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"Rainier Raceways" (SSD) From Conception Through to Today

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  • "Rainier Raceways" (SSD) From Conception Through to Today

    Heya peeps.
    I've been working on getting my Scalextric Sport Digital track up and running lately, hoping to have an open race day soon. I'm not there yet, but I figured I'd let you all in on my progress here on SCI.
    I've been having a hard time coming up with a name, but after many ideas and suggestions, I think I'm leaning toward Rainier Raceways. So, I'm using that here, so we'll see how that feels after a while.

    Earlier, I'd been working hard cleaning up, cleaning out, and rearranging my garage to make room for a slot car track. It got to the point that I had room to build one of my planned two table set up, which I could then use for storage to make more room. Yes, lots of stuff that can't possibly be gotten rid of in there. ;-)

    Once we got one table together, we painted it and put it to one side. As you can see, we couldn't resist putting a simple track on it, even though another table was going to be built soon.

    And here's a better view of the little 4x8 track.

    Still a pretty meager car collection, but part of the fun of the hobby is adding to it.

    The second table came together, and I recently had time to paint it and move all the garden tools so that it could be put against the wall to allow passage around all the other sides. Also took the opportunity to add a small shelf system for cars.

    At this point in time, this was the layout. Clearly, this is designed to maximize the track length in the given space. It came down later...

    As you can see, there are no walls or anything to catch errant cars. I plan to add the walls soon, turning the whole thing into a typical flat slot track "dish" for a while. I've added a hanging shelf under the track surface to set the PSU and Powerbase on, which I plan to split from the track eventually. Color coded driver stations will also be added.

    Through the kind generosity of our very own cantstopnow, who had switched from 2 to 4 lanes a while ago and had a big box of leftover borders which he passed on to me, I have set up my first full table layout! With the borders we already had, plus the many MANY we got from cantstopnow, almost the entire track is bordered. In fact, the only places it's not bordered are where they just wouldn't fit, and a couple inner borders that aren't really needed. Now we can really start experimenting with no mag racing.

    Here's a shot of the front straight section:

    And the L section before the front straight:

    I might have to change a couple small things because it turns out the layout hangs off about a half inch on one of the curves in the L section, and I want to put up walls to catch deslots that go over the barriers, not to mention something better to hold drivers stations to.

    Speaking of driver stations, since Slot.It controllers with digital carts are rare around here, I'll probably make "portable" power supplies for the drivers stations. Each station will take a standard controller, and have a bit of velcro to hold a small project box with a 9v battery and an appropriate size DC jack for the controller power. I've already tested this theory with a simple 9v battery connector and one of the extra SCP power supply cable thingies that it comes with (the Carrera one, as I don't expect to ever need it):

    It works really well. I don't know how long it will last, but that just means making sure the battery is easy to replace in my little power supply box. It's too bad there's not a SCP digital cart that comes with a battery box right on it, or if it's not a power hog, maybe a little lithium battery right inside the cart.

    The next update...

    Firstly, I took the layout down and decided to put down carpet. This is a common track underlayment for home tracks in the area, and since I expect to change the layout often, I can't really spend much time on landscaping other than small portable sections with no prescribed location. The carpet is a low pile indoor/outdoor carpet with loops so that it won't be fuzzing up and getting into cars. Also, it's common to put cars on their side if they have to be put on the carpet (such as for crash and burn racing like the analog guys run). It's also a great sound dampener. I was happily satisfied by the quietness of the new track that I have down now. It's nice when things do what you expect them to do. I was going to just staple the carpet to the table, but the MDF is so dense that the staples didn't like to go very deep. As such they showed through the top of the carpet, and would look like junk if I did it that way. I also couldn't fold the carpet over the edge as I planned to have walls flush mounted at some point. So, I ended up getting carpet cement and glued the whole thing down, then trimmed off the excess. Here are a couple shots of it.

    After I got the carpet down, I spent some time getting an old computer set up for the RMS computer. It took some time, but I got XP home installed on an old machine, got all the updates for it, the latest SSD Console, and since it had a wifi card in it I set it up on the network to play music from my MP3 archives. I also spent some time making sure all the parts worked properly when connected to the computer, specifically the Lap Tower and Pit Pro. It took me a little while to realize I had the Lap Tower connected wrong. I was about to post about it, but then I figured it out and was happy again. After that I had to find a good place under the table for the computer, as well as get power and VGA cable to the monitor which was set up on some shelves for visibility. It's a bit of a mess of wires under the table at the moment, but once I get walls up and drivers stations, I'll spend time running all the wires through guides to keep them out of the way.

    So, time to lay down some track! My son and I had both spent some time fiddling with track designs to fit the table, currently sticking with flat designs. With a few options in hand, my son chose this one from the pile:

    And this is how it looks all set up:

    Apparently, things have progressed enough for the Homies to make a visit and spectate a little:

    I cobbled together a simple holder for the Lap Tower. FlyingLizard graciously donated the old Scaley Event tower (no building) for me to use as I please. As you can see I followed Riko's lead and carved out a space for the Lap Tower to peek through. A little hot glue to hold it in, and then some more to hold that piece to some scrap foamcore and bam!

    I do plan to make a proper building for it to stand upon, but I might also ditch the event board all together.

    This is the pit area. As you can see, I had so much extra track that I just set it all down there to put unused cars on. So much parking there that I wonder if it's not pits at all, but a parking lot!

