Freedom Track Mods

Discussions on buying, building or rehabbing a race track. Topics like plans, materials, tools, construction, finishing, commercially available tracks, and so on.
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gpraceman
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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:55 am

knotthed,

I think that I understand what you were trying to say. I still would not be inclined to drill into the track. Not just for fear of messing up the track, but also for aesthetics of not having unused holes in the lanes.

asatxj,

$50 doing all that for a rental. You are quite generous!


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:43 pm

I added Mods 4 thru 7 to my original post.


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:29 am

I added Mod 8 to my original post.


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:33 pm

I ran my first race tonight with the modified start gate and it works so much more smoothly. It did not take much effort to trip the gate. I did end up moving the handle to the bottom of the trip lever, as that was more comfortable and it is easier for the kids to access. The only issue with the handle is that the gate no longer fits in the storage crate. I have to put into my gear box instead.

The gate was also easier to mount to the track with the self-clinching nuts installed.

Image

asatxj was asking for more photos of the start section mod, so here's a couple. I trimmed off the excess from the crossbar, so it looks more like the original, only shorter.

Image

Image


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by Stan Pope » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:13 pm

I'd like to see more improvement in the start gate release. On a 3-lane track, pressing the lever laterally toward the track to release the gate causes some sideways motion of the track. The amount of motion depends on the amount of force applied to the lever.

To minimize the effect, I place my index finger on the lever pivot screw and, holding it as still as I can, apply force with my thumb near the end of the lever. Better, but still not optimum.


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:19 pm

Stan Pope wrote:I'd like to see more improvement in the start gate release. On a 3-lane track, pressing the lever laterally toward the track to release the gate causes some sideways motion of the track. The amount of motion depends on the amount of force applied to the lever.
I would like to see a new design to the start gate. Have a trip handle that you pull back or push forward. I've been trying to think of a way to do that without redesigning the whole start gate.


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by asatxj » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:44 pm

I guess I am generous. :)
I used some rivet nuts on the startgate mount. it worked great. I may investigate changing the front support but I don't have time in the next month.


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by bracketracer » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:53 pm

gpraceman wrote:I would like to see a new design to the start gate. Have a trip handle that you pull back or push forward. I've been trying to think of a way to do that without redesigning the whole start gate.
I'm not familiar with how the Freedom track gate operates. From the picture, it looks like the handle is just a flat bar? Could you make a new handle in an "L" shape (one leg would be under the gate like it is now and the other leg would be perpendicular to the track) so you would pull back to make it release? Is there any bearing in there or does it just slide metal on metal?

EDIT- I just went and looked at the instructions on Microwizard's site. It looks like it is just a flat bar with a vinyl cover on each end. I guess they were counting on the cover to act as a slide?



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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:05 pm

bracketracer wrote:I'm not familiar with how the Freedom track gate operates. From the picture, it looks like the handle is just a flat bar? Could you make a new handle in an "L" shape (one leg would be under the gate like it is now and the other leg would be perpendicular to the track) so you would pull back to make it release? Is there any bearing in there or does it just slide metal on metal?
There are some photos of start gate on the first page of this thread. Below is one from Micro Wizard's photo album. They have the rubber cover on the end of the trip lever slide along the metal of the start gate. I replaced that with a nylon pin in a mod that I showed earlier, to make that movement much smoother. You could do an L shaped lever, but it could still impart some sideways movement to the track. It would also stick out, so it has a greater chance of getting bumped into by someone.

Image


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by bracketracer » Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:10 am

That looks like a good candidate for an electric release. I'd mount it perpendicular to the deck and keep the existing handle just to make it easy. I think that with the solenoid attached to the track it would minimize any shake.

Have you considered adding weight plates to the rear uprights also?



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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:16 am

I don't really think that weights on the rear legs would be necessary. A solenoid can easily be added and would minimize the vibration. Below is a gate with a car door solenoid mounted. I was planning on implementing this on my track. The kids certainly like starting the races and this would allow them to while keeping vibration to a minimum.

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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:52 pm

I added a solenoid start gate mod to my original post.


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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:56 pm

Well, after trying the memory foam insoles to dampen the shock of the gate opening, I decided that the material was just too stiff. So, after seeing bracketracer use memory foam ear plugs to dampen the opening of a solenoid, I decided to give them a try. They do work out much better. They are adhered with some double sided tape.

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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by knotthed » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:39 pm

I used some hole punches to make a washer out of a used milk jug(HDPE) to go in between the release handle and the gate mount for it. That really smoothed up the release handle operation. You can still impart sideways movement though.



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Re: Freedom Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:29 pm

knotthed wrote:I used some hole punches to make a washer out of a used milk jug(HDPE) to go in between the release handle and the gate mount for it. That really smoothed up the release handle operation. You can still impart sideways movement though.
Unfortunately, I think that the only way to reliably and consistently minimize sideways vibration to the track, with the stock start gate, is with a solenoid release.

Here's my latest mod to do just that. I took 5 J's circuit and added in a remote switch, red LED to show power, green LED to show when triggered, and a resettable fuse to protect it all. I didn't need computer triggering, so I left that out of this circuit. An inexpensive 12V car door solenoid was used. It doesn't have a strong pull to it, but it was well capable of triggering the gate loaded up with 4 cars. I'm sure that adding the nylon peg to the release handle to make the handle move more smoothly on the underside of the gate, helped to minimize the pull required to open the gate.

I have used this for two races recently and it performed flawlessly. For each heat, I would call up the racer in the first lane and they would push the button to start the race. That went over really well with the kids. It allows them to trigger the heat without putting undue vibration on the track like manually triggering can do.

Image


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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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