Introduction: Wood Hot Wheels Track

Picture of Wood Hot Wheels Track

Hi DIYers. This is my first instructable, and I only realized about halfway through that I could use this project to make one, so my photos aren't the best.

This is a simple Hot wheel/matchbox car track I made out of some wood scraps for my son who has recently started to show an interest in them. We really wanted to make our own track, but weren't happy with the cardboard versions we made. Being one that likes to take a simple thing and really dig in, inspiration hit while cleaning out my garage.

There are more ways to do this than my method, see the end of the instructable for some of my ideas on how to do this differently, improve it, and expand it. Comments and new ideas are always welcome!

The total time for me to make four tracks was under an hour.

Step 1: Tools, Materials, and Safety

Tools and materials
Table Saw
Safety Goggles
Chisel
Hammer
Sandpaper
Wood*

*I used strips from shelves we made. Each piece was 1.5" wide and 4' long. The cars are 1.25" wide, so the wood must be wide enough for the cars to fit inside the lanes. The number of pieces you need depends on how many tracks you want to make. I made four tracks on four separate pieces.

Safety
Please make sure you wear safety googles and are familiar with using a table saw and chisel. It's all to easy to hurt yourself using these tools. Be smart.

Step 2: Scoring the Wood

Picture of Scoring the Wood

I used my table saw to score the wood. Because my wood strips were so close in width to the cars, I had to have very thin walls on the car lanes. I measured (twice) and set my table saw fence to 1/8" from the blade. Raise the saw blade so it is about half the width of the wood (I felt that having a nice thick base would keep the tracks sturdy and prevent them from flexing and breaking).

Score the wood, then flip it over and score the other side. Repeat for each track.

After running each track through the table saw on both sides (Would should now have two scores on the top, one on each side of it, sorry for no pictures on this step in particular), Move the fence another 1/8" from the blade and repeat. Do this until you have scored out most of the interior.

Step 3: Smothing Out the Track

Picture of Smothing Out the Track

After Scoring the wood I had thin strips running down what is to become the track. Put the tracks into a vice to hold them steady. Using the chisel, carefully scraped all of these off. They came nice and easy in big chunks because they were so thin. I had a couple of stubborn spots where there were knots in the wood. If you have any of these use the hammer to carefully chisel them out.

*Be careful. If you angle your chisel too much into the wood you will damage it and the track won't be smooth. I did this a few times, you can see it in the pictures of the finished project*

After removing all of the strips, use the chisel to smooth out the track.

Run through the track with some medium grit sandpaper to make it even smoother. This step is optional, but helps it look more finished, and if you don't you may end with certain tracks where the cars move a little quicker (less friction)

Again, repeat for each track.

Step 4: Finished

Picture of Finished

Check that your track is wide enough. If you need to make them a little wider carefully measure how much more of the track walls you can remove and use the table saw to do so.

Place your tracks side by side, prop one end of the tracks up, and start your race!

Step 5: Improvements and Expansions

If (when) I do this again, I would probably use a router table. It moves a little slower but creates a smoother finish and gets rid of the need for the chisel.

I like to find a way to connect the tracks end to end and make one longer track (again probably using a router).

I would also try using a wider piece of wood to make multiple tracks on one board.

Thought about glueing some veneer in the track so the "road" surface is smooth without sanding.


My son loves them. He also uses them for hex-bug nano races.

Thank you so much for reading! Share thoughts and pictures and let me know how yours turn out!

Comments

mchau2 (author)2015-12-22

this reminds me of the laser cut flexible plywood ! Maybe can combine that to make circular tracks easily!

mtokigawa (author)mchau22015-12-22

I haven't worked with laser cutting, but similarly could make a cool intracate track using a sheet of plywood and a shopbot CNC type table.

Robots-training (author)2015-12-05

if I made this my brother would freak out because he LOVES hot wheels SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much.

Give it a try. Really easy project and doesn't take long. Could make a good holiday gift. Take some pictures of you do and let me know how it goes.

swift_4 (author)2015-12-22

If you don't want to go to the router, you could invest in dado blades for your table saw.

mtokigawa (author)swift_42015-12-22

What are dada blades? I've never heard of them but they sound fun. Always love the opportunity to learn a new tool.

joekurm (author)2015-11-12

I remember that as a child, my father made me a track for my hot wheels. It must have been 8' long and had 4 tracks. I pressed the orange tracks between and they fit perfectly. We would use it to race our cars for hours. I think he just used a 1" by piece of wood and nailed some 1/4" strips to it. As you stated there are many ways of making this.

mtokigawa (author)joekurm2015-11-14

That was the first way I considered doing this. However, using the scrap wood I had I would have had to use the table saw a lot anyway to make the strips for the walls, and then had much thicker and clunkier tracks. This worked well with what I had available for materials.

Thanks for the input.

seamster (author)2015-11-11

I love this idea!

I've vaguely considered making some wooden hot wheels tracks before, but never actually pursued it. I love the way yours turned out! Very inspired by it. If you do figure out a way to join them together, I hope you'll update and share your method.

Very nicely done on your first instructable!

mtokigawa (author)seamster2015-11-14

I'll definitely update when I make changes. I'll also post if I make a multi-lane track on a single board. Hoping to get better with my router and then making version 2.

Thanks!

natxc (author)2015-11-11

I recommend looking at how wooden train tracks connect as inspiration for connecting your tracks. Cool idea.

mtokigawa (author)natxc2015-11-14

That's a good idea. I didn't try that yet because I have noticed that the wood train tracks connect pretty loosely. I would want to make sure the connections are a good secure fit to try and keep a small break in the track from stopping the cars.

jmartin94 (author)2015-11-12

Very good you could also attach them to the wall as display shelves

mtokigawa (author)jmartin942015-11-14

I thought about that. We have some paint that would finish them nicely and could put them up to display. It would be a good option for them especially when the amount of playing we do with the cars slows down.

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