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.
- 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 too...my 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.