How to build a slot car track from scratch with copper tape

Written by cecilia ryan | 13/05/2017
How to build a slot car track from scratch with copper tape
Slot cars on track. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you've ever wished you could create your own straightaways and curves instead of relying on commercial slot car tracks, build your own track from scratch. You can customise your track and configure it in any way you wish. You need only a few basic woodworking skills to build your own slot car track with copper tape, and you'll be racing on a customised track in no time.

Draw the basic shape of your track onto your board or boards with a pencil. Plan out each lane, leaving enough space between them so that the cars won't crash into each other. Mark out 3 mm (1/8 inch) wide slots to fit your cars properly.

Cut the track grooves with a router. Make the slots at least 8 mm (5/16 inch) deep, preferably closer to 10 mm (13/32 inch). Keep the router steady as you go to keep the slot depth even.

Cut a 2 mm (3/32 inch) deep recess directly over the top of your slots. Make it about 0.25 mm (0.01 inch) wider than the copper tape on each side of the deep groove to accommodate the tape and keep the track level.

Sand any rough edges along the paths to ensure the track has no snags.

Paint your track if you wish. Avoid getting any paint in the slots or recesses.

Glue the copper tape into the recesses with contact cement, following the instructions on the tube. Press the tape down firmly and evenly, and work in small sections (though in a continuous piece) to ensure the tape sticks properly.

Test your track with a few laps. Check that cars run smoothly, and make any necessary adjustments.

Things you need

  • 16 mm (5/8 inch) particle board
  • Router
  • Copper tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Contact cement

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