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1/32 Scale Slot Racing

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Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Night Driving (23) Making Tires (24) Brass Chassis (25)
Switching Scales (26)
Routed HO (27) Rails Installed (28) Oval Action (29)
New 1/32 Beginning (30) Construction (31) Routing (32) Painting and Taping (33) Power Taps and Timing (34)
Up and Running (35) Scenery (36) More Slot Racing (37)

Fetching isn't it? It's my Ferrari 365 GTB with my new red rubber tires on it that I made myself. Using your own homemade tires means you will never have to add lead to your wood track race cars. Plus it looks great!

Check out my Fly Alfa Romeo 147 with its new rear racing tires. The red goes quite well with the Clini Clowns sponsorship on the car. The car is so fast even at 9 volts I may have to turn down the voltage for the kids!

This is the finished OOMOO 25 silicone mold with the original Ninco 911 tire popped out after waiting 2 days. The small opening works quite well since you limit the flash to the middle of the tire sidewall instead of the road-surface edge. Either way it's easily sanded or snipped with scissors. I give the mold a couple of squeezes after the pour of the rubber to make sure any air is given a chance to get released. I had no air bubbles in any of my molds. My tire mold also captured the tread pattern of the Fly Classic tires and even the words molded on a Slot It tire. It's that good of a product.

Make sure you label your molds!

What you see here is my first attempt at making tires. First off, I have to say it is very rewarding. Second, I believe it is a very economical way to go as long as you have more than say two cars to reshoe. In my stable, I have too many to list but surprisingly, not too many singles. Meaning, I have a few stables of certain types of cars. My faves being the Fly Classic 917Ks and the Fly Venturis. I also enjoy the GT40s and the GTB 365s.

As you may know, racing on a wood track means you need non-factory tires. With no magnetic downforce to hide poor chassis design, or should I say implementation, you may be forced to adjust any of the following factors: wheels and axles, lead weight, braids, and tires. In my travels, I have experimented with almost everyone of these factors. A new Slot It rear axle and wheel assembly will typically run $20 not including tires. They sure help but it's expensive if you have more than two cars to do. Lead weight is not always the saviour you think. Often times you simply end up with a heavier car needing even more traction. Braids are not too much of an issue unless they are the big Carerra style ones (too thick).

And now we come to tires. I have tried everything and typically had my best results with Slot It silicone tires. However, even these tend to get a bit slippery on a wood track. And they only work with Slot It rear wheels. They also cost about $7 for 4. Not bad, but still expensive for a whole stable of cars and that stable would also need Slot It rear wheels too. Thankfully, Slot It now includes a pair of S1s underneath the box for all new releases. This is great news for those cars but what about all my Fly cars? And what about the drop in traction after a few laps on a wood track?

The best solution is pure rubber tires - the ones I make myself. I bought my supplies from Smooth-On (google it) for about $70. I made my first dozen molds using their OOMOO 25 silicone. It's a very simple A-B mix using equal amounts by volume of each. All went well in my mold making until I chose to use the Slot It silicone tires to make a large hub tire mold. You guessed it, the mold stuck to the tires. I should have known that making a silicone mold from a silicone tire would not be a good thing. For the remaining molds I used the original factory rubber tires. No release agent was required.

For the actual tires, I used Smooth-On's Vytaflex 40. I added a few drops of So Strong red dye to the "B" part of the A-B mix to obtain my desired color. Vytaflex is also a simple A-B mixing chemical that uses equal volumes of each. Of course, you can also use black dye for a more authentic look. I chose red to make it plain to me if the car had the homebrew or factory tires still on it. I also like the fact the red tires harken back to the old days when funny colored foam tires were par for the course. My homebrew tires are now even better than the Slot It S1 tires and stay that way lap after lap after lap. The difference being is that they do not collect dust after a few laps. They stay in top shape. Some folks drop a dab of CA glue on the wheel to help the tires stay in place but I have not had to do that yet. I believe I will be setting new record times on my track. It will also make it more fun for the kids so they don't slide out as easily and get frustrated. Everyone comes out a winner.

"Funnily" enough, I used a rock hard (solid) Fly classic tire for one of my mold pairs. Have you checked your shelf-queen tires lately? Many of them may be dried out and brittle by now, if not turned to black goo. If you need any help, drop me an email at super8filmaker AT yahoo DOT com.


PS - You realize that you can now use this method to recreate mirrors, spoilers, etc. The world is your oyster!

I had some questions on the making of tires from a friend on the internet (yes, you can have "friend on the internet") so here's my answer to each of the questions that were posed to me:

The photos and info on your web page are great, but I have many questions. Could you go over, in detail, the steps you used in making a mold of an original tire that you take off of a car? How do you keep the original tire to sit still in the bottom of the cup?

A small dab of white glue worked well on the backside of the tire to be molded. It only has to set up for 20 minutes and then you can pour the OOMOO 25 (silicone) in to just above the tire height (add some more OOMOO for better mold handling once you start actually using the tire mold). Also, it is recommended you use only the newest tires from your store bought cars. That way, they have the least amount of stretch. I have found my tires do not require CA glue to keep them in place.

> Doesn't it have to be up off the bottom a bit?

Not really - since the inside of the tire is not showing, it really does not have to be that great. My Fly GT40 tires and 365 GTB tires have huge curves on both sides so they actually came out looking very accurate even on the down or inside...

> Does the outside of original tire sit face down?

Keep the best face (outside of tire when on car) facing up - you want to cover it completely...the OOMOO is so exact it will even trace the LETTERING of the tires (Firestone on scaley tires, Dunlop on Slot It tires) in the final mold!!!!

> What keeps air voids or bubbles from forming? Do you spin it?

No, I simply pour smoothly and slowly and hope for the best - no air bubbles to date on my 20 or so molds made with
OOMOO. I think the air OOMOOOOS out so to speak.

> How do you get the original tire out?

After 24-48 hours, carefully flex the silicone to grip a tire edge and gently pry it out - not that hard after your first one...

> How do you get the VytaFlex tire out?

It's quite easy to get the original tire out of the mold since Vytaflex is so soft...and GRIPPY on latex wood tracks. Nothing is faster.

> How many scrap VytaFlex tires do you get for every usable one?

None - you have to gently squeeze the silicone mold to ensure there are no air bubbles in the Vytaflex. I think I have tossed only 2 tires out due to incomplete pours on my part...In other words, if you are just a teeny bit patient - like being able to stand in line at the ATM machine - then you should be OK for pouring in the Vytaflex. It's fun stuff!

> There are 6 levels of VytaFlex hardness to choose from?
How did you choose VytaFlex #40?

Word of mouth on the internet - #40 is the best...I hear #60 is good for front tires...but so is nail polish on the fronts too.

> Getting the tire to run true by being sandable is an absolute
> must for me. Is the finished uerethane rubber tire sandable?

Absolutely - they are easily sanded (but don't expect to get piles of rubber off of it...but it does sand and it always works well...)

> Finally, do the finished tires split easily, or can they be
> stretched a bit with out breaking?

They are quite stretchy...some folks need to us CA glue on the rims but I do not...it all depends on how NEW the original tires were to make the molds. I recommend using UNUSED original RUBBER tires for your molds. Do not mold silicone tires without a release agent (spray can of stuff you spray an original with).

> How are your red tires holding up since they were put on your cars?

Simply awesome...and when you realize it takes all of 15 minutes to make a new batch, you really no longer care about how long they last (I mean, I fully expect them to last at least a year if not longer).

>Your web site is SUPER!

I received another email from a fellow slotter in Australia (the internet is so great ain't it??!!). Jordan has a few experiences to share on his tire making efforts. Read on:
Hi Mike
I found your website while i was searching for ideas for my first routed track and i always check your site to see your new slotcar related things. When I found the tyre making article you wrote must be a 10mths ago -it may me get on my way to having a go myself, I was truly inspired - with over 200 cars I thought this can save me some trips to the slot shop and some cash. I found a source for the stuff here in Australia and 3 weeks ago I ordered it all and now I have 13 pairs of molds and have made nearly 15 sets of tyres.
So I want to thank you for your great site/blog and now the guys in the club want to try them and i might get to offload a few for minimum $ to fellow sloters.

I ended up using Oomoo 30 silicone for molds and ReoflexA30 for my tyres and the black tint ( being a bit of a purist the tyres had to be black LOL.) Because the urethane likes a slow bake oven at 150F (65C) for a bit better cure I have a floodlight (outdoor light) at the top of an old PC tower case that gets it to 150F and leave them in there for 4-6hrs, then the 2 week room temp cure as well. My first batch still haven`t seemed to `dry` out as such, they still feel a bit like chewing gum. Here is the link to where I have posted my progress on our local racing club website ( nickname Kenneth) http://slotcarouthouse.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=408
once again thanks!

I hope that was helpful to everyone out there in slot car land.


Oh, here are some great tips from a fellow slotter out there (Thanks to "Stingray Racing" on www.homeracingworld.com):

I finally got a chance to try making my own urethane tires. I will not bore you with photos since others have posted excellent photos and how-to's in previous posts. What I will give you are some lessons learned from a novice in doing this that may assist those in taking the plunge. First of all, this ain't rocket science! The very first tires I made were better than I expected and grip as good if not better than any silicones I have used on my routed tracks. I took the advise of others and used OOMOO25 for the molds and Vytaflex 40 for the tires. Here are things I did/learned:

* I used 1 1/4" ID PVC hot glued to a sheet of glass for the molds. This uses a minimal amount of mold material.
* I used both double sided tape and super glue to attach the tires to the glass to make the molds. I found the tape worked better than the glue.
* After mixing the OOMOO25 in a dixie cup I poured it in the mold form (PVC) and covered the tire by about 1/4".
* No release agent is needed to separate the silicone from the PVC.
* After about 1 hr 15 mins I used a razor blade scraper to separate the PVC from the glass. The mold will remain stuck to the glass.
* I used the razor blade scraper to separate the mold from the glass.
* After carefully removing the original tire from the mold trim off the top edges of the mold even with the tread on the tire.
* The squeeze bottles from Walmart are the best things to pour the Vytaflex into the molds. I mix the stuff in a dixie cup and pour into the bottle.
* After the residual Vytaflex dries in the bottle it comes out very easy so the bottle can be reused.
* I use cheap measuring spoons from Dollar Tree to measure all the materials.
* Pour the Vytaflex in the molds slowly and let it settle. Add as much as needed to be level with the top of the mold.
* As others have said, for some reason the first set of tires out of the mold is a little gummier than subsequent tires. They are usable but not as durable.
* I have not used up my initial supply of mold or tire materials but I estimate that I can make about 90 different tire molds and about 400 tires with my initial supply for $74.59 including shipping.
* That works out to be about $.10 per tire. Not bad for a really good tire!
* If you are very careful removing tires from the molds the mold should last through quite a few moldings.

Once you get the hang of the technique you will be making tires like a pro.

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9
Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18
Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Night Driving (23) Making Tires (24) Brass Chassis (25)
Switching Scales (26)
Routed HO (27) Rails Installed (28) Oval Action (29)
New 1/32 Beginning (30) Construction (31) Routing (32) Painting and Taping (33) Power Taps and Timing (34)
Up and Running (35) Scenery (36) More Slot Racing (37)

They didn't say you couldn't.

All Images Copyright Michael Nyberg 2009
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