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Automated Roads & Highways

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  • Member since
    November 2022
  • 1 posts
Automated Roads & Highways
Posted by rlb51 on Sunday, November 20, 2022 11:29 AM

Hi--Having balked at the cost of the Faller Car System and AutoMotionFX roadway segments I'm wondering whether something similar but generally available might work instead. That is, thin wood sheets (I suppose) that would accept a shallow cut for laying the contact wire. Chipboard doesn't seem feasible as the thickness would have to at least 1/2". Any advice would be welcome.

  • Member since
    October 2007
  • From: Fullerton, California
  • 1,291 posts
Posted by hornblower on Monday, November 21, 2022 4:45 PM

Check out the Luke Towan videos on YouTube.  He likes to use a chain drive system that uses magnets to pull vehicles (including pedaling cyclists) around his dioramas.  Yes, this system requires a bit more planning when building your roads but I would think that most any vehicle could be used with this system.  Luke's other option is radio control HO scale vehicles he builds from kits.  Yes, I did write HO Scale!  Check it out.

Hornblower

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Monday, November 21, 2022 5:08 PM

Faller cars use batteries, so they don't need contacts for power.  They are "steered" using car magnets and an iron wire in the road.  It sounds like they have a jig for embedding the wire in your roads.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    March 2011
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Posted by NVSRR on Monday, November 21, 2022 5:25 PM

when i was a kid, a race car sort of track was used  called US trucking. I think the one Luke uses and faller are the only systems out there.  Ue less you creted your own system

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 11,218 posts
Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 10:14 AM

I have seen oval shaped "NASCAR" races on some display layouts at train shows and there is no slot.  The race cars are presumably following a moving magnet, and for all I know there was a model train oval beneath the race track with an elevated powerful magnet on one car very close and almost touching the bottom of the race track.  Something like that -- using rail to guide the movement - was as I recall how the moving boat models traveled over real water at the old Mini-rama display layout at the Wisconsin Dells 60 some years ago.

Dave Nelson

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 11:21 AM

The display layout at the huge Miniatur Wonderland exhibit has a Faller car system with all the trimmings.  Of course, their budget is equally huge, and it wouldn't surprise me if Faller contributed heavily to get news of their products out in the modeling world.

The layout showcases things like working grade crossings, traffic lights and zones where vehicles are parked and later restarted.  I suspect that making full use of these features would require a significant amount of control electronics.

I realized when I first saw these that one could build a layout with just vehicles, no trains, and thoroughly enjoy it.

There is a model out there by Heljan of a fully functioning container crane.  There's a video of it somewhere, which shows a working display of the crane loading and unloading containers from flat cars and working Faller trucks.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • 7,357 posts
Posted by ndbprr on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 3:46 PM

i have no intention of implementing moving autos on a layout so my bias is being stated up front.  I think it is a bad idea.  It takes years of work to complete a good model railroad.  do you really want to take the time away from building a railroad to add and maintain a basic loop for a road system where one or two cars chase their tails?  

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 14,476 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 5:18 PM

Hi rlb51

I think you could easily make your own roadbed using 1/8" or 3/16" luan plywood and a scroll saw like this:

https://www.micromark.com/MicroLuxsup-reg-sup-Variable-Speed-Multi-Saw

You could use a router to cut the wire path (I suggest doing that first before cutting out the roadbed sections to make things easier to handle). In addition to being dirt cheap, the advantage to cutting your own roadbed is that you can cut the pieces any shape and length you want. Basically, you can cut the roadbed to fit whatever design that fits your layout. There is no reason to use the fixed radii curves that Faller offers.

One thing I would suggest is that you waterproof your track sections (both sides) so that they won't warp if moisture like paint or glue is applied.

Another option would be to use large 0.060" styrene sheets (available from sign shops). The styrene can be cut using a utility knife (box cutter or carpet knife). The slot could be formed by cutting the roadbed sections down the middle and then gluing them to a styrene backer plate leaving just enough space between the two halves for the wire.

I made my kids a Brio train set using a router and a scroll saw. In my case I copied the Brio track shapes so that my homemade track sections would fit with the Brio pieces, but you aren't limited by that.

Finally, I suggest that you check out 1/87 RC vehicles. They can be driven practically anywhere on your layout including over hills and across slightly uneven surfaces. Here are some videos:

https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-rogers-rogers_001&ei=UTF-8&hsimp=yhs-rogers_001&hspart=rogers&p=1%2F87+remote+controlled+cars+videos&type=rogers_pc_homerun_portal#id=6&vid=3f6933829eea9dc135870975987449f4&action=click

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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