Monday, October 27, 2008

WLF1 Ring - Circuit namesake takes shape

Landscape and a lake has been the order of the day in June. Areas have been filled in with rock wall which is various blue foam thicknesses. Those were then gouged up with a knife and burnished by hand, then painted in various, browns, blacks and greens. I used a custom mix of train ballast on the top layers for a loose gravel look.
The boulder wall around the lake I made from actual landscape rock. Eventually I need to paint in some color depth for the water and epoxy for a deep lake appearance. I then made some piers for the pit boxes which are on the agenda. Some day I'll have little driver speed boats docked for a day of testing. There's a viaduct too that runs under the track off to some distant sea. More blue foam there scored for a cool brick pattern.
Foam, mdf and whatever scrap material I have is being used for filling in the negative areas and then getting coats of modelling grass. I've been making more trees from my backyard and inserting as I move around the layout. Gravel traps now occupy most of the run off areas and I've created some grass crete in the apex areas of corners. Those were from plastic crochet grids cut to the corner shapes. Then some fluorescent clay orange pylons to mark the apex points and to prevent drivers from cutting corners (if they weren't on slots anyway).

WLF1 Ring - Details, Details

Beauty is in the details, and after a busy couple weeks I realize I've only scratched the surface.I've been trying new things and bouncing around the track in different areas to work up some aesthetics and landscaping. Tire wall signage has been added which brings in some nice color to the turns. I tried to keep sponsors in line with my turn names where possible,like Benetton in the Benetton 90 corner, Porsche at Porsche Kurve, etc. Then just some brands I have an affinity for, Like F1, Elf Fuels, Bridgestone, O.Z. Wheels and others.
I finished the lower Bridge pilings which came at cool, but now I realize I should paint the bottom of the Bridge too!
I did some Pit Lane Work, like the Wall with WLF1 graphics, and fencing, which I used Drywall Patch Tape for the wire mesh parts and that worked out really well. Painted in the Red Sponsor area there and added Static Discharge details at the pit stops, but those are hard to see in the pictures (In real life these pull any static charge out of the car before fueling begins).
I also began some landscaping which I must say, makes the track come to life!Trees were made with some woody weeds I found in the backyard, Gravel Traps with train ballast, Styrofoam tiering and grass in the bridge and Schumacher Esses, as well as some stone work which I will have surrounding the yet to be conceived White Lake under the bridge.
Oh and I have been driving some, but hey I'm a designer so I keep looking at it and want to build more. This thing is exactly what I had hoped: F1 racing, design and model making rolled into one kick ass package!
More in a few weeks...

WLF1 Ring - Running 'round the Ring

Greetings from the White Lake Formula One Ring. I've been busy juggling form and function the last weeks. I'll get into a little detail here for those that care.

I built apex curbing, 20 some sections from 1/8" blue foam sheet. Starting with tracing the lines and transferring that to the foam sheet, then cutout. From there it ways DAYS of filing the directional bevels (Right and Left Handers) and a couple coats of white and fluorescent red paint then glued to the track. These things are sooo cool, there's a few sections where I have the cars race line hitting the curbing and they perform just like rumble strips. I had to burnish a few down so the cars wouldn't de-slot, but now they are working very well. I think Max Mosley and the FIA would approve, maybe Max can come out and certify it after he stops philandering with prostitutes (If you're an F1 fan you'll have some clue of what that means).

Tire barriers were next and after contemplating how I was going to afford 30 thousand scale tires at 5 bucks per four ($37,500) I ran across a thick walled gas piping at Lowes. It's a perfect scale and dirt cheap. Now how am I going to cut 30 thousand scale tires? Anyway I just cut pillars to a scale height of three feet (about 4-5 tires piled up) glued the tire pillars together right on the track. Then I took the tire wall sections outside for paint, dropped the tire wall sections, broke the tire wall sections, reglued the tire wall sections, ah yes and painted the tire wall sections. Back to the road surface where I wrapped them in thin hobby foam which will some day get some track signage. Functionally they're set in the most obvious run-off areas and have already saved Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and the drunk guy in Martins Jaegermeister Car.

My Professor Motor controllers came in about 10 days ago and at first I couldn't get them to work. I tried to sub them right in without Diodes like I had Dave's and zilch. Not working. After some panic calls to theProfessor himself and Dave they both suggested hooking up with diodes and viola! High speed action across all four lanes. Two cars per lane so true AC2car style! Thanks to Andy (The Professor) and Dave for helping me sortout the controller issue. They are fantastic Andy.

