Best Track -- "Click, Click"

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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tjwatc
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Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by tjwatc » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:22 am

Over the weekend I was talking with another individual who is very knowledgeable about his Pinewood Derby Tracks. He made the comment to me that he thought our track had the worse "click, click" at the joints that he had heard.

A little background -- we have a 49 foot, 6 lane, elevated Best Track. When I compare the times, using Derby Works, all the lanes are fairly close, (we might have one that is a little slow). When you look at my son's times for the past two years, his standard deviation between runs is about .02

We have set the track up 3 times. Track is in storage until next year. Any tips or suggestions on how to limit or cut down on the "click, click" at the joints.

I figured since I had 11 months before we need it, I might have a couple of days to work on it and get it smoother or help eliminate the problem.

Thanks,
Ted Weber



arrell
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by arrell » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:33 pm

Take the track out of storage ample time before your next race and do some test runs. If after doing some test runs with your track, you can't figure out how to eliminate the "click, click", take some pictures and or video and post on here. My guess is that after doing some test runs you can probably figure out the issues yourself if there really are any issues. Invite the person who noted the issues with your track to help do test runs.

My preference is to setup the track some time before the race (several weeks) and test everything out. By doing this you can also give your racers time to test their cars in advance while you are testing or fixing problems with the track.

This year I setup a track in my basement for some problem solving. It was an old plastic track that hadn't been used in years that someone remembered as being the best track ever. Had we waited until the night before (as has been done many times before) we would have never resolved all the issues. After the problem solving was done, weeks later, we ran the race and everything went smoothly. I would still like to do some more modifying before next year but there is always room to improve.

Another option to do if you have the track setup in your basement is that you can have an "adult" only or outlaw race where some of the adults can get that out of their system and they can help you resolve track issues and maybe pack up the track when you are done.



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gpraceman
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by gpraceman » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:37 pm

Which end of the track sections are the alignment pins installed, upstream or downstream?


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.

idpwdnut
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by idpwdnut » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:23 pm

:welcome: Ted. It is good to finally see another Tri-Citian on DT.

I am the one that talked to Ted about the click click on the his track. After watching his District race, I noticed that it was very bad. It was a step up that was causing cars to pop up at the section joints. Only a couple of cars car off, but it did cause quite a few cars to start wobbling pretty good after those sections.

My track is a Microwizard track. On the joining plates, I have mounted medium density foam, so that can adjust the joints to be very smooth. I am not certain on how to go about that on a Best Track.

I have raced on other Best Track, including PDDR down in SLC and have seen that the are very smooth, so I noted it to Ted.

Most importantly to Ted is a big :thumbup: on running his district PWD. He had a great race and the kids had a great time. Luckily for this area, it has people like Ted that want to get things improved in the District and Council for BSA here.
arrell wrote:Invite the person who noted the issues with your track to help do test runs.
Would love to help out testing and helping.



tjwatc
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by tjwatc » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:28 am

Pins were installed as directed. I believe they are in the end of the track nearest the finish line. (You are making me think). I guess you would call that downstream.

Our other problem from the suggestions above .. Really hard to find a room that will fit a 49 foot track 8).



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gpraceman
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by gpraceman » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:33 am

tjwatc wrote:I guess you would call that downstream.
Downstream would be the end of the track section closest to the finish line.


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.

rpcarpe
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by rpcarpe » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:56 am

This is my 3rd year working with the same Best Track in our Pack. When the track was initially assembled, several joints were not lined up perfectly, so one lane ended up with a gap, and the other lanes had gaps in subsequent (downstream) joints.

Also check for burrs at the joints, when these tracks get cut the machinery often leaves a burr at the end of each section, on each lane. I bring an assortment of files and sanding equipment whenever I have to work with Best Track. Many times the initial setup caused the flaw.


My wife started a new support group... Widows of the Pinewood Derby.

arrell
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by arrell » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:13 pm

tjwatc wrote:Our other problem from the suggestions above .. Really hard to find a room that will fit a 49 foot track
If room size is the issue I would either only build as big as your room and check out individual joints (switching out sections until you find the bad joints) or check around your group and see if someone has a big enough room/garage/parking lot/cul-de-sac/street that works (who knows you might start a new thing). It may not be the exact same race conditions but you will be able to tell if the joints are lining up correctly by visual inspecting them and doing some trial runs with a short track. You might find that you have one bad section and if you can't fix it you can always remove that section before the next race. You can also check with your local organization/church/school and see if you can do a setup on a weekend where you normally race.

Another option is talk to your local scouting pinewood district chair or the BestTrack people and figure out who has a track similar to yours in your area. Their experience with that track and or you looking at thier track might help you understand what is causing an issue.

I would at least open the boxes and takes some pictures of the ends of the sections unassembled and assembled. I would bet some of the keen eyes on here can spot your issue, if you have one.
Last edited by arrell on Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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gpraceman
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by gpraceman » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:17 pm

tjwatc wrote:Our other problem from the suggestions above .. Really hard to find a room that will fit a 49 foot track 8).
So, leave out one section and run it as a 42 foot track. ;)

Shortening the track does help increase the odds that the slower cars will cross the finish line.


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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SirStorm
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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by SirStorm » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:08 am

So we got our Best Track assembled, same type of issues as you described. I even had some test cars jump out of their lanes.

I disassembled the entire coasting section and got out my micrometers. While most of the section guides measure 1.625 inches, about 20% of my track measured up to 1.632 inches. This is after burrs have been removed and polished. If you match a 1.625 with a 1.630, the edge is significant and will catch wheels. Also the top edge of the guide is so thin, to remove material to match the ends makes the guide very thin.

I hand matched the rails. If I could, a smaller rail was used downstream from the larger rail. I then filed to match and polished. (I wet filed with fine diamond files, and then wet sanded with 400 and 600 sandpaper)

Once all the rails matched, I then flexed the wheel surfaces to match. I used a piece of hardwood to pry up between the track and the angle aluminum. If the track was already flexed up, I used another hardwood with a dressed end to flex the surface down (light smack of a ball ping on the end of the hardwood) Balancing the two and looking at the end of the channel determined if I was flexing up or down.

In the end, there are still variances that cause each section to be custom mated to next.

I think this summer I am going to take a carbide spiral router bit and trim the ends to match. One of our staff is a former machinist and now a owns a granite counter top business. We will make a jig and lube the bit and machine the ends. If it works, I let you all know.



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Re: Best Track -- "Click, Click"

Post by rpcarpe » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:09 am

Congrats on getting the track together and running.
It's a LOT of work.

The hassles described here are why I do NOT recommend a Best Track for places that have to set-up, take down, set-up etc...

It's fine if you just set it up one time, perfectly, and leave it there. People that don't take extreme care during initial assembly put burdens on the next folks to use the track.


My wife started a new support group... Widows of the Pinewood Derby.

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