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Supporting the hobby of Scale Auto
Racing since 1979 !
Ford Publishing
100 Gammel Lane
Malvern, Arkansas 72104
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By john Ford
build a
Te New American Way!

From this (Above) To this (Below)
Made Simple so even you can do it!
Chapter 1 .... Designing Your Track to Fit Your Space .............. 2
Chapter 2 .... Gathering the Tools Youll Need .......................... 4
Chapter 3 .... Making the Bits & Pieces ..................................... 5
Chapter 4 .... Assembling the Pieces .......................................... 10
Chapter 5 .... A Word About Banking ....................................... 14
Chapter 6 .... The Final Touches ................................................ 15
Chapter 7 .... Making it Live! ..................................................... 16
Chapter 8 .... Electrical Notes on everything! ............................ 17
Chapter 9 .... Assembly Notes .................................................... 20
Chapter 10 .. Track designs ........................................................ 24
Links for Lap Counters. ............................................................ 22
Final Page ... Glossary ................................................................ 30
I saw my frst slot car or, I should say rail car, in 1957. I was instantly hooked and
never built a plastic airplaine model again. Over the course of many years, I raced
on every conceivable slot car track you could imagine, from all the Original Ameri-
cans to many different one offs built by the owner of the raceway. I went on to own
several raceways of my own beginning with an American Windsor in 1965.
It was about 1978 when I decided to start building slot car tracks. It started out with
buying all the old tracks I could fnd in storage and beginning to market them with
complete new makeovers. It was about a 5 year learning process that involved ev-
erything from flling worn out slots with Bondo and re-routing them to completely
replacing or covering the old surface with new wood and routing the whole thing
new again. I called these re-built American Tracks, NEW AMERICAN TRACKS,
and the name stuck as the modern day incarnation of the Old American Slot Car
Track Company. Its not that I am a great wood worker, its just that I wanted to
make more tracks available and promote the fact that Slot Car Racing was NOT
dead. For me and a few die hard enthusiasts around the country, it never died, not
in our raceways anyway. But we were few and far between, and none of us knew
what the other one was doing. To solve that problem, I started the magazine Scale
Auto Racing News, but this book is not about the magazine, it is about HOW TO
I am only discussing in this book one way to build a slot car track, but
here, I will touch on the many incarnations of designs that led to this simplifed
method of track construction. As I said, it took several years for this method to
evolve, and I personally, believe it is the quickest, most effcient, and least expen-
sive way the job can be done. The evolvement was a 3 step process.
<Cont. Next Page>
Te Track you see being built in this book was
done with just Linda and myself with mini-
mal help from a couple of friends. It took us
10 days and was done outside on a patio. If
we can do it, You can do it.... Remember, Te
hard part is Tinking About it....
TEES: (shown at left with leg attached) Long ones (also
kown as Lap Boards) are used to connect surface pieces
together. Short ones are used to hold legs. (See pics of long
and short Tees on pg.6) Tees are placed at least 2ft. apart
on the bottom side of each surface piece. (See Pg. 11)
STIFFS: or Stifners are roughly 1x2 strips of wood that
can be made up by ripping down a 2x4 into 3 pieces. Tese
are ftted to the outside edge of each side of the straight
surface pieces and is used to attach the sides which give the
track its lateral strength. (See pg.12)
BLOKS: Made up from scraps left over from 2x4s and ftted to the
outside edges of the turns fairly close together. Tese provide the
same function as the Stifs in the straights, but will allow turns to be
banked by not being a solid piece. (See examples on Pg. 14)
SIDES: Can be made of your choice of material from Plywood, to MDF, to simple
1/8 Masonite which is the easiest to work with and more than adequate. Paint both
sides of full pieces frst and then using table saw, cut down to 5.5 wide strips. Attach
to sides of track with glue and air tacker gun. (See pics on page 13)
An alternate method of mounting the sides can be with short
dry wall screws and fender washers or beveled chrome fnish
washers. Of course the washers are not needed, but give a nice
fnishing touch. However, with the fnish nailer, no washers
are needed.
INFIELDS: When you cut out your turns using the trammel jig, you save the inside
portions and put them back for a nice fnish to the inside of the turns. Of course, if
you are not banking, you can simply leave the inside portion of the turn uncut and
paint a semi circle in it to look like an infeld. (See pics on page 15)
HILLCLIMB NOTES: To hold the upper
straight over the lower straight in Hillclimb
tracks, you need to make special legs like you see
in the drawing at your left. A larger than normal
triangle reaches all the way across the upper
straight and attaches to the Tee just the way a
leg does on the lower straights. Ten, a 2x4 is
attached to the back side of the triangle sup-
port and extends down to another similar large
triangle that sits on the foor. Te lower straight
can be screwed to the 2x4 and the lower foot of
this piece can be attached to the foor to make
a very strong Cantilever type support for the
upper level.
Here are the tools you will need to do the job.(See Pic. 1, Pg.4 ) Air Compressor, Nail
Gun, Air tacker, lots of clamps. Belt sander, Skill saw. Magnetic #2 screw tip, counter
sink, small hand saw. Tub of vinyl spackle. Screw gun. Air blower and tank vacuum.
Te entire project can be done with the Air Tacker if you are careful to use plenty
of glue. Te price of this handy item is less than 20 bucks if you get it from Harbor
Freight. Te small Air Compressor was from Wal-Mart and cost less than 75 bucks.
A great investment. Te hand clamps you see in the pictures were also obtained from
Harbor Freight and the cost was well worth the time saved over conventional clamps.
Here are the jigs you will have to build to do the job.
Slot jig.
At left is the Trammel Jig used for cutting out surface
pieces. It doesnt have to be cut out with fancy round
ends. It can just be a scrap piece of MDF as seen in the
pictures on page 9. Te most important point is to re-
member to be exact in your measurments from the center
of the router cut to the pivot point. (See pics on page 13)
With this jig you cut all the slots for the frst time by
adding wheels to the bottom, about 6 apart. these
wheeels ride along the outside edge of the track
surface and give you the spacing to cut the frst slot.
