Review: 3DBotMaker 4-Lane Electronic Finish Line
NOTICE: 3DBotMaker is no longer producing or selling track accessories. Use this thread for reference and ideas when designing your own finish line accessory.
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.
I couldn't agree more! This is a very nice finish line! Simple...the price is right...and it works!
My only suggestion would be for 3DMakerBot to design a two-lane version as well...perhaps one that you could use with Drag Tracks as well!
I have my track set up with one of Smitty's DT-to-HW coverters, then a length of orange Hot Wheels track leading into the 3DBot finish line. And it seems to work really nice!
I'm also using one of Smitty's start gates, because I prefer a gate that swings upward over one with a 'pin drop' (Because a pin drop favors a car that is higher, or has a higher frontend). So, when combined with Drag Track track sections and the 3DBot finish, I think it makes for a very fair set-up!
- thanks chris... — model40fan
- No problem, Smitty — 72_Chevy_C10
The finish lines are no longer available on the web site. Anyone know what is up? Was making a birthday wish list and was going to add this.
- I contacted Ariel through here...sent him a pm. I just got one about two weeks ago — 72_Chevy_C10
- Sorry about that. I was waiting for some components to come in the mail. I have a couple available in the store now. — 3DBotMaker
Well that's a bummer...when I talked to him to order mine, he said he was a bit behind in orders then. Maybe he took them down because he's gotten so many that he doesn't want to have people wait so long. The printing of the parts might not take long but I know he wires it all up and everything and that does take time, especially if he has to order parts. Hopefully it is a simple inventory issue and he'll put them up again soon. I'll mail him too.
But now note to all potential/future sponsors...this is what happens when you advertise and have your products reviewed on Redline Derby...sales! :)
- SALES ARE GOOD! — CrzyTrkrDude
Now, I'm not super-electronicly-talented, but I can muddle through pretty well. The only problem I've had with the 3DBot Maker finish line is that it does get through some batteries! Especially, if you forget to turn it off when you are done...D'oh!
So, I started thinking about it...it's running off 4.5 volts and it just so happens that I have a couple old phone chargers laying around...which are 5 volts...hmmm!
I currently just have it rigged, but it seems to work well. I will post my 'hack', once I have a little more 'proof of concept'.
I just like not having to feed it batteries :)
- good idea c10... — model40fan
- Yeah...that on/off switch is pretty important :) — redlinederby
- $2.50 ac ON / OFF paddle switch, plug it between your adaptor and extention cord... — model40fan
The "Buy" link in the top post will take you to his Etsy store, contact him through there is your best bet. Others have asked about a 2-lane as well...not sure what his plans are. He's not the fastest to reply. The 3D printed toys are his full-time job and I know he's back ordered.
Thank you for your reply. I just odered one this morning. He has yet to develop the 2 lane but maybe if there are a few people who are still interested, maybe he will look into it. I also asked him about personlizing the finish gate and he said he would probably not do that as it would take time. I will post some pictures of our track once I receive it and put together. Thanks-Saundo
Just an FYI- Adriel said that when time allows, he will be looking to make the 2 lane finish line, and will keep me posted. I received the 4 lane start and finish line last Friday, unfortunately I have not had the time to try it out yet. i am hoping that this afternoon I get that chance. I ahve also inquired about him making an inverted curve so that the cars stay on the curve and do not fly off. The track I built is off the ground and is a 1/64th scale 1/4 mile track, after the finish line the cars go into the '68 half curves and then return to just below the starting line. The issue I have had is that the cars do not always stay on the curve( they fly off ) so an inverted curve ( would have to be made in 3-4 pcs that connect) could slow the car down enough to stay on the curve and make it back to the start line. Thanks for reading-Saundo
i used to have the cars "return to sender"... hot curves crashes galore... i switched to a johnny lightning [daytona ? 500] set's 180*...[black, 2 piece]... they have a real 90* track angle [center]... as well as being 180* turns... most cars stayed on the track...
Has anybody used this finish line outside? I know sometimes the sensors on some electronic finish lines have issues with outside light. I Need a finish line for a track that I'll be taking around to parks and other places outside.
- I haven't but I can certainly try it out for you. I'll report back soon. — redlinederby
Thanks for the info and review Brian! What a great looking finish line. I'll have to inquire about a 2-lane finish as I didn't see it on his site.