Slot Racing
Last updated: May 2, 2007

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Bluewater Hills

For many years I have wanted to build a permanent routed slot track but I have not had the room to do it. After building a new house in 2005, I finally have the space. Finding the time is another story but it will happen, just much slower than I'd like. One end of the basement is earmarked for the slot track. Being unfinished, there is much to be done in the basement before track construction can begin but I intend to complete the track room first so that I can work on the track whenever activity on other basement areas is at a standstill.

This page will chronicle the painfully slow build of Bluewater Hills. I will split it into additional pages as the build progresses.

Before beginning a track's design, it is important to establish several criteria - one's expectations for the track in racing terms, and also the intended final look of the track. I wanted a fairly large, medium-speed circuit that would be relatively easy to drive but difficult to drive really quickly. I also wanted the track to have plenty of elevation change. And I wanted scenery to be a key part of the final product.

The initial track plan:

I have chosen a three lane track simply because I want the option of having more than two drivers but additional lanes would make little sense as I don't expect the track to be part of any organized racing due to our location (basically in the middle of nowhere!).

The lane spacing will generally be 4 inches or so to allow for the occasional running of 1/24 cars but there may be one or two "chicane" sections on the final plan. The track will be detailed to 1/32 scale. I intend the track to be bidirectional.

I have already purchased 1000 feet of tinned, copper-clad steel braid. I'm using magnetic braid so that I have the option of running both magnet cars and non-magnet cars. The latter is my preference but I see no reason to limit my options in future.

The track will feature an "active" pit lane, whereby cars can be directed into the pits with the push of a switch at the driver stations. It may just be a gimmick, or it may have a use in actual racing, but it's fun stuff to engineer and build.

Infrared emitters and detectors will be located in several spots and linked to a computer, allowing for lap timing and counting, sector timing, and pit stop detection.

One of my key goals is to achieve model railroad quality scenery around the entire track. I'm no scenery master by any means but, thanks to the internet, I've encountered many who are and I think I can use the knowledge I've gained from them to do a respectable job. I view the scenic detailing as a separate, long term hobby, to be enjoyed whenever I'm not actually racing on the track. Two hobbies in one really!

But first... I guess I better get started on building the track room itself!

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