Building and Maintaining Slot Car Tracks

   Page updated Jan 2012

So you want to build a slot car tack?  How do you build it?

The techniques for building slot car tracks are much the same for any layout - be it a 2 lane track in your loft - a slot stocks oval track - a 4 lane club circuit or a 8 lane megga track.  Many of these web pages are based on my articles published in "Slot Car Racing News" , although I've added a number of new topics since. These pages include what I've learned from building 6 club tracks over the years, helping maintain all the various National Championship tracks since 1972 and  all 3 of the tracks used for World Championships in the UK and from talking to lots of other people (From  professional builders to people who have built one club track) ........... That certainly doesn't mean I know all the answers - you always learn something new when working on tracks -  if you have any better ideas or another way of achieving the same results then e-mail me  slot_racing@yahoo.co.uk  Thank you to all the people who have contributed information to the site.

I'm always happy to try and answer questions - and/or update this building guide. There's a Questions and Answers page for the questions that may be of general interest.

Many thanks to Rog Potter for the photos taken during the building of the Bournemouth club track which I have used for some of the illustrations on  these pages.

While much on these pages is applicable to digital lane changing systems, I have not attempted to provide instructions for scratch building "digital" tracks. 

Once the track is built it needs to be looked after, so have a look at tips on maintenance.

 

Chris Frost

 

Contents -Track Design

Track Design The essential first step before building anything!!!  - updated April 2012

Building the Track


Building the track surface (Part 1) - updated April 2009
Cutting the slot (Part 2) - updated November 2010
Painting, laying braid or tape (Part 3) - updated January 2012
Lap Counting (Part 4) - updated March 2011   
Track Wiring and Power Supplies (Part 5) - updated November 2012
Wiring resistance explained (Part 6) - updated January 2009,  minor additions March 2012
Low Power  (Part 7) - updated January 2009 
Exhibition tips and Outdoor tracks (Part 8) - updated January 2009 
Banked tracks - updated April 2013
Magnetic traction - updated June 2012
So you think you've missed a lap?   How Computerized lap counters deal with double counting

Track Maintenance


Maintaining Braided Tracks  
Repairing Track Power Faults   
Reversed Polarity   
Questions and Answers - updated April 2011

 

The Detailed Contents of these Parts -

The track surface  What materials to use for the surface, how to support the surface and keep it flat
Track support  What height should the surface be, how to build the track legs
Joining the sections  How to join sections smoothly, how accurate they need to be
Braid or tape?  Which is better? - the advantages and disadvantages explained
Routers  The types of routers and cutters to use
Guiding the Router  How to use radius arms and profile guides -  the advantages and disadvantages explained
Cutting the slot  Cutting sizes -how accurate does it need to be? - how to correct errors.
Cutting the slot -2  An alternative method of cutting the slot (sometimes called elliptical corner cutting)
Lap Counter Position  Where to put the counters so that they work properly
Painting  How to paint the surface and what sort of paint
Laying Tape or Braid- with adhesive tape  The way it's done on most recent tracks updated January 2012
Laying Tape or Braid - with impact adhesive   The traditional adhesive method. updated January 2012
Power Feeds  How to connect  the power to the tape or braid
Lane Colours  Which lane colours in which order?
Marking hundredths of a lap Different marking methods explaned, updated February 2011
Hand Counting  Why its not a good idea except in emergencies!
Simple Automatic Counters  The basic minimum that gets the laps counted
Transistorised Counters   Something better than the basic system
Avoiding dead sections  Split tape counter strips explained
Optical Detectors  A more high tech solution to detecting when cars pass
Computerized Systems  The "ultimate" systems
Track Wiring The simple what to do guide updated January 2009 
Turning the power on and off  
Which wire goes where? How to make your cars go forward without blowing controllers
Protection against faults How to limit the damage when competitors wire things up incorrectly
updated November 2012
Power Supplies Battery charging and electronic power supplies updated January 2009 
The resistance of copper wire What's important about different sorts of wire? updated January 2009 
What does this mean on a real track How many power feeds do you need - the facts and figures updated March 2012 
What does this mean to my cars How much more power will your cars have if you get the wiring right.
Design  How to design your track layout - the things you need to think about
Low Power Reduced power makes cars easier to drive/last longer at exhibitions, and to provide a low power club class updated January 2009 
Outdoor tracks Experience of trying to run a slot track outdoors
Exhibition Tips Some tips on taking slot racing to an exhibition
Maintaining Braided Tracks How to keep tracks clean without damaging the braid, and how to repair braids.
Maintaining Track Power How to fix a track when the whole track, or just a part of one lane mysteriously loses power updated  January 2011
So you think you've missed a lap? How computer race control systems deal with double counting and missed laps, and why fastest laps cannot always be trusted
Banked tracks How to build banked corners - updated December 2011
Magnetic traction Different  ways of building tracks so you can get extra grip with traction magnets - updated June 2012

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Chris Frost 

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