With plenty of other tasks to do the rains have been keeping me indoors. When that happens, I usually play with slot car stuff or hack on computer stuff. This week has been all SR3 construction.
With the table completed, I started laying down the track and completed the oval course placement. Once you get that set, you can go ahead and lay down the road course pieces. While I didn’t achieve perfection with the oval pieces fitting together perfectly, it was good enough. So I decided to keep going and get the road course pieces fastened to the table.
It’s quite an interesting operation if you’ve not done it
before. Brad Bowman’s tracks are tongue and groove, which is really cool. However, you still have to fit the pieces together very precisely. Like a plastic sectional track, you don’t fasten any pieces until you’ve put it all together and made sure everything lines up–end-to-end.
In the case of a convertible oval-to-road course track, you have to get the oval layout dialed first. Then you have a fixed starting point for the rest of the puzzle. I didn’t get the oval to align together perfectly but it was extremely close and I didn’t have time to start over and get it perfect. These shots show the track in various stages of placement completion and the complete placement of the entire course.
The next steps are to set the banking angles of the oval and elevate the overpass section. I may also elevate or bank other sections of the road course as I evaluate the course complexity and funness.
Woohoo! SR3 lifted off from the construction pad today at 4:26PM, Tuesday, December 28, 2021. The launch was flawless and SR3 remained lifted for over an hour without issue.
I really wasn’t sure the system would lift this beast of a table but it seemed to be plenty powerful enough and didn’t seem to bog down with the new load at all. Of course, there’s a lot more to add to the table, including the track, wiring, electronics, and power supplies. Given there didn’t appear to be any stress on the system the only modifications I’ll add are extra horizontal and vertical bracing to the garage joists and some sort of safety straps to prevent a pulley mount from failing. Yea, I didn’t do that with SR2 but this beast makes me nervous to get under for any length of time.
Next step after the safety system is to clean up the table and touch up the paint job. Then it’s time to lay down the precious Bowman track sections, oval layout first.
Hope to see you at the Formula “e” Series Opener January 1, 2022. Please register for the event today!
The wet weather continues but progress is still being made. We’re almost ready to start laying down track after finishing the table over the weekend.
Initial painting was completed on Christmas Day and sidewall installation started today. Once the sidewalls are in place, the next step is adjusting the lift system to the new table size and connecting the monster table to it.
After that, it’s all about laying out the track and getting it placed perfectly on the table. The SR3 table is much larger than SR2 at 16×6 vs. 14×5, which suggested the table sides should be a bit higher due to the increased speeds and velocity in the corners.
Once the track is mounted to the table it’ll be time to wire power, driver stations, timing sensors, and all the other electronics required to run the kind of races we run.
Like SR2, SR3 will support Trackmate, SlotTrak, and Race Coordinator timing systems.
Some new features planned for SR3 are:
Programmable lane voltage: each lane will have it’s own power source, drivers can set individual lane power for testing/tuning of different car types.
Individual lane brake control (Enabled/Disabled)
Individual lane direction control (counter-clockwise or clockwise)
We’ll see how things go with the skyrocketing inflation trajectory but we’re hoping to be able to open the track with the above additional features.
In any case, the new track will support at least what we have with SR2 but with a very cool new layout and the ability to run up to six racers at one time. Not to mention the longest banked 1/64-scale oval track in the western U.S.
Oh, we’re planning on a Test/Tune session this coming Wednesday. Please email if you’re interested in joining us. Reminder: Please get registered for Round 1 of the 2022 Formula “e” Series on Saturday, January 1.
Excavation and geology work has been difficult with all the much needed rain. But construction is progressing and we’re on schedule!
Decided not to use particle board since it doesn’t deal with moisture well and isn’t quite as durable or as strong as MDF. That said, MDF is heavy. Hope the darn lift system can handle the weight of SR3, much bigger and heavier table, for sure. It’s also going to have MDF sides so not sure just how heavy this tank will end up.
The base table is almost complete now as you can see. I just need to finish fastening the table top sheets to the frame, cut and route the side and end panels, then paint and assemble. After that, it’s all about laying out the track, oval first, and securing anchor points to keep it in position as the wiring and electronics are installed.
Lots of decisions to be made so I’m anxious to get some veteran racers over to comment on things. A couple key decision needed are what side of the garage the main start/finish straight will be on, what pit spacing to try first, and what layout to employ for the grand opening race day.
Anyway, lots more work to do so stay tuned for more updates as construction progresses.
All construction materials arrived today, December 20, 2021. But not without drama, of course. I won’t bore you with the details but I did have some issues with the lumber supplier.
In any case, all the lumber products arrived safe and sound today and I assembled the perimeter frame. Decided to go with the highest grade 2×6 material I could get that was not kiln dried. Heavier but very straight and overall pretty good wood. Man, MDF is some heavy stuff! The lumber yard dropped it off in the driveway but Kathy and I had to drag it into the garage to keep it out of the expected rain.
The back story was the three days it took me to clean out enough space to fit the new track in the garage. Still have lots of bike stuff to get rid of so let me know if your your New Years resolution includes cycling. I have few whole bikes and plenty of parts to get rid of before SR3 is race-ready.
The new track is going to be positioned almost in the same exact spot as SR2, except it’s two feet longer and one foot wider. Actually, the table footprint is 16’4″ long and 6″4″ wide. Should actually be a bit easier to get around the track since I’ve removed the workbench that used to be next to the left side of SR2. The garage door (right) side will be the same tight squeeze.
I’m also considering flush-mount driver’s stations instead of the horizontal platforms that SR2 has. I really like the platform-style stations but SR3 is over a foot wider as it is. Adding the platforms would make it almost 8-feet wide! So, bring your Fray pit-box hanger and deal with it! Sides will be 3/4 MDF. More construction reports to come as construction proceeds. Oh, and I’ll have Bowman or Viper controller holsters, haven’t decided on that yet.