How to Make a Permanent Slot Car Track System
Greetings fellow racer!
Here you will find a great detailed guide on how to build your racing track at home. It’s divided into 7 easy to follow sections, each section contains pictures for you to reference. This is sent to us by our valued customer.
Bellow is a PDF version of this file, if you wish to download it.
Now that you have purchased your equipment, it is very important to review all of the various options
and accessories to expand your layout. It is important to know this before you start building, to avoid
making the track too small and have to start all over again after it has been built.
I suggest you look at a Carrera Catalogue to see what equipment you would like to use at a later date, and check all of the
dimensions to see if they will fit. Examine their catalogue and look at the suggested layouts, make a
copy, and enlarge it so you can use each track as a template to design your system.
I suggest you consider the outer track, so when spinouts occur, they can stay on the track. I know from experience
that if you have a system that has a fly-over, it will not fit on a 4×8 board because it will have to have an
extension on the table to fit the track. Take my advice, I built my layout and in 2 months the
performance of the cars was so challenging that I had to build an addition to maintain higher speeds and
more exciting races.
Part One: Tools and Various Items
- 9×2 1/2” coarse auger thread type 17-point screws for track assembly – buy one box (Home depot)
- Buy Marquee one coat water-based paint, color Sharkskin Suit PPU25-04 for the top of the track (Home Depot)
- Any good grade wood primer for both sides (Home Depot)
- 1-inch doll rods (Home Depot)
- 1/4”x1/4” balsa strips (Hobby Shop)
- Pat Down tool
- E6000 Glue (Home Depot)
- One miniature saw Huskey (Home Depot – Part #1000032)
- Galvanized wire cloth ¼ inch (Home Depot – part #274607) 3×5
- Sponge 3/8
- Marquee one coat Behr paint, Flat black fencing
- Standard wire mesh goggles (15A04.07 – garrettwade.com) 800 221 2942
- Small spring clamps (Harbor Freight)
- 3-inch bristle paint brush (Home Depot)
- 1 ½-inch bristle paint brush (Home Depot)
- Maxi-Cure Cyanoacrylate, thick (Hobby Shop) for fencing
- Instant set accelerator (Hobby Shop) for fencing
- 8-inch pruning shear – the best I found to cut metal and wood – Part #206265 (800 582 2593)
- 5 1/16th drill bit (Home Depot)
- Level (Home Depot)
- Rustoleum Flat Black 2x for the tires (Home Depot)
- #8×3/4” long sheet metal screws for screwing down the track – 2 boxes (Home Depot)
- One-gallon Titebond wood blue (Home Depot)
- Pair of soft gloves to cut the wire fencing (Home Depot)
- One smooth file (Home Depot)
- Wooden nuggets pine bark (Any local Garden supplier)
- Dap wood filler (Home Depot – Product #48672)
- Embossed brick sheet (Hobby Builders 800 926 6464)
- Woodland Scenes products (Local Hobby Shop)
Part 2: How to Build a Track Table
The first thing you will buy is a 4×8 ½” Thick plywood piece good on one side and as many 2×4 pieces required to support the table. Check the photo to get an idea about construction. The 2×4 pieces should be (without knots), straight, and try to find one with soft wood.
All screws for fabrication – see #1 on list. The next step is to prime the bottom of the track first, then let it dry.
Paint top with #2 on list. If your set has an overpass, then you will have to build an additional side piece, per the photograph.
When you make this additional part of the track, make it so it is screwed to the main frame, so that it can be taken apart at a later date.
I suggest that you build shelving underneath the table for storage and follow the photograph as to how do it. Use the screws listed in the part section. Do not paint over screws so you can find them if you ever disassemble the track.
Part 3: Applying Track to the Table
Building the track on the table is very important and care must be taken when starting, so all of the track will wind up fit properly, at the end. I suggest you start laying the track that goes in the forward direction of the cars, 13 inches from the track edge, to the edge of the table. Start with the digital control unit first, measure this further from the end of the track, so that there will be room to mount other parts and leave room for items, such as pit lane, to fit around the track – check photograph.
Measure carefully the starting dimension of the track and then how far the straight line goes and connect the beginning and end with a plum line, so the track will be perfectly straight. It is critical that you buy a mounting connector piece (product #85209) separately so that the track will not shift.
Then follow through with your layout. If you measure correctly, the outer track for spinouts should be laid at the same time, and your track should be perfectly connected. If there are some slight cracks, use the dap wood filler. You apply this with a spreader, packing it down and let it set for 4-5 minutes.
Then, take a damp sponge and go over it, making it perfectly smooth. If necessary, use a fine sandpaper to make it smooth and then paint with any water-based flat black. In certain areas, you may want to paint the track to show wear from the tires of the cars. Use part #22 from the list to secure the track to the table.