Ten you Remove the wheels and add two pins (small
wood screws fled down will work). Tese will Follow
the frst slot and each slot after until you have all lanes
SURFACE PIECES: Each of the turns and straights
must be made up from scratch using the table saw for
the straights and the trammel jig for the turns. Te
wood is 1/2 MDF (See Trammel jig in use on pg.9)
LEGS: Made up of two triangles. After cutting out from
template. (See Pg.5) Do not glue the leg pieces together because
they will have to be adjusted later to get surface fat. Legs should
be placed every 2 feet minimum to give good support for the
8' 90
8' 180
7' 180
7' 90
9' 180
9' 90
10' 90
5.5' 12' 90
6' 180
6' 90
LANE TEMPLATE: Used to determine where the
slots will be so you can attach Tees and Lap Boards to
bottom of track and not get a screw where your router
will hit it when cutting the slots. (See pic pg.7)
LEG EXTENSIONS: Shown at left. Tese are simply two pieces of
MDF or any other wood cut into strips and applied to both sides of
the leg triangles to give additional height to areas that need it, such
as banking or bridge areas..
<Cont. From Contents Page>
#1... The Elipitical Jig. #2.... Removing all that dead weight. #3.... New joints.
#1... My invention of the jig came about in the late 70s so I could cut slots on a
track without taking it apart and doing it piece by piece. This jig evolved into what
became known as the Elliptical Routing Jig. Because using this jig caused the
turns to be elliptical rather than round in shape. The original jig was simply a piece
of material with the router mounted on it and wheels which would ride along the in-
side edge of the track wall. Its frst use was on an American Red, or Imperial track
which had what we called a square or D shaped donut. It had a short straight
about half way through the donut which made it much harder to negotiate than its
1st Cousin, the Blue King. This is where the slots on these old tracks became
wallowed out and very wide causing the cars to de-slot. I remember races I won,
simply because I knew where to slow down for the bad spots. So, the fx for this
was to take a gallon can of Bondo, and totally fll the slots in the donut and using
the new Jig, route new slots. By using this Ellipitical jig, it mellowed out that
nasty straight section, making the turn almost round. One of the frst How To ar-
ticles in the new Scale Auto Racing News magazine, was how to take the humps
out of the straights and how to make the Square Donut round.
#2... The second phase of making things different, was to get rid of all that dead
weight which was the bottom piece of plywood that was the base of all the Ameri-
can Tracks. For this idea, I have to give credit to another 60s era track builder,
Stan Engleman. All his High Speed series of tracks were built without these bot-
tom bases. The way they were designed, put the entire weight of the track on the
foor of the building. Other than that, the construction process was mostly the
same and the tracks were still too bulky and heavy. If you ever moved one of the
old tracks of the 60s you know what I mean. What I developed was a simple 2x4
brace along the bottom of the surface at 2 ft. intervals, with a two part wooden leg
carrying the weight of the track to the building foor. The 2x4s later evolved into
2x2s, saving even more weight. This new method made each individual piece
very light, but fully assembled, with the full weight transferred to the foor via the
legs, heavy enough to not be scooted around. The original legs were square and
made in 2 parts to allow the top half to be in a banked area at an angle while the
bottom half sat squarely on the foor. As part of the evolvement to the modern day
look, a slot racer named Csaba (Chubba) Czekelihidi of Chicago, Illinios came
up with the idea to make the legs out of two triangles assembled with the points
facing, saving wood, weight, and giving the slot track of today its distinctive look.
Virtually every major slot track builder in the World today uses this new modern
#3... The third phase was developed in order to make a better connecting joint
without the need for bolts or the equipment needed for fancy tounge and groove
joints. The frst incarnation was made by using simple 2x4 connecting Butt joints,
but these still needed the bolts to hold the pieces together, Nevertheless, most all
tracks were built with this type of joint for the frst few years. I have to give lots of
credit to my friend and partner, Hasse Nilsson who taught me more about working
with wood than I ever knew before. It is because of him that I came up with my well
worn out catch phrase, The Hard Part is Thinking About It. Now, skip to the back
and study the Glossary. Learn what all the pieces look like and why you will need
them. Then, turn to page 2 To begin your adventure and learn how to do it MY
way... the EASY way... the NEW American way.
John Ford - Owner New American Slot Car Tracks
Publisher Scale Auto Racing News
Chapter 1 Designing your track to ft.
This is the most important step in building your new track. Nothing is
worse than to get it all fnished and fnd out IT WONT FIT!!!
First, measure out the actual footprint of the area your track will be put
in. Or, if you are putting in multiple tracks in one location such as a com-
mercial application, measure the entire usage space. If there are poles.
You must get their exact placement down. Measure from the back of the
building to the frst pole. Measure left to the wall and right to the wall on
each pole if it is different. Dont forget the diameter of the pole, and then
measure from pole to pole, and then from the last pole to the front of the
building. If there are windows, always take this into account as people will
look inside and see what you are building. You want to attract attention
during construction, and after you are open, so the window should give the
most attractive view of your business. Naturally, if you are building a club
track in your basement, you can forget the windows.
Once you have your measurements, you can get as complicated as you
want. From a simple piece of paper and ruler, to a drawing program on a
computer. Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Draw your building
(or building area) so you can design your track to ft. If your scale is the
same in your building drawing as it is in your track design it will work. Re-
member, it will ft for real if it fts on paper (or computer).
Next you want to design your track. This is simple if you use pre designed
pieces such as you see below:
The pieces above are true to scale and if you use the measurements found
here to make your building to scale, it will work best. These pieces are 36
wide with 4 lane spacing. With the exception of high speed commercial
applications, this is the size I recommend to use for all 8 lane tracks.
