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  • #46
    Please post your method of setting the depth of the power rebar power rail and how far above the track surface you're setting it.

    Practically, since the rail is continuous, you only need to supply power from one end. Theoretically, you need a power tap maybe every 30 feet or so or at least one other tap halfway around the track to reduce resistance-based voltage drop. I butt the ends together, drill a hole right next to the rail and solder the power feed wire on the side of the joint with solder on the power wire (pre tinned) and the joint. Voila! power from each end good to the middle of the run of wire where the feed from the other end also supplies.


    • #47
      Steel has fairly high resistance compared to copper also the rails arent that big. I would go no more than 15-20 feet between taps. If you plan on racing big motors 10 feet is the max



      • #48
        At the Greg Braun site he says that the press fit is enuff.
        It also stated set rail depth thru trial and error.(adjusting the router depth) I don't know what kind of tolerence this will hold.He suggest a rail height between .010 and .012.(seems kind of low to me i was thinking between .011 and .013 not much of a diffrence but i found on plastic track the spots below .011 some times cause trouble.)

        i think this is true as long as you dont run poly mags.

        If you do plan to run high mag i saw another site that used a 2-part epoxy in the rail grove before applying the rail.

        If i cant hold consistant depth with the first method i plan to use the second, but I will cut the rail groove .063 deep to allow room for the glue. To hold a consistant rail depth I will make a steel roller with a groove in it .0625 dia. and .011 deep.

        Makes sense to me at least.

        P.S. just finished laying her out on MDF tomorrow the cutting begins.


        • #49
          Laying Rebar Tie Wire Power Rails

          Anyone have suggestions about smoothing out the rebar tie wire when unrolling to lay in the slot? I've noticed a lot of small wriggles (side to side when laying the roll flat on its side and rolling out from that). I wonder if these are causing variations in rail height/seating-in-the-slot. On the other hand they may be helping the rail stay put. From any distance away you can't see them, so pictures I've seen on the web look perfect.

          I'm using the barrel of a sharpie pen to press the rail into the groove that's softer than the rail since I'm making some shallow grooves in the plastic. Also tried wood to press the rebar home into the slot. There's not a lot out there yet about using this material.

          On the good side it's inexpensive, it lays quickly, and has good magnetic and conductive properties. Only takes a little push on the car here and there on the first lap or two to get good consistent power all the way around the course.

          Cars seem to be able to take the variations in rail height I can tell are there just by feel with my finger. I've tried pushing harder on the "high" spots but they don't seem to seat any lower even though my depth is locked in on my plunge router and my surface is well prepared and smooth.

          I just finished my small test track using the layout posted earlier (see "longest lap length on 2foot x 4foot board?").

          Runs great; of course the cars will spin out (but not deslot) on the inside turns if you take them too fast.

          Had to go to a 1/4" offset for the power rails rather than my measure of 9/32" to the center of the Tomy pick up shoes. Using a pin jig with 1" spacing between the pins, my test showed the 9/32" offset came in too far, I thought, on the innermost rail slot on the tightest turn. I was concerned about losing power from that rail when going around the turns slowly.

          Comments? Criticisms? Witticisms? Bring 'em on.


          • #50
            Re: Laying Rebar Tie Wire Power Rails

            I will see if my Tomy rail source pans out and how much they will make me buy to get it.

            I am sure I will have to buy more tha I need....I will keep you posted.


            • #51


              Any chance you went through the slots after routing to ensure proper depth? One of the guys associated with a pro track builder told me to put a 1/16" drill bit or steel pin into a wood block or dowel. Put it nearly all the way in leaving exposed just the amount you want your slot depth to be. Go over all your slots. It helped me.

              You are correct the router should be locked at the proper depth but dust, vibrations, imperfections, etc. can cause the router to float giving you variances. The good news, you can buy a flat diamond grit honing stone at a tool supply store to help with the high spots. The bad news, not much you can do for low spots.


              That is the one warning I always hear. Having to buy 3000' to get 400'. Hope you get a good deal.


              • #52
                Lumberyard Update

                The squeeze section in turns 1 & 2

                Aerial view showing Labonte bumped Gordon causing the massive pile up. lol

                Banked turns 1 & 2 showing supports

                Banked turns 3 & 4 with supports

                A little more sanding, painting and then some copper tape. Hope to be turning laps in at least one lane today. Sure hope that construction crew gets a retaining wall up soon.

                Last edited by LSIntegra94; 03-02-2008, 09:04 PM. Reason: image links corrected


                • #53
                  Laying Rebar

                  Thanks for the tip. I used a piece of 1/16" brass rod, filed flat to "scrape" out the rebar slots; it seem to lay a bit more evenly now.

                  Also, nice pics, nice slots, but what's going to keep your cars on the track if you use copper tape?

