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  • Planning and constructing a routed digital track

    Hi Guys,
    Im just starting a new thread specifically aimed at sharing tips on how to plan and construct a routed digital track. Subjects covered will be design, routing tips, applying braid, designing and installing lane change flippers, installing solenoids, wiring, electronics, and CAD drawing,
    At this point I should state it is no secret I have developed and am soon to market the Scorpius wireless digital system and that these electronic items will be used from time to time constructing sample tracks etc in this thread. However Hornby SSD, Ninco N-Digital, Carrera 132 and even SCXD can have their components adapted to a routed timber track. oXigen by Slot.it also have a wireless digital system planned. Then there is Artin digital.
    So come on show us your project, how you do things, what system you are using, or propose to use?, lots of pics please.

    Heres a typical project by Camber in Australia.

















    Camber has a CAD program and own CNC machine so I will invite him to update us on progress.

    But you can draw it directly onto a sheet of MDF and route it at home in your garage in the traditional methods of course.

    Stay tuned for some more talk on designing and constructing your own routed digital track.
    Oh and analog guys please feel free to chime in, a routed track is a routed track, the only difference with digital is flipper placement and electronics.


    Cheers

    Rick
    Last edited by injectorman; 01-01-2010, 03:38 AM. Reason: resizing photos

  • #2
    Rick, great idea! I'd like to start the questions with what CAD program are you using for you layout? I really like that you can see it in 3-D mode and also add texture for grass, curbs, retaining walls, etc. That gives a much better idea of what the finished track will actually look like, and, I suspect, also gives you a CAD file that could be used for CNC routing.

    Sorry if I've asked before Camber, but in self defense, my memory stinks!

    OK, got off my lazy butt and found that I had asked before, he used Solidworks!
    Last edited by Zoom Beedo; 01-01-2010, 07:22 AM. Reason: Oops! Guess I should have asked Camber that one. Asked and answered.

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    • #3
      No problem Zoom
      Actually you need to export the solid model outline in another file format, .dxf being probably the most common, so a CAM program can be used.

      Nice topic Rick, I look forward to seeing what people will input, especially those guys doing digital routed without CNC. Any templates or ideas for manually routing the flipper areas will be very useful. This will bring out some high class routing skills i'm sure.

      For those who may be interested in the CAD & CAM side of things I can provide some basic information about the process. CAD being the drawing and CAM being the program to actually manfacture the part.

      You can CAD draw a track in 2D (no real need for a 3D model) and as long as it can be saved in a format that CAM software can read (most CAM programs also have CAD capabilities). The .dxf files are autocad based, though many CAD & CAM packages are able to read them as they are a common way of sharing drawings between programs. The CAM software can then be used to generate toolpaths on these drawing outlines to cut the track. Once the CAM software has generated all the necessary toolpaths, it is usually post processed (by the CAM program) into machine code so the CNC machine can read what needs to be done. Their are several different types of post processing code depending on the CNC machines operating system. Then its hit the green button and watch the wood chips fly

      As for an update on my track, I'm keener than ever to finish it early in the new year. I'll keep you posted.

      - Cam

      Comment


      • #4
        Ok!!!

        This is a really good idea. I'll try to share. A hits & misses type thing might be nice also, kinda what works and what doesn't.

        Comment


        • #5
          Looking forward to this, Rick. Going to Stick it for easy reference, there's a lot of interest in the concept.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello Rick... Any progress to report?

            Comment


            • #7
              maybe he got married sold his slot stuff and took up ballroom dancing, we will never no

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              • #8
                Here is a track I created for just such a reason. Geno's Monaco is currently an analog track destined to be digital. Three lanes with the center lane taking the racing line in several spots on the circuit. Geno intends to insert the lane changers at appropriate spots for the chance to overtake. The starting grid currently can launch 11 cars simultaneously.



                Comment


                • #9
                  LANE CHANGER UNIT

                  Hi Guys,
                  Sorry......I've been concentrating on the electronics side of things
                  This is actually lifted from another thread but thought it just as relevant here, so here it is.

                  Theres plenty of threads on routing so we will skip ahead to the tricky bit, the lane changer. We will revisit routing, braiding and painting soon.

                  So heres a prototype to play around with.

                  A continuous thread brass rod is cut up into 32mm (1 1/4") lengths. Ive used 1/4" rod but Im thinking 3/16" would be better.

                  9mm (In the USA use 3/8"?) MDF is cut into 200, 300, 400 etc x 60mm (2 1/2") rectangles (As the Peco base plate is 50mm (2") wide). A 7mm (9/32") hole is drilled into the pivot point of the MDF base plate. Some 6.35mm ID brass tubing (1/4") is cut into 9mm lengths and pressed into the hole. Ideally its a friction fit. This makes it durable and ensures sideplay is kept to a minimum for years.

                  The flipper is CNC machined from 6.35mm (1/4") plate aluminium. A 5.0mm hole (7/32") is drilled 5.0 mm into the pivot point from the underside allowing 1 mm minimum material. A 1/4" (or 3/16" if thats the rod dia. your using) tap is used to cut a thread into the hole. You could make your own flippers at home with a bit of elbow grease.

                  The height of the flipper (important) can be set using a 1/4" nut and washer. From the underside the flipper is locked into place by double nutting the brass rod. A washer is also used. Simply wind the nut down to raise the flipper.

                  The liven flipper wire from the lane changer electronics has its insulation stripped say 7mm and solder tinned. The wire is then placed between the double nutting of the brass rod.

                  The hole for the Peco turnout rod is drilled, say 8mm diameter. The turnout then needs its 2 middle legs nipped off and the 2 legs either end bent at 90 degrees outwards. These create 4 glue points.

