Modular Track Support Structure
New member here, based in Scotland, UK. Like many, I suspect, a combination of Coronavirus lockdown, inspirational diecast racing youtube videos, and a childhood love of matchbox and hot wheels model cars have led me to this site, and I am very impressed by what I have found. Such a well-run and organised forum, crammed full of useful information, and everyone seems so nice! - no hint of the unpleasantness that can sometimes creep in on other forums. Bravo!
With a couple of young kids (4 and 8), I already have a fair amount of orange track and accessories, but have always been faintly disappointed by the offerings from Mattel. So many of their sets are gimmicky and seem to frustrate rather than encourage the designing and building of two or multi lane racetracks. An example being just how hard it is to find a simple retail, standalone two-lane mechanical finish gate that isn’t 30 years old. It’s great, therefore, to see you guys stepping in to the breach and filling those gaps with ingenuity and creativity, and coming up with set ups that realise the potential of these little cars.
So, inspired by all of you, I’m looking to take my track building up a new level. Rather than go for the (incredible) living diorama look, however, I have slightly more limited aspirations and am thinking of building a modular system of curves on a series of small tables of various heights that can be easily taken out and put away and rearranged into a variety of downhill twisty, slalom-type courses. Need to give this further thought, though. Will keep you posted!
So here is what I have so far. The humble LACK table from Ikea. Dirt cheap (£7), very light, and the legs unscrew easily for storage. I bought six!
By sawing the legs of one table in half and sticking them on to another, and stacking two others together, I end up with the following selection of varying height tables, (90cm, 65cm, 45cm, 25cm and 5cm).
Applying some track (a mixture of orange, max traxxx and adventure force) I get something like this.
I'm reasonably happy with that as one potential layout, but not sure how to support the track between the curves or how to secure the curves to the tables. Any support for the straights needs to be easily removable. Similarly, my preference is not to permanently affix the curves to the tables if that can be avoided, as doing so would reduce the ability to alter the layout and reduce the "putawayability" of the set up.
Any suggestions gratefully received!
There are separate issues about start and finish gates but my initial focus is on getting a stable (but non-permanent) track support system.
- Looking great...keep the updates coming — LeagueofSpeed
- Looks very impressive. So pleased that I got my Adventure Force set today! — ghenty
I think the idea and the length of track you have is awesome.
what about adding a metal top to your tables and gluing some small, high strength magnets to the track corners so they can be very easily removed yet held in place while racing?
Another option, but less flexible, is when is started building my track, I started with an orange track the transitioned to a custom wide track, so I glued some popsicle sticks to my surface, and the orange track slid into it. You could have one are on each table like that (or a couple) so you could just swap out what went where, and still have some stability
- Thanks. Some interesting ideas there. Will popsicle sticks really stop track moving around? I can see them keeping a drag track straight, but fear curved tracks move around a lot more with forces in different directions. Will experiment. — EcuWeeEcosse
- I used it as the transition for the entry to my first corner, and all the track was just resting on some pieces of wood, nothing was screwed down and it held fast. — Chaos_Canyon
Curves...fender washers with small nuts and bolts
Unfortunately the Adventure Force Crash Racers banked curves have no holes for screws and washers, and they are quite a brittle plastic so I don't think I can drill them. However, one really good thing about them is that you can configure them as 180 or 90 degree turns, just by missing out the middle two sections.
90 degrees seems to work better for my set up as they are more central and secure on the tables, and weights on the lip and behind (or maybe even just tape) now seems to be enough to secure them.
Can't work out if two consecutive right turns is ok cos its open track or still slightly unfair. Sending two of the same car down the track 10 times led to a 60/40 split in wins for one particular lane.
- 60/40 isn't too bad over just 10 races I wouldn't think. You got any video?? — ghenty
- You wouldn't necessarily have to drill the track either though, you could use a large washer, screw into the table and have it so the edge of the washer pinches the track edge down maybe? — Chaos_Canyon
- Erm, not sure how to post videos as seems you need to post in on an external site and link to it, which is a bit beyond me. — EcuWeeEcosse
- Good idea with the washers, I might use that idea myself — ghenty
Another alternative layout. Two laned left turns followed by two open right turns. I have the option of putting in a max traxxx crossover piece between the two left turns but so far seems to produce some good close racing without. Would like to order another crash racers set so can have a third open right turn at the end followed by a straight bringing the cars back through the middle to near the start in what would be a near figure of eight.