    Next update will hopefully include protective walls around the table, drivers stations, hidden wiring, and a powerbase split from the track. One step at a time, though. See you then!
    Last edited by MrFlippant; 06-13-2010, 03:44 PM. Reason: title modification

  • #2
    looking good


    • #3
      I like what you've done there, Greg! Plus, I think Rainier Raceway is an excellent name.


      • #4
        Thanks, guys!
        I did a little googling for "Rainier Raceways" and didn't find any others. There is a "Rainier Raceway" which is an HO scale track in Yelm. I don't want to step on his toes or anything, so be sure to remember the s at the end of my track name. ;-) Or I could change it to Rainier Digital Raceways?


        • #5
          Looks good what your doin'
          I like how the track "grew" in the corner of the garage, and now it has a name and identity
          Looks like youll have some fun
          Also like your sampler plater of cars,nice mix.


          • #6
            Well as it turns out, I DO have another update before the big track update. Honestly, I would have touted this one earlier, but I kind of hit some tough parts and procrastinated a bunch. It might have kept on being unfinished for a while, but... Being the day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas decorations have moved in. "I decided" that it would be a good idea for me to finally finish this project so that the dining room table could be cleaned off and used again, you know... for eating on. ;-) So, I spent most of the second half of the day working on this until it was finished. I had the bottom half done weeks ago. It was the top half that was hard to get done for some reason.

            No, it's nothing new to a lot of you, I know. But it's new to my track. Also, I'm quite proud of it and so I'm showing it off. Basically, after looking around at all the examples, as well as real world lap towers, even going personally to Pacific Raceways which happens to be in my town to see what they had (I couldn't even FIND a lap tower to speak of), I settled on the Dunlop Tower from Rather, I fell in love with it. It was perfect in all the ways that stroked me the right way. I won't go into the issues I had turning the paper model into something that could hold the Lap Tower (unless someone else tries and wants to know how I did it ;-), but here are 3 photos of it.

            Hope you enjoyed the view!

            PS, the old Event Board piece is up for grabs in case someone has a LapTower they need to put inside something. Lap Tower not included. ;-)


            • #7
              Nice bit of modeling there !
              Got more in mind?


              • #8
                Thanks, 2fer! Yeah, I'll probably make some small things to place around the track. There are some great snack shacks on that could do with some building. I also want to do something for my pits, but my next track won't have room for actual pit garages, so I'm thinking of doing something like the Fly pit walls/booth things.


                • #9
                  Showing off SSD, and as a result my track as well:


                  • #10
                    Oops! I forgot to post this update.
                    I changed the track a couple months ago to this layout:
                    I wanted to get even more lane length on the table. I did. What I also did was make it more boring and with less flow.

                    I still want to get as much lane length as possible, but I want more flow. I've been tinkering in TrackPower for a while, and came up with the following plan:

                    That's the track I plan to build in the next few weeks. The previous one has already come down, and I'm finally forcing myself to finish the table with driver stations and walls and such. I've set a deadline because I'm having the PSSRA guys over between analog series' to have a go on my track so they can know what I'm always talking about. ;-) Pics of the build and video of the event will be posted here.


                    • #11
                      I think you've nailed it with this last design. I personally don't like the tight corners and removed them from my latest design, but for your space I think its a must. Is it still going to be non-permanent with no elevations? I'm jealous of your progress, I just finished the first of 3 4X8 tables for my new layout, going through race withdrawal...


                      • #12
                        I like tight corners for actual driving, but I don't like how they slow down pace cars. I'll have to make sure my continuity is flawless so that my pace cars don't lose too much power at low speeds, which they'll need to run at to navigate those R1 turns. Of course, there's no telling until the layout is actually up and running.
                        Still non-permanent, but more long term than previous ones, since I'm going to drop all wiring through the table. My next one will probably have a simple overpass, like my own version of the Carrera or SCXD extended bridge/overpass pieces. The hard part is getting something like that onto such a small table without wasting bunches of space.
                        I wish I had more room. Maybe someday.


                        • #13
                          Nice work!!


                          • #14
                            Well, I've been working on my table and layout in preparation for having the PSSRA guys over for some digital racing. I've got a few more pictures for you and I'll describe each one. These are all clickable thumbnails that link to the full size image if you need to see more detail.

                            This image shows all the parts laid out for a driver station. Each station will have a stock controller with a hole to rest it in, a switchable powered slot to run a car for tire cleaning/sanding or running a motor in or warming it up or whatever, a connection panel with controller jack and DC power jack for controllers, and a cable pass through for the controller cable.

                            This is the station assembled, sanded, and ready for paint.

                            This is the station painted and "staged" as if it were installed, showing the controller as it would be plugged in.

                            This shows all 6 color coded stations. I put a matching car on each one to give you a sense of scale. Those are my magless "Super Resistant Super Cars" IROC set.

                            Here we have my catch fence/walls in the process of going up. As you can see, the table is full of other stuff still. It won't be long before it's cleaned up, though...

                            This is the scariest thing, though. To have the layout the way I want, I had to split the powerbase from the track piece. With analog, it's only a few wires. With digital, I've got 8 data wires in addition to two heavy power wires.

                            Fortunately, everything went well. I took my time and was very careful, and it powered up and worked right off the bat.

                            And here we are right now... the track has been laid. I drilled holes through the table for a variety of things. I need to pick up more borders, though. That'll be today.

                            Still lots more work to do. Next post will be a photo montage of the finished track and table.


                            • #15
                              Beautiful work Greg!