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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My new 4 lane track--updated track designs--pick your favorite

Here's what I laid out on the table the other day:



I'm going to add 2" around the door, so don't sweat the track going to the edge. I was looking for a fun track that everyone from my 4yr old to me can race on and be fast/challenging enough to keep some interest. I'm going to do minimal scenery and will be going for more of a race course feel than alot of buildings and trees.

I know there is more than one way to skin a cat, so I'm asking for your opinions and feedback. Feel free to tell me it sucks if you think so (and why) and I'll go back and see what else I come up with. I'm not hung up on this plan, but I though it flowed well.

Just for info, I started with a Super International set and added a few tracks. The spaces do actually have track, I just didn't lay them down. I used mostly 12" outer and 9" inner for the turns.

Thanks again for the help in advance.
 

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Layout...

Looks like a great little layout... My only question would be, what are you racing? It will be fun for tjets and the like, but I always try to get one decent straight somewhere to try to get the "drag" feel between two cars. Anything faster than a hopped up tjet might make you dizzy... LOL

Good stuff.. keep us posted!

-Marc and Marcus
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Looks like a great little layout... My only question would be, what are you racing? It will be fun for tjets and the like, but I always try to get one decent straight somewhere to try to get the "drag" feel between two cars. Anything faster than a hopped up tjet might make you dizzy... LOL

Good stuff.. keep us posted!

-Marc and Marcus
I'm using the Super G cars and a few others. Some of the T-jets are cool, but they don't stay on the track for the younger kids since they don't have the stronger magnets. I may modify some of mine with the rare earth mags to fix this, but having ready to run cars that'll stick to the track works best for my situation. I like the more realistic new cars like the AFX GT40's and a few others.

I wanted a long straight and I totally understand where you're coming from, but with a door size layout, it's hard to get much of a straight for the "drag racing" types. If I was working with a larger space, you can bet I'd have the longest straight possible to open the cars up and let them breathe.

Thanks for your input. I'll see if I can figure out a way to incorporate a longer straight section.
 

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That looks like an interesting layout. There is only so much you can do on a door slab and your layout seems to have a little of everything but trhe long straitaway. I wouldn't worry about it thou as you can tout it as a drivers track. ::: The Drivers Challenge Track ::: I love it .

Gonzo
 

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Track layout...

I have found a couple things that seem to make "racing" with the little guys much more enjoyable. I have a variable power supply (you can find them $75-$125) that allows me to slow the cars but still make it so they can actually crash, which is what most little people enjoy anyway.

Another thing to think about is using the AFX magnatraction chassis, or even the non-magnatraction chassis and glue a small neo dot mag on bottom near the rear end. (I bought some at Radioshack- the little mas are pretty cheap). That makes the cars visible and enables a bit more side by side racing. You can use the newer Xtraction chassis's but honestly I prefer the older chassis because (I will be nice)... not a big fan of the newer autoworld and JL chassis. The bodies are just fine, but the quality of the newer design leaves a little to be desired in my opinion.

I think the layout will work out just fine as it is. And since I shortened my layout from 20 feet to about 13 ft (long) I understand space constraints.

Enjoy- Marc and Marcus
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys for the additional comments. I'm sorta re-working a couple of things that I figured would make things work better and will post some pics in the next day or so.

Thanks for the suggestion on the variable power idea. I've been thinking about that, but haven't decided what I'll do. The old way I used to do it is use elecrical tape and tape half of a clothespin with the taper under the throttle trigger. It works out just about right to let the kids hold the throttle "wide open" and be fast enough to race with the older kids.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll be posting up a revision or two in the next day or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So my wife has a cold and went to bed early. After I put the kids down, I came up with these:

Version number 2:


Version number 3:


Version number 4:


See following photos as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Version number 5:


Version number 6:


Version number 7:


Any suggestions? Most of you guys have alot more experience with this stuff than me. I'm wanting a fun, challenging track that we won't get bored with too easy and requires some skill to get around quickly.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion on the variable power idea. I've been thinking about that, but haven't decided what I'll do.
An inexpensive way to do this is with a router speed control from Harbor Freight (about $20). This device will allow you to vary your voltage downward. I have one on my layout; 4 Aurora power packs into a power strip and the power strip plugged into the speed control. It's great. Some cars which are uncontrollable at 20 volts can now be used simply by turning down the voltage. Just adjust until you hit the sweet spot.

Joe
 

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Well, let's see. I like #3 for the speed, 2 for the slight elevation change, 4 and 5 are a good mix of speed and technical. I don't like 6 or 7 only because there is no main straight.
Personally, for T-jets I would take #2, Mag cars #3.

Since you did 6 layouts while everyone is sleeping, how can you ever get bored?

Jim
 

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I've found that too many 6" curves make the course too slow and too many straights are boring...not fun. With the foregoing in mind, I'd try 6 or 7, although, I'm concerned about the lack of a main straight.

I would take the time to run each one...you'll find out pretty quick if you don't like it.
 

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I would take the time to run each one...you'll find out pretty quick if you don't like it.
Agreed!!!

It doesn't matter what anyone else likes, nor does it really matter what it looks like. The only thing that matters is do you like to drive it. It can look really cool, yet be a pain to use.

I tweaked my layout the other day very slightly. And I found I liked it a lot more. So after about a year of it being one way, I still found a little better configuration.

Driving the layout will tell you where sharp curves are frustrating and simply no fun, and where they can be navigated successfully. And it's not always where you would think.

Joe
 

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I like #2, but I would swap the over-under the opposite way.
Just curious - but why?

When I do an over-under I try to make it so the most drivers can see "into the hole" from the drivers station, which I assume is along the long straight. Likewise, I think about the viewing angle of the turn marshals who will be opposite the drivers along the back. The worst case is when the over-under creates a peek-a-boo situation for both drivers and marshals. Even if you are practicing alone, being able to pull your wreck out of the hole from the front of the track will be a benefit.

The placement of that particular over-under is going to result in cars ending up crashed in the hole because it is placed near a turn. It will be worse if that track is run in NASCAR style counter-clockwise direction versus the F1/road racing traditional clockwise direction because the cars will be coming off a small straight immediately prior to the tunnel. When running clockwise the cars should be entering the tunnel at a slower pace because they are negotiating a set of curves leading into the tunnel.

The other philosophy on over-unders is to place the straighter section underneath, which should result in fewer wrecks in the vicinity of the tunnel. In practice I've seen that no matter where you put the over-under, cars always find a way to get stuck in the tunnel. That's why I base my layout on the visibility into the tunnel rather than just the straighter section. In any case, that's my logic for deciding which layer goes up and which layer goes down. I would be interested in hearing about other thoughts on this.
 

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Agreed, Action interruptus

Based on many years of model railroading, over and unders are best left with as much straight-a-way as possible on either end of them.

Certainly slots are somewhat different but the fundamental rules still apply. The main one being that "Crashes Interupt Play!" Ideally you want everything settled down before the tunnel and after the tunnel, depending on direction of travel and length of the tunnel. Both the approaches and the exits should provide sufficient runout so cars, trains and planes (aka: airborne rolling stock) that have not yet approached the overpass or have long since past it have time to settle before a corner comes into play. The actual crossing angle makes no difference if everything is settled and straight.

In this particular model, visibility plays no particular role because you're flat out on the throttle and reasonably safe. However in the over all view of the entire layout, it helps provides an eye catching illusion of length which IMHO is always sorely lacking in all table top designs; where we inevitably try and cram as much action onto the table as possible.

Granted the design is not overly stylish but it does keep you from forever fishing with magnets and tailoring scenery to hide trap door seams. Even WITH this boring design the odds are that you'll still park one in the cave occassionally. Murphy's Law dictates the periodic hole in one. ;)
 
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