One thing I really wish I had done differently......

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Re: One thing I really wish I had done differently......

Postby 4380r » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:54 am

First thing, is clarity about how you want to use your track. If you are going to do any kind of semi serious or serious club racing, you'll design differently than if you're running laps alone, or with one or two others. And of course there are different considerations for digital and analog.

BUT... being fortunate enough to be a part of a club that routinely races on up to 7 different mdf routed layouts in our homes, and with the club having started out with plastic tracks of Strombecker (3 lane), Scalextric (rubber, classic, sport, and 3 lane 1/24 scale), Artin, Revell, Monogram, Carrera, Ninco, and even Eldon, we've seen a lot of layouts that seemed like good ideas when laying out, but not so good in execution and use.

I try to plan for:
1. Sight lines. Do the drivers have the clearest possible sight lines for the whole layout, even with turn marshals in place?
2. Blind spots. Minimize blind spots. Overpasses automatically create blind spots, but having them at the beginning or end of a straight...close to the incoming or exiting corners, creates blind spots that are more problematic.
3. Ease of marshaling. Are there places that are so hard to get to that they will either require a track call frequently and/or create a serious obstruction to cars when the marshal has to lean in to tend to a de-slotted car?
4. Number of lanes and complexity of course. This actually equates to the number of people totaled needed for a full grid and enough marshals for a well run race. We recently raced on a massive 6 lane Ninco plastic layout in a hobby shop. The layout was so big, and it was so complex with far too many turns that to minimally marshal the course, you needed 6 guys. Add to that 6 on the grid, and a minimally enjoyable race required a minimum of 12 people. How often can you count on getting that many guys out to race? AND, when you do get that many, how often do some of the guys need to leave early?
The 'number of lanes' issues is nicely offset if you go digital.
5. Overall space usage. If you're going to do real racing with guys rotating through the lanes, ideally leave enough room around the layout for guys to move in and out of marshaling positions when it's their turn to race, or to get out of the way when drivers are moving their cars to another lane. It's also important to plan for some basic pit space.

I look at some of Dave Beattie's masterpieces and wish I had the cash and space to commission him to create something for me. BUT I also know that many of them wouldn't be so great for racing, because they have a lot of serious turns in the middle of the course, nearly impossible to get to when just running casual laps, let alone marshals getting to cars quickly, and without obstructing other cars, in the heat of real racing.
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Re: One thing I really wish I had done differently......

Postby mattb » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:54 pm

Some guys have used 1/2 inch wide tape for each conductor. Then taped the center of the slot with 1/2 inch tape which leaves a bit under 1/4 inch of each conductor not painted, while the outside 1/4 is painted and helps the adhesion to the track surface. You can tape off your conductor and paint away.
Last edited by mattb on Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
pix of a few...old slot cars and tracks
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Re: One thing I really wish I had done differently......

Postby downtowndeco » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:50 pm

Glad to see this thread has new legs! : )

I'm a "flow" guy. Tricky, technical bits that have "jerky" direction changes are not only unrealistic, but are often the cause of irritating, hard to avoid de-slots.
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