Build Journal : Shark Track

pratman2 Friday, 8/5/2022

  This project is a little over a week in the making thus far.  I have 2 young boys who love playing with cars.  I stumbled across die-cast racing on Youtube and thought what a great project for us to do together.  They get to race their cars and dad gets a little more of his big kid energy out as well.  We already had lots of orange track we bought years ago from thriftstores and a Crash Racers figure 8 set from last Christmas.  I have a 3D printer as well to help out.  I mocked up a couple of tracks with what we had and after a few mini tournaments, I decided this would be worth doing.

I'm always on a budget, so I started with building a table from pallet wood from work, which makes up about 95% of the table.  I wanted to have a back wall with studs so I could screw in peices of wood at any height to work as brackets that support the elevated straights.  What I like about this is that when we decide to build a new track we can easily take down the old one and re-use parts.  It got me to thinking all three sides with a pegboard may not be a bad idea.  Overall dimensions are just under 8ft x 2.6ft.

This is in a spare bedroom so keeping the table compact as possible, but also having good speed and as much track as possible was important.


This is the current mockup with (2) Crash Racers sets and orange Hot Wheels track.  This isn't a very original layout as I sort of pieced together ideas from this site using the limited amount of track on hand.  I 3D printed a start gate and (2) SR1 flat 45° curves from Spool Heads.



I will be augmenting this track with more 3D printed parts.  I worked up some pre-visuals in 3D Builder to guage how many peices of each type of track I would need and how well they would fit together.

*The purple piece will not have a divider, I used it for dimensioning only.


I'm currently printing the green banked 180° turn by TBTech which will replace the Crash Racers parts.  I hope this will allow the cars to perform a little better in the first turn and gain a little more speed for the rest of the track.  I think the lane divider will end after the second blue SR1 45° turn, but I may toy with it being the first 45°.


The boys love sharks so I had an idea to possibly try a shark catchbox at the end of he track.  I'm not sure how far i'll get on the theming portion once the track is finished, but I like thinking about the possibilities.  I have other ideas as well for additional features, whatever is built has to withstand the rath of small kids.  At the very least I am planning on using cardboard to "skin" the wood structure once the track is finished which we'll then paint as a rocky beach scene.

Here is a little test video I did in slow-mo (sorry first few seconds are blurry), was able to catch a sweet pass on the back stretch.

Shark Track - Test Footage


Discussion

Track looks great and the cars seemed to run well.

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GryphonSoul 8/5/22

Looks like a cool track. Going to be some exciting races once it's done. :)

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Rusty 8/6/22

That's shaping up to be a Shark,umm, I mean ,Sharp Track!!!

this is looking pretty darn great to me! I love the 3d renderings of the track. I also recently got into 3d printing and will be printing a few new track pieces of my own. I'm excited to design some custom one-off pieces. Keep us in the loop as the track comes together. I'd love to build a car and send your way for upcoming races :) 


  • There are some pretty good 3D files out there, but still plenty of need for custom peices as there isn't quite a complete system yet that I've seen. The SR1 stuff is a good start, but I'll be customizing some of those files as well to suit my needs. — pratman2
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Mike70 8/11/22

This gives me some inspiration to stop procrastinating and build a track! I appreciate that you gave the dimensions as it gives a better picture of the room needed for a build. Keep up the good work!


  • No problem. I think 8ft long is the best place to start with these parts, but I ended up a little short because the pallet wood I used needed to be trimmed down a little due to edge damage. So the track hangs over a couple inches on the ends. — pratman2
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pratman2 Yesterday

Some progress updates:

Finally got the 180° turn printed and it works quite well, nicely designed.


Also got some 45° curves printed.  I extended the outside wall on this model as a prelemenary step to see how bad I would need them to be banked; answer is quite a bit.  I'll be modifiying these and may also tweek the wall angles to line up better with Hot Wheels and Crash Racers straights. 


I replaced all my old Hot Wheels orange track with new pieces.  These 2ft straights from the dollar store surprisingly made a difference.  They also have less connectors and thus bumps for the cars.  Definitely worth the purchase.


At this point I'm mostly trying to solve the problem of the 45 with these crash racer sets (the middle section of the track).  How I wish we hade true 45's and 22.5's in this set.  Here are a few mockups I have been testing.  The other challenge is to keep the cars at a good speed, but not too fast and create opprotunities for passing.  Any tips here would be great.

This one is essentially what I mocked up first in 3D Builder.  The 45's need to be banked and I think the second one needs to have a center divider so the cars open up on the longer straight to a single lane.


This is adding back in the Crash Racers Turn.  The problem here is I had to add more orange track exiting the banked 180° to make everything fit, but even still the peices are not as squared up as I'd like them.  This is where not having true 45° or 25.5° peices in the Crash Racers set makes things tricky.


Lastly, I think I like this setup the best so far, but again I need at least the first two 45's banked and the second one needs a center divider before opening up into the long single lane straight.

I hope once I get a couple of banked 45's printed I'll be able to hone in on the best version.  But before I can do that I've got to get more familier with Fusion 360.

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