As I have discussed in the last couple of posts my intent is to use magnets and dowels to pin the terrain to the modules of my micro RC race track. The initial inspiration for this system came from user ‘Healzonu’ on the Ultimate RC Forums and I have developed the concept further for use on my track. For those playing along at home, this is how you make the hole array for the first time in four easy steps.
Tools And Equipment
To do this you will need:
Two B1 sized plots/prints of the hole pattern template (see the printables page). You can do this with only one print if you want as the B1 layout only covers half of a module. You will have to flip it around to do the second half if you only use one print.
A drill bit corresponding the the size dowels/magnets you are intending to use. I actually used a 1/4″ bit for 6mm magnets to make the hole just slightly oversized.
Tape. Masking tape is best but almost any will do.
Now I have the idea for a magnetic dowel system to position the terrain the base modules need to have holes drilled in them. This array of holes is used to pin the terrain into the plywood with the dowels.
I intend on using 6mm diameter magnets and wood dowels for the job as a starting point. It is prudent to start with small holes and make them bigger if stronger magnets are required. I am also starting with a 50mm array of holes and the module will fit a 23 rows and 11 columns with this array size making a total of 253 holes.
Rather than mark out the array on the module using a pencil and a straight edge I have decided a little more accuracy is required, so back into the CAD system and a quick layout was generated for half the hole array that can be printed to a B1 sized layout. If you want to follow along at home a PDF of the hole pattern layout will be available on the printables page. You can get this printed anywhere that does roll size plan plots. I had mine done at Officeworks here in Australia but there are many place around the world that do it such as ‘Fed-Ex Office ‘ (Kinkos).
In my next post I will take you through the simple steps to using the hole pattern template.
When I first started planning my modular track for micro RC cars I was going to affix terrain to each module directly so each module was set. I really wanted to have the terrain as modular but I hadn’t come up with a way of doing that other than wood dowels which I didn’t think was robust.
In presenting the first video of the completed modules on a forum one user had a suggestion…rare earth magnets. That was the inspiration I needed. I was concerned that rare earth magnets still wouldn’t quite work through the module’s plywood unless the were very strong and a few small test magnets proved that. My ‘Design For Six Sigma’ ideation kicked in and I Pughed in my brain (in joke for my work colleagues). Hybridising dowels and magnets was the way to go.
Here is a quick sketch of the intent of the system.
The base modules that are to carry terrain will be drilled with an array of holes while the terrain will have steel inserts. The rare earth magnets can then be used as repositionable dowels attached to the terrain pieces, whatever they may be.
Now that I have fixed the tie rod on my Losi Micro DT I have had a chance to test more layouts of the modular micro RC race track I am building. Here is a video of a number of track layouts using 5 or 6 modules. These layouts include:
Small Oval (5 modules)
b-Shape (5 modules)
L-Shape (5 modules)
C-Shape (6 modules)
Brickyard (6 modules)
It also shows the process for changing between two layouts and adding a module to the layout.