8' 90
8' 180
7' 180
7' 90
9' 180
9' 90
10' 90
12' 90
6' 180
6' 90
8' 180
8' 90
7' 90
' S
' S
' S
' S
9' 180
48 ft. x 17 ft.
Pinched King
67X48 floor plan
8' 180
6' 180
6' 90
6' 180
6' 90
American "Bumpoval"
60ft. 10'x28'
' S
' S
8' 90
8' 90
8' 90
8' 90
7' 180
7' 180
7' 180
7' 180
66 - 2x2s
66 legs = 132 triangles
19 plates
8 - 36 - 9ft. straights
(one to be cut to make
a 4ft and 5ft piece)
2 - 6 ft. straights
(((cut from 4x8)))
2 - 8 ft. 180s
(both cut in half to make 90s)
(((cut from 4x8)))
4 - 7 ft. 180s (((cut from 4x8)))
Below shows 2x2 support placement.
Below shows size of pieces.
4' x 4' Board
9.5" to
13.5" to Center
17.5" to
21.5" to Center
The simplest way to build a 4
lane track is to cut a 4X8 piece
of 1/2MDF in half. Then using
the measurements at left, cut
four circies with your router, us-
ing a Trammel jig (see glossary).
Check the depth by cutting in
a piece of scrap frst so these
circles will become slots in your
turn pieces. Cut the 4x4 in half
and you have two 180s. Cut that
in half and you have two 90s.
From these pieces, you can de-
sign any type of track you want
by simply adding straight sec-
tions and using a straight edge,
connecting the slots between the
turns. A carbide blade skill saw
is the easiest way to cut straight
The design part of your task is the most important of all. The most fun of
all, and the most rewarding when you are fnished and see that it all ft
just like it did on paper. Whether you are doing a one off home track, or
a multiple track installation in a commercial setting, you will have no fear
to continue on from here if you have taken the time to get the measure-
ments right. And, it doesnt matter whether you can use a fancy computer
program, or just a protractor and ruler. The results will be the same. For a
good idea on designing to ft your space, get the booklet of Floor Plans for
sale in the catalog at This booklet has tons of
foor plans of actual raceways built by New American Slot Car Tracks over
a 10 year period. They are not necessarily drawn to scale but it will show
how to leave space between poles and other tracks, etc.
One of the most recognizable track
designs is the King. It is 155ft. of high
speed fun. At right is an example of
how it looks in an exploded view, in
pieces. Each piece is built seperate-
ly, then assembled fat, then routed,
following the outside edge of the
track for the frst slot, using your
Elliptical Guide Jig (See Glossary).
Then with the same jig with wheels
removed and retooled to ft the slots,
each successsive slot is cut until
you have a total of 8... or whatever
lane total you are using. It is most
important to not cut the slots on the
fnal pieces of your puzzle until it is
fully attached. In this way, you can
be sure all slots line up. In the case
of the King at right, the upper bridge
section (X) is always slotted last.

Pit Area


12x29 Tri-Oval 60'
10' 90
10' 90
10' 90
10' 90
10' 45
10' 90
10' 90
NewAristocrat 135
floor plan
270ft. 19 X 70
The American Joker
135 running ft.
36" wide
SometimeS a picture iS worth a thouSand wordS...
See the picture below and save yourself a lot of reading...
Chapter 2 Gathering the tools you ll need
A Good 100ft. tape measure... just for good measure!
A good small air compressor. Always handy and cheap.
Cheap Belt Sander. Practice with it and learn how to use it!
Small battery operated skill saw with good carbide blade (Or a big one if you are Mr. Macho)
Lightweight Acrylic Spackle. No, I dont like the heavy stuf!
Magnetic screw tip holder. (Dont even try without it.)
Small fnish nailer... super handy in so many ways.
Cordless drill or screw gun. (Two would be better.)
Small hand saw. (You ll need it I promise.)
Large clamps like the one shown. Perfect for working alone!
Squeeeze Hand Clamps. You dont see them here, but you ll need plenty! See pics. later on.
Wood glue and contact cement. At least a gallon of each.
Also not shown but sandpaper for the belt sander. Get course. Work EZ and slow and use old
belts for hand work.
Also not shown but defnitely needed, a good router with 1/8 carbide bit for the slot and for
the braid recess, a 3/4 rabbit bit. (Must be custom made... see Glossary)
Pieces needed.
150 ft Aristocrat Hill Climber - 42 ft. long x 16 ft. wide using 42" wide pieces
10 - 8 ft. straights.
1 - 5 ft. straights.
3 - 5 ft. radius 90 turns (10 ft. dia.)
3 -5.5 ft. radius 60 turns (14 ft. dia.)
2 - 9 ft. diameter 180 turns
1 - 8 ft. diameter 180 turns
126 triangles for 63 legs.
Approx. 50 leg extensions.
63 - 42" - 2x2's
10' 90
10' 90
10' 90
9' 180
9' 180
14' 60
14' 60
14' 60
8' 180
Routing Guide.
Custom fit
and route
bridge section
Small piece
is cut from
larger piece.
7' 180
9' 180
14' 60
14' 60
14' 60
7' 180
8' 180
9' 180
9' 180
Pieces needed.
Final dimensions = 17 x 36
10 - 7 ft. straights.
1 - 4 ft. straights.
1 - 7 ft. diameter 180turns
4 - 8 ft. diameter 180turns
3 - 14 ft. diameter 60turns
Routing Guide.
Use 36" jig.
135ft. 36inch
Cut off
shaded black
areas to get
track to
look like this
This turn is the only
one that is banked,
all others are flat.
