Creating Curved Track

After figuring out how to duplicate the track profile and make both male and female connectors, the last piece of the puzzle was how to make curved track sections. I keep forgetting to look for beech whenever I'm at Rockler, so instead I picked up I some 1/2" thick red oak boards that weren't quite 1/2" thick, but they were much closer in width to the actual Imaginarium track than the aspen I had used for the double female connector.With some thought, I came up with a method of routing curved profiles that not only will work for simple curved track pieces, but other track pieces that incorporate curves like switches and Y-sections.

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Comments

jeff_williams's picture

The last track piece left to build is a hill right? Something with a little elevation change.

jeff_williams's picture

Or a Y I guess.

Benjamen Johnson's picture

Already have Y a done, I'll be posting it here soon. On that hill, I know how I'd cut the blank, but I haven't figured out how to route the grooves with the bits I have. I think I'd need one of the special track bits sold at places like MLCS. They route along the track parallel, cutting the profile in one shot.

We've never run out of hills, so I hadn't planned on tackling it. I think my my next project is making some single high and double high (need two hills in a row) supports for elevated track.

Brian Z's picture

Nice work. I learned that making curved track is harder than it looks. I've got the router bit set, and my advice is to be careful using the double cutter on a curved surface. It's meant to be used with a fence to make a flat piece, and if you press the wood up against the "body" of the bit it goes "whack!whack!whack!whack!", and it cuts too deep too. I ended up buying a "shaper cutter holder shaft" for my router, and used two 1/4" wide cutters spaced apart with a bearing (the bearing was 1/4" smaller in diameter, or 1/8" per side) in between them. The grooves are not rounded, but I dragged a dremel sander through them to fix it. If you cut in the right direction it will tear out the grain on the uphill part, which seemed bad at first, but it gives the motorized trains perfect traction for climbing. A smooth cut will not have enough traction, and I had been hand-knurling the groove with a 1/4" wide chisel before I figured out (by accident) that trick.

Keep up the great documentation!