Let me start with this video:
Pretty cool, right? The video says the track is 2,000 feet long. So, the questions that come to mind:
- Is it really 2,000 feet long? It isn’t that I don’t trust people, but you know….
- How long would that take to set up?
- How much would all this stuff cost?
Simple questions, you say? I could just e-mail the guy that made this and surely he would answer. NO! That is not the way I do things. I like to take a minimal amount of info and figure the rest out. I am sort of like the Sherlock Holmes of YouTube.
So, I still need some info to start, right? It just so happens I have an old Hot Wheels track. Each segment seems to be 0.5 meters long. From this, I can get the speed of the car. If I know the average speed of the car and the time the car is on the track, I can get an estimate for the track length.
I can’t find a good sideways shot of the car moving on the track. This is the best I came up with:
But the problem is that I have nothing in the frame that I can scale the video. There is the track, but no a full track segment. I could guess at the length of the car. Let me just say that 85 percent of the track segment is visible. In that case, this is the motion of the car:
From this, the speed of the car seems to be around 2 m/s. Ok. What about the rest of the parts of the track? For those cases, I can just pick some spots where I can count the number of track segments and measure the time it takes the car to travel that distance. After looking at several sections, here are the speeds I get:
From this, I get an average speed of 2.29 m/s with a standard deviation of 0.58 m/s. Ok, now to estimate the track length I need to estimate the time the car is on the track. The video runs for 180 seconds with the car moving. However, this might not be the actual time. I noticed at least one case where the edit showed the car moving, switched to another camera and then showed the same car in the same spot. So, there is some overlap. Also, there could be some underlap — that is time when the car was moving, but not in the video. Let me just call the time 180 +/- 10 seconds.
If the above average speed is a good representation of the average speed for the entire track, then I can say:
This gives a track length of 412 meters (over 1300 feet). What about the upper and lower limits for this length? For a lower limit, I could use an average speed of 1.79 m/s and a time of 170 seconds. This would give a track length of 304 meters (just around 1000 feet). What about the upper end estimate? This would give a track length of 545 meters (almost 1800 feet).
So, is the track 2,000 feet like it is claimed? It could be. However, either the time of the video is not a good representation of the actual run or the average speed is too low. I doubt it is too low.
How Long Would it Take to Set Up?
This is just going to be some wild estimations. Just a warning.
How many pieces would you have to put together to make this work? Well, if I go with a track length of 400 meters — that would be about 800 normal track pieces. Of course there would be more pieces. You have these car pusher motors and sometimes you have loops (which require a little more setup). Let me say that on average it takes 10 seconds per piece. This would be 8,000 seconds (without a break) or a little over two hours. I am going to guess it would take significantly longer than two hours especially with all the other things (like loops and ramp jumps and stuff). Maybe it took six hours.
How much would it cost?
Let’s just say you need about 800 track pieces. Also, I am guessing you would need a motor booster about every four pieces of track on average. This means I would need about 200 motors. This set from Amazon includes some curves and stuff and some booster motors for $21. Ok, for the straight parts, I am going to say you would need 350 of them (because the motors take up some space). I can’t find a pack of just plain tracks with the number in them. I will just say it costs on average $0.5 per piece. This would put the total cost around $4,300. Bam.