George Russell's

3340 "D" San Pablo Dam Rd.
San Pablo, Ca.  94806
Phone: (510) 222-2012
Fax: (510) 222-2214
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Fastrax Raceway

Getting Started With Slot Cars

If you want to join in the fun of the slot car hobby, not only will you want to purchase your own slot car, but you will need a slot car controller.

There are two basic levels of controllers. Entry level controllers may only be used with slot cars up to a Group 12 type motor. If you want to drive a slot car with a motor more powerful than Group 12, you will need to purchase a more expensive controller. Here are the details:

This controller is the least expensive at $30 and is recommended if you are on a limited budget and plan occasional use. Good for up to a Super Wasp motor.

This controller costs $45.95. The Turbo Controller is a better entry level controller because it has a full internal metal frame, and a complete system of micro contacts to ensure the wiper on the controller makes full contact when braking and when full open. This controller will handle up to a Group 12 motor.

This controller is the best for beginners. The design is the same at the Turbo, but has upgraded hardware. At $75.00 it has such high quality and durability that we use them as our rental controllers. This controller will handle up to a Group 12 motor.

For $85 you can upgrade your PARMA Turbo controller by adding a CIDEX “Omni Euro” module. The module gives you a professional quality controller with variable sensitivity and braking, and the ability to handle any wattage of slot car motor, even more than Group 12. Installation directions are fairly easy to follow if you are mechanically inclined, or we can send it to Cidex for $40 covering installation and shipping.

If you know right at the beginning that you will be doing a lot of competition slot car racing and want to have motors higher than Group 12, we highly recommend buying the best controller you can afford and bypass all the above controllers. Although these high end controllers cost $180-$259, the difference in quality is well worth it. Fastrax carries two “external resistor” controllers which have a huge resistor hanging down from the handle. This big resistor can handle the wattage of any type of slotcar. We also have the CIDEX “Omni Euro”, as described above, in a ready to run version built by CIDEX. Finally, we stock the best controller available in slot car racing, the electronic “RUDDOCK”. This controller has fully variable adjustment of sensitivity and braking and truly makes driving a slot car a dream!


Rear Axle
The most obvious quality we look for in a rear axle is straightness. At Fastrax, we recommend inexpensive drill blank rear axles for most slot hobbyists. Parma sells good drill blanks in 3/32" and 1/8". We have spot checked these axles with our dial indicator, and they are +/- .004" which is OK for general use. For the hobbyist who doesnŐt mind spending a little more, we recommend the Koford or GTO drill blanks. Our spot checks have shown these drill blanks to be nearly true, with our dial indicator showing little or no movement.

Like everything else, axles can become as technical as you want them to be. Technical considerations are: weight, overall length, and flat spots for the wheel set screws (including their location and size). For less weight, there are "hollow" axles (a hole goes all the way through the axle leaving only a thin wall). Or, axles are available in exotic materials like titanium. These axles are used widely in applications where the hobbyist is looking for every edge possible. They are used a lot in drag racing and for qualifying runs in wing cars. Because they are not as durable as solid axles, they aren't recommended for the average hobbyist, for most stamped steel car racing, or for long races. The most expensive axles are made from titanium. They are lightweight, strong and non magnetic (in case you subscribe to the theory that your motor magnets will put a drag on the spinning rear axle). Again, this is for the hobbyist looking for the ultimate edge.

Front Axle
These generally don't seem to be as critical an issue for most slotcar racers. For stamped steel chassis "flexi cars" where you want the front wheels to help with handling, we recommend setting the height of the front wheels perhaps around .010" above your tech block. Use a few pieces of tape under the front wheels as a set up jig and press down on the guide (complete with braids) and solder the front axle in place. Once out on the track, you may need to fine tune your front wheel height a little more, and this can be accomplished by readjusting your soldered front axle, or by gently bending the front axle up or down. For "flexi cars", either .063" piano wire or a Parma front axle serves well as an axle.

Many times the front wheels are completely nonfunctional such as in wing cars and some expert level "scale" slot cars. For these cars, a pin is often used as the "axle" for a floppy rubber front wheel. In drag racing, the front axle can merely be a piece of 1/16" brass tubing that is serving double duty as a body mount. We have even seen rubber front wheels simply taped to the inside of the wheel well - no front axle at all!

When rules dictate the front axle and wheels must turn, a straight axle is important. In cases where your 1/16" front axle must turn, look carefully to find a straight Parma front axle (roll them on the glass counter!). Shamega offers a 1/16" drill blank that is very true, and it is durable. For rolling 3/32" front axle, JK Products makes a hardened steel axle (not a drill blank) that is long enough for 4.5" NASCAR applications where the front axle must turn. Because the axle is usually in a "floating hole", axle trueness is not a big deal. However, if you are looking for the extra edge, Shamega makes an excellent 3/32" drill blank measuring 3.25" overall length. When rules dictate the use of a 1/8" front axle, your choice is pretty much limited to a 1/8" drill blank, or you can spend a lot of money buying a titanium axle!

  • Parma 633 3/32 Drill Blank $2.00 Good for most hobbyists
  • Parma 639 1/8 Drill Blank $1.85 Good for most hobbyists

GTO does not offer hollow axles. The flat spots on their axles are wide for flexibility in placing your wheels and gear.

  • GTO AX1010 1/8" Axle w/flats $3.25 High quality, wide flat spots for wheels and gear
  • GTO AX1011 3/32" X 2 1/8"L Axle $2.00 High quality, very true
  • GTO AX1012 3/32" X 2 1/4"L Axle $2.00 High quality, very true
  • GTO AX1013 3/32" X 2 1/4"L w/flats $4.00 High quality, wide flat spots for wheels and gear
  • GTO AX1014 3/32" X 2 1/8"L w/flats $4.00 High quality, wide flat spots for wheels and gear

Koford offers drill blanks, flatted axles and hollow axles. The flat spots are small making wheel and gear placement more restricted.

  • Koford M156F 3/32 Drill Blank w/flats $4.98 High quality, small flat spots for wheels and gear
  • Koford M156R 3/32 Drill Blank $2.49 High quality, slightly larger for tighter fit in bushing
  • Koford M339 3/32 Hollow Drill Blank $3.98 High quality, lightweight.
  • Koford M340 3/32 Hollow Axle w/flats $5.98 High quality, lightweight, with small flat spots

Shamega specializes in axles only. We believe these are the highest quality axles and the best selection of exotic axles.

  • Shamega SH125XL 1/8 Hollow Axle $8.95
  • Shamega SH125XLF1/8 Hollow Axle flatted $12.95
  • Shamega SH93DW2 3/32 Hollow Axle for drag racing $12.95
  • Shamega SHDBNF 3/32 Holloweenie Axle $8.95
  • Shamega SH93WC 3/32 X 3.25" drill blank $6.75 The longest 3/32 drill blank, very high quality.
  • Shamega SH62WC .062 X 3.25" drill blank $4.95 Best 1/16" front axle.
  • Slick 7 S7-218 3/32 Hollow Axle $3.50 The best buy for any hollow axle.

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