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Micro-Cuc Development

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  • #16
    Oh my, I don't remember if I ran the original direct drive Micro-Cuc II or the geared Micro-Cuc III against the Rattler in our first official showdown challenge, but I do remember that you took a quite convincing win. That was one of the biggest spurs toward further development.

    Since then I believe that we have traded firsts back and forth, all in great fun and intense competition. Remember the "white ghost on your white Slider (tm) track?

    Hey Ed, how about a detailed history of the Rattler, and while you are at it, the development and evolution of the Wingmaster Sprint cars? That would make for a great read!


    • #17
      A history of the Rattler and Wingmaster Sprint development? Why sure, although both will be short reads. Those chassis reached final form quickly. I suppose I should post those as new threads.

      Now there is a Rattler Mark 3 in (rather lackadaisical) development. Main features will be a wider rattle pan and a pivoting front sub-chassis. Oh, and those ball-bearing front wheels. I need to get that front-and-center soon, so I have something for the next unlimited race.

      Frankly, I was surprised by how soundly my Rattler (I forget if it was a Mark 1 or Mark2) defeated your Micro-Cuc. Now there is nothing like a win, but I was a bit sad that the 'Cuc wasn't a stronger challenger. I felt like I had damaged a legend.

      But I also remember being thoroughly stomped by your LandShark-based chassis on my Langhorne oval. I reached way down and found nothing. All I could do was try to hold it together and finish the race without crashing out.

      Our return match on your oval salvaged my dignity. The only difference was I had dragged my Rattler back into the shop and given it a good overhaul. That gave me my cornering back, and that was all I needed to keep you in my mirrors.

      Gerry, it is so fascinating that more than a half-century of HO slotcar history we can still extract more performance out of basic, gravity chassis. And I find it so interesting that you do so with careful, technical development while I pretty much depend on intuitive concepts and slop luck.

      Whatever works! And I hope the fun never stops!

      Ed Bianchi
      Last edited by HO RacePro; 11-08-2018, 06:50 AM.


      • #18
        Ah yes, if my memory is working at all, the showdown was the Rattler against the original Micro-Cuc II. Direct drive against direct drive, Tyco motor against Tomy. And you completely spanked me. While the Micro-Cuc II's handling was there, I was seriously down in horsepower. Great fun it was for sure!

        I can't wait to see the new Rattler. It sounds like you are planning to hit all the "right notes" in its design and development.

        And while it may seem that I am deliberate in my designs and evolutions, trust me, there are many mis-steps along the way that nobody sees or hears about. Luckily, brass is inexpensive and most components of failed chassis can be repurposed.

        Trying is compare a Rattler to my geared creations is even worse that trying to match an apple with an orange. Not only is the physical construction so very different, but the required driving styles are complete opposites from one another. I've never gotten the "hang" of driving a Rattler to its fullest potential. That is one area in which you have severe dominance.

        Time to head upstairs to the track room. I'm photo documenting the build of a HOCOC Coupe. I melted mine during the last race and decided to document the new build as there are many changes incorporated. This will appear as a separate thread. I'm still trying to claw my Coupe performance up to the levels of Al and Rich. Those guys are FAST!


        • #19
          The secret to driving a Rattler? Just do everything backwards! Accelerate in the corners, coast down the straights. And drive far too deep into the turns -- saving yourself by planting the rear with a precisely-timed burst of power.

          Yes it is very hard to force your highly-educated trigger finger to unlearn it all and do the above instead, but when you do find the handle it is like your car has become magic. I still find it scary!

          When you find the magic it so upsets you that you'll miss the next corner. But you go back, trying to do that wild trick again and again, and eventually you'll be screaming around the track, eyes wide open in disbelief!

          Anyone can drive a Rattler at a decent speed, once they get used to having NO BRAKES! But when you discover the trick it is like an afterburner kicks in. Amazing!

          Ed Bianchi


          • #20
            Wow, that makes sense Ed! EXACTLY like a Porsche 911. With the rear weight bias you brake early while going in a straight line and as you turn into the corner lay on the gas to hook up and power through. No braking to the apex and then powering out, you have to power THROUGH the apex. This is why the original 1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera was such a widow maker (literally) because it had insane and unexpected power when the turbo kicked, but also because Porsche newbies had no idea that if you brake into the corner and then let off the gas it will swap ends instantly. Totally against driver instincts. It's fascinating that your direct drive car is basically a micro 911!



