How to make a lap counter out of a cheap calculator!

By Jack Stinson


Building a Home Slot Car Track

Text by Larry Geddes – Photos by James J. Van Scoter

Scroll down for the pictures

This half of the article deals with all the finishing chores needed to complete your track. Don’t try to hurry things up during this stage; just be patient & do a good job. You will be rewarded with a nice track that will give you many years of enjoyment.

Once all the serious woodwork is complete, the next step is finishing the track surface. Before any paint goes on, all screw holes & section joints must be filled & sanded smooth. We used ordinary drywall joint compound for this step. It’s cheap, there’s no mixing, & it sands easily, but frankly, we wish we would have used something else, like auto body filler (Bondo) or wood filler. The joint compound “pops up” slightly after a few weeks & shows every screw. Whatever you use, apply with a putty knife, sand using 100 or 120 grit paper on a sanding block, & reapply as necessary.

Building a Home Slot Car Track

Text by Larry Geddes – Photos by James J. Van Scoter

Scroll down for the pictures

If you’ve finally made the decision to rout your own track, but you’re a little intimidated about getting in over your head, don’t worry. It’s actually not that difficult once you get started. Although we have some prior woodworking experience (which helps), this is our first track, & we’re pretty pleased (& surprised) with the way it’s turned out so far. The track plan is pretty simple, which helps make it easier to build. The simple design should also make it a fairly fast track, which was one of our goals (We admit to being speed-crazed morons at heart). The bank & the bridge both add some complexity, so if you prefer a flat layout, it should be even easier for you than it was for us. So, for your own track building edification, here is a brief description of HOW WE DID IT. We hope that you enjoy it & can use it to develop some ideas for your own layout.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to accurately measure the space you have available for the track, & then make a large-scale drawing of the space & the track plan. Our space is 11’9” x 19’3”. The larger the drawing, the more accurate you can make it. Use a scale of 1/10 or 1/8. Remember those drawing lessons from high-school geometry, where you had to draw a line perpendicular to another line using a compass & straightedge? Those techniques will come in handy here (so I hope you paid attention). You will also need a decent plastic protractor, a mechanical pencil with 0.5 mm lead, a good eraser, like a Pink Pearl, & a few sheets of 20” x 30” poster board. 


A Cheetah on Steroids

by Larry Shephard

UPDATE: This conversion would work the same on the new “Falcon” or “Hawk”  motors. – OWH

What’s a Cheetah on steroids?  Well it is usually a Pla-Fit Cheetah or Fox motor that has died or slowed down from what it normally ran. They are a cheap motor that performs well but has a definite life span when the cheapy brushes inside wear out. So what to do, Junk it? Nay my friends, save the can and magnets for the basis of this how to article. I know most of you don’t have a lathe so this will not interest you, but I have had requests for a how to do this so here goes. Maybe someone wants to go into production.

We are going to scrap the Cheetah armature and the endplate that serves as a brush mount on the stock motor. All we want is the can and the magnets. Use an old Mura endbell or a new one, your preference. We need to make the Mura endbell fit the end of the Cheetah can. We will make a fixture or mandrel to mount the endbell on so it can be turned down in a lathe. Refer to the following drawing to see the basic dimensions for the brass two piece fixture.

Young Weird Herald

Here’s a pic of me (Paul Kassens) when I still had hair… thrashing for a 9 hour Enduro race in 1982. – Old Weird Herald photo by Raymond “Slapshot” Batchelor

I don’t claim to be any sort of expert or top racer, but in my 50+ years of racing slot cars, I have learned a lot. While I actually have won a few “major” type races in my time, as well as plenty of local and regional type races over the years… I have probably learned most of my lessons the hard way – in the races I have lost. And I’ve lost plenty.

“If it’s true that you learn from your mistakes… then I oughta be a damned genius by now!” – Paul Kassens

I suspect that this may also be the case with a lot of the top pro racers as well, even if they might not like to dwell on that fact.

I’m sure multiple time National and World Champion Paul “Beuf” Pedersen has even learned a few lessons from races he actually lost… that is… IF he can remember back that far… LOL


Ninco Mercedes Upgrade

By Larry Shephard

When I got my Ninco Mercedes CLK I thought, “Hey, this looks great, now what will it do on the track?” Big disappointment. It struggled down the straights and flipped in the corners. I thought some tuning was needed. So I slipped on some silicones for a bit of help but the handling and speed was still not there. It had a Fly magnet but it was not in the right place being too far forward. The big problem was being able to put it in the right place because of the big inline NC-2 motor. I played around with it some more and made the front wheels independent of each other. That helped a bit more but the Flys were zipping by me on the track like I was standing still. It was still slow on the straights, so it got relegated to the display cabinet.


Formula One/Indy Chassis Project

By Larry Shephard 07-04-00


I realized the other day that I had never built a 1/32nd scale open wheel formula car. I then decided I needed to do so. I obtained a couple of Betta 1/32nd scale formula bodies from Jon at Rad Trax in Las Vegas and set out to build a state of the art, (for me), chassis to use with them. It would be a brass/wire scratch built frame and I decided to write up the “how to” on one. The following is an outline of the basic process used to produce what turns out to be a very nice running and handling car for these formula bodies.


By Larry Shephard 8-22-99

momoaudiUpdated 9/2/99


Some have said that they would like to enter the Proxy Race II but they only feel comfortable entering the production class because they feel unable to build a car that would be competitive in the prototype class because of the chassis complexity. Ahhhhhhhh – but that is not the case timid ones. You can build something fairly simple that can be a good competitor. Follow along and see what you think of this prototype project car.

Slots On A Budget Project:

Silicone Tire Casting 101

How to make high quality silicone tires in the comfort of your own basement.

by Weird Jack

Chapter One – THE MOLDY BITS:

What we will be doing is making a two-cavity tire mold using casting resin to form the mold around an existing pair of tires on their wheels. The resulting mold may not be the best for full-scale commercial production, but will be great for casting your own in. Okay, I confess to using a machined aluminum mold to cast my Road Monkeys brand tires in, but I also use these resin type molds for other kinds of silicone tires I use myself.

contmod3Slots On A Budget Project:

Regaining Control

How to Build an Adjustable Parma Controller

by Weird Jack

As the Borg say, “resistance is futile.” Aren’t there times you feel that this is too true? I did whenever I would pop one of my favorite old cars on the track, only to have to pull another controller off the rack because the 45 ohm Parma units I use primarily aren’t always the right.