- Like this, how do you join the straights on the Crash Racers sets? — ghenty
- I used the orange connectors from older style orange track, which fit perfectly. Unfortunately I gather they are quite a rare commodity these days. — EcuWeeEcosse
- Any connector other than the round blue ones should work though. — EcuWeeEcosse
- Just realised that at a push you could also use blue connectors upside down, although they will cause very slight bumps in the surface of the track. — EcuWeeEcosse
At the risk of boring everyone, I am still experimenting (all in the name of science!) and have yet another variation, this time just a right left left right layout.
I guess you get the modular idea by now! Although this is in some ways maybe a less interesting layout than some of the others it is totally fair (I checked the fairness by running two evenly matched same make cars 10 times and it was 50/50 wins for each lane).
I also have a new start gate now, which I can report on separately if anyone is interested.
As for securing and supporting the track, I am actually finding that blutack sticky putty and or weights keeps the curves secure enough. As for support for the straights, the orange track doesn't need any as there is enough tension between the fixed curves. (Funnily enough I wasn't a fan of the blue connectors before, for aesthetic reasons, but they do stay locked together well.) The grey track does need a bit of support or the connectors will loosen over multiple runs, but some wooden toy railway bridge supports are working ok for that just now.
This looks awesome. Few questions from a fellow Brit!
1. Did you get those corners from eBay? I've ordered some similar that looked very good value.
2. What is the start gate like?! Seen it online and debating getting it, like the idea of some 4 way racing!
3. Have you tried more than 2 tracks down the track at one time? I'd love to see/hear of the outcome!
Can't wait for the rest of my stuff to be delivered now so I can get a track set up.
- The 2 lane corners are max traxxx. I got them on ebay, although they weren't advertised as max traxxx. — EcuWeeEcosse
- The start gate is the new hot wheels track builder unlimited multi-lane speed box. I have mixed views about it. Will post about it separately. — EcuWeeEcosse
- Do you mean more than 2 cars down the track? Will give it a go! — EcuWeeEcosse
- All sounds good mate, I think they are corners that I have ordered as well. Do a new post on the start gate, defo be interested to hear! And yes!! Get 4 or 6 going down there ASAP! — ghenty
Very innovative to the lot of ya...way to get it done
Your modular table systems seems to work perfectly for you with all the possible layout options. I will say though your latest creation is my favorite. Can you tell me please who makes the curved tracks, or where you found them? I'm itching to build a track of this type and would like to get a few sets.
By the way, that is a very nice room you have the track in.
- So the 2 lane curves are 90 degree max traxxx glow in the dark turns. The open curves are from the Adventure Force Crash Racers figure 8 set (branded NASCAR in the US but as a sort of junkyard demolition derby in the UK!). There are other threads about it on here. — EcuWeeEcosse
- Thanks for the interior decor compliment! It's a nice big room but is our living room, hence the importance of being able to put the track away easily! — EcuWeeEcosse
If you do fancy some UK based racing, please take look at my channel. Hopefully, you won't be disappointed youtu.be/Ym3kiOf_zcM
- Nice. Can't get much more British than 8 Minis racing! Interesting finish gate - what's that? — EcuWeeEcosse
- It's the Hot Wheels Super Launch Speed set that I have just extended the length of. I also would recommend the 3DBotmaker electronic finish gate that I use in my KOTH videos, not sure if he is currently producing it though, it's dear, because it is bespoke and comes from the States, but so worth it! — Kevblokey
The arrival of a second Adventure Force Crash Racers set has opened up the possibility of a longer open track section. Still need to experiment with different configurations but today my son and I came up with this layout. Note the diagonal layout for more of a slalom vibe (although most of the turns are still 90 degrees so it's kind of an optical illusion). The final turn is 135 degrees - a handy feature of the Crash Racers curves being that you have various radius options.
Just ran a simple winner stays on competition, starting with slower cars and working up, but had some good racing. A couple of times even had two overtakes in the one race (i.e. two lead changes before the flag) and was nice to see the cars jinking left and right, appearing to block passes etc. I still like the purity of two lane racing but I must say the open track was a lot of fun.
Might need a third set of open track though as would ideally like a longer finishing straight for even more exciting finishes.
I echo the comments in the first post. I am from England and it is certainly one of the best forums on any subject that I have ever seen.