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"Pour Yourself a Raceway"

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  • "Pour Yourself a Raceway"

    Back in the October and November 1964 issues of Model Car & Track magazine, there was a series of articles on how to build the "So Cal" raceway, and if memory serves, it did not involve routing. Just laying a rubber or plastic slot strip, and then I guess you poured a resin to form the track surface. My issues of MC&T were sold for a penny per issue after I went off to school, so I can't go back and look at this concept.

    Does anyone know anything about this method? Or have any of y'all tried anything similar for 1/32 scale?

    Ideally, I will rout my track, and do something where the course can be changed to alternate configurations like the old MESSAC club. But if I can avoid having to dig out the old router, I'm not adverse to less messy methods.

    Thanks for any information you might provide!


  • #2
    I think the "slot" was called Flexy Slot. Flexible rubber or plastic that was fixes down to the surface and then the plaster was poured around it.

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    • #3
      Some club tracks were built in the UK in the 60s using FlexiSlot and plaster. Not sure if "So Cal" raceway was built the same way.
      FlexiSlot was a plastic extrusion that produced a good smooth slot. It would only take relatively shallow guides which may be one reason it went out of favor. Obviously they could have made a deeper slot version, but they didn't. Maybe they didn't think there was a big enough market to justify the tooling costs.
      There were a number of ways of building tracks way back then, one of them was routing. Routing pretty much replaced the other methods for newer builds - quite possibly because track builders came to the conclusion it worked best.

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      • #4
        I have those articles. Like Al's Slotracing mentioned what was used for the track surface was plaster and the "slot" was a product called Tru Scale "Tru-Track"; a rail system that had a plastic slot with channels along each side to insert the rail. After looking the article over, I think digging out the router would be about a third of the work and less mess.

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        • #5
          FlexiSlot was just a simple channel shape ( like a U with square corners), no extra channels for rails. The pick ups ran on copper tape layed on the surface, a technique still used for copper tape on modern routed tracks.

          The Tru Scale "Tru-Track" rnd184 describes sounds like a more complicated cross section

          Sounds like there must have been two different products. Who knows, there may even have been more along similar lines?

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          • #6
            &, unless your track will be in a climate-controlled space, any "plaster" track will crack. Different expansion rates of the materials due to moisture & temperature guarantee it. Also, unless the plaster material is colored, any chip or crack will show white & begin to worsen, creating a terrible traction condition, especially w/ the tires of today.
            A $99 trim router & less than a couple hundred bucks can make a real nice track that will stand the test of time. Don't take that long, either.
            "Pouring" a track is not a new or good way to skin a cat.

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            • #7
              You mentioned resin too. The cost of any mix and pour resin would be astronomical. Plaster mixed with a healthy dose of white glue would be more chip resistent but the whole process of pouring the track would be more work-intesive and messy.

              Routing is more easily controlled. You may even be able to borrow a router. Get Luf's track building kit and practice routing on a few pieces of scrap; it's not all that hard to do. THEN, you can do the scenery and painting and figues and wrecked cars....oh, I guess I was getting too far ahead. There are so many guys on SCI that have routed their tracks that you would never run out of places for opinions and advice. Enjoy the process.

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              • #8
                I still have the December 1964 issue of Model Car and Track which included Part III of the article. At the time it looked like a messy and time consuming way to build a track and my opinion has not changed about that over the intervening 49 years.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jackyickx View Post
                  Does anyone know anything about this method? Or have any of y'all tried anything similar for 1/32 scale?
                  I was thinking of doing a hillclimb with a plaster surface laid down on a wood frame, to get a nice reshapeable surface that allows complex three dimensional curves and texturing. Cracks? Yeah, real roads have cracks!
                  Last edited by bkrownd; 06-25-2013, 08:30 AM.

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                  • #10
                    What about pouring it with fiberglass resin?

                    It might be more costly than plaster but I could see a much better and more durable track evolving from it. A gallon goes quite a ways when it is only 3/8 inch thick.