120 triangles for 60
Approx 22 leg
60 - 36" - 2x2's
19 lap boards
17' X 36'
8' 180
7' 180
14' 60
14' 60
14' 60
8' 180
8' 180
8' 180
Chapter 3 Making the bits & pieces
First, get the hard part out of
the way. Decide how many
triangles you will need for
legs and cut them all out at
once. Ten, while you have
them neatly stacked, paint
them now. Dont wait till
later, you may decide to not
paint them and I will com-
plain when I come see your
track. Legs must always be
painted black to blend in
with the shadows under the
track. Its Fords rule! See
Leg Template below:
2. Look at the drawing at left. Tis is how the plans looked for
the track you see on the front cover of this book. Te lower por-
tion shows how the assembled track sits in the building, the list
shows how many pieces are needed and of what. Te thick black
lines on the right showing upper and lower sections are where
legs will ft on Ts. If you do something like this in your plan-
ning stages, you should easily discover how many triangles you
will need for legs. It is a lot more than you think. You need legs
at 2 ft. intervals and two triangles make up one leg. For higher
sections, you will need connecting pieces to extend each triangle.
You can use the cheapest of wood for your legs because after they
are painted black, they will look as good as the high dollar wood.
I like to use chipboard made for fooring in houses. Plenty strong,
durable, and cheap.
Chapter 3 Making the bits & pieces
Making the Ts.... The pictures here and on
the next page should help you with making
your Ts. Always use a scrap piece of wood to
help hold things against the rip fence (as shown
above) .... NEVER your own hand. After you
have fnished cutting down all the straights.. It
is time to begin cutting down the 2x4s. These
will be cut into two widths. Some the same as
the width of the track surface and the others at
about 2 ft. You will cut down half as many 2x4s
as you need Ts because you will cut each 2x4
piece in half making two 2x2s. This will give
you a perfectly smooth side to glue the Lapp
to without need for any fancy plainers or ma-
chinery. When you are fnished you will have
a pile of 2x2 sticks in two widths. Stack them
up neatly by your work table and begin making
the Ts.
At left are two ex-
amples of Ts af-
ter assembly.
At right is me usi-
ing a nail gun to
assemble the Ts.
I use a big one, but
the little one is just
fne as long as you
use PLENTY of
glue in the assem-
bly process.
The Lapp board that is attached to the 2x2 is pre-cut to the width needed for either a short
or long T. Then each one is trimmed down to 1 foot in width giving plenty of room on each
side of the 2x2 to be mounted to the under side of the track surface. I did mention to use
PLENTY of glue when putting these things together didnt I?
The second thing you want to make is your straight sections. From your planning, you
should know exactly how many straights you need for your track. You can cut them down
with a simple skill saw, but a small inexpensive table saw is best since you have the advan-
tage of the rip fence to make your cut straight. Check Harbor Freight and you will fnd these
sell for less than $100.00 and you will get its value out before the track is built. Heres a
helpful hint, especially when working with smaller table saws. If you are cutting down 36
pieces, set your rip fence at 12 inches and cut with the larger piece to the left of the blade. If
you are cutting down a 42 wide trac surface, set the fence at 6 inches. Do the same, keep-
ing the large piece to the left of the blade, no matter which size your track surface will be.
This requires two people, but is very easy if you go slow and keep the piece straight as you
push it through the blade. If you have never used a table saw before, it may feel awkward
and even dangerous. Just go slow, and I assure you, by the time you have cut your 3rd
piece, you will be working like an old pro. Set any of the excess pieces aside that are 1ft.
wide because you will need them when you make the Lapps.
AdditionAl notes for wiring Mild power to sMAll trAcks
By John ford
this Method is perfect for trAcks where high power is not
necessAry And siMplicity of wiring is wAnted. By eliMinAting
the tiMe seller out of the circuit, it is Also perfect for hoMe
trAcks where the power will Be on At All tiMes. if you Are us-
ing tiMe sellers, BAtteries Are Best locAted Behind the coun-
ter neAr the tiMe sellers. one 6gA. wire goes froM the neg. pole
of BAttery to the left side of the BrAid, on All lAnes. eight
12gA. leAds go froM the positive pole of the BAttery, through
the tiMe sellers if needed, to the white post At the 8 corre-
sponding drivers pAnels. then, froM the BlAck post At the driv-
ers pAnel, one 12gA. wire goes to the right side of the BrAid At
the corresponding power tAp. And finAlly, the red post At the
drivers pAnel connects BAck to the neg. pole of the BAttery At
the eAsiest point to connect it. All red posts cAn Be connected
in series By one wire with no proBleMs.
this circuit Allows the current to flow froM the negAtive
pole of the BAttery strAight to the Motor on the cAr, out the
right side of the BrAid to the BlAck post on the drivers pAnel,
up through the controller And down through the white post
At the drivers pAnel And finAlly BAck to the BAtterys positive
post. the theory here is thAt it is Better for your systeM to
hAve All the switches (controller, tiMe seller, trAck relAy)
on the BAck side of the circuit. this is A proven wiring diAgrAM
thAt hAs Been used in hundreds of ApplicAtions since it wAs
first developed BAck in 1972. if you wAnt A trAck disconnect
relAy (And you will need one if you plAn to hold rAces), you
siMply plAce the relAy switch Between the positive pole on the
BAttery And the tiMe sellers. A light switch like you would
use in your hoMe will work to turn All the lAnes on And off. if
you will wAnt to hAve your coMputer rAce progrAM turn the
power on And off AutoMAticAlly, you will need to use A relAy
in plAce of the light switch.
sAddle tAp wiring systeM - this systeM is ABsolutely the eAsi-
est And Most efficient electricAlly of Any Method for wiring
up Any trAck with very Mild power needs such As BirthdAy pAr-
ty trAcks in A coMMerciAl locAtion, or hoMe trAcks.
you cAn use A single piece of BrAid for eAch side of eAch lAne
for this if you wAnt, or do it in sections, But you only connect
the power in two plAces. directly opposite of the drivers pAnel
you MAke drops for the negAtive (left) side of he BrAid. And in
front of eAch driver, you MAke drops for the positive (right)
side of the BrAid. thAt is All thAt is needed. the drop in front
of the driver is connected directly to the BlAck post. the neg-
Ative drops on the fAr side go to the negAtive post on the pow-
er supply, And the white post on the drivers pAnel goes to the
positive post on the power supply. the red post of eAch drivers
pAnel is connected to All the other red posts, And then BAck
to the negAtive on the power supply.
these notes MAy seeM redundAnt, if so, you Are Beginning to
figure it All out.
