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Alternative track materials

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Slot car track works very well for side-by-side racing.

I have a slot car track. Here are some races from it.

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Chaos_Canyon 4/15/20

I have used a product called Palight to construct pretty much every part of my track so far (along with a small amount of MDF). It is a high density PVC foam that is flexible, easy to work with, good surface for the cars and all round very happy with it.

I made a short video on it because someone asked me about it on my YouTube channel, if you want to check it out.

Alternative track material

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redlinederby 4/15/20
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Great video! Great review of that you got me thinking...

That looked in your video that the outside layer of the foam is glossy?? So it's like normal foam core board only flexible, kinda...? And then one the other side is flat/matte kind of thing? 

And from what you've done with your Canyon track...have you just used hot glue to keep everything down, or can you screw/nail it onto a base board if you wanted? This looks really good for making transitions/hills but I'd have a few standard boards as the base structure.

And did you order that from their web site or through some other outlet. Depending on the sheet size, I might only need 1 or 2 so I'm hoping there is a way to get small quantities.

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Chaos_Canyon 4/15/20

Hey Redline,

It is technically matte on both sides. Much denser than normal foam core and there is no paper outer layer. It is also way more flexible than foam core but can be good for solid structures at the same time, when glued together.

You can totally screw it down, that's how I formed my two banked corners, wider than required angle, pulled the corners in then screwed it in place to hold it there. I have also used nuts/bolts to connect sections together as well - just pre-drilled the holes and installed but you could use magnets etc if you wanted. I use the hot glue to put the sides/walls on, add location guides under the track or to make structures out of it. It is awesome for transitions but you have to cut it in the right direction to get the smoothest curves, which I haven't always been able to do as I'm working with what I had to hand, but it still works both ways. 

I'm in lockdown currently so I have cut up a bunch of my photos that I had printed out. Mostly they were ones that weren't selling or had some minor damage on them. It comes in a 1200x2400mm (8'x4') sheet in 3mm then 5 or 6mm generally. I'm thinking that once the track is all worked out and going to plan, that I will actually layout a new full sheet and get it printed and cut to shape as well and then redo it all nicely. The printing would be to add road effect texture, road markings etc. It's also great for track signs and the like too.

Sign writers use it a lot too so you may be able to pick it up there in smaller quantities if you want.

You can read more about what it is etc here.

I will do another video tonight and show some more close ups of the track, the new banked corners and i might even make a camera holder to show you all how it works on an actual project.

  • Nifty, thanks. Stuff ain't cheap...but sounds worthy. — redlinederby
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ghenty 4/23/20

Anyone ever used electrical trunking like this to make a track??

  • I haven't but have seen people use it in video. Lots of aluminum studs or trunking or something I've seen been used too. — redlinederby
  • Hi there, yes years ago I used the cover of the trunking to make some straight tracks at the time. Back then, yeah worked ok, (was cheap as an electical person) but I think better options now days. Cheers. Marc D — CutRock_R_Marc_D
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Chaos_Canyon 4/23/20

The other option I've been thinking about recently, at least for flatter sections of track, is to route out a substrate (like MDF) that way you could get gentle S sections, straights etc, not have it be too deep and be able to shape the walls outward to reduce body rub. 

Has anyone tried that before? I may do a small scale test here this weekend to see if it works.

  • That's an excellent idea. Some 12mm MDF would work a treat — ghenty

I just tore down this zig zag course inspired by figure 8 racing. I called it Pinball Run. MDF covered with vinyl. If you're in my Facebook group, you saw all the carnage unfold as this open track unleashed chaos night after night. The 4 cars in the front were the best on this track and the Impala ended up winning the tournament. I'll definitely be using this material again. The cars were screaming down this stuff.

  • Nice. What were you using on the sides there? Looks nice a flexible but not like it would slow the cars down — Chaos_Canyon
  • Just sticky back vinyl? — ghenty
  • I'd be interested to hear about the sides of the track as well — ghenty
  • I "harvested" the material from a vinyl accordion style closet door. The slats are about 4" wide by 7' long. I just needed to cut them out of the frame. They lay nice and flay but are also very flexible. I used the same material for the sidewalls. Once stapled in place, it's quite ridged. Doesn't slow down the cars at all. The coolest part is the cars leave racing stripes on the sides like the wall at Darlington haha I started out using the material as a base for orange track to give a smooth transition so the seams didn't buckle but then I was like this could be used for a track! — RustBeltRacing
  • Hmmm...wonder if you could use slats from plastic blinds as side walls. They probably cut easily and are flexible. — redlinederby
  • I tried plastic blind slats. They "cup" in them makes it impossible to bend without breaking. But I bet the long vertical ones would work as long as there's no cup in them. — RustBeltRacing
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ghenty 4/24/20

I was blown away by this find on YouTube from 12 years ago! Literally cardboard and nothing else. Imagine the proper racing that you could have on a track like this!

Awesome cardboard race track!

  • Cardboard can certainly do it all, and with all the shipping now you have plenty of stock. If nothing else it's great to prototype a track and then replace sections with plastic as you find materials. — redlinederby
  • I had a play around with few bits today and it makes you realise how good some of these track builders are. I was using Some square based drainpipe which was perfect, but getting it to then transition to other materials was hard, especially in the garden! I think that may be my simple "drag system" for the garden if I want a quick play around! — ghenty
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ghenty 4/25/20

Anyone know if this is compatible with new hot wheels track? It's from 1967 it says.

  • It should be compatible, shy of the blue button connectors. But the measurements should all be the same. — redlinederby
  • I was hoping you would say that. I think it looks quite cool! And it comes with a start gate. — ghenty
  • Well this looks like the Matchbox track I got in my railroad set, and that one is just a bit too wide. Although some rigid 90 degrees corners (like the HW City track pack) I can attatch to the orange Hotwheels tracks with a bit of effort though. Just have not tested them yet. — anonymous968
  • It connects just fine. — MDG_Racing
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anonymous968 4/27/20

I do have the idea to create 'in between segments' using Foamboard to have the option for 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees angles to I can have more variation in a track. And might even be able to rebuild real life track configurations (like the cart track from where I grew up ;-) ). Although I don't know how much that would slow the cars down, I might still have to cut and attatch a piece of the HW orange track to get the ride height right and the flow going. Does anyone have any experience in using Foamboard?

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MDG_Racing 4/27/20

It can help to either cut out the blue Track Builder tab or cut a half moon in tbe end of the older track and make a small hole for the pin. ghenty hope that helps

  • Awesome, thank you. If I win the auction I am hoping I will have enough of the older track for my initial run to the open track so may not need to join the old stuff to the orange but we'll see. It's currently a bargain on eBay so will hopefully get it. — ghenty
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leasecard 4/28/20

From what I've seen and read, coroplast (corogated plastic, in the US people use them to make signs, usually elections signs) is a very commone material to use. There some free to use 3D print files, if you want to make turns and even start gates (

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