Track Cleaning Trailer
My old method of removing the dust from the track, especially the rails, was crawling
around and rubbing the rails with a cloth. With only limited space in the loft and lots of scenery, it is hard
to get access to all the track. It also hurts my knees and is boring.
Driving around the track is much more interesting. I had just converted a Sainsbury's trailer to be towed
behind one of the trucks so I thought I could make a track cleaning trailer.
It had to meet the following requirements;
- Must be easy to build from materials I already had.
- Must be quick and easy to use.
- Must clean the full width of a car.
- Must have a large cleaning area.
- Must make best use of the cleaning cloth.
- Must not damage any of my cars.
I think my design meets these requirements (nearly, see bottom of page). The materials required were;
- Sheet of metal (steel about 5.5cm by 13cm)
- M5 bolt (correct size for truck 5th wheel)
- 2 M5 nuts (to adjust the height)
- Sponge about 3cm by 3cm by 5.5cm (I used an old bath sponge)
- Cleaning cloth (cut into 6cm wide strips)
- 4 small bulldog clips
I had all the bits around the house. Construction was very easy. I drilled a 5mm hole in the sheet of metal
then rounded off the corners and removed any sharp edges and burrs.
The trailer was designed to be towed by a Scalextric truck. However I found the truck's
ribbed tyres did not grip well and they slipped when towing the heavy trailer. I swapped the ribbed tires for
slicks which gave better traction, but as the Scalextric truck is top heavy it kept on crashing.
I thought that a four wheel drive car would perform better as a tow vehicle. I added a tow
hitch to a SCX Subaru Impreza. I used masking tape to prevent permanent damage to the car. However as the hitch
was behind the rear axle, it acted to lift the front of the car up including the guide blade.
Moving the tow hitch forward of the rear axle would have needed permanent damage to the
body shell. I decided to use a single seater racing car with the wing, airbox and driver's head removed. I
drilled a 5mm hole, which did 'damge' the car, but this is not visible with the airbox back in place. I now had
a tow vehicle that was exciting to drive and did not crash too often.
A small squirt of WD40 can be added to the centre of the cloth to help pick up the dirt and
re-protect the rails. The speed of the rig can be changed to alter the position of the trailer around bends.
When travelling slowly, the trailer will cut the corner and going fast will cause it to swing out (and may
cause the rig to crash). If I run the rig too long the motor gets very hot.