Slot cars hit the United States in the 1950s and have gradually gained popularity ever since. According to "History of Slot Car Racing" by John Ford, "Slot car racing was so popular in the 1960s that special racing events were televised live nationally on shows hosted by Mike Douglas, Steve Allen and Johnny Carson." Like many hobbies, slot car racing can cost thousands of dollars and is highly competitive. With the right expertise, you can drastically reduce the cost by building your own slot car.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 0.094-inch diameter hollow brass piping, 1.4085 inches long
- 0.094-inch diameter solid brass piping, 1.629 inches long
- 2 0.0625-inch diameter piping, 6.94 inches long
- 0.0625-inch thick brass plate, 2.25 inches square
- 0.1875-inch centre diameter washer
- 0.394-inch diameter 1:24 Slot Car rear wheels, 0.827 inch thick
- 2 0.236-inch diameter 1:24 Slot Car front wheels, 0.236 inches thick
- "68 pitch" slot car gear
- "68 pitch" slot car motor
- Slot car guide
- Slot car body
- Slot car gun
- 0.0625-inch hex wrench
- Small cross-head screwdriver
Solder both pieces of the 6.94-inch solid brass piping onto the1.4085-inch hollow brass piping 1/2 inch from either end so that the resultant structure resembles a T shape with two tails. The head of the T will be the rear end of the chassis.
Taper the two unattached ends of the solid piping together and solder both pieces to a 0.1875-inch washer.
Solder the 2.25-by-2.25-inch motor plate to the two solid pipes next to the rear end of the chassis.
Line up the car body so that the rear end of the chassis lines up with the rear wheel wells. Mark the placement of the body pins and centre of the front wheel wells on the 0.0625-inch solid piping.
Solder the body pin inserts to the body pin marks. Solder the 1.629-inch piece of hollow piping to the wheel well mark from Step 4, making sure it sticks out an equal distance on either side (the distance will vary depending on the taper); this will be the front end of the chassis. Make sure the front-end piping, rear-end piping, motor plate and pin inserts are on the same side of the chassis.
Thread one of the axles through the rear-end piping. Put the "68 pitch" gear onto one side of the axle and adjust it so that 0.0625 inches stick out from either side. Tighten the gear to the axle via the gear set screw with the 0.0625-inch hex wrench.
Guide the other axle into the front-end piping of the chassis. Adjust the front axle so that 0.0625 inches stick out from either side.
Connect the wheels to the axles and line up the "68 pitch" motor with the gear so that they interconnect and move smoothly. Once the motor and gear fit together, solder the motor to the motor plate.
Place the slot guide post into the washer, and tighten it just enough so that the slot guide can still move freely from side to side but will not come loose.
Connect the positive wire of the motor to the right side of the guide with a small cross head screwdriver. Connect the negative wire to the other side of the guide in the same manner.
Connect the body to the chassis with the body pins.
Call around to local hobby shops and racing venues to see about local leagues or amateur racing times. You will need to purchase a controller to race. As of 2011, prices for a slot controller range between £32 and £227.
Tips and warnings
- Solder magnets to the bottom of the car to help it stay on the track.
- Use wheel tack to make the wheels sticky; this helps the car stay on the track.
- Reduce car speed around curves and go full throttle on the straight parts of the track.
- Follow all safety precautions when soldering or wiring.
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