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  #1  
Old 07-16-2017, 06:21 PM
Wood0209 Wood0209 is offline
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Default Anybody have a "how to" for cutting/modifying Carrera track?

I am new to Carrera and decided the best way to quickly collect straight track, lane change sections, wireless controllers, and cars was to purchase a second used set. My problem now is an over abundance of R1/60 curves and would love to save some money to modify some of them to get some R1/30's from them so that I can make some much coveted 90 degree curves!

I have a single set of 6 banked R2/30 curves. But I am having difficulty in making a temporary layout utilizing these because of the R1/60's.

The cutting seems as simple as using a sharp hobby knife and repeatedly going over the same cut, thought not sure if it is best to remove the rails from the curve before cutting the track, or cut the track, and once through the plastic, use a hand saw to cut through the rails.

The other issue is how to make the track pieces connect to the others. Cutting a R1/60 in half to achieve the R1/30 will leave me with one factory finish side and one cut side. The cut side will be missing the male/female plastic connectors and the spots for the red tabs to be inserted. The other issue is the rails themselves and how to connect them to other track pieces.

I wonder if the best option is to cut a r1/60 in half to get two R1/30, and then glue one R1/30 piece to an existing R1/60 with JB Weld to connect the plastic, making one solid R1/90. The only issue remaining would be the rail connections.
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2017, 09:22 PM
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I used the cut-n-glue method you described and it worked pretty good. To cut them I used a hack saw (no need to remove the rails) and cleaned up the cut with a file. Also used some popsicle sticks underneath in the epoxy to strengthen and keep the surfaces in line. They have held together nicely for 3 years and multiple layout changes. For electrical continuity, two of the four rails have connectors so you just need to steal 2 more from some other track pieces.

Last edited by PWflyr; 07-16-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2017, 11:06 PM
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If you have plenty of 1/60s, you could just make 90s from two of them and use the leftover plastic as scrap to reinforce under joints.

If you have a Dremel, use the fiber cutoff wheels (409) to cut the rails, then use a knife or saw to cut the plastic. That will minimize dulling of regular blades on the rails.

The plastic is styrene, so anything you'd use to glue a standard model kit will work.

You can sand joints smooth and level them with spackle, then paint the spackle with a Sharpie.

To be sure of good electrical connections, just run connecting wires underneath across the joint.
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:45 PM
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Soldering can be very difficult because the rails are some sort of stainless steal.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:03 AM
Wood0209 Wood0209 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PWflyr View Post
I used the cut-n-glue method you described and it worked pretty good. To cut them I used a hack saw (no need to remove the rails) and cleaned up the cut with a file. Also used some popsicle sticks underneath in the epoxy to strengthen and keep the surfaces in line. They have held together nicely for 3 years and multiple layout changes. For electrical continuity, two of the four rails have connectors so you just need to steal 2 more from some other track pieces.
I do have 6 or so "older" regular straights that I found are a tad different than the straights that came with my two sets. These may make good donors for the pins as these older straights (I bought used from a guy local to me) have 4 plastic tabs that insert into the adjoining track piece, leaving only 1 space for a red track clip rather than the standard 2 clips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguy01 View Post
If you have plenty of 1/60s, you could just make 90s from two of them and use the leftover plastic as scrap to reinforce under joints.

If you have a Dremel, use the fiber cutoff wheels (409) to cut the rails, then use a knife or saw to cut the plastic. That will minimize dulling of regular blades on the rails.

The plastic is styrene, so anything you'd use to glue a standard model kit will work.

You can sand joints smooth and level them with spackle, then paint the spackle with a Sharpie.

To be sure of good electrical connections, just run connecting wires underneath across the joint.
I am hoping to avoid having any wasted materials, so that a single R1/60 can be cut in half to create two R1/30's. By using a few straights as donors for the rail connections, I should be able to make up to 12 R1/30's. This will reduce my R1/60 count from 24 to 18.

It crossed my mind last night after posting that I may have a dremel attachment that could cut the rails. I think I would use a blade to cut the track to ensure I got a true straight line by being able to run it along a straight edge clamped in place.

I don't have the means for soldering though (lack of tools or experience doing so).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVD3500 View Post
Soldering can be very difficult because the rails are some sort of stainless steal.
I had read that in one thread discussing cutting, but in the same thread another person mentioned there was no such coating.

All these tips are greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:05 AM
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You don't need solder to connect jumper wires in Carrera track. You can just stuff the bare ends of the wire into the holes in the underside of the rail, then duct tape or hot glue to hold it in place.