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                    • #11
                      Pouring resin .....problem becomes trying to get it all level on any pours ...I would think.....? Why re-invent the wheel? Routing has worked very well for many years.....

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                      • #12
                        Yeah you're right...just saying if I was going to go to the trouble I think I would try FG...but why do it at all unless you just want to see if you could accomplish the feat? Seems to be a lot of work.

                        PS: The resin would level itself assuming the table and "mold" were level to begin with. The top could be air sanded for more grip.

                        For that matter, a groove could probably be routed into the glass after curing but I suppose a "melting" affect might happen around the bit.

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                        • #13
                          rallyp over on Slotforum is doing(has done) a routerless 3 lane with joint compound.

                          " Sintra International Test Circuit, 3-lane, joint compound, no routing "

                          Lots of work,nice texture though.
                          Anytime I've been involved with joint compound there has been dust (Old House owner)

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                          • #14
                            Slot Mess

                            Originally posted by 2FER SLOTS View Post
                            rallyp over on Slotforum is doing(has done) a routerless 3 lane with joint compound.

                            " Sintra International Test Circuit, 3-lane, joint compound, no routing "

                            Lots of work,nice texture though.
                            Anytime I've been involved with joint compound there has been dust (Old House owner)
                            +1

                            Really Routing is pretty much tried and true and even though is has some draw-backs it's still the easiest and most flexible way to build a nice track. Perseverance and ingenuity can yeild another way and the method RallyP used certainly has some appeal, but it also has some drawbacks

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                            • #15
                              What great help and advice!

                              You all have given me so much great advice and help so quickly.

                              Let me say that this may be the friendliest and most helpful forum I've ever signed up for. And that includes the Disney boards.

                              So, first off y'all saved me $45 to $60 in buying old issues of MC&T for the series. I had no idea they were pouring plaster. That stuff is not a fond memory from back when we used it on windowscreen to make our hills and mountains. That was before I discovered Permascene, and no telling what wonders of landscape there are out there now.

                              So my lesson is to stay away from pouring and non-standard slot methods. I just finished reading the tread of the lovely Nurburgring tribute circuit built by Luf, and it is an inspiration. I am not adverse to routing, and have a router with bits for both HO and 1/32 slots. I lost the use of my left thumb in a spring accident involving a Formula Ford back in my SCCA days, but I'm able to cope. I'm just glad I don't have to rout for braid as well as slots, desiring a non-magnetic track. I can just lay the copper tape.

                              I'm running a fair amount of configurations with Scalextric sport track to get an idea of a good layout. I'm going to feature a La Source turn, and an Eau Rouge section. Maybe other things to include would be a Carrousel tribute and a Station Hairpin from Monaco. I don't want to disturb the flow of a good and fun circuit with too many tribute sections, though. When I built my last scale mile HO circuit I did mimic a lot of famous turns. I know it's silly but my favourite was a hill named "Graham Hill." (from Brands)

                              Okay, so for now, I am going to go back and re read all ya'll's comments again, but with a mindset that routing is the way to go. I really appreciate all the time and effort you have put into helping my terrible memory. At least I remembered the ads in Car Model, MCS and MC&T for the rolled slot material (the Tru-Scale Tru Trak). I do have two issues of MC&T that mom didn't sell--one with a fantastic (for the time) HO circuit with lots of Faller buildings, and one with the MESSAC track.

                              Gosh, now I'm remembering all sorts of silly articles they had, like "fiberglassing a _____" forgot what body. As allergic as I am to cut fiberglass, I'm glad I skipped that one. And then there was one called "Prototyping an Alfa Romeo (Zagato?) in HO scale. I did try that one, but it was so heavy with putty, I got passed by the track cleaner, no doubt.

                              Don't get me started on Mike Crow's "Escape Road" or we'll never get out of this thread.

                              Last edited by jackyickx; 06-25-2013, 11:11 PM.

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