                  The rod of the Peco PL10-E turnout motor is cut to length. This helps to support the flipper so its height must be accuarate. This can be done by cutting a fraction longer than needed then nipping off 1mm increments until its just right. The Peco turnout is attached to the MDF using 4 tiny amounts of 5 minute epoxy. The 4 solenoid wires from the Lane Brain are soldered onto the turnout motor.
                  Here the flipper has its height set to suit 12mm MDF track.













                  The flipper opening is full thickness of the MDF.




                  The assembly is fixed into place using 2 screws.



                  Once is flipper opening is cut out the assembly fits in less than a minute.

                  I might reduce the pivot rod to 3/16" on the next version and see how that goes.

                  Camber has also designed a flipper assembly with a slightly different approach which I hope he will share with us.



                  Rick
                  Last edited by injectorman; 09-09-2010, 01:49 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Trying to revive this thread, as I am getting to the point where I have to look into the lane switches, and how I router the lanes together.
                    How are you guys dealing with the photo LED at the switch. which ones are you using, and how does it all connect together ? I am building a 4 lane track, and am looking at installing at least 10 of these guys, since I want a pit lane also.

                    I am also wondering how many lane changes you guys recommend for a 4 lanes. Do you configure it so that every lane can access every other lane each lane change ? I think that would require 5 lane changers. Here is my current layout

                    http://slotcarillustrated.com/portal...t=60310&page=3

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                    • #11
                      That is totally trick there!!! Cannot wait to see the end results!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Does anyone have a 3D model of the Peco solenoid and know where I can find one?
                        or maybe even some drawings of it with dimensions to create a 3d model from?

                        Thanks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Everyone,

                          Heres a CAD drawing for a 41 metre competition timber track Im planning to start soon.
                          Its modular and will be in 20 sections that quickly fit together. The track is designed to fit in a Transit van or similar.
                          It will be CNC routed, and be fitted out with 1/4" nickel plated copper braid and will be wired purely for digital.
                          It features a 17 pit bays, 16 for cars and one extra for a safety car.





                          For clarity Ive split it into 2 views.....








                          First step is the design of the track. I wanted a slightly curved straight and 4 lanes to be able to fit up to 16 cars comfortably. I also want to get into 1:24 racing soon so I've made the lane spacing 100mm. The (almost) straight is exactly 10 metres long. I also wanted some technical sections.

                          The majority of lane changers will be in sections 5 and 12 with sections 16, 17 and 18 allowing back into the pits from any lane or to be used for general lanechanging.
                          There will be 17 garages going in but no landscaping this time. Track surface will probably be straight paint or paving paint. No Ferrodor this time.
                          The track will have 2 x 42" monitors.

                          Im now drawing up the flippers and flipper bases for machining. Both the track and flippers will be CNC machined.

                          Rick

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It all starts with a design. And thats not just racing lines but the entire concept.
                            For me I start with the room design and doorways. I imagine how the race will be run, where people will stand and where the marshalling points are. This dictates the overall design. For example "L" shaped tracks in corners of rooms do not work as the view is blocked everytime that far corner is marshalled. The track should be accessible from at least 3 sides and preferably all the way around. Run off areas and landscaping, pit lanes and garages are also important. Are those garages going to block any ones view or slow down marshalling?

                            Next is how to draw? In situ straight on timber, or designed on paper? Or on PC? Or a combination? How to route? By hand or CNC?

                            All these factors come into the design stage, which is the first stage. Get this wrong and you cant really rectify any of these aspects. Theres a learning curve. Dont expect to nail it first time out.

                            If I get time Ill try to get some tutorials up and running. Download a drawing program from somewhere and start drawing. Im using Google sketchup, a freebie, but if you want to export to DWG or DXF files for CNC machining you need to pay for the Pro package. Hand drawing is also good.

                            Originally posted by newimaging View Post
                            Trying to revive this thread, as I am getting to the point where I have to look into the lane switches, and how I router the lanes together.
                            How are you guys dealing with the photo LED at the switch. which ones are you using, and how does it all connect together ? I am building a 4 lane track, and am looking at installing at least 10 of these guys, since I want a pit lane also.

                            I am also wondering how many lane changes you guys recommend for a 4 lanes. Do you configure it so that every lane can access every other lane each lane change ? I think that would require 5 lane changers. Here is my current layout

                            http://slotcarillustrated.com/portal...t=60310&page=3
                            Different systems will have different methods. For SSD you need to somehow fit the diode pointing up in the middle of the slot, Carreras is offset to one side like Scorpius, except Scorpius has an LED not a photo diode. Ninco will have dead strips and SCX, well you cant easily construct a SCX digital routed track so thats out.
                            Im using Scorpius. The electronic unit is placed under the track adjacent to the switch. Wires from the unit called the "Lane Brain" connect to a)Solenoids b) Live flipper c)Power supply d)Track surface LEDs. Wires are connected. The flipper assembly is detailed in an earlier post.


                            More soon.

                            Rick
                            Last edited by injectorman; 09-28-2012, 01:41 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Hi Guys,
                              Next step is tidy up curves, seperate draw layers to define each CNC tool process.
                              Red for example, cut on outside of line, right through. Cyan is the flipper pockets, that will be a 1/8" slot 8 mm deep. Light green is the slot for the garages to fit into, 1/8" 5 mm deep. Magenta is where the braids disappears under the crossover and will be a slot around 3/32" dia.









                              These are the stands, adjustable for any height or banking desired.
                              Next step, seperate all the boards, one board per drawing. 20 boards for the track and another 18 for supports, garages walls and roof, etc.
                              This baby will need 400 m non ferric 1/4" tin plated braid, on its way. Once the drawings are seperated its off to the machine shop.
                              It will also be digital only so wiring lanes will be a breeze.
                              Last edited by injectorman; 11-03-2012, 02:58 PM.

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