So, thats about it. You need three basic jigs, one for your router to cut the slots, one
for your router to cut out the turns, and a most important one, one that you will use to
mark where the slots will be so you dont ruin router bits later in the construction.
AND, you need your pieces, the legs, the Tees, the Stifs, the Bloks, and your sides.
All of which I have described here in the glossary and in the main text portion of this
book, you have seen each of these items be used in the actual construction phase.
NOW... read it all again and then get to work.
REMEMBER... the hard part is thinking about it!
ALSO ... Someone asked what size MDF, for those that missed it, it is 1/2 inch
Links to Lap Counting Software
When putting the Ts together, you want to take care to not put a nail or screw anywhere
near where a slot will be. If you do, you will be replacing lots of expensive router bits when
you cut your slots. It is easy to keep the nails in the right place if you use a SLOT GUIDE
as you see me using in the photo above right. Mark on your work-
bench the width of your track piece. Position your Lapp board
and Slot Guide accordingly, and using a large marker, put dots
where your slots will be. They are indicated by the lines on the
Slot Guide and are set in this example for a 4 wide slot confgu-
ration on a 36 wide track surface. In the picture above left you
can see the dots. In the photo at bottom right on the left page,
(and in the blow up pic at left, you can see me nailing between
the dots. Did I mention to use plenty of glue for this operation? If
you dont have glue dripping all over everything, you are not using
Making the Jigs
As important as any of the Bits and Pieces are the JIGS you will need to make
your track pieces and rout the lanes. Te frst and easiest jig to build is the Tram-
mel jig. Tis simply needs to be a piece of the 1/2 MDF cut to be as narrow as
possible and still have plenty of room to mount your router on one end. Te length is
most important as it needs to be at least 5 ft. long. Longer will cause problems and
get in the way of your body as you cut out the turns. Any shorter and you will not be
able to cut a full 8 ft. radius turn. Below is a simple MDF trammel jig in use, cutting
out a full turn.
9' 90
12' 90
14' 60
Align all the way to the top
and 10" from the left side.
10' 90
Align 7" down from the top
and 14" from the left side.
Align centered from side to
side and 12" from the bottom.
Align 9" from the left side
and 3ft. from the bottom.


8 ft. board
8 ft. board
8 ft. board
8 ft. board
9 ft. board
Cutting out Turns
Making your turns is quite easy once you have fgured out my cutting pattern
above. First, you need to make a CUTTING TABLE to do the work on. If you are
building more than one track, and you have the room, you can make this a separate
item from your primary work table. Or, it can be the main work table for all your
projects during the track construction and assembly. Tis table can be as small as 4x8
but is better to be a bit bigger to give more room for laying out a 4x8 piece of MDF
leaving some work room around the edges. You can see from the drawings above a 9
x5 example table with 4x8 MDF boards on it as an example. First of all, you need to
know that you can cut out almost any turn from a 4x8 piece of 1/2 MDF. You will
see in the frst illustration, the 12 ft. radius turn uses a 9 ft. board ... HOWEVER....
If you are very careful and position the 8 ft. board perfectly, a 12 ft. turn piece can
be cut from a 4x8 board. I recommend you use a string and pencil to perfectly mark
it out frst and then do the cutting. Tis is the only size where this is necessary.
Only the two outer radius tips of the turn are clipped of this way, and are not really
needed as part of the racing surface. If you mark it out with pencil and get it perfectly
aligned, you will see that it will work. In our factory, speed was more important than
saving wood, so we just made all 12 ft. turns from a 9 ft. piece. You will also see that
on a 16ft. Piece, the corners are very close but with perfect alignment, it fts easily.
All other turns ft easily in a 4x8 piece.
When doing the actual cutting, you will want to position your turn piece on the
work table. Place your TRAMMEL JIG with the bottom hole positioned so that the
router will make the outer cut. You can make a permanent bolt for the trammel to ft
over, or simply use a dry wall screw and screw it in place. It is a good idea to scratch
the surfrace with your router bit, making the moves with the router of to be sure of
your position. Te inner curve is cut in the same manner, moving the trammel down.
Tere is not really much need to practice. You ll be a pro after you cut the 2nd piece.
Align centered from side to side
and 12 from bottom.
Align 9 from the left side
and 3ft from the bottom.
Align 7 down from the top
and 14 from the left side.
Align all the way to the top
and 10 from the left side.
Dead Strip Notes:
The dead strip is that part of your track that is used to count laps and do timing of each lap. It is the
mechanical Start and Finish even though you may have your start line in a different area. You want the
dead strip to be in an area where the cars usually do not de-slot. After a turn, a few feet down a straight,
or even in a big bank where cars go whizzing by but never come off. Not a good idea to have the dead strip
in front of the drivers since you might have someone who will try and use a coin or (?) to short out the strip
and give fake laps. (I know... not your racers!) In the gap between the live braid and the dead strip, you
need to leave about 1 inch so the braid from the car will not make contact with both at the same time. This
will cause so many problems I cant count them.... Nor will your counter either. When you decide on your
lap counter, you may find it uses other options for counting laps other than a dead strip. Look to its instruc-
tions for things like Magnetic Reed Switches, Photo Cells, or LED emitter/collector diodes.
Drivers Stations Notes;
Commercial tracks usually have a long board with drivers stations scattered down its full length.
I have never used this type of drivers panel even though it is the easiest way to do it. Drivers when
possible need to have their backs to a wall with a minimum of 3 feet of distance between the track
and the wall. This gives the drivers a great over view of the rest of the raceway, and gives specta-
tors a great view of the guys in competition.
