Thursday, December 20, 2007

Slot Car 101 - setting the braids

The second in a series of articles aimed at newbie slotters...

Now that the car is lubed properly it's time to fatten those braids just a bit. Braids as they come out of the box are smooth, flat, but a bit too flat. Not only does a car need oil but it needs to have the braids set before you race the car.Here you see a pair of AutoArt guides complete with braids. The guides were removed for a previous article but they show how the braids generally look when they come out of the box. To make good contact with the rails on the track you need to fatten them up.
You can do this by holding pushing them back (towards where they are inserted into the guide) just until you see the strands of copper separate just a bit. After you do this smooth them down so they are flatter again. Depending on the track you use you may want to spread them apart a bit or set them tightly against the sides of the guide blade.

The car on the left is an SCX Renault. I put it here to show the SCX style of guide/braids. They use a double contact braid system that doesn't need to be fattened as much, but does need to be smoothed down a bit so the front wheels hit the track. These braids aren't held in by the eyelets you see on the AutoArt braids, but the SCX braids are slid into place on the guide on the sides and they wrap around the top of the guide where they make contact with the metal tabs that take the power to the motor. After lots of heavy racing (and crashing BTW) these braids can slide out a bit.

Keeping an eye on the braids and keeping them making good contact will ensure that your car runs well. While you're running your cars it's pretty easy for the braids to get dirty and out of shape. If you notice the car feeling like it's sputtering check that the braids are flat.

Dave K

1 comment:

Yellow Cake said...

I must have 500 lbs of those braided copper strands. Think they're worth any money?