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Discussion Starter #41
very good tutorial on soldering to steel.....and I could have never explained it in that thorough of a manner or so concisely.

carry on
Thanks.

But I’ve got a little bit of an inside line on getting something across quickly, detailed and yet still simply.

I was Chief instructor in our flight school for 4 years.

When you have to teach students who range from high school drop outs to University Undergrads, you figure out a pretty wide variety of instructional skills pretty quickly.....or the “higher ups” will find someone who can....
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Been doing wiring and Styrofoam shaping for a couple days now. Decided to take a little break from that and make the "reversing" piece for the eventual rally track build:

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That's just the first go at it. It;s ugly as heck, but the basics are there. A little more shaping and filling and it will make a nice "turn around" at the top of the track to send the car back down the opposing lane of "normal" 2 lane track.

The top part of the turn is pretty sharp as it is. I may cut a small pie wedge" out of it and add a small straight piece, just to ease over the transition. That sharp angle (even if plastic re-worked) has a high probability of de-slotting a car, so I'm pretty sure I'll have to add one last small piece.....
 

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I remember you mentioning 3d printers - would it be a workable project to print the 'turn around' piece you need with the properly spaced channels for the slot and the track leads in a smooth curve?
 

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Discussion Starter #44 (Edited)
I remember you mentioning 3d printers - would it be a workable project to print the 'turn around' piece you need with the properly spaced channels for the slot and the track leads in a smooth curve?
Yes, that is certainly a possibility. But what I would do is get this piece nearly finished as a prototype, 3d scan it, then rework it in a graphics program and then 3D print it. That's a lot of work, especially if the "prototype" is very close to the finished project. In that case, you have to seriously ask yourself if the added work is worth it for (at that point) a small improvement.

If you were looking to sell it though, the work is worthwhile.

But I have no intention of ever trying to sell anything, so the work/time would only be to satisfy my OCD.......lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #45
quick snap of the landscaping starting to evolve:

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Very much at the beginning (ie: this is day one), but I'm liking what I'm starting to see,,,,,
 

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Really like you enthusiasm & appreciate your knowledge, enjoy following along your progress so keep posting! Suggestion: Parma controllers will eliminate the heat problem & allow continuous use plus different ohm cartridges can be purchased & installed. Thanks for your service.
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
So, I've been cutting and shaping a lot of foam board lately. I bought one of these little jobbies at Michael's:

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While is does work, it's seriously under-powered. It just can't keep up with the 2 inch thick foam and the length of cuts I need it to do. Like I said, it will work, it's just really slow and it cools off really fast once buried in the foam board.

Time to whip out some scrap and build a hot wire foam cutter. First, I made a larger bow style cutter:

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Worked great! It's just coat hanger, some oak scraps, some Nichrome wire from a dead hair dryer, a rocker switch and wiring.

But, it was only a matter of time before the "wall wart" I was using died. You see, a heated wire cutter is almost a dead short and wall warts don't survive long under dead short conditions.

So I needed a way to make a power supply/control panel that isolates the wall wart (if you want to use those) from the wire element and still have a way to adjust the power level. A dig through my scrap bins turns up an old PWM controller (12v, 8 A), a house switch and a house receptacle. A little wiring and wood work and voila!

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PWM power supply/controller. The PWM circuitry isolates the wall wart from the "dead short" element and also allows me to turn the amperage up and down as needed. Adjustable is a great thing and allows me to plug in different cutters that have different length (ie: resistance) elements.

Tried out some long, heavy cuts and the wall wart and PWM controller stayed dead cold. Success!

Now my bow cutter works great. But there are also some very large pieces of foam I need to cut, not to mention cutting the larger sheets down to usable sizes. So, time for a larger "bench style" cutter:

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Pretty simple looking up top. Pretty much the same as the bow cutter, except instead of moving the cutter through the foam you move the foam through the cutter. It's some scrap MDF, a wire/plug/cord off a long ago scrapped appliance, a bit more Nichrome wire from the same dead hair dryer, the top bow is a piece of steel rod and then just some wiring and a switch.

