Review: JLH Krafts Start Gate

MrFishyFish Monday, 7/6/2020

Hi all! 

Today I am writing a review of the start gate I received in the mail today - the JLH Krafts 2-Shot. Shipping was faster than expected and the base cost was $15 with $4.84 shipping (USD), a great deal at $5 cheaper than 3dBotMaker's 2-lane gate. When I opened the package, I was greeted by the gate in a nice plastic bag. Digging deeper into the manila envelope, I saw a complimentary car. Mine was an orange Monteracer. The included car was not mentioned and I was happy to receive it.

Pictured is the gate with the car. The print quality was alright, though nowhere near 3d's. I also own one of his gates so this review may contain a lot of comparing. 

Next, I'll be diving deeper into the features of the gate, starting with the start gate mechanism itself. It was a little flap that was held perpendicular to the base of the gate by a couple of magnets. There was a tiny nub on one side that you could push down to start the cars. It worked, but the magnets were weak, and I found that once I had about 3 cars in the gate it didn't stay up by itself anymore. Not a problem for drag racing, but for Fat Track, I had to hold the flap up. This could get awkward. 

By comparison, 3d's 2-lane gate can hold 12 cars comfortably.

I also noticed that there's no way to start the gate with a string, as the nub is too small to drill a hole in and no hole is present to loop string through. If you're planning to film your races, your hand will be in the footage. You can also see that if your track starts with the cars traveling left-right then you will have to reach around to start the gate.

You can see in this photo that the gate has two little half-Hot-Wheels-blue-connector things to join track - on both sides of the gate. The cars sit much closer to the "ground" than they do in 3d's gate, which can be good or bad. The lanes are also much farther apart, but I haven't tried connencting the gate directly to Augmoto or Crash Racers track.

The lanes were a little wide, which is good for fitting different/bigger cars, but I found that due to the way the gate works, the lane divider couldn't be continued all the way to orange track - there was a small gap when the gate was down. This led to some cars drifting out of their lane and crashing when the orange track started. Not good for fairness.

Here you can sorta see what I mean.

The gate also has two little holes - one in each lane - for screws to fasten the gate to something. I wouldn't reccomend this, however, because when you flip the flap to start the cars, the bottom of the flap rubs on the surface the gate is on. It seems that this part of the gate was meant to be suspended in the air, but it isn't, and there's no way to clamp the gate to anything so that it is.

Overall, I'll be using this gate on my second track (coming soon to the track directory!) because 3d doesn't make his anymore. His mechanism was smoother, the gate looked better, and it could hold more cars. This one is just a little rough and doesn't work close to as well. The price was definitely too good to be true, even with the free car. I hope Slanman can live up to 3d's legacy better.


Discussion

Excellent review! Thank you.

I would expect that all these 'lil issues will permeate back to JLH Krafts, and continual design improvement will be undertaken.

Cheers again.

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jlhkrafts 7/7/20

I will agree with those observations 100%. There are several issues I have been made aware of over the last few days regarding magnet strength and mounting issues. I am redesigning this system to accept larger magnets. I tested many of them and assumed the magnets I continued to receive were of the same quality. I now see they were not. I do apologize.  To address your specific issue and any others who read this with the same problem I will send you some more magnets to add to the system that will strengthen the gate. You will need to email me jlhkrafts@gmail.com with your order #. The mounting issue can be solved easily with few pieces of paper (cut to size as to be hidden) placed under the gate prior to mounting. This is a design flaw and is being addressed in V2.  Also, you have brought to my attention the tab is too small to drill a hole for string. I am now designing the tab larger and with a hole in it. There will be no need to drill. I have not tried the Augmoto or crash racers track with this yet. It was designed for orange track to start. I greatly appreciate your review and hope that this will resolve the issues you have had.

Thank You
Jason


  • Yes, I ended up fixing the mounting issue with a Lego piece placed underneath the gate. — MrFishyFish
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3DBotMaker 7/8/20

This appears to be based on the MagTrack design which was an open lane track system. Not having the center divider go all the way to the orange track can definately be problematic. Maybe a notch could be made to allow the wall to extend all the way.

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jlhkrafts 7/8/20

Hello all,
I have re-designed the gate to extend the divider.  

I am printing them now for testing.


  • That looks significantly better at a glance. Awesome! — MrFishyFish
  • Great work! — CutRock_R_Marc_D
  • You probly should make an option to order a longer starting gate to accomidate 4 cars. 2 in each lane, but obviously you would have to make the gate stronger. — RIVERA_RACING
  • Also, maybe a lil taller on the drop down gate for taller vehicles. — RIVERA_RACING
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MrFishyFish 7/12/20

I ended up fixing the problem with cars crashing when transitioning to the orange track by placing the cars right up against the inside wall of the gate (the one dividing the two lanes). With careful alignment, the crash rate is significantly reduced, but some crashes still do happen. Obviously v2 of the gate will also address this particular problem.


  • I’d love to order the newly designed start gate ASAP. Where do I get an order going? — Live_Young_Diecast
  • Hop onto his Faceook Page https://www.facebook.com/jlhkrafts — CutRock_R_Marc_D
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TomKeegan 7/19/20

Yesterday I received one of the newly designed gates.  Ive run 20+ starts with it.  No wrecks going out of the gate.  The new transition from gate to orange track works great.  It has the pre-drilled hole in the tab and fishing line works fine to do a remote start.  I also stacked up 6 cars on the gate and had no problems.  


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jlhkrafts 8/27/20

So, the gates have evolved even more. I have added a remote with a 10' cord. I have also provided a 2, 3, 4 lane option.
I have learned from mistakes made. Thank you for your imput. 
JLHKRAFTS.COM


  • Very cool with the remote start. Just a tiny solenoid in there or whatever? But looks like a wired remote, yes? — redlinederby
  • If you're interested in getting an official review, PM me — redlinederby
  • Wow that looks cool! — MrFishyFish
  • Not a tiny solenoid.. I held back 50 cars with track attached to the back of the gate.. LOL — jlhkrafts
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