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Setting up in the garage

Hi all

After a little gap due to ill health for me and my little boy, and a house move, job move, Xmas and stuff getting in the way I'm just about ready to start planning an install in out garage for a full time track.

We have a normal (UK) sized single garage which ideally I'd like to have a track drop from the sky on a board ready and setup for use as and when

Size wise I have roughly 9' x 7' of clear floor/air space to play with, rest of the space is for slot car display/storage, boxes, tools, bikes and usually garage stuff.

I 'may' have the budget to motorise the drop and lift otherwise it'd be a pulley system

Loads of questions around how I could stabilise the board when it lowers (to stop it swinging), what board to use, has anyone done this before with a motorised drop and lift, best way of protecting track when it's not in use etc

Appreciate this is a bit vague and a lot of questions but thought I'd ask for advise before steaming headfirst into something.



'I think I may be a collector?!?!'

Update after house move - I am a collector!
[+] 3 members Like 964rh's post

Hi Rob.

I have a big 4 lane layout which comes down from the ceiling. It's on the Show us your track section as the Shed End Circuit. 

Very happy to pass on what we did, used, etc 
Mine is motorised, and is very simple to use 

Will post some stuff later. Any questions just ask 

[+] 1 member Likes Gpa113's post

Just had a look Pip, looks amazing!!

Would be really grateful if you could let me know what materials you used for the base and supports when down, and also the pulley system(s) if you have time.


'I think I may be a collector?!?!'

Update after house move - I am a collector!

Hi  Rob,

Some random information and photos of things!  Anything more specific please just ask. 

The boards used on my layout are Polycarbonate roofing sheets.   25mm thick, and 4 ply.  25mm and above are used for roofing conservatories and similar.   They are very strong,  you could walk on a roof of this stuff,  but also very light, so perfect for this job.  Easy to work with,  and to cut.  The exposed edges are inclosed with C section aluminium. Think capital letter C to get the idea.  This stops the sheets from getting snagged or damaged. They are riveted into place.  To fix two separate sheets side by side we riveted 2 C sections together, to form an I section, capital letter I with the 2 horizontal lines.  Basically 2 C sections back to back. Corner plates were then riveted into position,  both on top,  and below. These were heavily riveted to give sufficient strength.   
My board is 3.44 metres by 2.29 metres,  so pretty big!  It looks like a garage door!!
I purchased the Polycarbonate sheets used from eBay. They had just come from an old chaps conservatory roof.  Loads of them. 

When in its lowered position the board sits on wooden A frames.  They are 31 inches high and 24 inches wide.  They have 2 hinges per board,  so they can be folded flat for storage.  Each board is also fitted with 2 thick pieces of webbing,  stapled on using an industrial size stapler.  This is to stop the boards from opening out to far and collapsing.  Not something you want to happen!   When opened out the boards are 16 inches at the bottom.  I cut a couple of old  carpet tiles up, and place a section on top of each A frame to protect the underside of the boards.  The A frames are made from  1 inch thick OSB,  an 8x4 sheet leftover from building my hobby room.  Whatever you use it does need to be strong,  so 1 inch thick is good.  There are 5 A frame boards,  in an X formation. 2 each end and 1 in the middle

For lifting the frame I have an electric winch.  We were going to use a hand winch,  but the board was to big and heavy.  An electric winch is much safer,  simpler and easier.  Mine cost about £70 on eBay brand new.  You dont need a massive lifting capacity,  and it's not going to be used continuously.  My other track,  routed,  folds against the back wall.  This also has an electric winch,  which came from the middle isle at Lidl,  for £60, and is brilliant!   Given how much slot cars cost, especially this year's prices , it really is worth getting an electric winch. These type of winches are sometimes referred to as hobby winches.  The winch is secured directly to the concrete floor,  using steel threaded rod, epoxied into the floor.  It is very important that the winch is fitted safely and securely.  If in doubt get a professional to fit it.  Because the winch is floor mounted,  not roof mounted it is in effect working in reverse.  

We fitted bolts with lifting eyes into each of the 6 Corner plates.  Attached to the eye is a carabiner.  Attached to this is the wire, which  goes up and through a pulley.  The 6 wires feed into a purpose built pulley system.  This acts as  a reduction gear.  6 wires go into 2  sets of 3, then 2 into 1, and this attaches to the hook.   It is  pretty straightforward in reality, but can appear daunting. 

When it's it's full up position my frame is secured using heavy duty chain, attached to bolts through the beams. This is incase any of the components should fail, and it takes the weight off the lifting equipment.  If it fell it would seriously damage someone or something. 

You need to be very clear what size board you need,  and can accommodate,  giving access around all 4 sides if possible for marshaling and drivers stations.  Simply mark onto the floor and walk around until your happy.  Also remember to allow sufficient height when in the raised position for scenery and track elevation.  I only have one piece of scenery to remove before lifting,  and I have damaged that a few times  including tonight,  doh.....

I designed the maximum size board I thought I could accommodate,  then designed a track plan to fit.  I chose plastic track due to lightness,  and I already had a routed layout.   Plastic track is much simpler.  I went with Scalextric as I had loads,  including the harder to get bits. I repainted my track with ultra smooth masonry paint,  took a while but well worth it.  Looks much better and gives much better grip. 

Depending on your garage you might need to think about insulation.  It helps so much, but really needs doing before anything else starts to take over.....

Anything else you need to know,  or need more information on or more photos just ask  Thumbup

Good luck, 


A frame boards 

[+] 2 members Like Gpa113's post

More photos Rob,

      corner plates and lifting eyes
      corner plates
      pulley system 
      beam mounted security chain
      lifting hook to winch
[+] 3 members Like Gpa113's post

And some more, 

      winch and remote control 
      Lidl winch, brilliant! 
      Double power socket fitted to layout 
      DS timing system driver Station, lanes 1 and 2.
[+] 3 members Like Gpa113's post

Last ones !

      underside of the painted board,  complete with Ghostbusters decal!
      Polycarbonate roofing sheet
       look  closely to see the 4 ply effect 
      Original Scalextric Cross walk tower, now minus the Goodyear sign, again!!  Note to self,  must remember to remove the top section before raising to full height!
[+] 4 members Like Gpa113's post


Super advice and details.

[+] 1 member Likes Bazzer's post

Thanks Bazzer, 

Not the only way to do it, just how we went about it. 

It all seems rather daunting at first, but comes together piece by piece. 

A very good exercise in learning!


Brilliant thanks Pip

Loads of info that I’ll find really useful.

Handily I’m just about to start a site exit at work and I’ll have some polycarbonate roofing sheets to get rid of so I’ll be liberating a few of those.

Also have a gantry winch, just need to check the power phase, hoping it’s single but have a feeling it’s 3 phase, used for lifting pick truck batteries so should handle the track.

I’ll be using Scalextric track, mixture of sport and classic, idea is to have a slightly decorated track with a modern look on the sport track, transitioning into a 60’s vibe on the classic section.

Thanks again for all the pictures and the explanation of how you did it, they’ll be invaluable



'I think I may be a collector?!?!'

Update after house move - I am a collector!
[+] 1 member Likes 964rh's post

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