Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

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TimInOhio
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Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by TimInOhio » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:55 am

After a frustrating weekend of trying to tune on my 42' Best track, a thought occurred to me: what can I do to tune my Pack's track so as to eliminate (reduce) wobble for the racers?

I'm thinking these are some good starting points:
  • Make sure joints are tight
    Make sure track is level horizontally
    Make sure track is level vertically
    Lightly sand/file joints as needed
Any others?



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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by Shawn Stebleton » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:16 am

I'm not familiar with the Best Track, as our pack has a wooden Piantedosi track. Does the Best Track have a taper of the guide strip on the uphill end of each section? If not, I believe it would be advantageous to put one in.

Read this for a good discussion for what I am suggesting. It explains the taper I'm referring to.

Can someone who has a Best Track let those of us without a Best Track know if it has or does not have a taper? My son's district race is this Saturday and I think a Best Track will be used. One has been borrowed the last 3 years, but wooden tracks were used the 3 years prior. Not exactly sure what to expect. It's hosted by the neighboring district with a track borrowed from a pack in their area.


Shawn

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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by TimInOhio » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:24 am

Shawn Stebleton wrote:I'm not familiar with the Best Track, as our pack has a wooden Piantedosi track. Does the Best Track have a taper of the guide strip on the uphill end of each section? If not, I believe it would be advantageous to put one in.

Read this for a good discussion for what I am suggesting. It explains the taper I'm referring to.

Can someone who has a Best Track let those of us without a Best Track know if it has or does not have a taper? My son's district race is this Saturday and I think a Best Track will be used. One has been borrowed the last 3 years, but wooden tracks were used the 3 years prior. Not exactly sure what to expect. It's hosted by the neighboring district with a track borrowed from a pack in their area.
I am pretty sure that there is no guide rail taper on the Best track - but I will have to double check. Thanks for pointing that out.



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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by Shawn Stebleton » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:35 am

I agree on the other points, too. A visual check to see if everything looks straight is a quick check. I'm thinking this could be a situation for which Stan suggested taking a block and sliding it along the rail edges across each joint. If it "catches" then the joint would have to be addressed (realigned, fixed, etc.). Each edge (two per lane) would have to be checked in this way.

I use a level for checking both along the track and across the track. I think across the track is more important. If it is equal everywhere, then any rise/fall will be equal among all lanes. Our facility has a slight peak in the floor--very noticeable. I try to put the track supports in such a way that they straddle the peak. It's not perfectly level, as there seems to be a very slight rise and fall at that point, but it is minimized. As long as it is the same rise/fall for all lanes, it isn't a cause for concern.


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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by rpcarpe » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:04 pm

The Best Track homepage has good instructions on how to fine tune and smooth out their track.

http://www.besttrack.com/Assembly_Manual.pdf" target="_blank

Be prepared to spend some time on the track to get it right. Last year we set a new Pack record of 9 man hours to get it working smoothly.

EDIT: 9 man hours = Shortest Time Ever!

But it finally ran well and if never moved or bumped we probably would not have switched.
Last edited by rpcarpe on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by Shawn Stebleton » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:19 pm

rpcarpe wrote:Last year we set a new Pack record of 9 man hours to get it working smoothly.
Wow! :eek: I hope that is a new *Longest time* record and not a *Shortest time* record!

I did our Piantedosi track solo in under 45 minutes from opening the box to testing with old cars. And that includes time taken away (about 10 minutes) to address a few other issues. Other volunteers (i.e. parents) were busy doing other setup tasks (tables, chairs, banners, pit area, etc.), and it took about 1.5 hours to get everything ready for the pack race.


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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by birddog » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:31 pm

We also have a 42' best track and we spent only ~45 minutes setting it up this year. I had a crew of volunteers set it up and I let them do all the work (I was busy running the inspection and check in process).

I realized after everyone left that the joints were not as good as they should have been. I didn't think much of it and felt that every car would have the same "disadvantage", so no big deal.

the times this year were much slower than last year, by quite a bit. It was extremely noticiable.

Next year, I'll ensure we take more time to get the joints smooth so that we have a better track to run on and times are more where they should be (so that track records can be set and stored by the software).

I know we built a faster car this year than last year, but on this track setup, our car actually ran slower (and less consistent) times than last year. Still ended up being fastest, but the times were not where they should have been.