For each drivers area, simply drill 3 holes in the side of the track in a triangle pattern as shown in
the illustration. Use standard bolts, or better yet, brass bolts and nuts for each terminal. Make the
distance between each bolt farther than a fully inserted alligator clip will reach. (No shorts) Make
the far left one white, the middle one black and the far right one red. This is different than the origi-
nal American tracks and moves the positive and negative wires to opposite sides... again to reduce
the possibility of shorts. Radio Shack has small inexpensive LED lights you can mount in this area
to show that the power is on for the lane. Also a good idea is to use 10amp circuit breakers in the
brake circuit at the Red bolt connection. See wiring notes on how to connect wires and circuit
breakers. Fuses could be used, but are SO much more trouble and costly to replace.
Small plastic baskets (obtainable from a dollar store) can be attached nearby for controllers, etc.
These can be painted in the lane color as well. See pic below (taken before baskets were painted.
Filling the holes.
Two schools of thought here: one (my favorite) is to leave all the countersink screw holes just as
they are and cover well when painting the surface. I recommend 2 to 4 coats of satin fnish exterior
latex acrylic enamel. About $14.00 per gallon from Wal Mart.
2nd idea is to fll all the screw holes. For this I recommend using a good grade of acrylic spackel.
This is a very lightweight fuffy, very white mixture. Almost looks good enough to eat and easy to
use with no special tools. Safe for fngers. Easy to sand and very durable when painted over. I do
NOT recommend the type of spackel that is light brown and very heavy. It will work, but is too hard
to sand. Same for the mix it yourself Durahard putty. Some like it, but the fnal results are acheived
much easier with the lightweight spackel.
Side note on Bondo. Smells great, very fast to work with. Hard to sand, and way too much overkill
for this job.
Live dead
Chapter 9 Asssembly Notes
Chapter 9 Assembly Notes
ABOVE: Cutting out the outside edge of a 10 ft. turn on a 4x8 work table. Trammel
is positioned with the router cutting 5 ft. back from the bottom where the trammel is
fxed with a screw. Turn piece is screwed down to work table so it wont move while
being cut. BELOW: pivot point has been moved so that the router cuts out the lower
part of the turn. If this is a totally fat turn with zero banking, you can eliminate
this process and leave the bottom of the turn uncut. Save the cut out piece as it will
become an INFIELD for the fnished product.
Assembling the Legs
Even a Crude jig like this is fne for putting the triangles together to make your legs.
Above, you see an unpainted triangle screwed down to the work table. It is used as
a stop for the top leg piece with the left side and bottom of the table used as left and
bottom guides. Place the top pre-painted leg piece up against your stop with the left
tip aligned with the edge of the table. Ten place the bottom pre-painted leg piece on
top of it, with the left and bottom aligned with the table. With just a little care, you
can get your legs square enough for starters without a complicated time consuming
process. Drop in two 1 inch screws and repeat the process until you are out of pre-
painted pieces. You will have a large pile of legs to work with when you are done. See
pics below. Left: fnished legs. Middle: attaching Ts to track. Right: attaching legs
to Ts. Dont forget to use your slot jig when screwing down Ts to bottom of track
pieces. You dont want to put a screw where you will be running the router later.
Chapter 4 - Assembling the Pieces
Chapter 8 Electrical Notes
Batteries are best located behind the counter near the time sellers. One 6ga. wire goes from the
neg. pole of battery to the left side of the braid, on all lanes. Eight 12ga. leads go from the positive
pole of the battery, through the time sellers, to the white post at the 8 corresponding drivers panels.
Then, from the black post at the drivers panel, one 12ga. wire goes to the right side of the braid at
the corresponding power tap. And finally, the red post at the drivers panel connects back to the
neg. pole of the battery at the easiest point to connect it.
This circuit allows the current to flow from the negative pole of the battery straight to the motor
on the car, out the right side of the braid to the black post on the drivers panel, up through the
controller and down through the white post at the drivers panel, through the time seller, and finally
back to the batterys positive post.
The theory here is that it is better for your system to have all the switches (controller, time
seller, track relay) on the back side of the circuit. This is a proven wiring diagram that has been
used in hundreds of applications since it was first developed back in 1972. I wish this could
become the industry standard for mild power applications.
If you want a track disconnect relay (and you will need one if you plan to hold races), you simply
place the relay switch between the positive pole on the battery and the time sellers. A double pole
switch such as the Dayton part # 3X748 priced at $15.28 from W.W. Grainger Inc. For the number
of the Grainger nearest you, call 1-800-323-0620.
Direction of travel
Drivers panel
White Black
Time Seller
Right Left
Minimum 6ga.
negative bus to
all taps, all lanes.
Not a
joint. Typical point for
installing track
power relay.
NOTES: You can use the track power
batteries for this circuit, it is a common
practice and perfectly acceptable.
However, it is my opinion, that an
inexpensive seperate 12 volt power
supply (available from Radio Shack) or a
seperate small battery is ultimately the
best for this circuit. This will keep the
mega amps available at the track batteries
away from this circuit, and eliminate the
possibility of major damage in case of a
Both the relays and time sellers used in this circuit are available from W.W. Grainger Inc. There are two relays that
I recommend. If you want what I call burn power you must use the Dayton relay, part # 3X748 in the Grainger
catalogue. Its price is listed as $15.28. It is a double pole relay, and you can have a total of 60 amps capacity on
each lane by using both sets of contacts. If you simply want hot power, you can get 25 amps capacity with the
Potter Brumfield relay, part # 4A076 in the Grainger catalogue. Its price is listed as $13.51. It is a single pole relay.
Both these relays are high quality, and long lasting (I know some in use over 20 years) and I recommend them
highly. The only tip I can give you is that even though these are brand new relays, the contacts will have to be
cleaned with fine sandpaper or crocus cloth before you use them. Possibly even a little adjustment will have to be
made to them to make them work properly in the beginning. Once they are working and making contact, they rarely
need servicing.
The time sellers in this circuit are also available from Grainger, part # 2E270C. Its price is listed at $12.72.
