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Discussion Starter #1
I plan on buying the AFX International any day now and set it up on my basement floor (flat,level tile) and have a few questions-

First, should I set it up on a carpet as to prevent sliding?

Next, what do most folks use to set up table top racetracks?

Was thinking of buying a pcs. of ply wood and set of table folding legs but not sure if thats the best route?

Thanks,

Matt
 

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My first track table was a piece of plywood on a couple of saw horses. The only problem I had with plywood is that if you don't brace or support it good, it will droop on the sides and cause your cars to launch off the table.
I now use a couple of old closet doors, hinged horizontally from the wall, mounted end to end. I attatched a set of legs to each one. The legs are hinged so that when you fold the table up against the wall, they fold up too. I have a couple of boards cut to the right length to put on the floor between the wall and the table legs. These keep the legs from being kicked out from under the table. I cut some clear plastic strips from an old poster frame, about 2 or 3 inches wide and tacked it around the outer edge of the table, so that if the cars do fly off, they won't hit the floor. I'm decorating the safety fence with automotive theme stickers, so it looks kinda like the sides of a real race track.
 

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Its exciting setting up a new track.I put my plywood on casket stands my wife got at her business.They are simply plywood sheets with notches cut in each that slide together and form an X.I have one on each corner of my four 4x8 sheets of plywood. I can walk all over my layout.Next I covered it with the green felt you can get at hobby stores for train layouts. Hauled in a bunch of sand, put down a few mirrors to resemble water and now handmade buildings, trees, etc.I really need to downsize.- have fun- bruce
 

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I pretty much went the plywood/folding table legs route... see this thread:

http://www.hobbytalk.com/bbs1/showthread.php?t=85853

However, I did build a sort of frame out of 2x4s to attach to the bottom of each table, so it wouldn't droop and warp like Captain Fred mentioned. I'm attaching a pic of the bottom of one table... the legs just fit inside the 2x4 "box" when they're folded. Also, the 1x3s I'm using for the retaining wall around the edge are screwed in pretty tight with drywall screws, so they add some stiffness.

There are much better ways to build a table; I've seen plenty of plans for track tables that you could comfortably walk on. The problem is I'm a lousy carpenter and I'm impatient to boot... :rolleyes:

BTW, the good Captain's suggestion of using interior doors as a tabletop also works well for small layouts. I have a little Tyco 4-lane set up on a 36x80 interior door, for now just sitting on a couple of tray tables till I get more permanent legs for it.

--rick
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well once again thanks for all the great input.

LOL..here I thought I was just going to buy a track and now I have major construction on my mind. ;)

Never in a millions years would I have thought of a hollow door to set up track in. Just so happens that I have few in my garage rafters.

Thanks for the link to the progression of the track you built. Very neat indeed.

/bow

Thanks again all!
 

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ParkRNDL said:
I pretty much went the plywood/folding table legs route... see this thread:

--rick
Rick,
Thanks, your pic gave me an idea for the scaled down table I need. I'll basically place the plywood down on the floor, place one of my plastic "picnic style tables with folding legs" on it and frame 2X4s around it. That way it will be storable or portable by just setting up the "picnic" table the setting the plywood piece that's been framed on top of the table. Just have to afix the track to the plywood. :thumbsup: rr
 

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For all but the very largest of tables 2x4 framing is much larger and heavier than you'll ever need. A more appropriate material is 1x3 or 1x4. Even 1x2 is suitable for smaller tracks as long as the wood is decent. They key to a good table is stiffness, not weight. Stiffness is obtained by keeping the frame members from flexing or bending. This can be done through cross bracing, cross members, and corner gusseting. Lay out a rectangle of 1x3s (or 1x4s) with evenly spaced cross members in a ladder arrangement. Place two of the cross members where the legs will go. The legs should be placed at the 20% and 80% points in the length and width of the table. Dimensional lumber is not very strong when you nail or screw into the end grain. Rather than screwing the intersections (butt joints) of the frame members directly, cut blocks of 2x2, 2x4, or 4x4 and attach both frame pieces to the blocking at the intersections. Use a little wood glue where the blocking meets the frame. For added stiffness and to help square up the frame, attach some 3/8 inch plywood triangles (gussets) at the underside of the outside corners. If you build your own legs I'd recommend 2x2 or 2x3 with cross bracing both ways.
 

