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Keeping your track clean

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  • Keeping your track clean

    I need to apply copper tape to the inside lane of my road course but while looking at the track up close noticed all the dust and debris that's accumulated there. I used to clean my oval with a shop vacuum but that's not ideal given the cord and bulky hose. I think a handheld cordless vacuum would be ideal and am thinking of getting one.

    But, I'm looking for feedback on what others use before making a decision.

  • #2
    Painters tack cloth.

    Click image for larger version

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    Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA
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    • mattb
      mattb commented
      Editing a comment
      Scott's got it right there. You don't need to rub hard, just drag the cloth over the surface. Put it in a zip lock bag and use it several times before opening a new one, You can throw 3-4 in together and wad them up and wipe down. Anything works. Braid or tape cleans up real nice if you spray it with WD 40 and run laps.

  • #3
    Be careful, some types of tack cloth contain wax. If you get wax on the track surface copper tape will not stick. Years ago I tried using a tack cloth to clean my HO track, wax got on the rails and the cars would not run until the wax was removed with lighter fluid.

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    • mattb
      mattb commented
      Editing a comment
      Don't rub the track hard, just drag the cloth so it picks up dust, don't rub so hard you leave the tacky stuff on the track. If re-taping, I would clean that area with alcohol or mineral spirits or MEK.

  • #4
    Sounds like a job for Professionals...

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    Mark

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    • chappyman66
      chappyman66 commented
      Editing a comment
      My grandson brought one of those over recently...it was awesome.

    • Silberpfeil
      Silberpfeil commented
      Editing a comment
      Legos = The best.

  • #5
    I've used the 18-Volt ONE+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry Vacuum with Accessory Storage, very handy not only for track, but car interior etc... Wait for sale at the Home Depot and get a free battery.

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    • #6
      I've day dreamed for years about building a track cleaner using parts from a cordless vacuum that is driven around the track at slow speeds. Another idea has been to make a towable trailer-type device that uses Swiffer dusting pads to gather up dust and debris.

      Vacuuming would probably be best, but dusting the track surface with something meant to capture dust would be a simpler approach. In either case being able to drive or tow the device around the track would solve the problem of being able to access difficult to reach areas and possible damage to walls, fences, and scenery that could result from reaching over the track.

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      • #7
        Funny , couldn't you make a 1/24 scale truck/car that could tow a Swifer dry mop head around the track at a slow speed ? Don't they have a fleet of trucks that do just that type of thing at the bigger motor speedways ?

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        • slothead
          slothead commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes I could, and probably should have. A concern is finding a motor that is slow enough and produces enough torque to get around the track. The 'truck' should sort of creep around the track. An average lap time on my road course takes about 10 seconds, I'd like a track cleaner truck to take 40 - 60 seconds to complete a lap. I don't think a typical slot car motor would produce enough torque at the low voltage needed to go that slow. One way around that might be to use an idler gear between the pinion and crown gear to reduce the rpm and increase the torque, knowing friction will also reduce the overall efficiency.

      • #8
        I mean most of the wooden tracks are three lane , right .

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        • #9
          About once a year, I open the garage door and fire up the gas blower to clear out the slots!
          Matt B
          So. In
          Crashers

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          • #10
            Matt is correct. Wipe lightly to dust. If it didn't work, auto body painters wouldn't use a tack cloth. We use the same cloth about 4 times, fold in the soiled side, put in a ziplock and reuse. Cheap and effective. Wipe using lint free rag with a small bit of Naphtha to clean braid/tape/rails. We do that about twice a year. Tried and true is best. New fangled will get you fangled.
            Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA
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            • #11
              I use this which uses stiffer sheets to clean. Works well at cleaning the track surface....
              a car simply pushes it around the track.

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              • War Eagle River
                War Eagle River commented
                Editing a comment
                I’ve got one of those. Used to cut tack cloth pieces and run it around. Now its just faster to wipe down the track by hand.

            • #12
              I use a Swiffer mop head with handle that I put a microfiber towel on the head. The head is 4.5" x 10". With the long handle I can reach all parts of my tracks. I don't use any chemicals to clean my track. Since I have silicone tires on most of my cars, I run them around the track and clean their tires a few times to get the track race ready. I have a cordless vacuum if there is any dust in the slots. When I got my first track it looked terrible, to me, with all of these tires marks on the track. So, I use denatured alcohol and cleaned the track up. Well when I started running my cars again, within 50 laps, the " racing groove" was back. On my other track, I have ran 1000's of laps and there is not a racing groove on this track. I have found out, having owned 4 different tracks, that it depends on the paint that was used on the track. I have had Carrera tracks and now my newest track is a routed track, which is painted using the same paint as my first track. So, it has the "racing groove" like the first track. These two tracks were painted with UMA bonder primer-sealer, tinted gray. My other tracks were painted with Rust-oleum painters touch gray primer.

              Jim W
              Last edited by jaws; March 25, 2021, 10:17 AM.

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              • #13
                Even a powerful vacuum cleaner will not remove very fine dust and will not do a good job of getting dust out of the slots. In addition, fine dust will go right through an ordinary vacuum cleaner and is likely to land right back on the track. Some vacuum cleaners have a HEPA filter and if you have a central vacuum system re-deposition would not be an issue.
                I use special dusting cloths from my local hardware store, those are called One-Wipe Ultimate Duster, those are available via Amazon. The cloths work better than Swiffers of microfiber cloths and can be washed a few times.
                In my track area I have an air purifier with HEPA filters and that seems to help.

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                • #14
                  One of our HRW guys did this one a few years back...

                  And this is my version, a 12 volt vac that drags a tack cloth under the belly. The vac is in a toy Zamboni.

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                  • #15
                    Now those are the ideas that slot racers should be using

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