Introduction: Scalextric Track MDF for Slot Car
First a couple of disclaimers! this is my first instructable, and I only thought about doing a instructable on it after i had built it so photos are a bit limited.
That over with, lets get building! Obviously you will need to make the track to suit your room, I made mine with 1 and a half bits of 8' x 4' MDF. This fitted in my garage and gave me the length that I really wanted, a good 10' long straight to really get the power down!
You need to allow yourself a good couple of weeks of evenings to make this, but you will be delighted with how awesome it is once your done! If your like me, you loved Scalextrics in your younger years, but the track got bent, rusty and bumpy and the cars ran erracticly. so I decided to upgrade from all that and custom build my own track.
i would rate this as relatively easy to make, if youve got the tools below in your garage, you wont have any challenges making it!
- Subframe timber - 3x2" stud timber or something like that
- 2 sheets of 8 x 4' x 1/2" thick MDF. (Dont go thicker, or thinner, you will find out why later)
- 1 sheet of hardboard 1/4" thick
- 2 pack filler (like car body repair filler)
- track decorations (fake grass, trees etc)
- 15mm copper tape
- screws and glue
- Silicone (overpaintable silicone adhesive)
- bendy plastic, i used a bit of old plastic tile trim
- General hand tools
- Table saw (optional)
Step 1: Build the Frame and Track
Im afraid i havent got any pictures of the frame that the whole thing sits on, but im guessing that most of you out there will have absolutely no trouble building a frame. its basicly a large rectangle made out of 3x2" studwork, and then i cut up some 3" square posts to make legs. ive raised it about 18" off the ground, and supported it with 6 legs. this will remove the temptation to run across the track to rescue crashed cars in the heat of racing! (which is exactly what destroys the old conventional track...)
Once you have your frame, lay your sheets of 1/2" MDF on it, and screw them all around the edge. you will want to crawl under and put more bracing supports across underneath later, but for now just brace it where you have a join, later on you will be able to see where it needs supported and put bracings across underneath. if you can get part thread countersunk screws its best, as they pull everything down tight, and the MDF is soft enough that they will countersink themselves. make sure all screws are flush or below the surface of the MDF, you want everything smooth.
Use a bit of old Scalextric track to find you minimum spacing for the 2 lanes, and start to draw your track. before i started sketching on the actual MDF, i drew it out roughly to scale on A3 paper, and designed the track that i wanted. make sure you allow for the width of the two tracks plus a bit extra, make the roadway a bit wider than normal scalextrics, so that you can have more fun drifting and getting the back end out on your cars!
Also remember that you are not constrained by the usual scalextrics bends etc! have fun and push boundaries with your design. Allow for plenty of 'drift space' on corners.
At the top end of my track, i created a few switchbacks / S bends. then cut with a jigsaw along the edges of the road, leaving the ends attached. because you have used 1/"2 MDF, you will find that it is easy to pull this piece up a bit, to create your 'Hillclimb' part of the track. Where the track goes under this elevated bit, you will have a missing bit of road that you will need to cut a bit to fit and glue / screw in place. (Dont screw it in until you have routered the track slot into it)
Using a router with a 3.2mm straight flute cutter, cut out one lane of your track. rebate in about 8mm. Keep your bit that is to be elevated flat at this point. I temporarily screwed a length of plastic tile trip in place as a guide around the corners. on the straights you can just clamp a length of timber or something.
Once you have one track done, you can use a spacer, and slide your plastic tile trim into the slot you have completed as a guide to distance off. this will ensure that the two lanes stay equal distance so the cars dont clash. obviously if you want to create a sideswipe point, like i have at the bottom of the track, just take out your spacer guide and do it freehand.
Once you have routered all the track, pull up the elevated bit and support it with bracings. use strips of the Hardboard to create the wall and screw and glue in place. cut an opening for your bridge, and create a peice of MDF to fill in the missing bit of road. Mark it for the slots and then router it before you fix it in place.
if you make any mistakes (like i did) when you are routering, just fill with 2 pack filler and sand flat and then router out again.
Step 2: Paint the Track
Now you can paint and decorate your track. Add braces to make it all solid, and fill in screw heads with filler and sand it all nice and smooth. i just used a roller and conventional black emulsion on the track. it has loads of grip and is nice and cheap.
you will see a routered out recess in the middle of the long straight, forget about this. My idea was to make it a digital track, and you can see the digital lane change piece in some pictures, however this didnt work, it seems that the copper tape dosent carry current properly or something to make the digital setup work, as the cars didnt run smoothly using digital power setup. Stick with Classic or Sport controls.
Step 3: Create the Power Strip
Using the 15mm copper tape, lay this along the top of the slot, and then slice it with a knife and push into the groove, it dosent really bend so on corners you will need to do it in little straight bits. The copper tape has conductive adhesive so the continuity is maintained. you can trim off the messy bits with a knife later.
Drill holes a few millimeters to each side of the track slot, just big enough to put a little wire thru, and bare the ends of the wire back about an inch. spread the bare wires out and tape down with copper tape. Depending on how big your track is, make several of these power supply points. My track is about 40 feet long, and I did 2 power points. take care not to mix up the polarity of the two sides of the track. However, its all only 15 - 16Volt, so if you get it wrong you wont blow yourself up :)
Glue the wires in place underneath so they cant get tugged out, and bring them back to your power supply. a good power supply to use is the old fashioned black box type with the screw terminals.
Use the "tape a bit, test a bit, have a bit of fun" method to make sure everything works as you go around your track.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Track
Now the best bit, get racing! do plenty of testing, this will let you see where you need to allow extra drift room on the bends, where to put barriers etc. i used standard Scalextrics barriers, and just drilled holes in the MDF and stuck them in. works a treat and very easy. also diorama trees and grass etc are easy to get online.
the track is so smooth with no joining bumps that it makes racing 10X funner than original scalextrics. the hillclimbs etc are really smooth, and the wider track lets you take bends faster. serious fun!
You can see i converted my failed Digital crossover rebate into another little bump. its also very easy to do repairs or adaptations at a later date, and i have plans to develop it even further to make a longer track soon!
I would recommend that you get yourself some drift cars, the ones that can do 360 spins... a lot of fun with these as there is so much space to do full 360 doughnuts and race the track both ways!
Participated in the
2 years ago
Impressive! Looks like loads of fun : )