                  Anyone have a material other than water putty or bondo for fixing mistakes. Some of my re-routs are very close to the old path and the water putty sometimes breaks away. It seems best for repairing real router "oops" where the router "wandered" away from a guide or whatever. Fixing an out of round curve (poor guide laying in the first place, I know) too close to the old path doesn't make it with water putty. Bondo seems like a tough material to work with.
                  Anything in-between.
                  How about good old "plastic wood"?


                  • #54
                    Re: Laying Rebar


                    I had the same trouble, glad it helped. The other thing I thought of is, do you know the tolerances the manufacturer has allowed for the rebar?

                    I buried 1/16" square wire just below the surface. I'll have to take another pic where the "water putty" came off during sanding.

                    I also had this very problem with the water putty. It wouldn't stick good enough to the MDF when trying to rout thru it. I am sure there are other things you can use. I put one of those double wide popscicle (sic?) sticks in the slot and put the putty down next to it. Just don't let it dry with that in there. Well you could shave it down to track level then just rout it out. It may help hold the water putty in place while routing a new slot. I'll have to try that one on a test piece.



                    • #55
                      Re: Lumberyard Update

                      Don't run on it until it is all done. It took eight years to finish my track after I started running on one lane.


                      • #56
                        More On HO Construction Techniques and One Lane Wonders

                        I'm running on plastic with my kids for now and working out all the kinds on construction on the small "test track"
                        no finishing, no scenery, just bare MDF, slots and rails.
                        The kids don't care one way or the other, wood, plastic, whatever.

                        I'm trying at this very moment filling the bad slot with TackyGlue a kind of Elmers liquid PVC. The idea is to fill the bad slot with "plastic" that has great adhesion to the sides of the old/bad/too wide/whatever slot.

                        Once several applications are done to get flush with the track surface(it shrinks when it dries), I'll try routing through it to correct the bad slot. Put the glue in the bad slot and realized it had gotten on the rebar too; so I pulled up the rebar for that lane and will replace it once I've routed the new slot. Live and learn...don't lay rebar power rail until the guide slots are absolutely perfect.

                        If anyone else has to backtrack be careful pulling the rebar out of the slot by putting your finger down to press on either side of the rebar where it's coming out of the MDF; otherwise you call pull up a thin layer of MDF at the edge. The semi-finished surface of MDF can come up like a layer of paper; it's probably just a cosmetic concern since it's the bottom of the power rail slot that determines the height of the power rail when using rebar.

                        By the way, when using flat TOMY style rail, is it necessary to glue the rail in or can you get by with just
                        "locking" it in with the colored wire. Anyone know what the best gauge wire is to "lock" the power rail? Is it 16 gauge (like the rebar) or do you need to go oversize or undersize due to the width of the flat power rail material?

                        Also, how are we doing on finding an economical source for the power rail?


                        • #57

                          I believe Wizzard sells the flat rail at a reasonable price.

                          The other thing I noticed about the water putty. When you take a damp, not wet, cloth over it, it softens up just a bit on the surface. This may help it to keep from chipping out when routing thru it. Just an idea. Make sure the cloth is not dripping wet. MDF just hates water. Then again, it is just pressed paper board and it swells just like your newspaper when it gets wet. Perhaps too much water, let it swell, let it dry, sand it down. Probably only good for minor surface imperfections. I forsee a serious routing practice session coming on.


                          • #58
                            I would use epoxy or fiberglass and microballons if you have to repair anything.

                            Wood putty may work for filling dings, but it will crack if used at seams or come out of anything a power tool hits unless the powertool is a simple low speed drill.


                            • #59

                              Thanks for the advice. I would have raced on that one lane till I wore thru the copper tape. Finished all six lanes. The cars behave more like 1/32 scale without the guide binding up in the corner. The cars get loose, spin out, do 360's and even drive backward down the back stretch. The speed of the cars going thru the turns seems much more realistic. Pictures to come. Right now the construction crews are working on a retaining wall and catch fence. Hope to have some side by side action by Sunday's Daytona 500.


                              • #60
                                FIXING ROUTING MISTAKES with a "DUTCHMAN"

                                One of the guys, McMannix, on the 1/32 scale routed board, came up with the obvious answer to fill a slot in a wooden board, use a strip of wood, not a glom of filler.
                                Widen the bad slot if necessary,cut wood strips up on a table saw out of pine (#2) and tap them into the widened slot.

                                He likes to size the strips so the width is right to slide in with yellow carpenters glue and the height a tick higher than track surface. Tap in with scrap of wood and hammer, let dry and run small block plane or model plane until surfaces match.

                                He says "this requires little or no filler, the paint is enough to fill up the tiny gaps if any. This is great if you want to change a corner or alter a lane. After you add this fill piece ( called a dutchman), fire up the router" and away you go..............