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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by Shawn Stebleton » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:03 pm

birddog wrote:I realized after everyone left that the joints were not as good as they should have been. I didn't think much of it and felt that every car would have the same "disadvantage", so no big deal.
Something tells me that the railriders are the ones who suffer most--or at least most inconsistently. If a joint is bad on one side but not the other, those that railride on that side will be impacted. It would be randomly selected by the track assembler as to which kids are impacted. If all lanes are bad on one side, it can lead to some very bad times for otherwise very good cars.

Hopefully, you can be the one to set up the track next time. You seem to know about the issues it has and perhaps how to avoid them. Include some other dads (or moms) that show a genuine interest in making sure the track is set up fairly.

I've mentioned elsewhere on this board that the track should be set up so that it doesn't become part of what to beat. Boys can understand when another boy's car beats theirs. They shouldn't have to deal with the track beating their car. Not at this age.

Here and down further in the thread I and others talk about how to fix some of the issues that a track may have. If your track doesn't have a taper (scroll up in the post) then Stan's suggestion is excellent.

I've set up the track for our Pack the last 6 years and no one has ever complained about it. When the job is done well, no one notices, but when it is done poorly, everyone does. The boys focused on racing other boys, not in trying to beat the track, and that's how it should be.


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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by birddog » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:45 pm

I think I know how to correct this for next year. The install manual actually says to use 2 pairs of pliers and to squeeze the track sections together on the angle brackets to get a tight fit before applying the binders. That was definiately not done this year and I think this is the root cause of our issues.

I suspect my son's car may have been the only RR in the fleet. We beat all but 2 other cars by a full 0.1 second and the 2 cars that were "close" were beat by 0.05 seconds. That is quite a bit. The incnosistency was that we had at least one time that was 0.07 slower that our fastest time. That is quite a variance and I suspect it was due to some bad hits while rail riding.

We'll get this corrected for next year. To be honest, I suspect most folks didn't notice, but I sure did!

birddog



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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by TimInOhio » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:03 pm

birddog wrote:I know we built a faster car this year than last year, but on this track setup, our car actually ran slower (and less consistent) times than last year. Still ended up being fastest, but the times were not where they should have been.
This is the situation I am in: my Scout and I put a considerable amount of work into his car this year, and bought a test track. The car runs much slower (on our test track) than any other cars we've built run on the Pack track, so I am really crossing my fingers that my first attempt at setting up the test track yielded less than optimal results, and that once we get on the Pack track, things will fall into place. :nervous:



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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by rpcarpe » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:04 am

The last time I helped set up a Best Track, I brought the printed set-up manual with me and we referenced it.
Small set-up team, 3 guys, took 3 hours to get the track 'right'. Still had to monitor gaps at joints during race day.
One accidental kick from someone stepping over the track leads to heartache and re-adjustments.

What kind of test track did you get?


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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by TimInOhio » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:10 pm

rpcarpe wrote:What kind of test track did you get?
I have a 1 lane, 42' Best track. Our Pack has a 4 lane, 42' Best track.



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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by Stan Pope » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:25 pm

TimInOhio wrote:
rpcarpe wrote:What kind of test track did you get?
I have a 1 lane, 42' Best track. Our Pack has a 4 lane, 42' Best track.
Gosh! Bet that rascal runs from the bedroom, down the hallway, and most of the way through the kitchen! That should be okay, though ... it is only for a few weeks. Who cares if it blocks access to the bathroom? It is "for the boys!" :)


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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by knotthed » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:54 pm

Wow these Best Tracks sound finicky!

I'm sure glad our pack has a Freedom Aluminum track. We haven't had any of these issues with it.



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Re: Eliminating wobble from the track's standpoint

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:49 am

TimInOhio wrote:This is the situation I am in: my Scout and I put a considerable amount of work into his car this year, and bought a test track. The car runs much slower (on our test track) than any other cars we've built run on the Pack track, so I am really crossing my fingers that my first attempt at setting up the test track yielded less than optimal results, and that once we get on the Pack track, things will fall into place. :nervous:
Well, I see that the test track and pack track should perform comparably.

And you can not see any reason on the test track why its times are slow. If you did, we would not be talking.

So, how did it perform on the alignment table? What did you do on the alignment table to prove that the car was ready for on-track testing?
== Did you prove rear end alignment?
== Did you prove rear wheels off the rail?
== Did you prove planned DFW toe?

If you didn't do all those things, take it back to the alignment table and prove 'em. Bet one of them shows a significant problem ... and not the third! :)


Stan
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