            • #21
              Dang Scott, now I have to put driving a Porsche 911 Turbo on my bucket list!

              But I'll have to get my wife to goose my life insurance first. You know I'm going to push it...

              Ed Bianchi
              Last edited by HO RacePro; 11-08-2018, 04:16 PM.


              • #22
                A 911 is easy as it has a decent rear suspension. Need to get a pre 66 VW Bug. Swing axles are fun as they will jack in the turn and you get to turn turtle if you lift while turning. Got to keep your foot in it!


                • #23
                  The swing axle was used on the VW Bug until September 24, 1969 when the IRS entered production.

                  I had a '66 Bug, the one and only year with a 1300 cc engine and definitely a swing axle, but the first year that the front suspension went from kingpins to ball joints.

                  Currently have a '70 modified as a Baja Bug, stock torsion bar suspension converted to coil-over all the way around, IRS rear, 1835 cc twin carb engine making an honest 150 HP at the flywheel with a little blue bottle hidden under the rear seat and set up for a 30 HP boost. Great fun!


                  • #24
                    My mistake on the rear suspension. Still a swing axle is the way (not) to go! The 70 Bug sounds like fun. My last one was a 73 Super Beetle. Unfortunately it wandered away one evening with a stranger. Insurance covered to theft but it was never replaced by another VW. Its replacement was a Mazda Rotary Pickup. Once the tires were dialed in THAT was FUN!


                    • #25
                      VW bugs were fun. What else could you thrash through the gears and still be legal?

                      But back to our topic, yes?

                      Both the direct-drive Micro-Cucs and the Rattlers put a big chunk of their weight -- the whole motor -- right over the rear axle. Add the weight transfer onto the sponge-silicones from hammering the throttle and it becomes easy to see how that phenomenal grip in the corners came about.

                      Due to their insane 1:1 gear ratio direct-drive cars aren't much for wheelspin or wheelies, but a good motor will chirp the tires on takeoff, so you don't sacrifice much if any off-the-line acceleration. The geared competition can't do much better, all their extra torque does is literally spin their wheels.

                      Where gears help massively is in braking. What saves a direct-drive car is that magic trick in the corners. Even though a direct-drive car can have an amazing top speed, that isn't what wins the races -- its that snap through the corners. No real need to be fast down the straights if you can corner that fast.

                      I have often thought that truly super motor magnets would make direct-drive much better in the braking department. Someday I hope to test that out. But would that make the car perform better overall? Maybe what makes direct-drive so weird is also what makes it so successful!

                      Ed Bianchi
                      Last edited by HO RacePro; 11-09-2018, 06:48 PM.


                      • #26
                        Many years ago I was playing with the idea of a Land Speed Record track in 1/64th scale. It would have been 248 feet long. A full scale mile for acceleration, a timed flying mile, and a mile for shutdown.

                        I actually prototyped a few track sections, each 4 feet long. (I could have made them 8 feet, but I wanted to make the sections more portable.)

                        The prototype was quite successful. I eventually sold it to a customer as a drag strip.

                        Anyway, if I was building a Land Speed Record car, it would almost certainly be direct drive. I've seen what a Rattler will do on a 1/24th scale banked oval. I have no idea what the top speed was. No idea except that it was freaking dang fast! And I am not even sure the car reached its top speed.

                        Ed Bianchi


                        • #27
                          Ed, I remember those discussions about the Land Speed Record. I was thinking of using 0000 welding cable for each rail, with taps every 6 inches, all powered by a 1,000 amp power supply (modified Plasma Cutting system). Cost of course was a bit of an issue, but it would fly!!



                          • #28
                            My LSR track prototype used 1/8" wide copper (non-magnetic) braid. For power I planned on two automobile batteries, one at each end of the track. I also planned on a pair of big honking cables to run the length of the track with power taps every few sections.

                            The track sections themselves were box girders routed from MDF. The top and bottom plates were offset by 6 inches from the side plates, so they'd overlap to make super-rigid joints. The whole track was designed to be largely self-supporting. The track would be mounted on trestles, one every couple of sections.

                            And of course I planned to lay out and level the track using a laser for reference. I mean really, what else?

                            I may still have a photo or two of the prototype. If I can find it I'll post it.

                            Ed Bianchi
                            Last edited by HO RacePro; 11-09-2018, 09:58 PM.


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
                              VW bugs were fun. What else could you thrash through the gears and still be legal?

                              Ed Bianchi

                              That is why I bought a Miata when I retired. Now back to the HO Slot Car 911!