For the location of the W.W. Grainger nearest you, call 1-800-323-0620.
Anine or 10 conductor 18, 20, or 22ga. wire commonly used for doorbells, thermostats, or alarm systems is best
for this circuit. 8 conductors will be used for the 8 lanes, and any wires left over will be used for the commons.
This circuit follows the normal negative to positive flow of any D.C. circuit, taking the current straight to the coils
of each of the 8 relays. This can be accomplished by just running a common line to one side of all 8 relays, and
connecting the loose end to the batterys negative terminal.
On the other side of each of the 8 relays, you will need 8 seperate wires leading to one side of each corresponding
time seller. (for example, the relay to the red lane would connect to the time seller for the red lane etc.)
After you have the 8 wires run from the relays to their coresponding time seller, you should have one terminal on
each time seller still with nothing connected to it. All you need to do here is again run a common line to each of the
remaining 8 terminals on the time sellers and connect the loose end back to the positive side of the power source.
Now when you turn on the red timer, the red lane relay should click, allowing power to flow through red the track
circuit. Naturally the same should be true for the other 7 lanes.
From positive pole
of track power source.
To white post
at drivers panel.
Chapter 8 Electrical Notes
relAy noTeS:
Te relays you see used in this booklet are
available through Radio Shack and some
Auto Supplies. Or, you can order through
me at $5.00 each while they last. Te
ones I have were designed for the lighting
system on Dune Buggies competing in the
Baja Race in Mexico. Very rugged with
two 30 amp gold plated contacts.
If you want to purchase the ones I have,
email me at
Left Is what
you should
have with
your Ts and
legs attached
to the bottom
of each piece
of track. Now
it is time to
fip each piece
over and re-
peat the pro-
cess until you
have all your
pieces sitting
on legs.
Now, it is be-
ginning to look
like a track.
Continue the
assembly of
each piece until
you have all the
pieces attached.
You will want
to be careful
to get one side
of the tracks
edges lined up
at the joints so
the router will
have a smooth
path to make
on its frst run
cutting the frst
If you are building a
totally fat track, you
can completely assemble
all the pieces at this
point. You should have a
totally fat surface if you
have gotten all your legs
properly assembled us-
ing the leg assembly jig
shown on left page. If
however, you are going
to bank any of the turns
on your track, you will
need to attach the fnal
pieces AFTER you have
routed the eintire track
up to the fnal joint.
If you are building your track at home, you may get some extra help whether you need
it or not. Fortunately, they dont ask for much pay, but get plenty of time to relax
after working so hard.
With your pieces asssembled, it is timee to install your Stifs and Bloks. Above
shows the placement of the Bloks around each turn the closer the better, and as you
can see here, it will take a lot of these Bloks to do an entire track. Tey can be made
from almost any scrap pieces left over from cutting the 2x4s.
Te Straights get the Stifeners or Stifs.
Tis process is much easier and you can
cover lots of space much more quickly than
when installing the Bloks. Te process is
the same, using a small air tack hammer and
Plenty of glue. After you have fnished each
one, you can come back with a damp rag
and wipe of the excess glue. if you do not
have this much excess glue, you are NOT
using enough. Remember, the tacks are only
to hold the piece till the glue dries.
Chapter 8 Electrical Notes
these are the things we have to consider when wiring a slot track. iF YoU are
PUtting in a coMMercial oPeration, YoU have the tiMe sellers, which go behind the
coUnter to consider. iF it is a hoMe track, these will not be in the circUit Unless
YoU want theM. as Far as track connections go, YoU have the red, black & white
connections at the drivers Panel. YoU have the relaY at the drivers Panel. YoU
have the track itselF, & FinallY YoU have the batterY.
First lets talk aboUt the batterY. here, YoU onlY have two connections. the nega-
tive side oF the batterY goes straight to the leFt side oF the braid, direction oF
travel. the Positive side oF the batterY goes straight to the white Post on the
drivers Panel. (iF YoU are Using tiMers and relaYs, see notes on relaY below)
next, lets talk aboUt the track itselF. this is easY, we jUst hooked all the nega-
tive braids (leFt side direction oF travel) to the neg. side oF the batterY. now the
right side direction oF travel oF each lane goes to its corresPonding drivers
Panel black Post.
the tiMe seller Panel is Made UP oF 8 individUal tiMers. a siMPle exPlanation here
is that YoU shoUld have 9 wires coMing oUt oF YoUr tiMe seller Panel. one wire
rUns as a coMMon to each tiMer and then on to the negative Pole oF the batterY.
then each oF the 8 other wires goes to their resPective lanes relaY at the drivers
Panel. theY hook UP to the west terMinal. (see relaY notes below.)
the drivers Panel relaY has 5 connections. theY are labled
at leFt as north, soUth, east, west, & the one leFt over we
n goes to Positive Pole at batterY
s goes to white terMinal at its drivers Panel
e goes to north connection on relaY.
w goes to corresPonding color coded wire coMing FroM
tiMe sellers. the center goes onlY to one side oF the Panel light.
note: north is the side with the Plastic tab and MoUnting hole. west is the side
with the wiring diagraM Printed on it.
the drivers Panel has 3 Main connections. red, white, black.
(See illuStration at left).
it is best to keeP the white and red aPart since this is YoUr +
& - connections.
REd goes to the negetive Pole oF the batterY. (can be coM-
Moned to all drivers Panel red connections on its waY to the batterY.) note: see
circuit breaker notes below.
whitE goes to the soUth connection on the relaY.
bLAck goes to the braid on the track, right side direction oF travel.
as a Final note, drivers Panels can be enhanced with the addition oF a Panel light
and a circUit breaker. these notes shoUld clear UP how these devices hook UP in
case theY becoMe disconnected, or need rePlaceMent.
pAnEL Light notES:
the Panel light has one lead that connects to the cen-
ter Post on the relaY, and the other lead connects to the cir-
cUit breaker at the Point where the red wire (brake) lead connects.
ciRcuit bREAkER notES: the circUit breaker connects in line between the nega-
tive side oF the batterY, and the REd Post at the drivers Panel. YoUr brake wire
will now attach to the oPen lUg on the breaker. when the breaker triPs, the track
still has Power, bUt the negative has been reMoved FroM the circUit, and this will
caUse the Panel light to blink when the controller trigger is PUlled and brakes
will be inoPerative. siMPlY PUsh back in the PoPPed oUt bUtton to reset.
