Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

MDO instead of MDF for routed track?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • MDO instead of MDF for routed track?

    I called my local lumber yard to ask if they carry 1/2" MDF and they said no, but the do carry 1/2" MDO in 4'x8' sheets ($56). Has any one used MDO for a routed track? If so would you recommend it or not, and why?

    Also, what about PVC sheeting ($76)?

    These other products are slightly more expensive than MDF ($46) at the Home Depot a few towns over, but I'm not really that concerned about the cost for a one time project.

  • #2
    Think the MDO is an overlay product. Meaning its compressed board with an epoxy Overlay. Just go with the MDF, you’ll be glad you did.
    Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA

    Comment


    • #3
      What Scott said.
      Butch

      Comment


      • #4
        I've used both MDF and MDO to build skate/bmx ramps with a local builder and skatepark owner.

        MDO, or medium density overlay, is a type of wood panel that uses pressed plywood and a layer of resin. Heat and pressure bonds the layer of resin over the surface either on one side or both. The smooth surface make it ideal for painting.

        MDF, or medium density fiberboard, is a type of wood panel that uses wood fiber from hardboard or soft board. It is mixed with water, wax, resin and it’s also pressed under high pressure and heat. The finished product is a material harder than plywood.

        MDO is a better product. It can withstand longer spans as it is stronger. It is also more dense and lighter then MDF. And it holds up to weather better. MDO is also easier on tools which can save you money. MDO also has less defects in the product. IMO if builders tried MDO they'd probably like it. MDO is more expensive though which keeps most people away and why you don't see any track builders even willing to consider it.

        Slot car tracks are generally indoors and don't usually face weather conditions so MDF is fine. If you were in a humid environment (Florida for example) and had a track in a screen room or 3 season room I'd say use MDO. Same is true for a basement that gets humid or isn't always dry.

        When I have the space to build a track it will be MDO.
        Last edited by ra7c7er; June 1, 2020, 11:43 PM.

        Comment


        • War Eagle River
          War Eagle River commented
          Editing a comment
          Seal the MDF, both sides and edges and slot before painting. It wont sponge up any moisture. Track builders have been using MDF for ages, there’s good reason to.

      • #5
        Thanks for the feedback. I am going to use my small trailer to go to Home Depot or Lowes to get full sheets of MDF. I was considering MDO becaise I can get it in town and have it dropped off at the house.

        Hope to be making sawdust soon.

        Comment


        • #6
          1/2 MDF is at least half the price and it works fine.
          Matt B
          So. In
          Crashers

          Comment


          • #7
            When routing MDF it is a very good idea to rig some kind of dust collection to your router. The dust MDF creates is very fine and gets everywhere. Not great to breathe either. People who work with MDF a lot have been known to develop an allergy to it.

            Early on I did my routing outdoors, without dust collection. Still made a lot of dust but eventually it would blow away. Dilution is the solution to pollution!

            Later I rigged up a shop-vac to a custom-made router base. It worked very well, so I could do my routing inside my garage with scarcely any dusting. This is truly a shop-vac job. A simple collection bag won't cut it.

            But remember I said MDF dust is very fine? Like baby powder fine. It blinded the pleated filter in my shop-vac quickly and thoroughly. I ended up rubber-banding an old T-shirt over the shop-vac filter. Also worked very well. The dust would accumulate on the T-shirt, but was easy to knock off.

            I also rigged up a hanger for both my router power cord and dust collection hose. I suspended both from the ceiling of my garage with enough slack that I could rout a 4 x 8 foot sheet of MDF and never have to worry about running out of slack. I ended up having to mate two shop vac hoses, end-to-end, to make it long enough for the job.

            Tales from the trenches. Take note. And you are welcome!

