
Old 09-03-2002, 04:43 PM
slugbugg slugbugg is offline
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track idea's

I think the routering of a small groove then tapping a thin piece of plastic into it would work, this doesn't make it easy to change the layout but if you plan it out you could have several different layouts.

(oh something just popped into my head)
If you bought a sheet of thin steel the same size as a sheet of plywood (4'x8' it's not really expensive) you could then get strips of plastic to use as the guard rails and use magnets attached to the strips to hold them to your painted sheet of steel. You might have to double side the plastic guard rails to hide the magnets but only on the inner parts of the track.This of course would allow complete freedom in track configurations and only take minutes to change.
The magnets could get expensive but then again I have seen small lots of them for sale on ebay cheap.

As far as traction any paint supply store will sell additive that you mix right into paint to add traction to a surface and you could even have some area's with higher traction and some that have very little just to make it interesting.
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  #13  
Old 09-03-2002, 05:03 PM
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Magnets, very interesting idea!
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  #14  
Old 09-03-2002, 05:07 PM
1coolskyline 1coolskyline is offline
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Do those digital lap counters work? lt me know peace.
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  #15  
Old 09-03-2002, 06:47 PM
Bootylactin Bootylactin is offline
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From what I've read......yes they work, but ONLY for one car at a time.
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