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Yeah, Roadrner, what AFX said. The 2X4s are kinda overkill, and they make these tables WAAAAAAY heavy. I dread having to ever move them. Whatever you go with, be sure the picnic-style table will support the plywood plus the "box frame". Just the plywood by itself is heavy, I had someone help me bring the sheets down to the basement when I bought them...

hey AFX, I wish i had done some of the corner braces the way you said... I could have saved a bunch of weight and added stiffness in the process...

--rick
 

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I've decided to build the "Scenic Hills 33 raceway" for my first table layout. It'll be a 4X8 .......and I plan on using cabinet grade 3/4" or 5/8" plywood for the top.....with an outer perimeter famework made out of 2X4's......with 1/4 gussets and 2X4's that are mitered on the corners on a 45 degree angle. I may end up staining the table framework to give it a really clean look. This layout will be fully landscaped when completed.......with future plans for lighting and etc.

Basically with this stuff the sky is the limit with regards to detailing......just as in model railroading. :thumbsup:
 

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My suggestion would be to use 1/2" or the 5/8" with 2x2's as that would be enough support and keep the weight down. 3/4" is overkill. Plus never run on carpet, the fibers will get wound around your axles slowing dow your cars or taking out the pinion gears on magnet cars.
 

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rodstrguy said:
My suggestion would be to use 1/2" or the 5/8" with 2x2's as that would be enough support and keep the weight down. 3/4" is overkill. Plus never run on carpet, the fibers will get wound around your axles slowing dow your cars or taking out the pinion gears on magnet cars.

I honestly don't trust 2X2's for use as legs.......side supports under the table perhaps for some.....but I prefer to build it all out of 2X4's so I KNOW it will be around for years to come......without fear of the legs warping or etc. I wouldn't use 1/2" plywood either.......it's to prone to warpage......plus with cabinet grade or BC cabinet wood it's already pre sanded on one side.......unlike a CDX type of general purpose plywood which can have imperfections which could interfer whith track connections or etc. ;)
 

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If you look at parkndl's pick it shows 2x4's under his sheet of plywood. I am only suggesting using 2x2's as bracing under your table using wood glue and screws. that way you would not have a problem with warping or without being strong enough to bolt legs to. I actually am using a 1x2 grid system with 2" thick pink foam as a table. The idea came from model railroading. Makes it easy to add sceanery.
 

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rodstrguy said:
If you look at parkndl's pick it shows 2x4's under his sheet of plywood. I am only suggesting using 2x2's as bracing under your table using wood glue and screws. that way you would not have a problem with warping or without being strong enough to bolt legs to. I actually am using a 1x2 grid system with 2" thick pink foam as a table. The idea came from model railroading. Makes it easy to add sceanery.
I see where you're coming from..... for my application I wanted to build the table framework first.....then screw down the top......that way if for some odd reason I get bored with my current 4 X 8 layout I could just unscrew the top from the framework and take it out of the room. This track will be in my hobby room......and not in a garage....so I'm not really thinking my Texas Humidity will cause alot of warpage......I just know that the possibility does exist......and I always like to overbuild something....rather than underbuild :thumbsup:
 

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If you're concerned about adaptability and portability consider building a modular table system. This would involve building multiple smaller tables, maybe 2x2 ft, 2x4 ft, 3x4 ft, or 4x4 ft and clamping the tables together with carriage bolts to form whatever configuration strikes your fancy. Since each table would be rather small the framing and legs could be quite small and still collectively provide enough support for a large layout. The legs could be fashioned out of 1/2 inch threaded steel pipe that screws into threaded end caps mounted on the bottom of the table. Turned wood legs or 2x2" legs with a threaded bolt that screws into t-nuts mounted on the bottom of the table frame would also work. You'd basically end up with a lego table system that could be reconfigured relatively easy. Keep everything lightweight and an entire setup could be broken down and transported easily in a pickup truck or minivan.
 
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