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.
It’s time to approach making some terrain for my micro RC track. I have been thinking about how I want to go about this and the types of terrain modelling techniques and media that could be used. The ideas I have are:
Paper Mache – When I was young I made my own play sets with terrain for my Micro Machines. I made paper mache using wallpaper paster to do this. There are other techniques for making paper mache glue as well such as flour and water. Paper mache will also paint quite well with water based paint but enamels will also work.
Plaster – Using Plaster of Paris terrain could be molded, cast or sculpted. It is fairly robust once it is finished and can be painted easily with cheap water based paints.
Epoxy Putty – Two-part, kneadable putty is common in hobby model making with brands such as Milliput and Tamiya readily available (I think I have some of both lying around the house unused). It is also available from the hardware store in various brands. It is paintable but I am assuming you need oil based paints.
Builders Putty – This type of putty, unlike the two-part epoxy, is an oil based air curing putty used in joinery and glazing to fill gaps. I am not sure just how well it will work but it is quite cheap so it is worth trying. I think this will also require oil based paints.
Packaging Foam – A cheap and easy foam to source is packaging foam or expanded poly styrene foam. I always seem have some lying around the house and it is easily sculpted but I will have to look in to techniques for strengthening and finishing it. It can also be used as filler for other modelling techniques.
Modelling Foam – The other foam option is modelling foam or ‘blue foam’ which is extruded polystyrene foam (and not always blue). The extruded foam is more durable than expanded foam and used by many types of model makers. It is also considerably more expensive.
Builders Polyurethane – Here is Australia this is most commonly known as ‘liquid nails’ and typically comes in a caulking gun pack from the hardware store. They also sell a sausage pack at the hardware store. Using this will be somewhat experimental and I am thinking of forming it into rough shapes and carving it to the final shape when cured.
Cast Polyurethane – This is a quite intensive technique as a mold would need to be made to cast from. I would only use this if I create a piece of terrain from another method that I want to replicate many times.
Wood – Some of my brainstorming included making jumps and a quarter pipe. Wood is a logical choice for some of these larger terrain features. Plywood techniques such as egg crating and countour building could be combined with other modelling techniques to make interesting terrain. Wood dowels on their side could also be used to make little logs to drive over.
Cardboard – Making terrain from cardboard will not be robust in the long term but for trying out concepts before making them with wood. Cardboard can also be used to make egg crate and countour models.
There are so many other potential methods too. Let me know if you have any ideas for making terrain in the comments section below.
As I move from building base modules into making terrain for my micro RC car track I have been developing ideas for terrain on each module. There are some obvious ones such as using paper mache or building jumps out of cardboard or wood but I found an interesting product at the Australian Toy Fair that piqued my interest. It was called ‘Kinetic Sand’.
The idea of using ‘sand’ with micro RC cars that are in the form of buggies, desert trucks and rally cars seems only logical to me.
This video shows what you can do with Kinetic Sand.
So naturally what I wanted to know is can I make this myself. I researching the possibility I found that Kinetic Sand is not something that can be made easily at home, but what can be made is what is refered to as ‘Moon Sand’. There are many recipes out on the web for moon sand and they are typically a mixture of play sand, corn flour/starch and water in around a 4:2:1 ratio (there are many sites with recipes but the pictures I have seen for this one appears to be a good consistency).
There are pros and cons to using home-made moon sand vs the newer, polymer based kinetic sands.
Home Made Moon Sand
Pros – Can make at home, cheap to make, safe Cons – Will dry out (although can be reconstituted), water based so may not be compatible with RC car electronics, can be crumbly so may get into RC car running gear, clean up may be difficult
Commercial Kinetic Sand
Pros – Won’t dry out (polymeric ingredient), safe Cons – Not sure if polymer ingredient (Polydimethylsiloxane) will be compatible with all parts of the RC cars, expensive, sand may get into RC car running gear
With either type of moldable sand I am really not sure of the compatibility with micro RC cars and what effect it could have on them. I think I will still make a small batch of Moon Sand to see what it is like. If I don’t like the home made Moon Sand then, after a little more reasearch on the polymer ingredient, I may fork over some dollars on the Kinetic Sand. Even if I don’t use it for the Micro RC Track it still is fun to play with!
Well, not quite, but the hard bit is complete at least. The lane markers have been slotted and mitred with the only remaining step being a coat of paint. I will show some details of the slots and mitres in a separate post.
Here are a couple of pictures that show a 600mm and a 1200mm lane marker coming together at a corner.
I plan on doing a little test run on the flat track with different layouts. After that it will be on to terrain and textures.
It’s been a little while since I posted here but rest assured, the Micro RC race track build is progressing. I have finished building seven of the eight base boards. The only reason I didn’t finish the eigth is one of the pieces of wood for the support structure was not straight. The base boards now just need the holes drilled for the lane marker dowels which I have done on one board as a test.
Here’s a few little pics of the lane markers on the base board as a work in progress.
The next steps are to finish the slots on the last few lane markers, mitre the lanes marker ends and add the dowel holes to the base boards.
Welcome to livingroomraceway.com. This site will be mainly about my build of an RC race track system for micro radio controlled cars. The reason I call it a ‘system’ is because the design intent is for the track to be modular and the design itself will be ‘open source’. This will allow people to modify my concept to suit their own requirements which may vary based on how they want to use the track, the space they have and the type of vehicle they use.
For my purposes I am intending to design my track based on using Losi Micro off road vehicles because, in my opinion, they offer the best bang for your buck. I currently have a Micro Desert Truck and I hope to try out some of the other Losi vehicles along the way. Kyosho mini-Z buggies are also considered in designing my track system.
I will blog here as my track build progresses so drop by from time to time and see how my track build going. If you build your own track, whether it is based on my concept or something different, also drop me a line through the contact page. I love to see other people’s ideas for micro RC race tracks.