            Ed Bianchi

            Comment


            • #8
              Good advice Ed. I routed my track in pieces in the carport with 3 sides open. Sat a pedestal fan to blow in the direction the wind was blowing to carry dust away from me. After the track was used a bit I changed one corner and built the track surface then routed to match the slots in the old track. I used a bunch of duct tape and taped the end of my shop vac hose to one open side of my router. That worked OK, just OK. I constantly had to watch for the cord or hose to get snagged. Lots of guys get and extra set of hands to hold the hose behind the router. Lot of newer routers do have built in hose connection. That would be great.
              Matt B
              So. In
              Crashers

              Comment


              • #9
                Seal the MDF, both sides and edges and slot before painting. It wont sponge up any moisture. Track builders have been using MDF for ages, there’s good reason to.
                Scott.....War Eagle River......Tampa, Florida, USA

                Comment


                • #10
                  Ed,great idea with the t-shirt over the filter. Thats going to be a huge time saver.thank you.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    My last post above at 9:41 PM yesterday was done at virtually the same time as ra7c7er made his and I never saw it. I want to address that so he knows I value his feedback.

                    Since I can get MDO in town, just a 5 minutes drive away, I may get a sheet to practice on before planning a trip to Home Depot or Lowes for 2 sheets of MDF.

                    For ra7c7er and anyone else who's used MDO - does it flex the same as MDF for banking? I'm hoping to achieve slight banking of around 8 degrees, nothing like you see on commercial tracks. I want driver skill to still matter when cornering at speed.

                    As for routing, I still may have it done by CNC if I can find a shop with a big enough table to do 34" radius corners from a single sheet. Otherwise I'll do it in the barn with front and back doors open, or out on the deck if there's good weather.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by slothead View Post
                      My last post above at 9:41 PM yesterday was done at virtually the same time as ra7c7er made his and I never saw it. I want to address that so he knows I value his feedback.

                      Since I can get MDO in town, just a 5 minutes drive away, I may get a sheet to practice on before planning a trip to Home Depot or Lowes for 2 sheets of MDF.

                      For ra7c7er and anyone else who's used MDO - does it flex the same as MDF for banking? I'm hoping to achieve slight banking of around 8 degrees, nothing like you see on commercial tracks. I want driver skill to still matter when cornering at speed.

                      As for routing, I still may have it done by CNC if I can find a shop with a big enough table to do 34" radius corners from a single sheet. Otherwise I'll do it in the barn with front and back doors open, or out on the deck if there's good weather.
                      MDO is just as flexible as plywood but I believe MDF is a bit more flexible. 8 Degrees will easily be fine.

                      One thing I was thinking about is that the walls of the slot will not be as smooth as MDF will be so that might be something to consider. That and the cost are the only two things I can think of that detracts from MDO. If you use MDO you will still want to seal the edges too.

                      Once a track surface is painted it doesn't matter what is under it. I've been on a guys track who used plywood for his track. Once it was painted and surfaced it ran just like any other wood track I've raced on. I personally don't think type of material maters as much for racing since you aren't racing on the material itself. Type of material only affects the build and build quality.

                      Comment


                      • #13



                        I hadn't thought about the smoothness of the slot issue, but now agree MDF should be best for that. I've run a battery powered slot car around my tracks and am amazed at how quickly straightaway speed gets scrubbed off in the corners. This is something I never think about when using full power cars, but it's still a factor.

                        The next topic I have to figure out is copper tape or braid. My current oval has copper tape which I've been pleased with but I also know Harry swears by braid. While thinking about needing to get more tape I began to consider going with braid. Not sure if this makes sense after spending what it will cost to have the slot CNC routed or if the slight banking planned will have an effect.

                        As always, comments and feedback are appreciated.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          MDF has been the go-to material for routed slot tracks for more than half a century. You would need a really compelling reason to go with anything else.

                          And copper tape has been in the game just as long. For 1/32nd cars, especially set cars, it works just fine. Only for unlimited 1/24th scale cars might I say braid is required.

                          HO cars with standard pickups just do not work on tape. However, braid with a slight 'reveal' of a few thousandths works fine.

                          Braid does have higher conductivity than tape. Tape may require more jumpers for smooth power. Also, copper tape can require cleaning if left idle too long. Braid seems to get by without ever being cleaned.

                          Braid is always the deluxe option, but I don't think anybody needs to apologize for a track made with copper tape.

                          Ed Bianchi

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            I just ordered 2 rolls of 1/4" by 33 yards long copper tape from Walmart for $9.59 each and free shipping. I didn't calculate lane lengths times 2 to know if that will be enough for the whole track but it'll get me started.

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X
                            UA-149438709-1