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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to put together a display for our engineering museum that involves modeling highways (maybe an interchange) using slot cars. But I have a major challenge in that we do not have a lot of horizontal space available in our building. So would it be possible to layout a track on a wall? So do any systems have strong enough traction magnets to allow for vertical operation? The goal is obviously not racing but just to show vehicles moving on highways. I really value interactivity in our exhibits, so that's why I am looking into slot cars. Advice is greatly appreciated.

Carlos
 

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I don't know of anyone that has tried that, but any car that has a lot of magnetic downforce should work at low speeds. You could quickly test the concept by attaching some track to a sheet of plywood. There could be an issue when you set the voltage high enough for the cars to go straight up. In that case they might go too fast when they are going straight down and will crash when they get to the next turn. You might have to put tape on the rails to slow the cars a little.
 

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Carlos,

I've heard that some modern magnet cars can operate vertically, but being a pre-traction-magnet guy, I wouldn't know which brands would be best. You might have a bit of difficulty finding highway-style bodies for the strong-magnet cars - most I've seen have racing bodies, but there must be some out there. Again, I'm not the guy to ask.

I'm a bit dubious about the running reliability of a vertically-mounted low-speed (i.e. low voltage) layout, but if you try it, a better solution than tape for slowing the downward cars would be to electrically isolate the downward, upward, and transverse sections and give each a separate voltage control.



But if you're an engineer, I probably didn't need to tell you that.

I think setting the layout at an angle, even a fairly shallow angle, to the wall would help with reliability and damage control while still saving some space. It would also help psychologically to give the viewer more of a sense of real highway setting by providing a semblance of perspective and distance, which seems more natural and relatable than the "satellite viewpoint" a completely vertical track gives.



What sort of interactivity are you hoping for? That the visitors could control a given lane's speed within a very limited range? Controlling working traffic lights that actually stop the cars, perhaps?

- D
 

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My take on the ops request is that the are intending to mount the track vertically on the wall and running them both up and down and left and right in that plane. (or maybe only left and right and not up and down.)

So the primary question would be when the car is moving left to right or right to left is the "magnet" system able to hold the car horizontal to the movement or will it be 'drifting' (hanging down) as it moves.

Would it be practical to add another rear located 'pin' to help this not occur?
 

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I don't remember what they called them but Tyco did make a set that you could mount on the wall, the cars have two guide pins one in front and the other in the back that attached the car to the track so they won't fall off, I have two of the cars and I will have to look to see if I still have the guide pins for them.
 

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After I posted yesterday I did think of having different voltages on different parts of the track, so that would be something to try if a single voltage did not work well. Using a rear guide pin is also a good idea. If you can get your hands on some Life Like T chassis cars those would be a good bet because they have neodymium motor and traction magnets, as an added bonus they have a place where you can add a rear guide pin.
All of this reminds me of an incident from my youth. Back in the '60s my father worked at the Connecticut DOT District 2 office, every year they had an open house where the public could view a variety of displays related to DOT activities. One morning at breakfast my father asked me if I could catch a frog. That seemed like a strange request, so I asked what he needed with a frog. My father said that one of the engineers had constructed a diorama of a roadside picnic area. The diorama included things like a fireplace and picnic tables of course, but it also had a road going past it with an AC Gilbert Corvette circulating around and it had a pond. I agreed to catch a frog and smuggle it into the exhibit. I would have liked to have hung around to see how people reacted to the frog, but I figured that I would be identified as the culprit if I did. I never found out what happened to the frog.
 

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there was a set you could buy called wall climbers!
1 bar has/had a track on the ceiling!


neo or strong poly mags should allow wall racing with no issue.

Old Aurora track probably has the best choices for intersections, RR crossigs, bridges, and turn off lanes. Although some may be expensive to buy.

afx or tyco cars may have the most body selections and the inline cars will hold better on the wall than the pancake cars
 

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I also had the AC Gilbert Corvette set. For some reason I never thought to ask how the frog thing worked out. I could also have asked if I could have the car and track once the open house was over, but the diorama was very well done and probably went into storage to be used again another year. A few years later my parents sold their house and my track went to the dump, I don't remember what I did with the cars. At the time I also had 1/24th cars and those went into storage for about twenty years. When commercial slot tracks made a comeback in the 90's I got to race a few of the old cars again and I did sell a few of them to collectors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great Ideas

I appreciate the many helpful suggestions that have been offered, e.g. at an angle and not completely vertical, brands (afx tyco), speed control by section, magnet technology, etc. It looks like I need to do some actual testing before coming up with a final design.
 

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In my opinion, the Tyco Extreme Racing (or Xtreme, depending on how the marketeers at Tyco spelled it) would be the ticket. The track has a T-slot in the middle and the cars have two upside-down U-shaped guide blades to actually lock them to the T in the track. The magnets help with traction for the rear drive wheels. Since there is no way these can be knocked loose (like cars only being held on with magnets could be), I think these would be the most trouble-free exhibit.
 
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