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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Stainless Steel HO Track

Finally I found the time to proceed on a project, which idea I got about a year ago, after reading a story in a newsletter of the 80's. It described a track being built from stainless steel, with the track surface acting as the rails.

I got the track lasercut in one piece, laminated it to a PVC foam board and wook as support. Now the slots were routed through the steel surface. One lane is done yet, the rest is following soon.

Here were some pictures:





Michael
 

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That's definately an interesting idea.......but good luck running magnet cars on that.....because stainless steel isn't magnetic......at least none of our stainless steel stock at work is.
 

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Wow pretty wild looking. Stainless steel is non magnetic so it would be like a copper tape track. Shoes may never wear out, but arcing may cause tarnishing after a while. Cleaning the surface could be tough to do with out scratching.

Pretty cool looking though. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well, as far as I can tell yet, the cars were running absolutely great. But only after a small change in the setup. Contact is a real issue due to the large portion of the pickups contacting the surface. We helped us at the moment with putting braid on the bottom of the shoes. Equiped with that the cars were a blast to drive. With nothing protruding over the surface its a real smooth riding.

Since I have none experience on any professional track (we do not have many over here) I have no idea of the difference. Of course we knew that stainless steel is non.magnetic, but the totally different idea was the motor driven us to built this thing up, and it was not meant to compete with "normal" track at all. So its anywhere in between a standard track used with pre-magnet era cars and a slider track like Ed Bianchi was building. We were finally sliding with every car, no matter which magnets were built into them. Tonight we ran a RiggenHO against a Tyco 440. And guess which was more fan, easier to drive and just from the guessing being faster? Right, the Riggen ;-))

Michael

Edit: Just after re-reading it: Another change in the setup were the use of LAW tires (that the name for it?). With such a smooth surface even with silicone tires the cars drifted as hell, with the LAW's they stay on the track like the magnet cars on magnetic track. Hard to explain, especially in a foreign language.....EditEnd
 

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wow! VERY cool concept! :thumbsup:

--rick
 

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And now to interrupt this programming........FYI, not all stainless steels are non-magnetic. Common misconception.

Google says only the austenitic family isn't magnetic. There are 3 other families if I can remember my metallurgy from 20 years ago.....

Ok, back to the super cool routed metal track...............
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Manning said:
And now to interrupt this programming........FYI, not all stainless steels are non-magnetic. Common misconception.

Google says only the austenitic family isn't magnetic. There are 3 other families if I can remember my metallurgy from 20 years ago.....

Ok, back to the super cool routed metal track...............
Yes, indeed. Unfortunately my supplier who cut the track had no magnetic stainless steel in stock. But then I still was not sure how an even slightly magnetic track would work with such a large surface, compared to the small rail in standard track. I was afraid the cars would not even move.....

Michael
 

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I'm a metal worker. It's quite a piece of sculpture just as it sits, let alone that its probably the smoothest track ever concieved.

The pick up pressure will be distributed across the contact patch. I thinking it will be like driving on wide tires in the snow, vs skinnies.

Truly innovative!

BH
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Zanza,
when the track is done, you can come up here to turn some rounds, Stuttgart is not too far from Vevey!

Bill,
thanks for the compliments! I never thought you were a metal worker, with your great body work you were presenting here. To know if its the smoothest track lacks of comparison from my side. I know only sectinal plastic track, and boy, thats a difference :p

But its the distribution of the pickup pressure, that make the problems still: All the cars need braids soldered on the bottom of the pickups, beside my goog ol' Riggen, which is originally equipped with braids. I guess it will be some kind of research to find a solution for that, maybe sanding the surface, or something similar, just to get something different than this mirror-like smooth surface.....

Michael
 

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Manning said:
That's gotta be a blast to drive on. Probably the best Tjet track ever built.

Would have to agree, can you imagine running (or sliding) any of those non-magnetic pancakes on that surface. Yee-Haw! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: rr
 

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slotmichl said:
Zanza,
when the track is done, you can come up here to turn some rounds, Stuttgart is not too far from Vevey!

Michael
Great, after all it's "only" 450 kms far :thumbsup:
 

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This kind of counters the G-jet. Now every car you own can ride with the G-jet philosophy without new cars, new power, etc. Very cool. Love the smoothness.

Jim
 

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That is a great looking track.
If I understand correctly, you had the basic track cut from a single piece of steel. You then glued it down to a foam/wood board. You then needed to cut competely through the steel for both the guide slot and the slot dividing the lanes.
After you had the track cut and laminated to the foam board, I would be interested to know what method you used to rout the slots.
Also a question - is shorting out the track an issue? For instance, someone leaning over the track to reslot a car?

Thanks...Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Joe,
you were mostly right. Lamination was the first step, afer the cutting of the track of course. There were bridges beween all the "stripes" about 1mm wide, to have all the pieces connected to each other. This was necessary for the lasercutting process, so that each lane holds its position even with the heat being introduced from the laser.

After the lamination (wood for the support, foam for the slots) we took a Dremel with a small router bit to route the slots into the PVC. This router bit has a cutting length of about 5mm, so the cutting part was completely below the steel surface. So we could use the cylindrical portion of the bit as a guide along the lasercut slot in the steel. Pretty simple.

The bridges were then cut afterwards. The ones between the lanes were at the moment "just" cut through, without any routing in the PVC. We were thinking of filling these gaps with a kind of resin after all the lanes were separated, to have the gaps flush with the surface. Hope all this is understandable, english is still not my mother language....

As for the G-Jet: I am still trying to get my hands on one of these. I would imagine there is a difference indeed of driving a "normal" car on this track compared to the G-Jet due to the weight! I suppose the G-Jet is heavier. But I never got an answer after mailing Gary, and no vendor has them over here....

Michael
 

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slotmichl said:
Hope all this is understandable, english is still not my mother language....
Hi Michael,
English is my only language and I still can't speak well! LOL
I think I understand now what you did. The laser cutting did all all the cuts - the lanes and the cuts between the lanes - prior to the track being laminated to the PVC board. However, in order for the track to stay together after everything was cut, it was necessary that there be at least one, and probably more, small "bridges" where the laser did not cut, leaving a small connection across the slots. After the track was glued in place, these bridges could be cut.
Excellent idea. This is something I would love to try.
How thick is the steel? Is it flexible enough that it would allow you to make elevations? And from your description it sounds as if no car with hard pickups can ride on it - you have to attach some braid.
Great job.

Joe

Joe
 
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