Part 4: Landscaping
Apply the Titebond woodglue #23 with a 3” brush heavily, on top of the table. Sprinkle the Woodland Scenes, medium-green # T1349 from the shaker bottle over the glued area.
Make a push-down pad using a 1” dowel and glue a 4×4 inch foamboard piece to the dowel rod. This will be used to pat down the grass for better coverage. Apply this glue into small areas (2ft square) for this process (see Section part 4 photos).
Start the next section an inch away from the previous section so that the glue does not make contact with the grass compound.
Wait 24 hours, and use a clean 4 inch brush and sweep away any excess grass, and save it in a box for future use. Woodland Scenes also makes a nice selection of small trees which will add realism to the track.
You can also go to Michael’s Craft Store and buy packaged foliage to make bushes and other landscaping effects (see photos).
Part 5: Bridge Overpass
This is not complicated, but it takes some modeling skill to make it an architectural piece in the layout. When building the track bridge, make sure you get the angle right so that when the car is coming down the track, it does not run off the track.
Use the wooden nuggets and bank the track’s outer edge so that the car will have more traction to the track. Use 1 inch dowel rods and the track hold down pins to develop the proper height and angles for the track.
Apply the nuggets starting at the bottom, 2” away from the track (see photo), using E6000 glue. Lay one at a time on each other to reach the bottom of the track. Try and keep them going in the same direction.
You can use the sheers #18 to cut them for a better fit. Cut a piece of foam board for the bridge height support. The height should allow the cars to easily go under the bridge. Cover the foamboard with embossed brick sheet paper (#28). See photos.
Part 6: Fencing
The fencing is the most difficult part of building the layout. Unless you are a level 5 model builder, do not attempt it.
After you have purchased item #9, make sure you are wearing gloves and goggles when cutting the fencing material. You will be wearing goggles – #12 to avoid small pieces that could fly up and hit your eyes.
When cutting this with shears (#18), cut the wire as close to the end of the row to avoid any burrs sticking up.
You may have to go over it a couple of times to make sure it is perfectly flat. Then take a file and go over it to make sure it is proper.
Buy a small protractor to make the arms rise 20 degrees above horizontal. The following steps will guide you along.
The poles are made from 5/16th dowel rod. Cut them 17 inches in length. Use a drill with a 5/16” bit and drill holes 7 inches on center, 2 inches away from the edge of the track.
- Make another pole 6 ½” as a guide mounting height pole. Insert the 7” pole into the hole, and place the 6 ½” pole next to it.
- Hammer the 7” pole down, and it should stop at 6 ½” giving you the proper mounting height. Paint the poles bottom 1” with paint (#11).
- Then take the ¼” washer, and slide it from the top
- Use a 1/4×1/4 inch balsa wood piece and mount it on top of the pole, making sure the flat surface is perfectly placed on the edge of the top of the pole on the inside facing the track. Make sure that this is done so the arm can be properly glued to a flat
- When applying this wood, when you have to add a longer piece, make sure the cut piece is in the center of the pole so that the adjoining pole has something to rest
- The arm should be made out of 1/4×1/4 inch balsa wood, and should be 1 11/16” long. Cut this so that it will have a 20 degree upward rise.
- Make sure the arm is glued so that the top of the arm is perfectly at the same height of the 4×4 top mounting
- Now paint the pole completely with the
- Use the shears and cut the vertical wiring to go from the bottom of the washer to the middle of the 4×4 cross
- Now cut the wire for the arm to go from the top of the arm to halfway on the top crossbar. Special Notes
Make sure that you use the correct screws to hold down the track as they will provide a perfectly flat.
Make sure the wire is cut at the ends so no sharp edges show and are perfectly flat when applying glue to wooden.
You can use #13 clamps to hold all wiring and glue.
Part 7: Lighting – Buildings – Figures
The small poles around the track are Lionel #76 boulevard lamps. The tall poles with 8 lights are #185 or 6-14092. The 2 adjustable poles are Mike’s train house #92. The control tower is Lionel # 6-12878. Use Lionel dispatch station #365 for press building. All these lights, poles and buildings use Lionel TW transformer 16V.
Buildings and Grandstands
#20021100 Grandstand. #20021104 Pit stop lane. #20021103 Press tower. I converted that to a car museum. Control tower #20021124 is used with the Grandstands.
Figure fans #20021128 were used with 20021129 Grandstand figures. #2002115 Marshal figures were used. #20021121 were used with the buildings. #20021133 mechanics were used and painted various colors. Some of the figures were made by VIP in England in the early 60s.
And that would be all, we hope you liked it, and you will be able to make your own track at home.