The ideal wire is probably 14 or 16 ga stranded. Bare about two inches at the end, fray the wire, and stuff the bare wire inside the rail.

You can probably improvise with whatever wire you have handy, but it's important to make lots of contact inside the rail, because you're depending on pressure to make the connection instead of a hard solder joint.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:22 AM
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Would it be useful to just cut 1/60s in half and glue them onto straights like this?




Last edited by thatguy01; 07-17-2017 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:51 AM
Wood0209 Wood0209 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguy01 View Post
You don't need solder to connect jumper wires in Carrera track. You can just stuff the bare ends of the wire into the holes in the underside of the rail, then duct tape or hot glue to hold it in place.

The ideal wire is probably 14 or 16 ga stranded. Bare about two inches at the end, fray the wire, and stuff the bare wire inside the rail.

You can probably improvise with whatever wire you have handy, but it's important to make lots of contact inside the rail, because you're depending on pressure to make the connection instead of a hard solder joint.


I was thinking standard Carrera jumpers, but they are likely too long for this purpose, and then leads to the question, why not spend that money on the desired curves. I'll likely use the ends for the potential donor straights I have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by thatguy01 View Post
Would it be useful to just cut 1/60s in half and glue them onto straights like this?







I'd like to do it in a way which I am not limiting myself in the future as to how to use a particular track piece. Doing the above would limit me in using the straight for a left hand curve (coming down the straight into the corner). If I join the cut piece to an existing R1/60 I'll still be able to choose which way I want the curve to be used for.


I'll take a closer look at the pieces to see if I can spot any potential issues before proceeding. My only other concern is messing up the cut in such a way that I don't get a true R1/30 curve out of it, thus creating alignment issues when putting the track together.


I really wish Carrera would create sets with a mix of curves.
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:11 PM
edmagner edmagner is offline
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I've made several custom length straights to make layouts work

I make the cuts on a radial arm saw with a multi purpose blade right through the track and rails.

I found these 9/64" dia x 1 1/2" zinc plated roll pins from McMaster-Carr that work well for rail connections on track pieces I've cut. I've also used them to replace rail tabs I've removed when playing with AKS detection zones. There is some tolerance on the inside of the rails - if one end is loose I will open up the roll pin in a vise

The advantage of using the pins is that it helps align the cut piece with the standard piece. I hot glue the cut piece to the standard piece with the existing tabs and the Popsicle stick approach described above



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Old 07-17-2017, 03:06 PM
Wood0209 Wood0209 is offline
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Genius!

I'll have to poke around to see if anything similar is available from a Canadian supplier (our dollar is in the dumps lately and shipping may exceed the cost of the actual pins!)

Since you've done the modifications in the past, would you have any pictures showing the underside of two adjoined pieces?
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  #11  
Old 07-17-2017, 03:48 PM
edmagner edmagner is offline
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Here you go...this section also has the shoulder cut to length. I just use the red clips for alignment then hot glue it all into place...

9/64 is an odd size roll pin - might try Canadian Tire or Tractor Supply Co




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  #12  
Old 07-18-2017, 07:10 AM
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You'll notice Ed also has a large supply of glue sticks on hand also...

Dave
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  #13  
Old 07-18-2017, 01:20 PM
32lbKING 32lbKING is offline
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I have done the same as Ed, but I used the "Carrera track connection sticks" #85208. They are meant to join track sections together side to side to make 4,6,and 8 lane tracks. They are essentially a double ended track tab exactly like the tabs on the tracks, that use the older horse shoe clips. They are made out of the same plastic as the track. I used Gorilla glue superglue. Works great.
Randy
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:00 PM
Wood0209 Wood0209 is offline
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Thanks for the pics Ed, that is certainly helpful! This project will all come down to whether I can find something similar to those pins locally as McMaster-Carr does not ship to Canada unless it is an established business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 32lbKING View Post
I have done the same as Ed, but I used the "Carrera track connection sticks" #85208. They are meant to join track sections together side to side to make 4,6,and 8 lane tracks. They are essentially a double ended track tab exactly like the tabs on the tracks, that use the older horse shoe clips. They are made out of the same plastic as the track. I used Gorilla glue superglue. Works great.
Randy
What did you use for connecting the rails?

Last edited by Wood0209; 07-18-2017 at 07:10 PM.
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  #15  
Old 07-19-2017, 11:57 AM
32lbKING 32lbKING is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wood0209 View Post
What did you use for connecting the rails?
I just used the rail connectors out of a spare piece of track.
Randy
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