Best way to build a downhill slope

redlinederby Monday, 3/2/2020
Site manager

I'm hoping to rework my track this summer and am thinking about making a sloped track a la pinewood derby rather than a straight downhill. It wouldn't be one long, continuous slope...just the initial downhill into the longer straight like normal.

Just wondering about ways to create that slope and still have it be sturdy without any give or wobble. And moreso, a method that lends itself to all lanes being even on the slope.

Here's an example I found out there...the blue line is what I'm after, just scaled down to a shorter distance.

I know thinner plywoods will have a natural bow to them but (without any testing) I'm expecting that for the short distance I need, any natural bowing in the wood will be less than I want. The doodle in my brain right now is using the plywood but some bungies or something that would pull down the board until it has the slope I'm after. But I'm guessing there are a host of issues with that idea...I just dunno yet.

If you have experience making such a sloped track or otherwise just have ideas on how to execute, please share your thoughts. Or if you see any possible problems with what I'm thinking, please call it out. Any time/effort I can save, the better.



Discussion

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Rusty 3/2/20

Just an Idea,why not consider the corragated plastic boards.The type signs and such are made from.It will bend like you wish and is still sturdy with little support.

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Go_Time 3/2/20

I think your best bet is going to be the PVC stuff thats made to look like wood...its super bendy, and straight.  Its a bit pricey, but you will just need a section for the downhill so wont be too expensive.

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LeagueofSpeed 3/2/20
Event coordinator

You Bulid your frame and then when you screw the thin plywood to the 2x4's...just like pictured above....your frame is the struture underneath the slope in the above pic....build something similar and screw the slope to the frame. 


  • I'd have to cut the tops of the 2x4 at angles, right? That's the stuff that worries me... — redlinederby
  • Not as hard as it sounds...you can use string along the sides of the 2x4's aka a template...mark the boards where the string is making the slope...remove string and cut your boards — LeagueofSpeed

You could consider various types and thicknesses of sheet plastic that are just right bendable, yet sturdy.  Sheets are typically 4'x8' and they can be cut to whatever width you prefer. We actually did what you're thinking before we found the DragTracks systems we use for our races. Those long orange plastic  pieces we set between the two tracks were our test pieces. 

If you could just find a local wholesale supplier they sometimes have lengths left over from big jobs that might fit the bill and are priced right. But where can you find such a local wholesale supplier? 

I got u bro. Just talk to Uncle Bruno if you want to look into that option. 

Check out the Forever Track 

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MDG_Racing 3/2/20

OSD board is strong & flexible

Used it on Htown Hustle for initial transition.

I used this PVC fake wood plank. It worked very well. 

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213Racing 3/3/20

Just a thought, but what if you put thick-walled PVC pipe on top of the 2x4, then the curved board could touch it at any angle you want? You could also cut or sand the 2x4 to be rounded on the end and not have to worry about the angle.

For the curve, I would use something called Hardboard. It's thin, strong, pretty flexible, available at HomeDepot/Lowes, and it's dirt cheap.

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Dadvball 3/4/20

I agree with the others that suggested the PVC/composite boards. You can get 16-18 ft boards in 1x4, 1x6, 1x8.  Yes, it can be pricey but Home Depot has a brand that's cheaper than the name brand. Set one end at the high point and the other end on your shelf (if your going shelf mount). It should provide its own natural bow.  Whether or not it's close to what you're looking for you'll have to decide. It won't cost you anything to experiment with a board at the store. Then just cut your various height 2x4's to fit the slope and screw them into place. 

Hardboard/Masonite and the plastic sheets are pretty flexible but with usually only an 8' to 10' length it can be more work trying to maintain the slope if it's pieced in the middle. 

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