What do you do for track storage?

Commercial tracks.
Jeff Piazza
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What do you do for track storage?

Post by Jeff Piazza » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:51 am

I'm currently storing our pack's 40' MicroWizard track in my garage, which strikes me as not ideal. At the very least, it's subject to more dirt there than I'd like. The timer and other, smaller pieces get stored in the house, but finding another resting place for the five 8' track sections is pretty challenging.

I'm contemplating building a case for the track. The plans at http://www.pinewoodderbytrack.com/case.html look straightforward. Ideally I think I'd make it a couple inches longer, so the join plates don't have to be fully removed, but that would necessitate a joint in the top and bottom pieces (can't just use a slice of 8' plywood).

I'd like to hear from anyone else who's built a track case -- has it held up, what changes did you make, etc.

How many store their track as loose sections, as we're currently doing?

/JEP



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stang68
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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by stang68 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:05 am

We have a 3 lane Best track and we built the storage box they show on their web site. It works good for their track but you may be able to modify it to work with the one you have.



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by FatSebastian » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:11 pm

Jeff Piazza wrote:I'd like to hear from anyone else who's built a track case -- has it held up, what changes did you make, etc
Jeff, you will likely find this thread useful. Nicholas had also started a related thread a while ago, so you may want to look there too.

With that said, we built that case for a 4-lane Piantedosi. IMO a case is an absolute requirement for off-season storage, especially if the track is wooden like ours. Ours is an older model with 23" joiner plates, so to leave the joiner plates attached would require extending the case plans by a foot.

The problem with the case plans is that the track sections are a snug fit - too snug to reach my adult fingers around the end of the track sections to pull them out (I must use a hook to lift the sections out, which I store in the case). Because the sections are pretty much designed around being stored in a 8' box, if you wanted to increase the dimension because of tight clearance concerns, you might go with widening the case to make the sections easier to grab.

We made the top and bottom sections out of a much thinner Luan-style paneling (about as thick as pegboard) than what was recommended, reinforced by a couple of extra 1 x 2 ribs. We did this to save weight and money over using the heavier plywood recommended (plus I already had this material on hand from another project). If you use thinner stuff you cannot use the recommended screws. We just used carpenter's glue and pneumatic brads / staples to hold the ribs on the plywood and it had held up nicely so far. We also used one long 6' piano hinge, rather than two short ones, as it just happened to be cheaper in our situation and easier to install.

Even using the thinner plywood, the case weighed almost 50 lbs, and with the track inside it is over 150 lbs. This makes carrying the case by the end handles very uncomfortable. We ended up adding small casters to the corners, and also adding a couple in the middle to allow a single person to "slide" or "drag" the case.

If you are like me, by the time you add in all the hardware costs to the wood (corner reinforcements, handles, hinges, latches, etc.) you may be surprised how much it costs to make a case.

I would also be curious to know whether your track is wood or aluminum and how much it weighs (you can post the weight info at this topic).



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by Darin McGrew » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:53 pm

We have a plywood case in the church attic. To get the track out of the attic, we "fire brigade" the pieces down the attic ladder: one guy takes each section out of the case and hands it to a guy standing on the ladder, who hands it to someone at ground level. Once they're all down, we carry them 100' to Fellowship Hall and set up the track. After the derby, we reverse the process to return them to their case.

The plywood case in the attic never moves. The top hinges, and is held by a single latch. One of the long sides hinges, and is held by a latch at each end. The five 6' track sections stack on the bottom of the case. On top of them, the box with the finish gate electronics stacks at one end, and the short sections stack at the other end. (The short sections are the transition curve between the ramp and the straightaway, and the stop section.) The track is fairly substantial, with side walls made from 1x4 on both sides of each section, so the case is pretty big. Moving the case with the track inside would be a challenge, even if it weren't secured in place.

I wouldn't really recommend either this track design or this storage method though.



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by Rukkian » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:06 pm

That actually sounds alot like our process. We have a 4 lane wooden piantadosi Oars track that has been around for quite some time. It is in a large wooden case in the corner of the basement. It would probably take 2-3 hours to get the case out of the corner, due to all of the stuff in the basement, and I have been told it is really too heavy if you could move it, so we simply leave the case where it is, and cart each section up the stairs across the church, and then back down to the basement area that we have the races.



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by gpraceman » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:23 pm

Jeff Piazza wrote:I'd like to hear from anyone else who's built a track case -- has it held up, what changes did you make, etc.
Our pack built one for their Freedom track and I built one for the Freedom track that I run Awana races on. Both crates have held up well over the years. The pack crate was made to the plans on the Piantedosi (now Micro Wizard) website. It is a bit too snug width wise, so when I built the other crate I made it a bit wider (I think by 1/2"). The only other changes to the plans was to have handles on the sides as well as on both ends and to have three bottom runners instead of two. Instead of using strapping pieces to help pull the sections out of the track, I just got some closeline type rope and made one loop for each section (except the start section). Just place the loop over one end of the track and use that to help load/unload the section from the crate.

