Making The Hole Array For The Terrain Magnetic Dowels

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 theĀ  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.
  • Scissors.
  • A drill.
  • 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.


Step 1 – Cut Out The Templates

Cut along the solid line that denotes the module edge on three sides and cut the fourth side past the centre lineĀ  to ensure there is overlap.


Step 2 – Tape The Layout To The Board

Align the sides and end of the layout to the module and tape down.


Step 3 – Drill The Holes

Drill the holes at every intersection of lines on the grid including the corners for a 50mm spacing. If you want a 100mm spacing only drill the holes at the intersections identified in the small circles. If you want a 100mm grid spacing with extra centre holes drill the grid intersections identified by both the small and the large circles.

Step 3_Drill_Holes_LivingRoomRacewayStep_3_Finished_Hole_Array_Full

Step 4 – Remove The Template And Splinters From The Backside

The hard work is now done and you can now remove the template. You can either keep the template for another module or put it in the recycling bin and use the technique describe in the ‘Bonus Step’ below as a template for more modules.


I also found that the plywood splinters (AKA tear out) on the backside. You should remove these to make sure the dowels will go in to the holes with no trouble and so you don’t have little bits of wood splintering off when you are setting up or using the track. I ran a scrap of wood that had a wedge-shaped end to chip off the splinters.

Bonus Step – Using Your First Board To Replicate The Hole Pattern

To drill more module with the hole array you can turn the first module upside down and clamp it to a module you want to drill. If you want to drill a different pattern such as a 100mm grid then mark the holes per the layout with a permanent marker.


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