No announcement yet.

Routed HO Scale Tracks Message Board

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Banked Turns

    I just want to show that your banked turns DO NOT need to be perfect 90's or 180's. The board is gonna bend folks. Decreasing radius, increasing radius, or one that looks like this.

    In the following picture you can see a small straight has been added to the turn. What you can also see are the straights that are attatched to the turn at the other end. There is about a foot difference.

    I readily admit the banking was just too steep for my idea of what I was trying to accomplish. No the boards did not break until I slaughtered them with the sabre saw. I will cover in the next segment a very easy way, without all the calculations, to get the EXACT banked turn you are after.

    I proceeded to finish the track fighting back my dissatisfaction with three aspects of it. One I covered earlier, just a tad bigger than the table. Two, the banking was too steep. Three, I did not account for the wood sealer and expoxy under the rail.

    The track was a beautiful D-shaped oval. Six lanes of H.O. racing, NASCAR style. I should have sold it but I am not selling my rejects.

    More to come.
    Last edited by Yuccie Tim; 05-01-2008, 09:37 PM.


    • #32
      Keeping It Simple--KISS Principle

      I'm just sticking to routing "in the flat", no overpasses, no banked turns, no cut out "ribbon" track, no table to build.

      Power rails are 1/16" rebar tie wire pressed into a routed slot about 1/4" away from the guide slot using a pin jig with the pins only 1" apart to avoid changes in distance from the guide slot. Just press the rebar into the slot with a wooden roller, a sharpie, whatever, until it "clicks" home. Just take your time setting the router depth for the power rail slot. Anywhere from .005 to .014 will work according to others. I try to keep it to between .010 and .012.

      I use the Flat routed sheet of MDF as the table top reinforced with a 1x4 border and 1x8 reinforcing the bottom for the banquet legs.

      New layout, mostly drawn freehand, no straights to follow.


      • #33
        Re: KISS Principle Part 2--Curvey Layout

        Here's the latest way to get the max lap length on a MDF board that has 1:2 proportions (i.e. 4foot by 8foot, or 2foot by 4foot test track).

        It's simple, "in the flat", no overpasses, no "ribbon track" to cut out and mount on a table. Use a continuous guide strip made from AZEK strips cut from a 1x4 from Home Depot
        (I think they call it closed cell pvc trim board). Drill guide holes for thin finish nails every 1 1/2/ inches and nail it down.

        Start with the inside edge of the lower center curve; all other major angle curves will have the guide on the outside largest radius of each curve.


        • #34
          HO Drag Strip

          Here is a jig I threw on my laminate trimmer to rout a H.O. drag strip for my brother.

          The track is 27 feet total. 2' for stage/prestage, 20' for 1/4 mile and 5' for cool down.
          Last edited by Yuccie Tim; 05-01-2008, 08:12 AM.


          • #35
            Oval squeeze

            Here are two pics of turns 1 and 2 where I have six lanes in the space of five inches. Yeah, rubbin' IS racing at the Lumberyard.

            More to come.
            Last edited by Yuccie Tim; 05-01-2008, 08:30 AM.


            • #36
              Re: routed HO track

              I find this stuff amazing...
              But here is one (of many) questions.
              When routing from the outside edge (i.e. outside lane to inside lane) wouldn't a guide with two rollers be better than a guide with one?
              I have never routed anything in my entire life. But I asked anyway...


              • #37


                I guess I am in the minority when it comes to using guides. I would rather rout from the inside out. For three reasons.

                1) It is much easier to pull a router thru a corner from an inside guide.

                2) Any mistake on an outside lane gets magnified on the inside lanes.

                3) I can get the inside of a turn, using the track edge as a guide, to be a much smoother turn without all the flatspots I get when smoothing an outside edge.

                This is what works for me. May not be ideal but I get the results I am after.

                In the photo you can see on the right these lanes were routed inside out. They appear smoother the further out the radius is. On the left side of the guide (which wasn't exactly smooth) you can see the outside lane does not look that bad. The tighter the radius gets reduced the bumps get magnified.

                Two guides are what most used and if I were routing from lane to lane I probably would too. Hope this helps.

                Last edited by Yuccie Tim; 05-01-2008, 08:32 AM.


                • #38
                  Guide Strip Material

                  Yucci (and all the other HO routers),
                  For what it's worth, you should be using a plastic material with one smooth factory edge (at least) so that smooth face is what the router plate rides against.
                  It looks like you've used wood or something else with the uneven results you see in your insidemost lane.
                  This is something the 1/32 guys worked out a long time ago, using a 1/4" x 38" x 6 foot lexan strip.

                  I've used hexagonal shaped vinyl rod ($2.50 per 7 foot length) to lay down as the guide for an HO scale turn with an outside radius of 5" (3" track width for 2 lanes) which has an inside radius of 2". Once the vinyl rod is bent and nailed down it really can't be used again for a straight section because the plastic retains part of the severe curve bent in, but it can be reused for a curve of larger inside radius. I've also used regular acrylic (lucite) square rod but you can't bend it all that tight.

                  I've also tried AZEK closed cell PVC material used as permanent trip board on houses, sold at Home Depot.
                  You can cut 3/8" strips from a 1" x 4" x 12 foot piece (about $10) and nail down a guide for an entire layout.
                  The problem with AZEK is that you've really got to nail every 1 1/2" or it will flex as the router passes and it tends to develop a "point" on 2" and 3" inside radius curves. Carefull bending and nailing helps, but I'm still looking for the perfect guide material.

                  These small curves are ok for the guide slot because it's at least 3/4" up from the inside edge giving you a tight challenging 2 3/4" (or greater) radius for the car to navigate.

