Once you have determined the length and width of the layout you wish to construct – and - having made certain it will fit the space you have available, you’ll also need to buy…

  1. Enough 1 x 4’s, 2 x 4’s (minimum 8 foot lengths of good, sound, with few or no knots) to construct the table or to use as braces and support pieces under the racing surface.
  2. Enough sheets of 4’ x 8’ x ½" medium density fiberboard to build the racing surface and to construct the adjustable legs. (See Illustration #1)
  3. Enough sheets of 4’ x 8’ x ¼" and 4’ x 8’ x ½" plywood to build your side/retaining walls on both sides of the track all the way around the layout.
  4. ½" x 4" bolts, nuts and large (1.5") steel flat washers to connect track sections together. Figure 3 bolts (with two large flat washers per bolt) for each end. Bolts should have hex-heads to fit ratchet, box, or open-ended wrench. These have to be long enough to go through pre-drilled ½" holes in the 2" x 4" joint braces. The holes will be in 3" from each side with one in the middle. These 2" x 4" pieces should be pre-cut, pre-drilled, and assembled with the bolts, washers and nuts, then final trimmed as one piece on your table saw so top edge of both joint pieces are ultra smooth.
  5. ½" x 3" bolts, nuts and large (1.5") steel flat washers to connect adjustable legs to underside of track. (See Illustration #2.) NOTE: Not shown on illustration…The leg pieces which fasten at the junction of two sections of track will have to be notched for access to the center bolt, nut and washer used to connect the two sections together.
  6. You will probably need two quarts to a gallon of yellow carpenter’s glue, a small pan, and 3" roller to apply glue to braces which are fastened and screwed to the racing surface as well as the side walls to the bracing.
  7. Plenty of large trash cans, waste baskets, and 3-ply, heavy-duty liners to place in them. (You also need a nearby Dumpster or have access to a local landfill!)
  8. Paint for the surface. There are numerous coatings that work well on slot car racing surfaces. The current thinking in some quarters is the use of water-base Latex paint. Since latex is "rubber" and so are slot car tires, traction is easily obtained. Some folks like to use epoxy and we’ve had good luck with a water-based, two-part epoxy available through Grainger. You will only need the "primer" hardener since you’ll be painting wood and not metal. Don’t buy the "finish" hardener…you don’t need it. Some tracks are painted with enamel, which creates a "hard" surface, and we’ve also seen tracks - once the color-coding has been put on the lanes - coated again with a clear polyurethane or epoxy. This prevents anything from seeping through the surface and getting down into the wood. (The old joke about original American Model Raceways track surfaces was that they were so porous and glue-soaked that if you were to burn one the blaze would last for at least two weeks!)
  9. Paint rollers, pans, and PLENTY of rags you can throw away when you’re done.
  10. Some type of gloss or semi-gloss enamel or similar to paint the side walls. While you don’t have to do it, especially if you "hang" some type of opaque, plastic "curtain" around the track, it looks nicer if you also paint the legs. These can easily be spray-painted with the same paint you use on the racing surface. Should you elect to use a lighter color on the track surface - gray, light blue, or even white - then spray paint the legs black. Slot car tracks aren’t moved very often, and dust and debris can collect under them faster than under your bed at home! To keep your place looking neat and tidy, either curtain off the areas that people can easily see, or vacuum under your track(s) every so often. If you hang plastic material from the bottom of the retaining wall to the floor, in effect hiding the underside of tracks and the legs, these areas can also be used for storage of boxes and items not used regularly.
  11. Even though you don’t need it right now, at least put these items on a list of things to buy later. FOR TRACK CLEANING: The method used for years has been Coleman lantern fuel or Naphtha. However a new product came on the market in January, 2000. It’s called "Daddyo’s" and available through distributors or by calling Kelley Allen or Dennis Demole at The Raceway in Merritt Island, Florida – 321-639-0303 or e-mail info@theraceway.com. You will also need at least one gallon of lacquer thinner. Keep naptha, Coleman fuel and especially lacquer thinner well away from any spark or fire!! Lacquer thinner fumes are lethal and highly flammable!
  12. Wire by the mile. You’ll need track hookup wire that needs to be a minimum of 10 gauge. The common (or ground wire) can be 8 gauge, although we’ve seen tracks that used huge battery cable the thickness of your thumb! You’ll have to figure how much "tap" wire you need and it should all be at least 10 gauge. All taps are recommended to be the same length, regardless of how far away or near the hookups are to the power source.
