I have been asked a few times how big and luxurious my workshop must be to do all the different things that I do, it isn't. Its a lean-to on the side of the house, the only luxury is a door directly into the house so I don't have to go out the front and in through the front door. It is 1.8 m wide, 7.2 m long and 2.5 m high on the house side. I built it myself as a timber frame, fully insulated and with plastic T&G cladding on the long side. The ends are double glazing units made to order with a normal door to the rear and a very wide one at the front, the front half doubles up as a garage for my motorcycle at night. When I fitted the wiring I planned for sockets everywhere, even then I had to add 2 more I missed, I now have 17 double sockets.
1 - The bench area is about 2.5M but has to cope with the usual clutter, tools in use and jobs partly done, when kit packing is required I have a clear up so I can spread the parts out more. The printer and pillar drill can be seen underneath with rolls of roofing lead and some empty boxes for reuse.
2 - To the left of this is a higher bench with my Hobbymat lathe and the computer tower acting as a pin board for sticky note reminders. The lathe is not screwed down, it rests on a camping bed roll mat and has never moved.
3 - Left of this is my extrusion printer and its laptop on the high shelf. The box next to the printer has a UV spotlight on top and is for curing resin prints, the box is required as a 60w UV spotlight is not a good thing to look at in operation. The device on the UV lamp bracket is a programmable timer from Ebay, it is set up to give 20, 40 and 60 seconds depending on what needs curing. I printed a box to put it in.
4 - Above the bench is an eye level test track looking more like the Penrhyn scrap line most of the time. Some are mine partly finished, some are customers but all need attention of some sort. The front track is 16.5/14mm dual gauge, the rear is 18.2mm EM gauge and the center is 12mm at the right and 9mm at the left. Yes there is a wad of money in a yogurt pot, that's to buy beer next time I'm allowed into Belgium which may be another month or 2. Above are containers with all sorts of useful bits in that I may use one day.
5 - Behind me on the house wall is the library and baskets with kits ready for posting. I have far too many tins of paint, the compressor and airbrush are there too. Below are file boxes with magazines etc. The top shelf is above head height and is 300mm deep, useful for packaging like bubble wrap, flat boxes and my bike gear.
6 - The front half is shorter and is home to my newly installed 1930s Benson lathe, vice, bench grinder behind the Yamaha YZF-R125 engine (don't ask, it has a bearing problem and I will be rebuilding it over the next week or 2, I was a bike mechanic in a former life), 2 resin printers and the cleaning area. On the shelves are all my many house tools which I would rather have there than in the cellar as power tools don't like cellars much. The door is the widest single door that the glaziers have ever made but I wanted to get the bike in without folding in the mirrors.
7 - The left printer is a Photon, on the right is a Kelant and the plastic tub between them contains the alcohol for cleaning the prints. The cut up T shirt behind the Photon is draped over it in use to keep in heat and keep out light. The Kelant has a zip up sweatshirt to do the same job which is rolled up on top in this picture. When printing I often have both printers running, parts draining on the baking tray after washing and more in or around the UV lamp box.
8 - The view from the rear showing the actual size I have to cope with and a rather enthusiastic raspberry plant. Yes it is an interesting gutter but it works and the window still opens.
9 - A high level shot showing the wide top shelf, home to my craft cutter when not in use, assorted kits waiting for me to get to them and some nasty chemicals. There are also boxes of computer cables, lathe tools and a collection of mugs. The Shapeways box far left contains prints waiting for chassis solutions, all belonging to one person.
Below the benches are metal office draw units that are ideal for storing kits in flat form, I only box a few at a time as they take up 5 times as much room that way. They also contain motors, metal for turning, spare tools and parts for the printers.
I wish I had more room as cost effective buying means bulk purchases, 1000 12mm wheels fit in a 1L container, the gear sets are smaller still but excess flat boxes and packaginghave to go in the loft, there are at least 600 of 4 different types up there as I buy in 250s. There are household rumours that I might be granted use of a spare bedroom to build a layout, probably because my better half wants to try scenery and building construction. This would be a good way of moving a lot of house tools giving me more space in the workshop, you can get a lot of tools in a room 9ft x 12ft, that's about 2/3rds the size of my workshop!
I was asked by 2 Indian gentlemen for a chassis to fit an Indian Ry NDM6, a bit like our BR O8 shunter but with 4 wheels. This was to be in OO9 which I don't do often and my printed plastic ones cannot do below 12mm gauge as I can't get the gears in, too narrow. The solution was an etched chassis which I made as universal as possible.
It can be built to all gauges from 9 to 16.5mm (and wider if you ask for longer axles) and in wheelbases from 17 to 30mm. It comes complete with wheels, motor and double gearing around 33:1, wheels can be 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 12 or 14mm and the motor can be an M15 (8 x 15), N20 (10 x 15) or N30 (10 x 20), a flywheel is provided where possible. This will suit anything from OO9 to O gauge, the frames are 64mm long but can be shortened prior to assembly if required.
The pair in the pictures were built from the test etches for the 2 NDM6 owners and are 9mm gauge, 18.5mm wheelbase with 8.5mm wheels. The 2 strips with holes are optional mounting plates, they are wider but these have been cut down. This is a simple kit with only 9 etched parts to solder.
These chassis come as 6 on the etch and all 6 were built for various people. One was assembled in a cut down fashion to fit a Shapeways Ruston for 9mm gauge and turned out really good, I think this chassis will find far more uses than I expected.
These are now available from stock at £50.00 as from 20-09-2020 and they are really easy to build so I will do RTR ones at £90.00, your choice of gauge, wheelbase, wheels and motor.
A solution at last for the water pick up hoses that were draped on various parts of WD locos. Its 12 cm long and 1.5 mm thick and made from solder with a can on one end and a flange on the other. The hose part is textured by rolling to look more like a reinforced canvas hose.
Now available at £3.00 each
If anyone wants a different length, I can make them to order.
I am considering having a range of small wheels made, probably steel tyred with plastic centers, the trouble is that the set up cost is high and I don't know what is required. These would be suitable for 7mm ng, OO and HO, O-9 and any scale/gauge that can use RP25 code 110 wheels, about the same as current Hornby/Bachmann.
I think I will stick to the sizes I already do, 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12mm with spokes of one kind or another. The options would be 6, 7 or 8 spokes either plain, split, curly or T shaped. Without doing a vast amount of research I don't know what would be popular so if you have a particular need, email with details including where it was used and I will add it to the possibility list.
Mold making for spoked wheels is very expensive in the UK, £1000 to £1500 per type, although using the same tyre for a different center is a lot cheaper as the middle part of the mold is about 20% of the cost. I am hoping that the Chinese manufacturers I use might be more reasonable on cost but I need to send drawings of requirements to get a price. I am open to suggestions.
There is a UK manufacturer who made some molds for 7mm ng wheels that were paid for but never went into production, I will be discussing these with him as I don't want to duplicate anything already existing, even if none were ever made.
A replacement chassis for this has been an intention for a while so I borrowed a body kit from Robin Edwards to see what could be done. I hoped to use the cranks and rods supplied in the kit with a newly acquired L shape geared motor. As you can see from the pictures it worked but there were issues, aren't there always.
The body kit is designed with a 30mm wb, the Tenshodo that used to be used was 31mm wb, which caused some fun and games during assembly. The rods on this kit were 30 and 31mm wb, one of each due to casting tolerances, on top of that the holes are slots. I printed the chassis with a 30mm wb to fit the body and manually filed the slotted rod ends to suit and soldered in some fine tube. The same tube was used as retainers to hold the rods in place. The cranks were drilled out to 2mm and fitted with threadlock, the quartering was done by eye. Amazingly it worked first time and is powerful with good slow speed performance, which is all that is needed on a De Winton.
Above are 2 views of the test chassis using the cranks and rods from the kit, the copper strip around the top of the boiler is a 1.5mm wire ring soldered on and filed flat. This raises the top for motor clearance without moving any of the boiler mounting points.
The gearbox is around 80:1 ratio in 4 stages, the motor is a K20 but 7.5v and requires a ballast resistor. The center of the boiler base needs removing to fit the motor through. The kit uses a tube through the boiler that fits into a central holder at the base to represent the chimney, as the motor is in the way, the chimney tube will need shortening to be just the visible part above the boiler.
This is a 14mm version and due to the tight clearances the chassis and gearbox uses common bushes, gauges less than 14mm are not possible. The 16.5mm version will use separate bushes. Wheels are my 10.5mm disc type with simple wiper pick ups.
I can make these to order but RTR only and the buyer will need to sort out the cranks and rods. At a later date I can draw rods, cranks and a crank setting jig to assemble it all but not until after the lock down as the etchers are closed for the duration. The chassis would be supplied now as you see above, with extended axles but no rods or cranks at a price of £50.00. When I do an improved version with rods etc the price would be around £85.00 assembled.
As I work from home, the Corona virus outbreak has not affected me or my business much so far, other than running short on toilet rolls and having to queue in the car park to get into a supermarket. Petrol is very cheap now, a shame I have no shows to go to to use some. I am having to ration my stock of Belgian beer as I won't be able to get there to restock any time soon, 3 bottles a week is just not enough.
I have all my kits and bits in stock and can still get routine parts from suppliers. Unfortunately the etcher I use has closed for the duration and the caster probably will soon. This means no etches or castings for the Alco or the new 0-4-0 chassis kits so they will have to wait until the world gets on top of the virus. My 3D printed chassis are the most popular item at the moment and fortunately I can still post them when they are ready.
I am not offering any reassurance to anyone as I'm sure you have all been reassured by everyone from your bank to the corner shop down the road, I certainly have. Be safe, stay indoors and don't mingle with anyone but those in your home and things might get back to near normal in a few months. A friend has a vulnerable Mother who she loves dearly but now cannot visit, the solution is to visit from the garden with tea and conversation through an open window. There's always a way if you look for it.
Best wishes to all - Mark, from a very depressing Medway Towns that looks like the opening sequence of a Zombie Outbreak movie.
PS .... I had a look through my stock to see where issues might arise, I have good stocks of all loco kits except the Wren (1), Joffre (2) and 1/35th Peckett (1). I am now out of Barclay chassis kits and none of these can be topped up until things get back to normal. The printed power bogies, wagons and Redlake coach are made to order and I can still get materials for them. I have vast stocks of gears, bushes and wheels as I bought them over the last year or so.
09-04-2020 - A correction to the above, I have been affected by the lock down, I am snowed under with orders, mainly for small bits and special chassis from all parts of the world. Not surprising really as all my customers are stuck indoors and want bits to get on with their current projects. I can still do most of this but I am getting a bit behind so there may be delays at times. Also as my wife is vulnerable, I am going out for shopping which takes forever with the queues outside the shops, I lose at least a day a week just queuing.
26-09-2020 - I am out of 1/35 Pecketts but have ordered more etches and castings, they will take a while to get herebut the kit should be available again before Christmas. I am out of castings for Brazils, I can supply them with the castings to follow but they may be weeks or a couple of months, who knows.
As you can see its coming on nicely. These pictures show the first test build, this is about 1 days work and I was writing the instructions as I went along. Its all gone together according to plan so far with just 1 hole in the wrong place. The frames are 3 layers that fold in a zig-zag to form frames 1.2mm thick, the hornblocks are High Level fitted backwards. The springs are also 3 layers in a magic fold up unit that keeps everything aligned until they are fitted. The drivers will be my 14mm discs and the pony wheels my 9.5mm discs. Yesterday I said that I would be using 16mm spoked drivers but this is not possible for various technical reasons, they will have to be 14mm disc. The gearbox is a 64:1, 3 stage fold up type included on the etch, it will be mostly in the firebox to preserve the daylight under the boiler. The motor is undecided as I have yet to see how much room there is, at minimum it will be a long bodied N30 which are really powerful.
For some reason the etcher has removed the framework surrounding the parts so the bits run into the surrounding waste, they are usable for test purposes but they need to fix it before production. As you can see there are 6 pony trucks, 2 of each gauge but all other parts are for 2 gauges only, 16.5 and 14/12, the 12mm builder just moves the wheels closer together, not possible with the pony trucks.
On the right are the frame assembly jigs with the quartering jig above them. All the cranks, side rods and valve gear parts are joined so they fold up to maintain alignment during soldering. The springs in the bottom boxes fold in a zig-zag complete with the surrounding box, the box is partly removed after the springs have been tack soldered then the rest is removed after fitting. You get perfect alignment of the springs every time and its a lot quicker. I thought of this during a meal out and had to scribble notes on a napkin, I would have used a beer mat or cigarette packet but neither was available.
The cylinders are 3D printed in resin by me and retained by 2 screws from underneath, the pony trucks have guides to limit their movement and springs to keep them on the track, the driving wheels are compensated with a central beam. If I get the time it should be running by the end of the week....This is unlikely nowas the change to smaller wheels requires a few frame changes, if this one gets to run at all it will not be true to the kit.
This chassis has gone as far as it can, the frames came out slightly too narrow so this 16,5mm version ended up with 14mm gauge wheels as the 16.5mm ones are too wide. How many of you noticed that the pony trucks are still 16.5mm? My test track is dual gauge so all the wheels fit on the track, even if the ponies are a bit skewed, it took me a while to notice. All the rods and valve gear worked first time but several changes are required on other parts, the revised drawings will go off for etching in the next few days. It pays to not rush this as I found only yesterday that I had forgotten the expansion links and added them in a gap created by rearranging the parts.
What I have here is good enough to start on the castings which will take 6 weeks or more to process, plus another 2 weeks for a batch to be produced. The boiler and tanks are mostly drawn and I will be test printing them soon, meanwhile the etches for the cab and bunker still need to be finished.
I have started a list of those that would like an Alco but due to recent computer issues I can't trust it, best to start again. If you want an Alco, email and I'll put you on the new list, no deposit required, I'll ask for money when the kit is ready.
I was asked what curves this will go round, I have no idea but tighter than you would think, I had a play with the chassis on a bit of flexitrack and 24in radius was no problem, it may well go tighter but my hybrid chassis has almost no side play in the axles. I will test the next build which will be a true example of the kit.
01-04-2020 I built the 3 cab types which revealed a few problems which will be sorted out on the new etch. The WD one (left) is easy to build, the 2 Mountaineer ones (early left and later right) are not so easy. I will sell the kit as WD and the Mountaineer cabs will be available as an extra etch for those that want it.
The first boiler and tank prints arrived from the US, actually direct from an EU printer to save on double posting and duty. There are some changes required, the dome is too tapered, the supports under the tanks need attention and the tanks are too short. There is no smokebox saddle at the moment, hence the blob of Blutak. These are printed in a nylon that is then polished! It leaves a very strange speckled finish with polish trapped in the corners, the detail and fit is spot on though.
June 2020 - The etcher is causing problems as they are refusing to work on drawings prior to creating the phototool required for the etching process. Consequently I am having to do most of their work for them and submit black and white drawings ready to use. As I have never done this before I am having to do it by learning on the job which is slowing things down. On top of this the guy drawing the body parts got stuck on the smokebox saddle and had to send me the drawings for me to finish. As he uses a different program to me I have had to install and learn that to do the job. All this on top of a full workload but I'll get there in the end.
The Ffestiniog cabs have been revised and test built and are now good to go. They come as a pair on a separate etch which will cost £25 on top of the price of the standard WD kit. You can only build one cab despite a lot of parts being for one type only and you also get lifting brackets for the buffer beams and various types of handrail brackets for the cab openings. When building yours, the parts are built onto the frame but as there is only one frame on the etch, I had to build mine to slip over it, which worked surprisingly well. The left one shown is the later version and the right is the earlier.