                  This routs in about 5 minutes for 30+ feet of lap length and allows you to rout the first guide slot in any shape you want in one pass. After that, it's a piece of cake to rout other lanes with constant lane spacing and the power rail slots using a pin jig. I keep the pins only 1" apart to minimize the increase/decrease in spacing from the guide slot in the curves, in order to keep the power rail under the pick up shoes.

                  PS I'm still using 1/16" rebar tie wire pressed into the power rail slots for power. I haven't gotten to working with flat rail like the stuff Yucci sent me.


                  • #39


                    Yes, the lexan guide or similar material works very well. I used it for the squeeze lanes on my oval. I really made the effort to gradually bring the lanes together so it did not have that mechanical flavor. Took me 3 days of drawing and erasing.

                    I am not sure what material it is but it is both very hard and very flexible. (From a bindery shop)

                    But again, I used the inside of the guide. You can see I put it way inside the turn so I don't have hundreds of little holes to fill on my track.

                    I will try your method for the infield road course Jesse. Using the guide for the whole lap in one lane. Any pictures you can share?

                    Last edited by Yuccie Tim; 05-01-2008, 08:33 AM.


                    • #40
                      Re: Guides

                      Just take your time setting the router depth for the power rail slot. Anywhere from .005 to .014 will work according to others. I try to keep it to between .010 and .012.
                      Between .010 and .012 Is this the rail height you are looking for or the depth of cut for rail slot? Also, what depth is the guide slot cut?

                      What glue should be used to hold the tie wire down?

                      Was going to do a 1/32 track but found some guys who are racing HOs locally so we are again planning a HO track, or 2 or 3!!. Hope to start next week!!

                      I am planning on using a trammel for corners instead of guides. I feel this is the best way, at least for me, to get repeated. smooth slots for the corners.Of course I will need to go back and putty up the holes left by the mount but registration will be much easier. I can first take a pencil and mount it in the trammel to draw everything out first giving me guidelines to be sure the router/trimmer is going where is is supposed to be.


                      • #41
                        OK time for me to jump in

                        2 things I want to get cleared up.

                        1) Are you guys using a device to hook your guide off of, like the lexan material formed into an arc on the inside of your track, rather than just hooking the guide off of the edge of the MDF itself?

                        If so, how do you get repeated results on all corners? Are they all a little different?

                        and 2) What is really the best stuff to use for power rails? i have heard tie wire and other things don't provide the same magnetic attraction like real slotcar rail material.

                        Tomy continuous rail material is available, why not use it?

                        I am going to make a 25 foot straightaway out of MDf first to hook into my 100 foot TOMY road coarse before I try to route any corners. I am going to use a table saw to do this. I think I will try the Tomy continuous rail material so the cars get similar downforce on the plastic and MDF sections.

                        I want to get clarification on how to guide a router template or "guide" in the corners before I waste a bunch of time.

                        I wonder if I should laminate this straightaway or simply paint it.

                        This will get me going on the full routed track thing which I plan on using exclusively in the future....Let me hear your suggestions and directions


                        • #42
                          Jump in


                          If you want equal spacing between the lanes you should try both to see which one you prefer. Practice using the side of the MDF as your guide for straights as well as curves. The spacing is very consistent and best of all you are simply following the track vs. setting up a trammel making perfect arcs. Meaning, your corners can be long and gradual or very tight hairpins. Also you should try using the lexan or other suitable flexible rigid guide nailed down for a guide. On a really tight turn the flexible guide should be on the outside of the turn and not the inside. I used this method for the squeeze sections where each lane comes out a bit different.

                          However, let me point out most home builders just rout one lane and set up a pin jig to rout the remaining lanes. It does work but I found it easier to rout off the side of the MDF for each lane. The H.O. slot is a mere 1/16" wide and for me was prone to binding up my pin jig.

                          I have some rail that one of the professional track builders sold me that I am saving for a special track. I researched the mills until I found what I was after to suit the type of track I wanted to build. The square wire I bury into the MDF is every bit as magnetic as the Tomy rail. Lifting the car off the track feels nearly identical. The car will stick to the track even when upside down like plastic track.

                          Since you are incorporating a routed straight into an existing Tomy track you should use the conventional rail found in the plastic tracks. Makes sense to me.

                          I suggest just getting some scrap MDF and practice. Then practice some more. Then more after that. It will really pay off in the end. Hope this helps.


                          • #43
                            Theres a thread on one of the other boards where they are using the cooper tape and Magnetic paint on 1/32 routed tracks. Has anyone tried this in HO? Thoughts, comments. If it works would take the hassle out of laying down steel rails. As well since the magnetic force is not as strong would provide a little more realistic sliding rather than the sudden let go when the limit has been reached for cornering.


                            • #44
                              I had thought about the tape thing, but most everyone says the cars slow down fairly quickly as the tape gets dirty.

                              If you think about it, look how dirty shoes get and how quick it it happens and it makes sense.

                              We talked about putting the steel rail under the tape to still provide magentism and let the tape allow the cars to drift a bit, but still the same thing....the tape will get fouled.

                              The fastest HO dragstrips in the world use Tomy continuous power rails, so that is what I will use. I plan on using my 25 foot straightaway in my road coarse as a dragstrip anyway, so I figured tape was out.

                              edited...**** typos


                              • #45
                                How many power taps on a 95 foot rebarb ty wire routed track? I am laying it out right now its sweet. but i need to know how often to supply juice.

                                Question 2
                                I'm cheap what controllers to use? Parma econo is what i have in mind. i will need four. I'm thinking about upgrading to hot stock cars.