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Experiments with Non-Magnetic Rail and/or Braid

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  • Experiments with Non-Magnetic Rail and/or Braid

    Hi Guys,
    A few years back I routed a small oval with three lanes on a 2x4 piece of MDF. Once lane was copper tape, one lane was magnetic braid and the other non-magnetic braid. I just wanted to experiment with all three.

    Without getting into the advantages and disadvantages of each lane, or needed changes to the hard pickups, the one thing I noticed was magnet cars such as Tyco and Lifelike need magnetic down force to pull the front tires down to the track. Without it the pickup springs are strong enough to prevent the front end from coming all the way down.

    I think I would like the idea of having non-magnetic rail so cars such as Tyco and Lifelike can be driven without the aid of magnets. However, if the pickup springs don't compress enough by virtue of the car's weight alone, then softer springs are needed.

    Has anyone done any experimenting with non-magnetic rail?


  • #2
    I don't have access to a track with non-magnetic rails, but I know there are softer pickup springs at least for Tyco and Tomy cars. You'll still need to add weight as those chassis are too light to be any fun.


    • #3
      HOCOC has raced on a number of non-magnetic braided tracks, those were built by Ed Bianchi. One of those tracks is a banked oval that we use on a regular basis and there is another banked oval coming online soon. I have never run on an HO track with copper tape. When cars with metal guide pins de-slot they would be likely to eventually chew through copper tape. I don't recall running on a routed track with magnetic braid, but Ed used to build them. I understand that Magnabraid is no longer being made, but there may be a European supplier of something similar. My experience with 1/32nd scale tracks that have magnetic braid is that you will get about 70% of the downforce that you would get with steel rails.
      At least on a banked track you do not have to worry about using softer shoe springs. I have only raced on a braided road course one time and that was with gravity cars that have no magnetic downforce. On the braided oval some people like to use cars with brass wheels or a little added front weight, I have won a lot of races without those.
      On any sort of braid adjusting the pickup shoes to ride flat is more critical than it is on a railed track. If the shoes do not ride flat or do not have enough tension they will burn and the car will slow down.