Track Building and BuyingReview: 3DBotMaker 4-Lane Electronic Finish Line

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Finish lines have been a love-hate thing with me ever since I started racing. My first finish line was a 2-lane V-Drop playset finish that lasted me years, but along the way tried several time to make my own electronic sensor finish line yet always with failed results. After that, I tried to think up a mechanical finish line that was easy to make but that also eluded me. Thus a nice, affordable, reliable finish line has been a Holy Grail, of sorts.

I had nothing against electronic finish lines, I mean, that's the ultimate, right? Accurate results with no moving parts and it works for life, or at least the life of the batteries. However, finding an affordable electronic finish line was harder than I thought. Searches found me The Judge and the Micro Wizard, both of which I know are top notch but quite expensive. And to be honest, I wasn't looking for a ton of bells and whistles. I didn't need timers or Christmas trees or anything like that. I just wanted a finish line.

We've seen all the DIY electronic finish lines out there, with many posted on Redline Derby, but I don't have a lot of time (nor skill) to really put in the effort. I think they're all cool but I had to be honest with myself...I needed something that was ready to go right out of the box.

And then 3DBotMaker showed up...

It wasn't enough that he designed and produces a great 4-lane starting gate with his 3D printer, he has a really awesome 4-lane finish line to match too. Oh, and it's electronic, affordable and doesn't come with a lot of extras.

Quick review

  • Durable plastic and construction
  • Works with standard Mattel orange track
  • Great, compact design; portable
  • Very affordable at $60 for 4-lanes
  • 2" clearance allows for tall cars
  • Battery operated with on/off switch

Where to buy

3DBotMaker 4-Lane Electronic Finish Line

I hate to not have a exhaustive review of this finish line but there's really not much too it. It's compact, well built and supports standard Hot Wheels orange track. It uses IR sensors to keep results accurate and true while lighting up the winning lane. It uses 3 AAA batteries to operate and has an automatic reset so you don't have to do anything between races.

Or you can also make your own power adapter and save on batteries. Check out the tutorial.

This is a pass-thru finish line so you can hook up track on the way in and the way out, which I find very handy. The lane lights are also visible from both sides so the operator and spectators can cheer on their victory (or groan in a loss).

And what might be the nicest part of the finish line is the 2" clearance it offers. Other finish lines have a limited height, some playsets even as short as 1" so having the extra height is nice, especially if you run custom races and want to offer folks the chance to build "up" rather than just out.

As of yet, I haven't found one problem with this finish line. I know that's bad to say but again, there's not much to it. It's extremely portable, durable and fun to use. It's safe around the kids 3-year-old has a blast with it and usually even remembers to turn it off when she's done.

So what does this incredibly awesome finish line cost? It's very affordable at only $60. Other systems will run you more than $100 easy, depending on the number of lanes. If you're not quite a "pro" racer yet and not taking your track on tour, then the 3DBotMaker finish line is the perfect choice. It won't break the bank but instantly gives your track more credibility since your results won't be skewed by warped plastic or short flippers.

I gotta say, if you buy 3DBotMaker's 4-lane starting gate along with the finish line, you'll have a great track system ready to go for under $100. And the best part, it's ultimately expandable with as much orange track as you want to buy.

You can buy the finish line and starting gate from 3DBotMaker's Etsy store.

And last but not least, as you can see from the photos, 3DBotMaker graciously customized my finish line with the Redline Derby Racing logo. Isn't on-demand 3D printing great? It might be a little extra but just ask Adriel about some options and he'll hook you up.

Thanks for the info and review Brian!  What a great looking finish line. I'll have to inquire about a 2-lane finish as I didn't see it on his site. 

nice finish 3dbot, the redline derby lettering is so cool

I couldn't agree more! This is a very nice finish line! Simple...the price is right...and it works!

My only suggestion  would be for 3DMakerBot to design a two-lane version as well...perhaps one that you could use with Drag Tracks as well! 

I have my track set up with one of Smitty's  DT-to-HW coverters, then a length of orange Hot Wheels track leading into the 3DBot  finish line. And it seems to work really nice!

I'm also using one of Smitty's  start gates, because I prefer a gate that swings upward over one with a 'pin drop' (Because a pin drop favors a car that is higher, or has a higher frontend). So, when combined with Drag Track track sections and the 3DBot finish, I think it makes for a very fair set-up!

thanks chris...
No problem, Smitty

The finish lines are no longer available on the web site.  Anyone know what is up? Was making a birthday wish list and was going to add this.

I contacted Ariel through here...sent him a pm. I just got one about two weeks ago
Sorry about that. I was waiting for some components to come in the mail. I have a couple available in the store now.

Well that's a bummer...when I talked to him to order mine, he said he was a bit behind in orders then. Maybe he took them down because he's gotten so many that he doesn't want to have people wait so long. The printing of the parts might not take long but I know he wires it all up and everything and that does take time, especially if he has to order parts. Hopefully it is a simple inventory issue and he'll put them up again soon. I'll mail him too.

But now note to all potential/future sponsors...this is what happens when you advertise and have your products reviewed on Redline Derby...sales! :)


Now, I'm not super-electronicly-talented, but I can muddle through pretty well. The only problem I've had with the 3DBot Maker finish line is that it does get through some batteries! Especially,  if you forget to turn it off when you are done...D'oh!

So, I started thinking about's running off 4.5 volts and it just so happens that I have a couple old phone chargers laying around...which are 5 volts...hmmm!

I currently just have it rigged, but it seems to work well. I will post my 'hack', once I have a little more 'proof of concept'.

