Routed Track Build Two

Routed Track Build Two

  • Track Construction Series
    After 3 1/2 years and many many laps on Oakland Raceway, I decided it is time to build again. So the new track build will be chronicled through the newsletter over maybe three months. I am leaning the way of many of Luf's tracks, ones like the White Lake F1 Ring, and the constructions of Farley Slotmods as "interesting" tracks.

    I am also dispensing with 100mm lane spacings, for 90mm; preferring to optimise the appearance and the racing flow and lines, while fitting a 4 lane track into a space most would consider only able to fit a 3 laner.
    One tight "monaco" hairpin is no passing on adjacent lanes, but lanes one apart will pass okay.

    Other turns have varying spacing of lanes, which we'll tweak a bit, but the idea is that each lane has to be learnt, and passing spots have to be chosen as some parts are no passing. 
    This is the plan I hand drew.

    I gave this to a professional CAD draftsman, as I am having this track roadway cut in a CNC machine shop.
    He did a great job of interpretation, and I signed off after two revisions of the final version. The "CAD-man" is available for hire, I can provide his details for anyone interested.

    We had made careful enquiries of the CNC shop on a number of technical points. If you come to doing the same process at any time, I can talk you through the issues to resolve up front.
    A couple of weeks later the pieces were delivered as my builder and fellow clubbie Grant and I were at work on the frame....well mostly HE was at work on the frame.
    So at the end of day one of site work, we had the track laid out for size checking on the frame.

    The dimensions are 4,750mm long, 2,260mm wide in the main, and 2,860mm wide at the near end of this shot.
    Then the roadway was packed away, and I began the job of wiring up.

    Day Two
    I wanted good track lighting for effect, and for night racing, and to avoid too much painful scrambling under the track further along in the project; so the entire track has been pre-wired, and everything clipped in place ready for final hookup.
    To do this, I make a plan of where lighting would be placed on the track, decided the location of the PC, and two screens, and the driver stations and overall power control.

    The two centre lanes have their driver stations duplicated at the rear of track, inside the "L", and near the other end, so 4 solo drivers can marshal all corners between them, from their driving stations.
    The black panel at centre will house a DC metre showing current track voltage, which we sometimes change between classes, a track call button to freeze timing and kill power if a car is crashed in an awkward pisition; and a power over-ride butten to enable return of cars to drivers between heats while the timing system has normal track power turned off.

    Each lane-colour coded driver station has the controller hook-up, a pilot light to indicate whether power to the station is currently live, a direction reversing switch, and a spare 11mm cut-out blanked off, in case I ever wish to add any other dial or switch.

    Part Two of the Construction of my new Oakland V2 routed track

    The table is finished, ready to route the rebates tomorrow, finalise elevations and fix it all down ready for painting.

    I wanted to test all the wiring before screwing down the track, as it is so much harder to trace and fix later.

    I had a few dramas with the main control panel. Discovered something I didn't know. - Not all auto 12 volt switches are created equal. Some of them with indicator lights create a dead short while switching on and off. This kept tripping out my power supply. It took an hour of trial and error to figure that out. Had to disconnect the indicator bulbs on 2 switches on the main panel, will replace them with some of another type later.

    The "holes" in the centre will have removable panels of scenery, so I can work on those panels anywhere I want, and reach the middle parts of the track easily with them removed, by standing in "the hole" in the middle.


    The gains are rebated and the roadway is now all glued together. I used a "back-block" system, 20cm wide stips of 12mm MDF running across the width of each join, glued with a polyester glue "Gorilla" for the NZ guys; clamped and screwed down. I started off with a loose join that had 0.1 - 0.2mm uneven surfaces at the join despite my best attempts, but got better after 2 or 3 joins. By the end, they were pretty good, but I went back over each join with the orbital; ran it dead flat, then re-routed the "gain" for the braid across the joint just to make sure that was flat as well.

    Elevations are partly done, waiting for a glue and clamp session to harden off. I only have 6 "D" clamps, so that is a limiting factor on speed. Top of the hill is 330mm above base level. Other end just rises a minimal 55mm just to create a little visual interest.
    The MDF is feeling "somewhat stressed" right now, - it is going to feel a lot more stressed when I attack it with trailer strops and a ratchet later tonight.  12mm MDF has more give than I had expected, after previously only working with 9mm.

    So far I haven't screwed through from the top at all, will try and fix everything from below, so I don't have fill holes to "puff up" later in the paint.
    Also unsure whether to fill the seams at the joints, as paint may not fill, but the joints are smooth and won't disturb the cars, so maybe better left alone rather than have bondi cracking at the joints later.

    Bit concerned about visibility of the two inside lanes far side of hairpin as you come out of the under-pass, but not much I can do now apart from trim the roadway a little. It should improve a bit when the elevations are finished and I correct the camber of the roadway above/in front of that part. "She'll be right"

    After a week of rude interruptions (work), I finally got back to the track and made some visible progress.
    I have fitted the in-fills between roadway sections, and cut most of the barriers which fit on the base level sections of roadway.

