I thought I would post pictures of the track I have been working on since 3D uploaded the info on the Coroplast. In case anyone is interested in creating turns in the way I have, I have taken pictures along the way with most of the steps. It was a difficult process and it took a long time and I definitely would change some things, so that being said, I would not do it again(economically it makes no sense) but I learned a lot. So from that perspective, it was worth the energy. I also live in a two bedroom apartment at the moment and it needed to be easily collapse-able because it only fits in our living room when assembled. (I am actively making my wife a saint). Making the tables collapse-able was tricky. The tricky thing was keeping everything stable(the main problem was with the table twisting) and collapse-able(its not super sturdy, but good enough.) I had to re-do the corner because it was not quite the right shape. I will explain more on in a later section. I had access a 3d printer to make some of the smaller files but not enough to make the bigger sections.
1a. I started out by drawing a top view on graph paper of one half of the corner. This was important to get symmetrical, so I folded the paper in half before I started drawing, so that after I cut it out and unfolded it, I would have two symmetrical halves. Make sure to fold it on the central point of the corner.
1b. Then I created the side view on the grid paper. Essentially its the same as doing a pinewood derby if you have ever done that.
Note: Getting the shape right is incredibly important. To get the cars to turn at such a sharp angle, the cars need to twist before they can start to turn. I made this mistake at first and the cars wouldn't come close to making it through the corner. On the second go, I made very careful analysis of what 3D did with his corner and tried to copy that.
Incorrect corner entry:
Correct corner entry:
2. After stacking foam board cut in the shape of the top view and gluing them together with wood glue (this sands better than a foam board glue) I traced the side view on the foam. At this point its ready to be shaped. I used a knife which worked pretty well but not great. I am sure there are better tools to use.
Note: I did not include the side walls in the shaping because it would make this incredibly difficult to shape. I added the sidewalls later.
3. After the shape was roughed in and sanded smooth, to the shape that I wanted, I used wood putty/filler to fill in crevices and other places that were misshapen. Don't use Bondo filler on the foam directly. It will eat away at the foam.
4. After sanding this smooth, I glued on additional pieces for the side walls. Kind of hard to explain, so here are some pictures. I used the foam adhesive for this step, as it dries quicker and can allow to get nice beads in the creases.
The outside wall piece was saved from the initial cuts from Step 2. They are the negatives from those cuts.
Note: If I were to do this again, I would use a hairdryer/heat gun to warm the coroplast so it was easier to shape. This would have made this step much easier.
To have the Magbar properly installed, I had to make notches on the bottom of the track. I did not glue it in place until later.
5. Next, I put a coating of wood glue over the entire track surface and all the foam. This creates a barrier for fiber glassing step and creates a smooth finish which allows you to do initial testing to see that the car doesn't get stuck anywhere. Keep in mind that it is much harder to sand the glue than anything else, so don't rush into this step if you are not happy with it (learned this the hard way).
6. While I waited for some steps to dry I tried to create the track pieces. I used 36" pieces and found that while doing this the side walls would bow out in the middle. To solve this problem, I used heat from a hairdryer to bend them. This works quite well.
If I were to do this again, I would use a slightly smaller length so it is easier to store.
7. Now it gets messy. I fiber-glassed the track surface of the corner piece. I used Bondo resin. I found the tight corners to be extremely difficult if not impossible.
Note: If I were to do this again, I would have made a mold from the foam instead of using the foam as a corner in and of itself. The reason for this is that right where the Magbar meets the track, there is a slight bump because I added too many layers of material(Fiberglass fabric, resin, wood glue, etc.) after fitting the Magbar to its proper fit. This is a problem with the cars I use where they hit the bump, leave the track surface, and flip over all too often.You can see a picture of this problem towards the end.
8. After making adjustments by sanding, to this, I prepped it to make a mold of it. I applied 3-5 coats of wax (Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Finish Paste Wax) to the track surface and then I brushed on (although sprayed on is recommended) PVA (shown in the picture above).
9. After prepping the piece to make a mold, I applied a few layers of fiberglass to the track surface. After letting it harden, I released the mold from the plug.
10. Next I cut the negative of the mold into three pieces so that I could combine them to create a 90 degree turn that also can be a 180 degree turn.
11. This next step was the longest step. I needed to match the left turn with the right turn and the middle piece to both. This required me to use fiberglass-infused Bondo filler and apply it and sand, and apply it and sand, over and over again. Don't underestimate how long it will take. It took me about 8-10 hours. Granted, I really didn't know what I was doing when I started.
12. After completing this step, I applied wax and PVA like before on each of the 3 pieces.
13. Then I fiber-glassed these sections and pulled them out of the mold when it finished hardening.
14. I made adjustments to the new pieces with the fiberglass-infused Bondo filler.
15. After everything matched up, I needed a way to connect the three pieces together. I decided upon mounting foam to the back of the pieces to hold them up. After these matched (right to left and center to both) I drilled holes through which to insert and glue magnets. (again, the magnets needed to match right to left and center to both). I used super glue to glue them in place.
16. After this step was completed, I painted them using a spray primer/paint.
The following pictures exhibit the bump I was talking about in step 7:
I covered them with electrical tape to minimize the problem (it doesn't completely go away though).
17. During the making of this I also made the tables. I took a few pictures to share.
This little device (above) is something that keeps it from twisting or tipping over.
Here is the completed project:
This track works much better with Hot Wheels than it does with the NASCAR Lionel Authentics that I use to race. Hopefully I can find some other solutions to continue developing it.
Now if you made it this far, thanks so much for taking interest in my project. I hope you found it interesting or helpful.
As I had mentioned, I had started to make a corner only to find out it was not going to work. Here are those pictures: