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February 7, 2011 / slimcode

GeoTrax missing link – Do it yourself!

WP_000105With the two GeoTrax sets we have, I often get to a point where I’m missing one or two half-length straight tracks. I’ve looked at acquiring them on eBay et al, but it becomes very expensive for only those two pieces. Today, I realized that the missing part was barely longer than the length of a clothespin. Hmmm, interesting. It turns out that wagons only need one side of the rails to be flat (the inner part). And the small missing gap isn’t a problem, the crossing track already has gaps and it doesn’t affect the wagons. Could I split a wooden pin in two and use these parts as rails?

Yes, quite easily!

First, you take a half-length track and draw the contour on cardboard. You cut out the piece, making sure to remove the pen width too, else it will be difficult to fit into the real pieces. You might have to clue together two layers of cardboard if its too thin. The cardboard and the pin’s width must equal the original rail’s thickness. In my case, I cut two pieces and glued them together.

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Then you split the clothespin in two, discarding the spring. I measured the inner distance between the rails on the original track. It’s 30 mm or 1” 3/16. You draw lines on the cardboard piece for that distance, making sure these are centered. In my case, the lines were 17 mm from the edge (5/8”), though it was more like 16 mm on the original piece.

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You put some glue on the edge of each wood piece, and place them carefully, so that their flat side lies on the line, the uneven side pointing outside. Once the second piece is placed, take the ruler before the glue dries, and adjust it so you get 30 mm (or 31 mm, better more than less) between the pieces.

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Let it dry a few minutes. You now have a nice half-length track replacement part. Sure, it doesn’t clip into other pieces, it just slides into them. But most track layouts stay in place even with such a weakest link.

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You can now make those crossing tracks patterns you couldn’t with only two half-length rails. Hurray!

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