Families that are into RC (remote control) cars can put a track in the backyard for kids to practice and even to hold race events. It isn’t a hard project to complete, although it is labor-intensive. The final result can bring big rewards for the entire family in fun and bonding.
Some may wonder how to build an rc track in my backyard. There is a definite process and it all begins with planning. After planning, there is the clearing of obstacles and then digging, adding the curbs and jumps. Even so, this is a project that can be done on a weekend.
Planning the RC track is the most important element because you will need to consider the length, curves, shortcuts, jumps, and width. All of that depends on your kids’ abilities, whether you will use the track for practice or competitions and how many racers will be on the track at any given time.
One key element is the amount of level of space you have. Most tracks are on level ground so the type of backyard you have is key. Drainage will also play a role as you develop your track.
Most recommendations are that you make the track at least five feet wide but you may want it wider if there are more racers on it.
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Your backyard may have obstacles that would determine your RC track path. These are things like trees, rocks, retaining walls, and hills. You can create your track around these things but they could pose a problem if cars hit them.
Most experts advise you to remove all of these types of things before you create your track. You also need to watch out for things like propane tanks, gas containers, and other flammables. These all need to be a good distance away from the track.
One option for those who want things like trees or rocks to stay, or who don’t have a cheap way to remove them, is to pad the area around them with mounds of clay dirt. This will slow any RC cars headed toward them and prevent a crash.
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Map It Out
Once you have a drawing of your track, you can use chalk, paint, or cones to lay it out physically in your backyard. Doing this will highlight any issues that may come up while digging, like getting too close to a septic tank or a water line.
It’s easy to adjust when you are laying out a track before you start digging.
Tools are required to build an RC track in your backyard. You are going to need a regular shovel, a flat-nose shovel, a steel garden rake, metal support stakes, corrugated pipe, and water. You may also need a clay mix.
The first step is to remove grass. You can do this by hand but using a sod cutter may be easier. Many of those are available for rent. Save your turf because you can use it for jumps later.
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Creating the lanes is a simple process but they must be deeper than the surrounding land so cars won’t go flying off the shoulders.
The secret to creating lanes is establishing a good foundation. It’s recommended to use clay rather than topsoil because it is easier to pack and will stay firmer. Topsoil can be a mess if it rains.
The dig should go down about three or four inches until you get to firm ground. You want the lanes to be well packed so you may want to use a lawn roller to pack down clay if you add it to the lanes. You can also use a flat shovel to do this.
You may also want to add sand to help with drainage. Make sure there won’t be areas where water will pool. You may need to add some trenches or drain pipes to prevent this from happening in certain spots.
Those building an RC track use drainage pipe, usually 4-inch pipe, 12-inch rebar stakes, and 4×4 wood pieces to create the track angles, build up banks and add curbs.
Lay out your pipe and wood pieces in the corners and work your way in. Most advise to stake down the wood and pipe as you go. The standard is one foot of rebar for every stake. Keep the proper slant of the track in mind.
You can make your banked turns as high as you want using the wood, but keep safety in mind. You can use wood for jump bases too but it isn’t necessary. You can also use dirt. Clay dirt makes for solid natural jumps on your track. Add more clay dirt to bank turns and areas as needed.
The length of the jump is supposed to be one and a half times the length of the largest car that will be on the track.
Another key element is to make sure the lane edges to the grass are even and clear of roots and debris. The track should be well defined. Some enthusiasts use artificial turf around the edge of the track to keep weeds and grass from growing.
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You can add other things like a grandstand or seating area for people to watch. Make sure you put that far enough away to avoid uncontrolled cars.
Smooth Down the Track
The last step is to smooth down the track. You do this by first wetting it down heavy with the garden hose and then raking it down with the garden rake. Wet soil equates to a smooth track with solid dirt that won’t dust-up.
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What kind of dirt is best for an RC track?
You need a solid mix of clay and sand for good dirt on an RC track. The general composition should be 20 percent sand, 40 percent clay, and 40 percent dirt. The one thing you don’t want is heavy topsoil. It will wash out.
How big should I make an RC track?
Most experts agree the perfect track has a minimum 3-foot wide racing lane and is sized at 12 feet by 24 feet. That is the size that cars are easily controlled by inexperienced racers. However, you can make the track any size you like.
What kind of carpet should I use for RC racing?
Needle felt carpet is what is commonly called racing carpet and there are different types of it. It will last a decade or more and should have a plastic backing. That makes it easier to roll up and store.
How do you find out more about RC racing?
Local hobby shops have RC cars and even race tracks on the premises. They also know where all the local tracks are and may have a bulletin board that lists races and locations.
Will RC cars run well on carpet?
RC cars can run on pretty much anything from carpet to grass, sand, or dirt. They go faster on harder surfaces like pavement.
Can I use string to mark off my track before building it?
Sure, you can mark off your track with string as well as paint, chalk, or cones. The key thing is to mark it off before building it to make sure you aren’t going to run into any unforeseen problems.