Transition for wooden track??

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Transition for wooden track??

Post by 1ne-2wo-3hree » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:34 am

Hello, I would like to build a Pinewood Derby race track for my local scout group. I have done most of the research, indeed much of it from this very site and it's references. I can't, however, decide/determine how steep the transition should be (for a wooden track), between the inclined and straight sections of track. Shallow or steep? I note that many aluminium tracks, which are considered to be fast, have quite steep inclined sections running into a short curve before they hit the flat. Inclined section on most wooden tracks on the other hand tend to be one long gradual curve running into the flat. My thinking is, what is gained on the incline is lost on the flat. If this is true and I were to use a sharp incline and small curvature would I be in danger of ending up with a slow track? Any advice as to what I need for my build would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

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Re: Transition for wooden track??

Post by Speedster » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:45 pm

You're going to have a fast track no matter what you decide. The original tracks were Circular Arc simply because they bend when you lifted one end and set the start end to 4 feet high. "Best" track has an inclined track where the start section is straight, a quick machined curve, and then the rest of the sections are straight. I think it would be much easier to build a Circular Arc track if using wood. If you are determined to duplicate the "Best" track, you might consider buying the curved section from "Best" track and then build straight wood sections to attach to it.
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Re: Transition for wooden track??

Post by gpraceman » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:20 pm

Glad to get another UK member on board. :thumbup:

Personally, I would try to match the curve of the Micro Wizard track, not the Best Track, since you are building a wooden track. There's only so curvy that you can get with plywood and still be able to store the track flat and the Best Track curve its rather too aggressive. On a MW track, the first section, before the 2nd section is attached, is about a 25 degree slope. When the 2nd section is attached, then you get a natural curve induced. The start gate doesn't end up so high that kids could not stage their own cars on the starting line.

Here's another set of plans to consider. It has a good start gate design and some good photos. Though, I would make the stop section longer and put rubber "non-skid" strips along the top to help the cars come to a stop on their belly.

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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Re: Transition for wooden track??

Post by bracketracer » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:31 am

I built a track using the plans Randy referenced a few years ago. Only thing I didn't like about it was the start gate. It's hinged like a trap door so the start pins pull down instead of rotating forward. It really favors cars that sit higher. Since the track was already built, I decided to modify the existing gate with a second set of hinges and springs. It worked, but if I had it to do over again I would use a different, rotating style gate from the beginning. I couldn't find a latch like was shown in the plans so I used a gate latch and was able to attach an electric release.
I agree with Randy on the stop section, I made mine as a separate bolt-on piece and longer and cut runners from non-skid shelf liner so the cars didn't have to hit the foam at the end. I started the non-skid liner right after the finish line before the guide rails begin to rise and then continued it on the next track section so the car would slow gently.

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