It's basically a band saw for foam board, there's just no mess all over the place after a cut like there would be with a saw blade. Underneath is just wiring to make it work. Plugged into my new power supply, adjusted the amperage up to make the wire just the right heat and cuts 2" thick foam board like butta!

So, not a lot done on the track today, but it was a productive day none the less!

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Really like you enthusiasm & appreciate your knowledge, enjoy following along your progress so keep posting! Suggestion: Parma controllers will eliminate the heat problem & allow continuous use plus different ohm cartridges can be purchased & installed. Thanks for your service.
Parma controller probably would be the ticket, but its an expense I can’t put out for right now.

my 1970’s vintage adjustable controllers will do for the immediate future.

I’m just doing this for fun, so higher grade controllers aren’t really a necessity here.

Besides, my current controllers don’t get very hot at all. I can zip cars around for an hour or so and they just get slightly warm. Can’t feel it in my hands until I place them over the vents at the top and only then do I feel any heat...
 

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Discussion Starter #49
couple preview pics of the mountain section:

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still a long way to go, but I like the way it looks so far!

If you look to the left side of the second picture, you will see a large flat area. I was thinking to make another peak on that side, but I think I'm going to leave it flat, put a chalet there and have people watching the track. I may do the same on the flat portion on the rh side of the pic and possibly have a gondola from the pit/spectator area up to the flat plateau. But that I might make into a second "grandstand" area for figures to watch the races.

Dunno for sure, it's all up for grabs right now.....

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #50
well, the bulk of the foam work is done:

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Not too shabby, not too shabby at all!

There is still a little foam to be mounted and shaped, but I'm pretty close to done. It is a little hard to see the cars from the planned driver station, the "mountains" are just high enough to block your view. I may build a 12" box for drivers to stand on. I also plan to have a couple controller plug in locations, but behind the grandstands will be the main position.

Right now, I need a repair part for my 3d printer so I'm pretty much at a stand still until it gets here. I need the printer to make the tunnel entrances, grandstands, people, trees, etc.

Once I get at it again, I plan to cover the foam in a layer of plaster of paris and then start creating rock striations, coloration, ground covers, etc.

I'll probably just work more on the wiring until I get my repair part.

One nice thing is that with the foam up under the road bed, the road is as solid as a rock. As an added bonus, the Styrofoam even dampens the rattling/clicking car noise.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #51 (Edited)
Working on the wiring and decided to "switch up" the wire on the controllers:

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That's a 6 foot lead coiled to about 1-1.5 feet. I know some people don't like retractile cords, but I do. Much neater when stowed and I don't notice the "pull" when stretching it out at all.

The three wire bundle is actually RCA cables. Normally, RCA is too light for a couple amps of power, but I stripped both wires in the sheth, soldered them together and it comes out somewhere around 18-20 AWG (stranded). At least as thick as the wire that came with the controller, maybe a touch thicker.

Also scored at thrift store (where I bought the used RCA cables). Bunch of hot wheels bodies I've been wanting to pick up as slot cars:

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All that was just a tick under 16 bucks. And while they are die cast, I'll just 3d scan them and print them off in PLA or ABS. Some of the ones I've been wanting to buy (but prices are just absolutely stupid lately) is the 70's Torino, a 60's Cougar, a Plymouth Satellite/Charger, IMSA Vette, IMSA BMW, couple drag cars and many more.....
 

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Awesome stuff you got congrats. 👍
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Hmmm....

After "converting" a speed track car I ran it on 12v on my track. Spoiler: pretty crappy, needs more work.

But just for LOL's, I dropped one of my 440 cars and one of my LL fastrackers on the course and gave it a go. Keep in mind; I've only been using the adjustable power supply for a day or two now.

Sure enough, running the car was much more enjoyable that the 18v I had been running them on. 18V was the rating on the LL wall wart. The car will still slide, it will still de-slot and it will still fly across the room if you're not paying attention. But I had a much more progressive lever pull and it was much easier to keep the cars going on my tight, twisty track.

18V will certainly get them moving faster, but at the expense of control and just general all around fun.