I just like not having to feed it batteries  :)

good idea c10...
Yeah...that on/off switch is pretty important :)
$2.50 ac ON / OFF paddle switch, plug it between your adaptor and extention cord...
Can anyone put me in touch with the man behind this finish line? Looking to purchase one and see if he has 2 lane finish lines as well. Thank you-Saundo
check past posts for 3dbot maker

The "Buy" link in the top post will take you to his Etsy store, contact him through there is your best bet. Others have asked about a 2-lane as well...not sure what his plans are. He's not the fastest to reply. The 3D printed toys are his full-time job and I know he's back ordered.

Thank you for your reply. I just odered one this morning. He has yet to develop the 2 lane but maybe if there are a few people who are still interested, maybe he will look into it. I also asked him about personlizing the finish gate and he said he would probably not do that as it would take time. I will post some pictures of our track once I receive it and put together. Thanks-Saundo
Just an FYI- Adriel said that when time allows, he will be looking to make the 2 lane finish line, and will keep me posted. I received the 4 lane start and finish line last Friday, unfortunately I have not had the time to try it out yet. i am hoping that this afternoon I get that chance. I ahve also inquired about him making an inverted curve so that the cars stay on the curve and do not fly off. The track I built is off the ground and is a 1/64th scale 1/4 mile track, after the finish line the cars go into the '68 half curves and then return to just below the starting line. The issue I have had is that the cars do not always stay on the curve( they fly off ) so an inverted curve ( would have to be made in 3-4 pcs that connect) could slow the car down enough to stay on the curve and make it back to the start line. Thanks for reading-Saundo

i used to have the cars "return to sender"... hot curves crashes galore... i switched to a johnny lightning [daytona ? 500] set's  180*...[black, 2 piece]... they have a real 90* track angle [center]... as well as being 180* turns... most cars stayed on the track...

Has anybody used this finish line outside? I know sometimes the sensors on some electronic finish lines have issues with outside light. I Need a finish line for a track that I'll be taking around to parks and other places outside.

I haven't but I can certainly try it out for you. I'll report back soon. 

2 Lane Electronic Finish Line is now available. I've had a lot of requests for this. Its based on the same design as the 4 lane electronic finish line.

yeh, baby !
Cool...the only thing I might suggest for future variations is that it is fitted to a Drag track style track.
Sweet! Great addition. He should just sell a Drag Track converter separately

Anyone on here that is looking for a REALLY GOOD, simple finish line, these are GREAT! I have the 4-lane version and I never question the finish!

Started a new thread for the 2-Lane line

We bought one for our 4 lane track for the LJLRC. It definitely is more accurate than the old 6 lane finish we were using although that served it's purpose for over a year. 

The only thing that would make it better is if the spacing for the tracks was a little wider. The fit is tight with the 4 lanes going into it with the 2 outside lanes having a very slight angle the last 12" or so. For the safety of our member's cars our catch box has lane dividers of thin plexiglas, with the cars hitting 2" foam at the end of the box. Because of the tight fit of the track I had to run the two outside lanes coming out of the finish off on an angle so each car ends up in its own bay.  I didn't think the run off angle was to severe but we had issues with the cars jumping the track and hitting the leading edge of the plexiglass divider hard enough to crack and chip it. So we only left the center divider and went to racing only two cars at a time. 

So I'll have to work the bugs out so we can eventually run four cars. 

Yes, the connectors going into the finish put track butt up next to each other, not a lot of wiggle room at all. The 3D Bot starting gate is the same way, but I guess that makes sense so the two line up well. I haven't had any issues with the track being tight but I don't have lanes in my catch box either, so I can see where that could create some kinks.

Overall though, I don't consider that a major flaw. If you're adding the 4-lane to an existing setup it might take some tweaking but if you're building a new track from scratch, you can account for it and have a nice configuration.

How about adding turns for the outside lanes?  Might need stand alone catch boxes and it'll take up more room but might work.

outside lanes jump, two story catchbox...

I tried shorter dividers so they were further back in the box but couldn't experiment too much cause racing would start soon. I'll mess with it a little more next month. I appreciate the replies and ideas, thank you.

In the Cops n Robbers race, I didn't really like the way the cars were 'pinching in' at the finish...I'm running about a foot of orange track from my drag track (using a Smitty adaptor), going into the finish. So, I thought I'd see how well the drag track lines up to the finish line. And, believe it or not, the tabs for the outer lanes hold the drag track in place! And, since I don't care about the outer lanes, I just ground the outer lane dividers off of the finish line, and it seems to work just fine. It moves the sensors to the inside of the lanes, but it still seems to work fine. I'll try to remember to take some pics.:)

Here's the pic...

I might add the center section and outer rail from a scrap piece of drag track, just to make it consistent through the finish. But, I've been running cars through it like this and it works fine.

i can make a thin steel base to hold things down, screw through the raised center divider... let me know !

I've got your Stopper right after the finish line, Smitty. Let me see what I can come up with to hold it all together...that's a good idea, Smitty! :)

Wow!!! So glad I saw this review!!!

I just bought the whole works. 2 Lane Finish Line, 2 Lane Starting Gate and this awesome sounding lane merging piece (I love crashing the slower cars...). All for $70. That's a steal!!!! I'm not sure i'll end up using the gate (I'm quite fond of my current one) but it was cheap enough to be worth the investment.

I'm excited for it all the show up!!

Tobacco Road has the starting gate and finish line as well...both 2 lane.

Awesome finish line 3D.

Any plans to make it for the 6 lane?


Yea, wouldn't it be great NOT to hear "WINNER, lane 3!"
I get asked this a lot. I need a larger printer to make 6 lane accessories.

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