Ok enough function, lets get back to some form. I made some concrete walls for under the bridge and a few additional areas. These were from the same blue foam as the curbing. I went for a textured checkered pattern and all in all the came out pretty good. Well that's the black and white of it anyway.

I Started working on the upper railing for the bridge section. That's all wood dowels, cut and painted and its really sweet seeing the cars speed by through the railings. Some day I'll hook up little LED lights along the railing for some cool night racing.
Last weekend my brother Chris came to stay and we ran the track, all four lanes until 3am Friday and Saturday night. easily 8 hours of running between the days and it was great. Lots of close racing and passing via wider sections of track and using the lane changers. The whole paddock of cars had their motors humming at some point, including the drunk guy in Martins Jaeger car, but he crashed, the cops came and they took him off to jail...
Thanks for all the positive feedback slot car fans! Until the next update.

WLF1 Ring - Operational!

So it's April now and I was finally able to take the first laps! A lot of labor laying down the copper tape, installing power, power jumpers, fabricating and installing lane changers to name but a few. Awwww who cares! We're racing, and it is INCREDIBLE! The CNC routing is key here for an ultra smooth slot and the dynamic curves I created for the racing lines are awesome. Lane changers are working well and I am starting to remember all the little nuances and passing areas I created in addition to the lane change options. It should prove to provide a lot of tactics in the races and years to come.

WLF1 Ring - The Bridge

The last and probably most challenging section for stabilizing the circuit was the Cable Stay Bridge. I wrestled with a few concepts for the spire and supporting structure while modelling in Lightwave, eventually settling on this concept in late March. I then printed a full size elevation to use as a template. With PLENTY of 1/2 inch MDF left over it became my primary bridge material. I laminated 2 pieces of 1/2 inch together and taped the template down to cut it out with a jig saw. Then I sanded it, drilled holes for the cables, inserted aluminum collars and fastened to the track. From there I ran 1/8" Cable from under the table through the spire, under the table, back and forth, back and forth finally securing at the end. The coolest part which was a bit unexpected is that the cable stay bridge actually supports and stiffens the road beneath. I was expecting some of that but it worked far better then I could have hoped. Keeping good tension on the cable was key there.

WLF1 Ring - The White Stripes Play at White Lake F1 Ring

You'll have to bear with me here as some of these posts are old emails I am refineing and some are merely memories of where I was at. This paticular post being the latter and my memory is terrible.
So the track definition is coming together with white perimeter markings that I actually masked out with tape to have a smooth white line. Start line boxes are there, a finish line and I am starting to block out the pit lane.

I also airbrushed in a raceing line and some burnout marks on the start line and pit box, all in reference to a modern F1 circuit.

WLF1 Ring - Paint and Prep

Here's the latest. The overviews are where it sits as of last night (Some time in March 2008). Half the track is finished with road surface paint. The other half of the track has a final coat of Gray to wrap up (It looks like stippled beige stuff now. Bridge and Pits are done in concrete look. After road paint, I'll add track markings, white stripes and such to define the track, pit entry, etc. From there its airbrush time for the racing line and then copper hopefully this weekend.I'm loving the close up shots and I can't wait to race the thing!

WLF1 Ring - The Build

After I received the CNC panels I couldn't stay away from the basement. I started building. 16 hours and a couple of late nights later I had the track connected and sitting on the 3 foot subplatform. Since then I've added banking, attached the track completely to the frame and painted the initial gray colored road surface. Once that is done, I'll need to lay about 1000 feet of copper tape and wire it up to the vintage Lionel transformer I purchased. It is truly a labor of love and I am looking forward to much more activity landscaping and building track architecture including a cable-stay bridge that is the 20 foot straightaway!

WLF1 Ring - Groundbreaking

I should have had some Grid Girls and Champagne present!
Some WLF1 Ring Details:
Lap Distance: ~140 Feet (1/32 Scale =.848 Miles)
Two 2 car lanes with two 2 car passing lanes (Four Lanes Total)
19 Turns
Elevation Change: 2.5 Feet (1/32 Scale = 80 Feet)
20 Foot Bridge Straightaway
Lane Changers: 2 for Fast Lanes, 2 Pit Entry, 4 Pit Stops (8 Total)
Fastest Lap: Unknown
The track was designed three dimensionally in the computer. That data was exported to create CNC routed panels. This made it easier to plan for the dramatic elevation change but still fill the space entirely.When the track sections are joined and put into correct elevation everything will align perfectly. That's twelve 4x8 sheets of MDF there! From here I will mark out my 2x4 Subframe, pull the track panels up and begin fabricating the 3 foot deck.