Building a portable scale quarter mile

Astro9r Saturday, 12/16/2023

I'm in the process of building a portable track, with electronic timing. Are there any minimum specs to set up the track to?

My thoughts are to have 3 8' sections;

Section 1 set at 35-40 degree drop to section 2. Section 2 set at 5-10 degrees to section 3. Section 3 flat on the ground with the finish line near the end of the 8' board.i have 3d printed dual lane track connectors for the lenght of the track.

The plan is to have the timing system removable, and sections connected with door hinges.

I'm having a mental block on how to support secton 1, as a short piece of 4"x4" should be able to get the angle I want.

Any ideas?


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redlinederby 12/17/23
Site manager

Granted it's much longer than the quarter mile you're building, this Buckeye Moutain drag strip build journal might give you some ideas. They made it modular so they could travel with it.

Quarter-mile is about 20-feet so nice easy math...have four 5' sections? I'd think having sections less than 6-feet will make it easier to put into vehicles and drive with. I'd start my planning with the limits of travel in mind and work backwards from there...dunno...but share photos as you go, we'd love to see how it goes.

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SpyDude 12/18/23

I would say cut it down to four or five foot sections for ease of transportation. Also, look into ways of locking pieces together instead of folding and unfolding, like using cabinet hardware (or if you're REALLY hardcore, use seat belt connectors bolted to each board!)  Hinges are going to create a problem unless you get them exactly straight and lined up. 

One VERY important thing to keep in mind is the transition from drop to straight level track. The more of a curve that you can make, the easier the cars will make the transition with minimal loss of speed. On a test track, I used a bicycle rim to trace a nice smooth curve, then cut it out of wood..... seemed to work pretty good.

Hiw are you planning to fasten down the track to keep it straight and Even all the way? I've heard of a few different ideas, like using washers or Velcro, but I'm interested in hearing about various ways of tacking down orange track.

As for the timing system, just make it with quick disconnects so that you can easily pull it down and set it up. There are several good options to look at for timer systems.

Good thread. I'm looking at setting up a portable drag strip myself.

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Vulfgang 1/15/24

Im building a portable track using 3 inch thick foam insulation board as a base, 1 inch thick foam insulation board track runners, and pvc support pillars. Pvc supports have flange bases bonded to the base and runners. The pvc slips in and out of the flange bases easily. Track secured to runners with velcro. With 2 base boards I have a 8 by 8 foot platform OR a 4 by 16 foot platform. I will be able to set up a 50 foot mixed track course or 16 foot drag track. I want everything to disassemble into a 4 by 8 by 2 foot area for storage and easy transporting. Foam board is sturdy, light weight and easy to assemble. My remaining issue is diorama that doesnt add bulky storage problems. 

  • thats interesting, pics? I am using pink foam for my supports — dr_dodge
  • Right now its a pile of materials, some garage space and several track drawings. I want something light and portable. — Vulfgang
  • The pvc pipes stick so much after assembly that they rip the flanges out of the base foam when removing them. Im going to sand the pvc pipes for a looser fit. A problem is getting the same fit every time. Maybe The base doesnt need a flange and I can drill a hole through the base so the pipe rests on the floor. The track runners need angled wedges to create a level mounting pad for the support pipe flange. Its going to take time to get the angles dialed in. Im going to do the simple drag track and decide if a portable open lane track is a sane thing to do. — Vulfgang
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