    One thing I struggled to find when I was researching, was how to fit barrier walls to raised track areas.
    My solution has been to glue and screw 40 x 20mm section dressed pine under the MDF at regular points.
    The MDF walls can be screwed to that.

    I cut bits roughly to length - excess can be trimmed after fitting with a jigsaw to flush with the edge of the treack roadway. Plenty of stong glue, then clamped in place.

    One layer clamped in place, when they had fixed, I added the ones seen sitting on the roadway.

    I am using one on the flat as a fixing point for the 6mm MDF walls, then another underneath that, protruding further, for the walls to sit on. The protrusion comes out to the "square edges" of where the sheet of MDF began before I cut out the roadway.

    So right now it looks like this.


    PART 3
    The next step has been finishing barrier walls, then laying down silicon gap-filler all over the show. Final light sand, then the undercoat.
    The rough wide yellow stripe is the base for a yellow line to mark the edge of the "roadway"
    The stripe is just rough positioning, the 3mm masking tape to retain a thin 3mm yellow line, will wander around on the current wide stripe to create the illusion of a narrower roadway than the cars will actually use, and more extreme in some corners than the actual slots.
    The idea is effect, and to reduce the dominant appearance of the roadway on the overall table.The roadway is 70% plus of the track surface, but I am attempting to reduce it's apparent proportion to make the track look more alive, and more scenic.
    I'll lay down 3mm masking tape for the line, then start painting chicanes/ripple strips in red and white in some corners.

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    And the grind continues......:rolleyes:

    Laid the 3mm masking tape wandering around track which will eventually define the official edge of the roadway, then masked against it another 3mm gap on the "inside" of selected turns, then painted white, then masked alternately to roughly 10mm and painted red, 2 coats, then sanded back to near level until the "red lines" look a bit worn and are smoother for cars to travel over, then masked off the final area that I want to keep as red and white ripple strips.

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    Drivers station area is finished apart from a little touch up colour and fitting the controller holders.
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    Masked off all the walls which are now top coated white ready for advertising panels.
    Then the big day.... first top coat goes on. I have gone for a darkish grey main roadway.
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    Okay, I confess one of our club members is doing the top coats for me.... I think he wants to ensure he has a decent racing surface to run on :lol:

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    Routed Track Build Series Part 5

    Painting is finished,  Cabot's acrylic (water-based) floor clear, same as I used on my last track. It looks milky in the tin, and when you put it on, but dries clear in about 15 minutes. When hard in about 24 hours, it is a finish hard enough for wooden floors which are walked on every day.
    The finish is very glossy, and promises high grip for silicon tyres and soft rubber, and medium grip for urethanes. Standard Ninco rubber works much better than I expected.

    The light grey "concrete" areas are heavily weathered, with cracks, patches, cut lines for "slabs" etc. They don't show up much in this wider shot, but in actual sight are quite effective, and will intefrated into the scenery when completed.

    Face to face, or should that be, face to track, I am pretty happy with the effect. The roadway also appears less dominating than it would be otherwise given that it takes up 70% of the track surface.

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    Taping and braiding are really pretty easy, you just need to be methodical.

    In these pictures you can see me laying the tape, then pressing down firmly on the backing paper with the handle of a small pair of scissors. You could also use a BIC lighter, or similar smooth, rounded item which won't cut into the backing of the tape.

  • This is vital because the track-tape is a pressure-contact adhesive. If you don't press it hard, - it doesn't stick to the MDF or paint.
    When you DO, it sticks hard enough that if you later lift the braid - the tape rips up the paint and chips of MDF under it.

    I use a combination of angle and pressure to ensure that the tape is laid against the outside edge of the "gains", and about 1mm in from the edge of the main slot.

    Then when laying the braid, I use a similar hand technique. First peeling back a metre or two of the tape backing, then pulling the braid into place, hard against that outside edge of the gain. - Be sure to place the reel of braid onto some cardboard or a soft towel so it doesn't mark the track surface!

    In this first shot I am poking a "tail" of braid into a hole drilled through the track surface, where it will be connected underneath the the power for the lane.
    Note that I have "offest" the two holes left from right, so that underneath it is easier to wire up and avoid shorting out the two sides.

    In this second shot I am drawing it through the one hand into the correct position, and pressing it into place with the thumb or forefinger of the other hand.  After a while you can lay it at a shuffling walk pace, it's really quite easy.

    If it is SLIGHTLY in from the edge, you can hand press it outwards till it makes a snug fit against the Gains. - DON'T lift it to move it unless absolutely neccessary. I use firm finger pressure to press it down as a second step. Some people use a small roller, I prefer the tactile feel of my fingers to ensure it is sitting flush with the main track surface. Slight rises in the braid can usually be pressed down to flush with the track surface with a firm push of the thumb, as the tape is 0.13mm thick and has a bit of give.

    and DONE