Time to start playing with my voltages it seems.....
 

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Discussion Starter #54 (Edited)
So, had to build another track section. Turn one was de-slotting cars more often than not. The problem was it turned left/right/left/right and that was just too much for cars to hold the corner. My highest mag cars could hold with about 3/4 throttle, but any more and they're rolling across the table. Anything without magnets or a bit taller body; forget it. You were crawling around turn one slower than a Yugo.

I also don't like that you had to let off" while running down the front straight. That just didn't seem right to me.

So I needed to make a turn that was straight off the front stretch and one sweeper up into the mountainous section.

Before:

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It wasn't helping that the transition from the Aurora track to the LL track wasn't as smooth as it could be.

Problem is, they never made a mirror image of the turn out track. No matter what I would do, I'd always have turn one messed up and too hard to drive to just have fun.

So, out comes the plastic welder and solder iron:

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Looks a little messy right now, but like the other altered track pieces it will get cleaned up for the final install.

Now, it works great! I can hit turn one with at least as much speed as any other corner on the track (maybe a touch more). You can still get the car to de-slot, but it's no where near as inconsistent/touchy as it was before. You just never knew if it was going to go around turn one or if it was going to launch itself across the room. Now, if it de-slots, you have actually done something wrong. Like taking the corner too fast, etc.

Hung the blimp while I was at it:

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Kind of a neat touch. Will go with the track much better once all the terrain is grassed/treed in...

:)
 

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That is cool congrats. 👍
 

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Discussion Starter #56
The "infield" somehow got a little smaller than I intended along the way. So I moved the front straight back another 3 inches. There's still enough room to put the grandstands in, but now I can do a more detailed infield. On one side making the track was an easy fix, just swap a couple pieces that made another 3" length.

The other side was a different story. It was two curve sections so no swapping things around was going to accomplish what I wanted. I needed a 3" LL piece to slip between the two curve pieces. Problem was, LL never made (or I couldn't find one) a 3" piece. Well, out comes the plastic welder and solder iron again. A little bit of work and new 3" piece ready to go:

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All that work gave me another 3" in the infield. The may not sound like much, but in HO scale, it's quite a bit.

Then, I pulled all the track off the table and lined the back with this:

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It's a roofing starter strip. Basically, it's a roofing shingle but with one side "sticky" and one big continuous roll. Guys in the USA might know it more by the name "peel and stick". If you're confused as to why I would line the underside, here's the answer: It makes the track super quiet. What it does is add mass to the thin plastic track. Now when the cars hit the joints, there is only a very faint "click" noise. The rest of the track is now dead quiet. All you can hear is the car. For the "click", I've already started eliminating that. I've already started soldering/leveling the rails together on the top of the track and shortly I'll be looking for a way to fill and straighten the widening at the slot joints to allow for excess production tolerances.

Soon, I should have a super quiet plastic track....:)
 

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Discussion Starter #57
I'm toying with the idea of making a third lane. I certainly have the track to make it and the table can actually hold a third lane no problem. The only thing is I would have to make every section of track for the table, cutting a two lane apart and grafting it on to the existing track.


Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #59
So, I was sitting here trying to lay out the drivers stations. Lots of examples on the "net, lots of ideas in my head.

But everything just kept coming out like a square (or triangular) box. Not really how I want it to go.

So I dug through my parts bins and turned up two instrument binnacles for my XVZ1200 Venture. NIcely shaped an just taking up space in my parts garage. So:

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That looks pretty good! The inside panel is just some plastic cut from a long ago discarded cordless drill kit.

Plan is to disassemble the Tyco 440 Pro Racing Center and add the gauges to the binnacle. I'm a little tossed up on whether or not to [put the controller plug ins in the binnacle or outside the binnacle. Same story with the reverse switch and the power supply display.

Anyways, that's a good start. Now I have to sit down and think about where I want to put what.....
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Just ran across AC2CAR. Very interesting, 2 cars per lane, 4 cars total on a 2 lane track, all independently controlled. But I'm not sure it will work the way I would want it to on my track.

Need to think about it more.....
 
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