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VERY OT. 1/32 Slot Cars

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  • #16
    Originally posted by RB211 View Post
    Well, maybe not too OT, there’s some machining opportunities with these things like any mechanical hobby. There’s slot car tracks at two of the cities I lay over in, Cincinnati and LA. Bought two cars, been having a blast with them. An actual hobby I can bring on the road with me!
    I saw a storefront dedicated to this somewhere (Montreal maybe? they like their indoor games there) and remember chuckling and shaking my head, and remembering the old Tyco sets.

    From a machining/mechanical/shop-owner's perspective, however, I am curious about the opportunities for improvement in these cars.

    Presumably the current available to the car is fixed, so efficiency of motor and mass of the car are the most important variables, and those will have long been optimized so that everyone effectively has the same values.

    After that, does aerodynaic design play much of a part at that scale? Do shocks & tire design (beyond just a racing slick from optimal material) improve things? Are there opportunities for shifting the center of mass inside the car to improve cornering? Can a lithium-ion battery be added to the car, and some sort of Mad Max turbo-boost ("It's the blower!") added?

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    • #17
      Ah the 1960s! You have brought back memories of my first slot car track. Cam with red and blue open cockpit E Type Jaguars. Not sure of the scale, but the cars were about 5" long. Buddies also had some but were the smaller types that seemed to burn out pretty quickly.

      I can almost smell a whiff of ozone from the little motors and the brush pickups...
      S E Michigan

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      • #18
        Originally posted by thin-woodsman View Post

        I saw a storefront dedicated to this somewhere (Montreal maybe? they like their indoor games there) and remember chuckling and shaking my head, and remembering the old Tyco sets.

        From a machining/mechanical/shop-owner's perspective, however, I am curious about the opportunities for improvement in these cars.

        Presumably the current available to the car is fixed, so efficiency of motor and mass of the car are the most important variables, and those will have long been optimized so that everyone effectively has the same values.

        After that, does aerodynaic design play much of a part at that scale? Do shocks & tire design (beyond just a racing slick from optimal material) improve things? Are there opportunities for shifting the center of mass inside the car to improve cornering? Can a lithium-ion battery be added to the car, and some sort of Mad Max turbo-boost ("It's the blower!") added?
        Well, people pay extra to have metal frames, ball bearing pillow blocks, metal wheels that connect to axles with set screws instead of the push on plastic ones.
        People also buy 300$ tire truer’s that work the opposite of a surface grinder. The wheel spins, and is transversed across the sanding medium. Anyone here could make those. Also setting plates that are nothing more than a flat piece of Aluminum with a slot so the car can rest as if it was on the track so you can set the front ride height. Ride height gauges are another machining opportunity.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by OaklandGB View Post
          Ah the 1960s! You have brought back memories of my first slot car track. Cam with red and blue open cockpit E Type Jaguars. Not sure of the scale, but the cars were about 5" long. Buddies also had some but were the smaller types that seemed to burn out pretty quickly.

          I can almost smell a whiff of ozone from the little motors and the brush pickups...
          5” long sounds like 1/32 scale which is the most popular. 1/24 is popular with the scratch build crowd. The little cheap crappy ones are HO scale and one scale slightly larger. 1/32 is by far the most popular

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          • #20
            Think I’ll make one of these…
             

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            • #21
              One of my former coworkers custom built his own slot car motors in the 60's. He built his own flux coil that he would use to sort through the magnets at the store, and monitor them for loss of field strength. He would wind his own rotors, and built a motor dyno for testing the output. It didn't hurt that he worked at an aerospace company that was on the leading edge of high performance electric drives and actuators, so there was always some engineering wizard who was willing to help with technical challenges. He also became a hired slot car driver at the local tracks and made money doing that that he then spent on his own full size SCCA sports car racing.
              Davis

              "Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself"

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              • #22
                You need some wintergreen oil to soften up those tires. There's a few other substances too, but their names escape me atm. I knew some guys that used them on bikes tires to squeeze a few more laps out of some rubber. Always seemed like too much hassle for me to bother with though.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
                  You need some wintergreen oil to soften up those tires. There's a few other substances too, but their names escape me atm. I knew some guys that used them on bikes tires to squeeze a few more laps out of some rubber. Always seemed like too much hassle for me to bother with though.
                  The rear tires are replaced with silicone ones.

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                  • #24
                    Funny how things change.
                    When I slot raced the speeds got high and the silicone tires fragged bigtime. Tracks were scrubbed and we went to foam tires with the wintergreen cleaning routine and speeds almost doubled as they stuck like mad. Now it seems they're going back to silicone.

                    Something I noticed from RB's pics is the controller. It's the same one I used over 50 years ago!
                    Last edited by I make chips; 08-12-2021, 05:05 PM.

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