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  • Question about taping corners.

    This may be a dumb question, but how do you deal with the little wrinkles in copper tape around the corners? It doesn't stretch and it tears real easy.

  • #2
    Just burnish them with the rounded end of a screwdriver handle or something similar.
    Team SCANC
    Woodland Trace Raceway - SlotZuka - Bent Tree Raceway
    OFI - Buena Vista Motorsports Park - Slotkins Glen
    Leadfinger Raceway


    • #3
      If you look at this photo, the top right corner shows where I burnished down some wrinkles. This is a pretty tight 90 degree corner so it was tough to get laid down without wrinkles.
      Click image for larger version

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      But once you burnish it down hard, the cars don't notice it and it will stay down.
      Come Race at The Trace!
      Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN


      • #4
        Thanks. That what I have been doing. I use a wooden block with a rounded edge. I just wondered if there was a more "pretty" solution. I am about to disassemble my first track and fix all of my mistakes. So, I wanted to do things right this time . Click image for larger version

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        • noddaz
          noddaz commented
          Editing a comment
          If it works, it's right...

      • #5
        Don't stretch the tape. I always liked to burnish it down with a screwdriver handle wrapped with terry cloth.
        Matt B
        So. In


        • #6
          I would say you are doing fine. It's a bit like sawing curves on a bandsaw, you have to do a little at a time and almost press it down continuously as you turn the tape (hard to explain in words) just like turning the wood under the saw blade. And don't fret too much, it's just a slot car track. If it runs and you have fun, mission accomplished!
          Come Race at The Trace!
          Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN


          • #7
            If you try to stretch the tape to avoid wrinkles it will be likely to crack in the future.


            • #8
              I actually used a "C" Cell battery ... as mentioned above take your time and do not stretch the tape. Good luck


              • #9
                The best tool to use is free: yours thumbs and fingers. Just follow the edge of the slot and slowly apply the tape while putting pressure with either your thumb or fingers. Yes it is hard and will take a little longer but if works and comes out looking good. This track was built in 2013 and sits in an insulated but unheated garage in Northern Nevada. Only had to repair one break since being built. It took six hours to do both lanes (approx 69 ft per lane).



                • chappyman66
                  chappyman66 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Nice track.

              • #10
                Back in 1967 I used the top of a Zippo lighter to burnish copper tape, worked great.
                Butch Dunaway
                Oxford, Ohio


                • #11
                  I have taped four tracks, and braided two. The thing to remember is that getting in a hurry with either one is death. Stop. Have a beer and laugh at yourself. Best medicine.


                  • #12
                    Just did my new track. Don't stretch the tape and burnish well.
                    "Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool."

                    Zen Raceway
                    Severna Park, MD


                    • #13
                      If you have ever done wall paper you have used your best tool. You have to roll the edge of the paper, just use the same technique to roll the tape.
                      When I have a Crash-n-Burn I get a couple of older kids to roll the entire track. I keep several in my tool box.


                      • Mickey thumbs
                        Mickey thumbs commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I use a wallpaper roller,too. The mdf seems to contract a bit when fall comes around causing the tape to buckle. The track gets a rolling a couple times going into winter.

                    • #14
                      I made three big mistakes on that first track:
                      1. I didn't seal or paint the slots... getting a lot of dust from the MDF after several months of use.
                      2. I put the tape right on the edge of the slot. It's getting chewed up quite a lot now.
                      3. I thought the material I used as a routing guide was rigid enough. It wasn't and the router I used was heavy, so it deformed the guide.
                      OK, 4 things... I thought the uneven curves and corners would make things more interesting and challenging... but, they are also very annoying. Cars jump the slot where they really shouldn't.


                      • #15
                        You can make things easier for yourself by using a narrower tape. Instead of 1/4" wide tape use 3/16", but try to find it in 1.5 mil -- usually the thickest tape available.

                        A narrower tape will bend around a much tighter radius. If you double the width of the tape it will need eight times the radius to lay without wrinkling (it is a 3rd power relationship).

                        The thickness of the tape doesn't affect that radius, so go as thick as you can for maximum conductivity. The extra thickness won't affect the cars, and it will make the tape a bit less likely to tear.

                        A little narrower tape will not affect the performance of your cars. I have run 1/32nd scale cars on an HO track with only 1/8" wide tape. No issues.

                        Tape can be had in many different widths and thicknesses. I've seen 5/32" wide tape. I've seen 1 mil, 1.25 mil and 1.5 mil. Do your homework and shop around.

                        I can recommend EDCO brand tape. EDCO makes tapes for the military, among others. Their tapes are commonly used by folks who work in stained glass and can be found in craft shops. EDCO is the brand I have been selling for HO tracks and no customer has ever complained.

                        3M (the Scotch Tape folks) also makes copper tape. Venture and Masterfoil are their brand names. Also first quality stuff. Again, shop for width and thickness.

                        Ed Bianchi
                        Last edited by HO RacePro; May 22, 2021, 10:13 AM.
                        Ed Bianchi
                        York Pennsylvania USA