Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Great Experiment...the next big step

I told you there was a reason for the sparse posts the last year or so, been wanting to put this up but really had to wait to get to this point to do it. Waaay back on 11-6-09 I posted about the toy train layout we built for the kids and I hinted at the next thing: giant slot car track. You may have guessed by the video in the post a few days ago that we finally finished it. Well, finished is a relative word. I don't think this sort of stuff ever really reaches a 'final' finish, you just reach stages of 'that's it for now' finished. The last thing you want something like this to turn into is 'work'. That takes all the fun out of it.

First thing we had to do was get the Cave cleaned out...over the last few years since building it everyone and their dog had been 'say..mind if I store some stuff down there for a week or two?' which turned into a month or two then finally a year or seven. Issued the ultimatum in the summer of '09: you want your crap, come and get it or get it off the curb. Once we got a nice open space to work with
is was time to finish the floor
The trains were added next
(still love the site of these in the dark)
Then it was time cover the trains and build a grid for the slot car track. We decided on HO scale (about the size of Hot Wheels cars but with motors) since that's what I have collected most of my life

Thanks the Lord for table saws, electric miter saws and air nailers. Had to leave a gap behind the grid so we could get in when a car came off. After experimenting with various elevation changes we decided on a final layout, cut a roadbed out of some donated pegboard (thanks Chris!) for the track to rest on, bought a good power supply and wired everything up temporarily then ran it that way for sevearl months to make sure this was the design we wanted before nailing things down a little more permanently. Decided not to cover the grid with plywood because of expense (that stuff is really expensive) and also wanted to keep the weight down and make it easier to run permanent wiring later on.

After about 6 or seven months I hooked up with group of local guys that go to a commercial track every Friday and race. Each year they do a series where once a month they go to different guy's houses and race. Got my GS and SIL hooked on it and next thing we knew last August we were agreeing to host the final series race for 2011 in December. That meant we had 12 weeks to take sheets of Styrofoam glued to the grid in some areas; layered to make terrain changes in others & rasped down to even the slopes; wads of paper covered with masking tape to make rolling hills in still others; all covered wtih plaster cloth and painted to look like the Rocky Mountains from the video in the previous post; install a timing system on the old PC and run it to the flat screen we bought for the back wall (and run cable and blue-ray for 'guys nights' while we were at it); add some checkered flag skirding around the whole thing to turn THIS
into THIS
We did add a 1.5' extention to the middle section so we could build our drivers stations, moved the side straight out to the wall by 15" and built a 12'x5' platform over the trains to protect them and give work space on top for when we have everyone over. Each lane is 105.6 feet in length and has the same number of left/right turns. On the old T-Jet HO cars from the '60's it takes about 16 seconds to make a lap but with the new A/FX Mega G magnet cars that get's cut to about 7 seconds. Every raceway needs a name so we decided to name this one (what else?) THE BEAST. So on 12-10-11 we had our series final race. There were about 20 people there. We managed to get some slot car parts makers from around the country to donate door prizes and had enough for everyone to walk away with several extras. Everyone seemed to have a good time

Our next big race is scheduled for September 8th. Place is a complete mess right now, have to get busy cleaning it up! Well, not sure if this is of much interest to the general population but at least now you know why I have been MIA much of the last year or two. That's the next step...boost the wireless to reach from the house down to the cave so I can stay in touch a little better (since my Beautiful Wife has gotten on FaceBook I don't get as much time online at home as I used to). My 'train' invitation still stands: If any of you are ever in the Dallas area get in touch! Come by! We can run trains, race cars and who knows...might even find something cold and tasty in the fridge!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

#9: Update

I've been terrible for not posting the last year or so. No excuse for it...well, maybe a reason, more on that tomorrow. Forgot to post that GC #9 arrived safe and sound on 9-15-11. She is growing like a weed, sweetest thing in the world and, needless to say, has Grandpa wrapped around her little finger:

Breck Amber:

So far she and Sissy are getting along great:

It boggles my mind how much each of them look like their mother and aunt at the same ages, then I see pictures of their dad at the same age and I see them just as much in him. Really neat how 'fearfully and wonderfully made' we all are.


NO ONE... gonna' mess with my girl


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Texas Slot Cars -

Texas Slot Cars -

This is what I've been up to the last year or so. The last track picture in the link above (the one that looks like this Coors Light commercail) is the track my son in law and grandson helped me build...believe has earned it's name: THE BEAST