Chapter 7 - Making it Live
Amazing enough, after all is taken apart, it
still fts in the back of the pick-up the original
new pieces were brought in. So, off we go to
put it back together and Make it Live.
Laying the braid is very tedius and slow go-
ing. You will need to apply contact cement
in the braid recess with a ketchup dispenser.
A bead about half the width of the recess is
all that is needed. Using a paint roller loaded
with contact cement, you can coat one side
of the braid as you pull it off the roll to the
desired length.
Putting down the braid will feel awkward at
frst, but you will be an expert by the time you
are fnished. To install the braid pieces, simply
drill a 1/4 hole and run the braid down to the
bottom side for connection. Do not put left
side and right side braid drops next to each
other. It will be easier to work with down
below if they are offset about 5 inches.
Under the track, you will have lengths of
braid to connect up. Short enough to not
waiste braid and long enough for you to
easily work with. All excess can be cut
off and discarded. Using color dots to
keep up with which color you are work-
ing with is a good idea.
Relays are needed to turn on and off the
power to all lanes and above you see an
example of a relay panel under the power
tap section of the track. This application
looks very good, and again color dots
helps you keep up with which relay con-
trols which lane. These relays can also
be placed under each drivers panel and
this is a favorite method with no need of
having to make up a relay panel.
While you are waiting on the glue to get good and dry on your Stifs and Bloks,
you can kill time working on the sides you will soon need to fnish up your master-
piece. Here, we used simple 1/8 Masonite pieces. Painted the full sheets frst, and
then using the table saw, ripped them to 5 & 1/2 wide pieces. If you are building
an all fat track, you can rip all sides at only 4 wide. A wider side is needed for the
banked turns and is cut down to the proper height while it is on the track.
After you have fnished cutting your sides down and all your Bloks and Stifs are
good and dry, it is time to begin the routing process. Be sure the side you will begin
routing from is very smooth all the way around. Tis is most important because it is
from this frst cut that all other lanes will be based on. Above, you can see me making
a frst cut using a router mounted to a simple MDF board jig and above right, you can
see a well worn jig that has routed many miles of slots. It is made from plexiglass and
uses shower door wheels
as guides to follow the
outside edge of the
track. At right, you can
see a close up of this
same jig with pins at-
tached and placed down
in a slot to follow and
cut each remaining slots
until all 8 are done.
Careful here when
placing your pins and
wheels. I recommend
no wider than 7.5 for
the wheels and no more
than 5 for the pins.
Make sure your pins go about half way down into the slot. Shallower
and they will slip out too easily in the turns. Deeper and they will plow
up too much excess sawdust and jam making you have to stop every 10
ft. to clean the slot out again.
Chapter 5 - A Word About Banking
Banking a track is simply folding wood
and making it bowl up from fat to
banked. This is much more EZ than you
would think. Look at the picture at left.
You see a turn which has been banked by
pulling with a come-a-long, the straight
to a point where you see it here. Origi-
nally, the turn was totally fat and the two
straights coming off the turn were paralell
to each other. This turn is 8 ft. across but
the process is the same for any size. The
bigger the turn, the more you can pull it
up. On a King track, the big bank is 14ft.
Wide, is totally fat with parallel straights
and the back straight is pulled all the
way over to meet with the front straight
making the famous 33 degree main bank
so familiar with all King tracks. In the
second picture, you see another shot
showing how the two straights have been
pulled together. The banking is there, but
because of angles, does not look so steep.
The next picture shows how legs must be
taken apart and adjusted to compensate
for the elevation of the banking. This is
why you should not glue your leg pieces
together. In the bottom picture you can
see the trackhas been painted and all the
fnal leg adjustments have been made.
In all these pictures, you can clearly see
the Bloks and understand how they play
a part in allowing the turn to be banked.
In the last picture below, you can see the
pin stripes being put on. All the informa-
tion you need on pin striping tools can be
obtained by simply doing a Google search
for pin striping tools. Tip: Dont mis-
spell striping using 2 Ps. What you will
get is not G rated.
Chapter 6 Final Touches
SIDES: Putting on the sides is EZ
for fat tracks, but will take a little
patience for banked tracks. You will
need to have two people to do this and
there will need to be some fnish work
to make it all look as good as you see
at left here. Always use plenty of glue
and plenty of tacks or screws to hold
things up until the glue dries.
At left, you can see this track is fn-
ished. Now it is time to take it all apart
and install at the location. Of course,
if you are building on site, it is time to
wire it up and mak it live.
INFIELDS: Infelds are both easy and
functional for fnishing out the inside
of each turn. You could simply run
the side up and around and back but
it is very hard to make the sharp turns
required by the inside radius. So, I
devised a simple method of putting
back the piece that was cut out in the
beginning. (Note: with perfectly fat
turns, you do not need to cut out the
inside radius at all.) In the picture
above and at left, you can see the
unpainted infelds and how the sides
are placed up to the infeld and across.
This method is much easier and when
the infelds are painted green they give
a great look and are perfect places to
put deslotted cars during competition.
In the two pictures at left and below,
you can see more about how infelds
are installed. Simply leave an over-
hang on your bloks in the infeld area
and glue and attach your infeld to the
bloks. Then, using bloks or stiffner
material, run along the outside edge of
infeld for both strength, and a place
to attach the side where it will come
Custom cutting of the sides will be
required to make a good fnished
look where they come together, but
in many places, it is not necessary to
take great care because this area is
hidden from view.