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Alternative Track Construction Material

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Ok, this will probably sound stupid but I'll press on anyway...

My track build is going to involve some undulations and track height changes including a cork screw descent.

My concern is that I don't think I'll be able to get mdf of suitable thickness to behave the way I want it to in the areas requiring it to change in 2 directions. (ie: height and turning at the same time)

My idea was to use high density foam - similar to those sponge rubber mats you walk on to stop your feet hurting.

Fairly sure the router bit will melt it so may have to cut with a blade instead.

Thoughts?


A wise man once said... "Its not the mistakes you make , its how you respond to them that matters."

(It wasn't me)

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I too have thought of alternative ideas. I'd like to use Perspex for an overpass. Dunno if I will though.

 

Not sure foam would be a way to go as you would have too much grip and I doubt you would get a good / consistent slot by cutting.

As it is going to be twisty with dramatic changes in elevation a router would not give a consistent slot depth if another flexible material was used.

 

Have you thought about trying 3mm MDF and layering.

 

The idea would be to create a full base layer or two, probably two glued together once the first is fixed in place

Then create 3 more layers but cut into two widths (for single lane rally circuit) following the same pattern as the base but only 50mm (nominal) wide each.

You could then glue them in place one at a time on either side leaving a 3mm gap in the middle.

 

Once finished you could use a dremel tool to remove any lips in the slot between layers.


Cheers Grant

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You might also be surprised how much movement you can get in MDF if heated with a hot air gun ... might be worth having a go with some off cuts applying heat on 1 side to see how much movement you can get and if not enough try the other side. you probably know a sheet of MDF will start to curl by itself if left in the sun..

 

Another option might be using an MDF polystyrene sandwich type construction. If you use thin-line MDF on each side of poly (glues well with PVA) it's a pretty strong construction technique although it would have to be glued in shape 'cos you won't move it much after it's dried.


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I have a bit of scrap foam I could practice on with some copper tape.

@ ZeGas - I had actually considered exactly this idea as I have access to an unlimited supply of 3mm mdf. - very happy to have it confirmed.

@ Wobble - polystyrene is also a material I have a lot of - in sheet form too. I hadn't considered the sandwich idea but can see how this could work.

Thank you both.


A wise man once said... "Its not the mistakes you make , its how you respond to them that matters."

(It wasn't me)

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I believe that Embs partner routed his single lane track in place.

Also, under cutting the track will assist with the bending, as will water and or heat.

Lastly, take it a little at a time. Mdf will bend a long way over time, but will snap if done too fast.

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Andrew bent my corkscrew (200mm inner curve) 200mm down on a jig using 12mm MDF. Left it sitting a couple of weeks and gradually adjusted the stretch. No undercut, heat or water. (These risk warping the board).

I wouldn't use foam - can't get it stuff enough to retain shape.

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I think I read on oldslotracer.com to do something like a corkscrew undulation, they cut the mdf to the width of the lanes plus sliding room. On the underside grooves are routed about 1/2 inch apart edgewise, the depth just shy of the bottom of the slots for the guide.

This allowed for a bit of flex and then screwed down to the supports.

 

Chris.


Late Model

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I have found that the kerfing on the bottom is not required if you take your time bending the MDF, and it weakens the material.

Cutting to correct width does make things easier.

 

I agree, just take your time and tweek a little bit every day until you reach the desired effect.


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