  13. Approximately 100 to 200 feet of computer cable. Remember…you need two sets of these wires - from the timers and from the isolated section to the computer and you have to figure the distance from the counters, up the pipe, across the ceiling, and down to the track. Always allow yourself plenty of slack, just in case.
  14. Eight heavy-duty relays. It’s also not a bad idea to go ahead and purchase two or three extra relays as spares in case one or more goes bad. The sealed variety is the best and we’ve had good luck with 25-amp Bosch relays we purchased from a Porsche dealer. Some high-powered tracks use relays rated even higher, but 25 amp should be sufficient for almost any track layouts. Buy from local electrical supply house.
  15. Boxes of plastic or rubber twist-type wire insulators for connecting braid as well as where the wire hooks to the braid up under the track. You’ll probably need a couple hundred before it’s all said and done.
  16. Good hand-held or electrically powered staple guns. It’s also a good idea to have one stapler for wire that shoots rounded staples for connecting loose wires up to the bottom of the track. You don’t want miles of wire hanging down or laying all over the floor. Also plenty of staples for both styles of guns. If you have access to pneumatic staplers used by carpenters to build kitchen and speaker cabinets, they will make your job easier.
  17. Boxes of assorted lengths of sheet rock screws. These are Phillips head and definitely the best way to fasten stuff together. Use at least 1" or 1 1/8" screws to fasten the racing surface to the under-the-track braces. Use 2" to fasten braces of 1" x 4"s or 2" x 4"s together. Fastening retaining walls to sub-surface braces/supports will require at least the 1" screws. These should always be installed using a variable-speed drill or cordless that runs them in slowly. All screw heads on the racing surface and side walls should be carefully counter-sunk at least 1/8", then covered with Bondo and sanded flush before the track is painted. Use a countersink drill bit prior to installing the final screws.
  18. Bondo and hardener. Small track – a quart; large track – get a gallon. Also good, flexible putty knives to apply the Bondo. Sanding Bondo also makes a large pile of messy dust.
  19. Assorted nails. We used a lot of "coated box nails" in lengths of 1", 2" and 3". Once these are hammered into place, they are extremely difficult to remove, so be careful!
  20. Striping tool, available at any auto parts store to lay the color-coded stripes on either side of each lane. Use the same paint (small bottles) you use for slot car bodies in the colors you plan to use for the lanes. You might want to also buy at least one ½ pint bottle of the same thinner should you need to thin the paint for ease of application. (In most situations lacquer thinner will work as well but read the paint labels for ingredients.) Be sure to stir each color thoroughly before you pour it into the small glass bottle that comes with the striping tool. Stripes should be a minimum of 1/8" to a maximum of 3/16" wide. I’ve seen a few tracks with the colored stripes on only one side. Personally I think it looks better if the striping is on both sides of the braid. Set the wire guide on the striping tool so the colored lines are approximately 1/8" OUTSIDE either side of the recessed braid on either side of the slot.
  21. Sheets of ¼" Plexiglas to use as interior sidewalls where view is hampered. This is especially useful in Hillclimb layouts that have a higher top straightaway. (See Illustration #3.)
  22. One box of nickel-plated steel "cup" rings to use with sheet rock screws when installing Plexiglas sidewalls. (See Illustration #4.)
  23. Not completely necessary, but helpful if you have one…large air compressor to use with pneumatic (air-powered) tools, staplers and paint spray equipment. Makes much easier fastening of racing surface to sub-service braces and supports.
  24. Approximately 24 good "C" clamps, as well as long, adjustable clamps. You’ll need several that will open wide enough to extend across the width of your racing surface as well as those used to hold sub-surface supports to track surface and side walls while installing sheet rock screws and/or pneumatic staples. (All sub-surface support braces should also have a coating of carpenter’s glue applied to the top edge before being assembled to the track surface.)
  25. A half-dozen Tacky-Mac wiping cloths to remove dust from track prior to painting.

You will also need to make one control panel for each available lane on the track. Will discuss later what you will need to purchase for these in a later paragraph.

Lastly, a LARGE tool box to put all your hammers, screw drivers, diagonal side cuts, nail sets for countersinking...you name it. If you think you’ll need it sometime, you probably will, so it’s best to have it on hand to start with and know where to find it.