Best Track Mods

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

Post by bracketracer » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:52 am

I had purchased BestTrack's leveling kit when I bought my track but I had to modify the kit to compensate for my uneven basement floor. There's a floor drain and the floor is sloped towards the drain so I had to add some extensions to the feet in the middle of the room. I made them about 6" long so I can vacuum underneath while the track is up. The problem is when I take the track to a venue with a flat floor, I didn't want to have to readjust the feet for the flat floor and then have to relevel when I got home. So I made a second set of feet that are marked for location and pre-adjusted for a flat floor. Tried to keep it on the cheap so I used some 1/4-20 coupler nuts, jam nuts, and white plastic leveling feet. I needed 38 of the feet because I also placed a 1" x 1" x 14" aluminum angle at the halfway point of each straight section of track. The coupler nuts replace the outermost nuts at each track connector and stay on the track all the time. I put two jam nuts on each leveling foot so I can lock in the adjustment.

Coupler nuts were $0.17 each: https://www.mcmaster.com/#90264a435/=18b4909

White plastic feet were $1.68 for a 4 pack: https://www.mcmaster.com/#23015t82/=18b4drc

Jam nuts were $3.83 for a box of 100: https://www.mcmaster.com/#94846a029/=18b4ez6

Image

I know BestTrack says you don't need the levelers if you're on a flat floor but I didn't want to risk marring the venue's floor and I don't use the padded binder clips to join the track, I drilled for thumb screws and wing nuts instead.



bobcatbrown520
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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by bobcatbrown520 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:19 pm

bracketracer wrote:I had purchased BestTrack's leveling kit when I bought my track but I had to modify the kit to compensate for my uneven basement floor. There's a floor drain and the floor is sloped towards the drain so I had to add some extensions to the feet in the middle of the room. I made them about 6" long so I can vacuum underneath while the track is up. The problem is when I take the track to a venue with a flat floor, I didn't want to have to readjust the feet for the flat floor and then have to relevel when I got home. So I made a second set of feet that are marked for location and pre-adjusted for a flat floor. Tried to keep it on the cheap so I used some 1/4-20 coupler nuts, jam nuts, and white plastic leveling feet. I needed 38 of the feet because I also placed a 1" x 1" x 14" aluminum angle at the halfway point of each straight section of track. The coupler nuts replace the outermost nuts at each track connector and stay on the track all the time. I put two jam nuts on each leveling foot so I can lock in the adjustment.

Coupler nuts were $0.17 each: https://www.mcmaster.com/#90264a435/=18b4909

White plastic feet were $1.68 for a 4 pack: https://www.mcmaster.com/#23015t82/=18b4drc

Jam nuts were $3.83 for a box of 100: https://www.mcmaster.com/#94846a029/=18b4ez6

Image

I know BestTrack says you don't need the levelers if you're on a flat floor but I didn't want to risk marring the venue's floor and I don't use the padded binder clips to join the track, I drilled for thumb screws and wing nuts instead.
This is my next planned mod. We use 1" c clamps to join our sections together. As such we have to have our leveling feet almost all the way out to have enough clearance underneath for them to fit. This of course makes precise leveling challenging because we don't have much levelling adjustment left to play with. I have also thought about placing the extra pieces of flat bar across the middle of each section. Has that made any noticable difference in consistency of your track?

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bracketracer
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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by bracketracer » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:57 am

It makes the track noticeably sturdier when you're wiping it down, but I can't say it made the track any more consistent. Even if the track sections have a little sag on the long spans, it doesn't change from run to run so the times shouldn't really change either. I did use aluminum angle stock for the extra bracing, not flat bar. I think the angle would be stiffer in the right direction than flat bar. That, and my OCD needed all the supports to look the same so I used the same size angle that BestTrack used! lol
I think the main things to work on to have a consistent track are the smoothness of the track joints, the leveling (in both directions), the start gate, and definitely the start switch. If you can keep from removing the gate and switch from the track and do a good job leveling during set up, I think you'll see consistent times from venue to venue. I use a digital level and a laser cross level along with a wooden block as a "grade rod" for set up.



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gpraceman
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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:16 am

bracketracer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:57 am
Even if the track sections have a little sag on the long spans, it doesn't change from run to run so the times shouldn't really change either.
...
I think the main things to work on to have a consistent track are the smoothness of the track joints, the leveling (in both directions), the start gate, and definitely the start switch.
In helping with the Ford Fast Track races for Girl Scouts, I was rather shocked to see the amount of sag in the track sections. I noticed it when trying to level the tracks. I had to give up on the length-wise leveling and just level the tracks from side to side.
bracketracer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:57 am
If you can keep from removing the gate and switch from the track and do a good job leveling during set up, I think you'll see consistent times from venue to venue.
I recommend removing the start switch any time the track is removed. Just mark the switch position under the track, so it can be reinstalled, in its proper place, the next time the track is used. This is for two reasons, 1) the switch assemblies can too easily get broken and 2) keeping the switch with the timer makes it so you can test the timer with race management software without having to get the track out of storage.

On the two tracks used for this season's Ford races the start switch assemblies had to be repaired, as both reset switches were broken in half. Makes me wonder how much an issue that is when Best Track offers replacement reset switches right on their website. This repair does require a soldering iron and solder to do.


Randy Lisano
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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.

pineisfine
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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by pineisfine » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:20 pm

Wow! I didn't realize each Girl Scout race held in all those different cities across the states used the same two tracks?! Did they ship them or drive them to each venue? I just envisioned two guys driving a U-Haul truck across the United States :rofl:



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gpraceman
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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:31 pm

pineisfine wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:20 pm
Wow! I didn't realize each Girl Scout race held in all those different cities across the states used the same two tracks?! Did they ship them or drive them to each venue? I just envisioned two guys driving a U-Haul truck across the United States :rofl:
Yes, same two tracks. One guy with a big Ford F250 with a large trailer (not U-Haul ;) ) drove all of the race gear from city to city. Fortunately, we had storage crates made to protect the tracks from all of that traveling and handling.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

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.

pineisfine
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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by pineisfine » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:47 pm

That's impressive! I'm glad the guy didn't have to drive across the States in a U-Haul truck...I drove in one for just three hours once, and felt so rattled that I could barely walk straight when I got out! :eek:



bracketracer
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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by bracketracer » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:04 pm

gpraceman wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:16 am

bracketracer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:57 am
If you can keep from removing the gate and switch from the track and do a good job leveling during set up, I think you'll see consistent times from venue to venue.
I recommend removing the start switch any time the track is removed. Just mark the switch position under the track, so it can be reinstalled, in its proper place, the next time the track is used. This is for two reasons, 1) the switch assemblies can too easily get broken and 2) keeping the switch with the timer makes it so you can test the timer with race management software without having to get the track out of storage.

On the two tracks used for this season's Ford races the start switch assemblies had to be repaired, as both reset switches were broken in half. Makes me wonder how much an issue that is when Best Track offers replacement reset switches right on their website. This repair does require a soldering iron and solder to do.
Ah, did not know that the BestTrack switches were so fragile. I made my own gate and switch mount and designed it so the switch is recessed into the track and out of harm's way.



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Re: Best Track Mods

Post by gpraceman » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:03 pm

bracketracer wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:04 pm
Ah, did not know that the BestTrack switches were so fragile. I made my own gate and switch mount and designed it so the switch is recessed into the track and out of harm's way.
The start switch is fine, it's the reset switch that is a bit too fragile.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

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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