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Wooden Watkins Glen in Northern VA - Update

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  • Wooden Watkins Glen in Northern VA - Update

    In 2008 after many years of enjoyable T-Jet racing my AFX plastic track was disassembled. During the intervening years I was drawn to the prototypical detail and realism of 1:32 scale racing. I like the design flexibility offered by routed wooden tracks, and not being restricted the turn radius and racing line of plastic track. I’ve always enjoyed attending the annual Fall Vintage weekend at Watkins Glenn, NY; great track and town. In 2011 I started on a quest to recreate the 3.4 miles Watkins Glen in the available real estate in my basement. I was able obtained survey drawings of Watkins Glen track from the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen. The first challenge was to convert the surveying annotations and terms to something I could draw on MDF. I developed an Excel worksheet to convert the full size track to a scale that would fit in my available space. I had to learn about survey Stations, Bearings, Deltas, PT (point of tangent), POC (point of curve), and PCC (point of compound curve), etc. Finally after many years of thinking about actually constructing a routed track, I took the Excel worksheet and starting cutting some MDF. Here are some pictures of the cut MDF temporarily positioned on the bench work. The final track will use scaled down elevations taken from the actual survey drawings. Only one joint has been completed and none of the supporting joists are in their final position. All MDF cuts were made using the actual scaled down radius taken from the track survey. I’m encouraged thus far but much to do before actually running laps.

    [IMG]WP_20161227_001 by 73emgee, on Flickr[/IMG]

    The "Boot"

    [IMG]WP_20161227_004 by 73emgee, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Last edited by 73emgee; 09-14-2018, 07:29 AM.

  • #2
    Looks like you're off to a great start. I'm looking forward to watching this build.
    Where are you located?


    • #3
      Northern VA., 45mins. NW of DC


      • #4
        Cool. I used to live in Alexandria, when I was stationed in DC. That was almost 15 years ago. You're probably about 8 hours from Winston-Salem, but you never know, maybe one day we can get together for a race.
        Merry Christmas,


        • #5
          Very cool project! I look forward to seeing your process. The Glen is a favorite or mien as well.


          • #6
            My favorite track. My favorite race. I'm inside the Beltway and have often thought of doing the same thing, with a sprinkling of Lime Rock thrown in.


            • #7
              Love the Glen as well! Your track looks like its going to be really good and a challenge. Sacesta said 8 hours, but we live almost next door and I say less than 6! Hope we can make the trip up one day.


              • #8
                Originally posted by modernslots View Post
                Love the Glen as well! Your track looks like its going to be really good and a challenge. Sacesta said 8 hours, but we live almost next door and I say less than 6! Hope we can make the trip up one day.
                I've been to the Winston-Salem area for the annual International Custom Rod Building Expo, easy day trip. Hope to race with you someday.
                Last edited by 73emgee; 08-04-2017, 08:06 AM.


                • #9
                  Also like the real course - been there many times. Looks like you have done a good job of replication. Great to see that you did NOT put a "bus-stop" along the back straight.



                  • #10
                    Originally posted by modernslots View Post
                    Love the Glen as well! Your track looks like its going to be really good and a challenge. Sacesta said 8 hours, but we live almost next door and I say less than 6! Hope we can make the trip up one day.
                    That must have something to do with all the lead tape that's found it's way to the sole of your right shoe.

                    I have to be careful, you know. I'm still paying bloated insurance premiums for that last ticket I got!


                    • #11
                      I may have lead under my foot, but google says we can get to New York city in 8 hours and 41 minutes, so I think we can get to NW Va in less than 8


                      • #12
                        After a long delay from Summer projects and finding an error in my worksheet used to scale down the dimensions from the full size survey drawings I'm ready to start routing. The error affected all turns that have compound radii, causing some to the MDF to be re-cut.

                        Setting up the flexible fence to locate the center slot for routing. Once cut the center slot will be used to with a 1/8" width fence to locate the inner and outer slots.

                        WP_20170731_008 by 73emgee, on Flickr

                        I mounted a turned down pencil in the router to mark the slot this allowed me to visualize all the slot locations and make any adjustments before committing to routing.

                        WP_20170731_007 by 73emgee, on Flickr
                        WP_20170731_010 by 73emgee, on Flickr

                        As you can see it took several tries to find a raceline that I was satisfied with and would fit the track width.

                        WP_20170801_019 by 73emgee, on Flickr

                        Some of the track joint screws had to be relocated because of the raceline.

                        WP_20170801_001 by 73emgee, on Flickr

                        Routing the center slot, I will continue around the track routing 8' at a time (length of fence) until I have a continuous slot, then I can start the inner and outer lanes.

                        WP_20170801_014 by 73emgee, on Flickr
                        Last edited by 73emgee; 08-04-2017, 09:09 AM.


                        • #13
                          It is Glen weekend.

                          I would suggest putting nails in every hole on the strip. Otherwise the pressure you put on router will bend the strip and screw up your slot.


                          • #14
                            Your absolutely correct about using the nail in every hole, I used a nail in every other hole only when marking the lane location, when I actually started routing I used a nail in every hole as shown in the last pic.

                            Its a Glen weekend and the only time I actually watch a NASCAR race.


                            • #15
                              Wooden Watkins Glen in Northern VA - Update

                              It's been a while since i've updated the Watkins Glen build. All routing, painting and wiring has been completed. I'm now starting to work on the scenery and perimeter fencing. I always knew that being able to replicate the miles of blue Armco railing used at the Glen would be a critical component of the build. Because of the quantity of Armco needed, I decided to attempt making my own railing. The first step would be to make a set of dies for my small bead roller. This became a time consuming trial and error process trying to get the correct spacing and depth on the dies to create a believable Armco railing profile. After several failed attempts I was able to get a somewhat close representation shown below. This was going to be a very slow process, and the resulting rail was too rigid to conform to the undulating track elevations without kinking. I reluctantly abandon this approach.

                              IMG_20180316_125234 - Copy by 73emgee
                              IMG_20180316_125824 - Copy by 73emgee

                              My second attempt was to find wire that had a reasonable profile of Armco railing. I eventually settled on UF-B outdoor cable. The 14 gage size gives a likeness to scale Armco railing. This cable is formable, but will hold its shape well. It will easily conform to track elevation changes with long runs of railing. This photo shows a 55" section of the UF-B cable cut for the first rail on this section of scenery, wood Armco posts that have been pre-drilled to fit the pop-rivets, and gluing jigs made on my small CNC mill to facilitate gluing the cable to the posts and to maintain proper spacing. The yellow caps in the photo are to protect myself from being stabbed by the pop-rivet nails.
                              IMG_20180809_125411 - Copy by 73emgee
                              IMG_20180809_125555 - Copy by 73emgee

                              Joint posts that will be used to join Armco sections.
                              IMG_20180809_130238 - Copy by 73emgee

                              Installing the first rail using the gluing jigs. The jig is clamped to the post after applying a small dab of CA gel glue to the face of the post.
                              IMG_20180809_132950 - Copy by 73emgee

                              First rail completed.
                              IMG_20180809_185752 - Copy by 73emgee

                              Second rail being clamped and glued.
                              IMG_20180809_191158 - Copy by 73emgee
                              IMG_20180810_101103 by 73emgee

                              Third rail.
                              IMG_20180810_102856 by 73emgee

                              Removing and painting the completed section on some scrap MDF. This first section of three rail fencing is 55" long. I could easily construct, remove, paint, and reinstall this length. Longer runs should be no problem. I wanted to be able to remove the fencing section as one piece so as not to get paint on the static grass.
                              IMG_20180810_122302 by 73emgee

                              Reinstalling the painted section.
                              IMG_20180810_172331 by 73emgee

                              Installing the catch fence posts. These are made from 1/8" steel rod formed with a wire bender.
                              IMG_20180808_162319 by 73emgee

                              Installing the painted plastic mesh with wire retainers, these will be trimmed later.
                              IMG_20180811_081402 by 73emgee

                              Catch fence completed.
                              IMG_20180811_133634 by 73emgee

                              Glamor Shot - 1964 E-Type Jag Lightweight Competition Coupe at the Glen on Turn 1, "The Ninety", with Armco and catch fencing in background.
                              IMG_20180811_101949 by 73emgee
                              Last edited by 73emgee; 09-14-2018, 06:39 AM.