Personally, I would not leave the joiner plates on the sections. I think you are more likely to cause damage to them and have to deal with the joint issue on the crate to accommodate the extra length.

I would not recommend storing or transporting a track without protecting it in some way. I inherited a BestTrack that was not stored in a crate and it needs a good deal of rehab. The edges are a bit dinged up and the stop section foam strips need replacement, among other things. Rehabbing that track has been one of my back burner projects.


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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by zeezop » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:16 pm

An easy way to reduce the weight of your storage case is to replace the plywood with "coroplast". A few years ago I made a frame with pine and lined the inside with coroplast. Lid is still plywood. Caster wheels on the bottom. Entire empty case weighs around 25 pounds. I needed two for my track.



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by 3 Cub Dad » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:02 am

I saw a different way of crating up a track at our district race this year that I'm going to have to try.

Instead of the traditional design, where the sections are layed in flat, one on top of another, and it's a pain to lift out individual sections, this one had the race sections slide in standing on their side. (Think kind of like hanging files) The case was built like a normal case, with casters on the bottom, just taller. at each end there were "slots" for the track, just glanced but it looked like just 1 x 1, attached to the sides, to create the "slots". Made it easy to get the track sections in and out, kept the pieces separated, plus kept the starting mechanism form resting on any other pieces. Yes, the joiner plates had to be removed.

3 Cub Dad



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by zeezop » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:27 am

3 Cub Dad wrote: Instead of the traditional design, where the sections are layed in flat, one on top of another, and it's a pain to lift out individual sections, this one had the race sections slide in standing on their side.
3 Cub Dad
I believe laying them flat helps keep the tracks from warping...though doubt that is much of an issue with aluminum tracks.
Before I pack my tracks away I place two straps at opposite ends. I can then use the straps to lift out the tracks, the same way some electronics let you remove batteries. Another option would have the ability to open an end as well as the top.



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by rpcarpe » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:51 am

The burning question in my mind is... Why don't track manufacturer's ship their products in boxes that can then be used for storage?? After we pop for a new track, we then end up popping for a box that we get to build?

Change the sections to something shorter than 8', so they fit in 8' boxes at the very least.


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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by gpraceman » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:25 am

rpcarpe wrote:The burning question in my mind is... Why don't track manufacturer's ship their products in boxes that can then be used for storage??
I think the big thing is cost. Cost of a shipping crate and cost of shipping it. The storage crates for the aluminum tracks are not light, as they hold a rather heavy track. Also, a disassembled track takes up far less space than when assembled. Shipping rates are based on total volume of the shipping container, as well as weight.
rpcarpe wrote:Change the sections to something shorter than 8', so they fit in 8' boxes at the very least.
Well, they are. The aluminum and wood track sections from Micro Wizard are actually about 3" short of 8' and BestTrack sections are 7'. A 8' long crate will hold a Micro Wizard track.


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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by rkibby » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:22 pm

Here's what I built

Image

Image

Image

Outside Dimensions: 96 H x 24 W x 19 H
Inside Dimensions: 92 H x 20 W x 19 H



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by drathbun » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:23 am

zeezop wrote:I believe laying them flat helps keep the tracks from warping...though doubt that is much of an issue with aluminum tracks.
Hi, I'm looking for more information on how likely it would be that a wooden track would warp if stored on the long edge. I built a storage box for our pack track (for years previously it was stored in the wooden box the track came in, after many years you can imagine the shape the cardboard was in) and it came out very heavy. It's also very long, as I extended the length to be able to store the timer and other misc hardware in the same case. I'm quite happy with the way the case turned out, but it's way too heavy to use, and trying to manipulate a 9' long box in and out of just about anything is a challenge.

In thinking about a redesigned storage box I was really thinking of using the vertical method to store the four track sections. I'm fine with that being a "really bad idea" :) but I would like to find something more specific about why, and whether track warping is really something that I need to worry about.

The track would be stored in a non-climate controlled storage unit. Right now it's underneath the dining room table, and my wife says that has to change... :oops:



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by FatSebastian » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:24 am

drathbun wrote:The track would be stored in a non-climate controlled storage unit.
Consider finishing the track if it is not already finished.



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Re: What do you do for track storage?

Post by drathbun » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:29 am

FatSebastian wrote:
drathbun wrote:The track would be stored in a non-climate controlled storage unit.
Consider finishing the track if it is not already finished.
Our track is finished already. My concern was more about the heat. It gets hot in Texas, and temps inside the storage unit are probably higher than the outside temps. On the other hand, for the years prior to it living under the dining room table it lived in my garage, so I guess the heat there would be similar.

I know I store wood in my garage on the long edge and don't have problems. But I don't want to do something that will ruin our track so I'm trying to get some research done before I redesign the case. Thanks for the input.



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