I also received the sample prints from China as shown below, and very good they are too. The reason for 2 different colours is that they are different resins, the yellow one is more flexible. Although this is good in some respects, I am going with the white less flexible one as the detail is crisper and it is less prone to warping. I wish decent grey resin was available as these pale colours are really hard to photograph.
As the initial batch of 20 is now mostly spoken for I am going to double it and do 40 as the first run so there will be plenty to go round. The price will be £250 for the WD kit plus £25 for the Ffestiniog cab etches.
All etches are now tested and good to go, I am currently waiting for the actual order to arrive and I am still waiting for the castings, its about time I chased Slaters on those.
I have had a rethink on the printed parts, I was a bit annoyed that my attempts to print the boiler and tanks always failed, which is why I tried the guy in China. I looked closely at the areas I was having problems with and remounted the parts differently in the printer with great success. I showed my finished prints and the Chinese ones to Yvonne for a critical analysis of all the minor issues and we both decided that mine are better. This is good for several reasons, I can print parts when I want and don't have to keep a lot in stock, I can modify them if required, I don't have to wait for them to arrive and there was always a chance of being caught for charges at customs.
Its a 6 hour print but I get 3 boilers or 4 sets of tanks at a time, about 2 weeks for 40 sets, the cylinders are on a smaller machine and can be done at the same time.
I had said originally that I would do a run of 20 Alcos but 18 are now spoken for so I have upped it to 40. Unfortunately the order for castings placed in July was for 20, I have added another 20 but they are not likely to arrive for 2 months more.
This was seen trundling around at Tracks to the Trenches last year. Henrik Laurel kindly drew the body in 3D for printing and it comes out fine on my Photon.
Now available as RTR in primer with one of the power bogies shown below, any gauge from 16.5 down to 12mm.
See Loco and Chassis Kits for details.
This loco is owned by Peter Smith who keeps it at Amberley who stopped by at EXPO to photograph the model. We discussed the permutations of voltages and amps in a 102 year old electric motor, apparently a mobility scooter motor would do the job in a tenth the space on a tenth of the power.
I built these when I was making something to fit under a friend's 4mm tram, the left one is 14mm and the right is 16.5mm, both are 26mm wheelbase. I built two because I wasn't listening when he told me the gauge and I built 16,5mm when he wanted 14mm so had to build a second one.
The motor is a 12v N20 (10/15) with my 13:1 gears at both ends and 9.5mm wheels. It runs fine but a bit fast, similar to a Tenshodo. There was no room to get a 2 stage gearbox in which was why I tried direct gearing rather than my usual O ring drive. If you look carefully you can see that the left one has a reduced width to fit the 14mm gauge wheels but is full width around the motor.
This is a good unit when space is limited and I can draw the chassis to any shape required, with wheelbases from 26mm upwards in gauges 12mm or wider. I can do 24mm wb but only in 16.5mm or wider as the wheels would clash with the motor. The main advantage of these over a Tenshodo is that they use brass axle bushes and metal gears so no undue wear or gear splitting.
These will be cheaper than the 2 stage type and are a lot easier to put together, a kit is £35 and RTR £50, if its a new drawing I will have to build the first and it would be RTR only but later examples can be kits. Wheels can be 8.5, 9.5 or 10.5mm but I wouldn't recommend 12 or 14mm wheels as it would go like a rocket and be under powered.
These will be added to the general sales list as I make them for specific prototypes. I am also working on a range of direct Tenshodo replacements, the same size and shape but slower and with metal gears and axle bushes.
Two all new items for kit and scratch builders, roller bearing hornblocks and bracket bearings. They assemble from a folding etch with a 2mm bore ball race which is held in tiny fingers and araldited in place. The left one in each picture is the bracket bearing, suitable for motorised accessories or any loco with a motor mounted remotely from the gearbox and needing a bearing. The size is 11 x 6mm and depth 2.4mm, the holes are 1.2mm spaced at 8mm. The hornblocks are on the right and fit straight into standard 6mm frame cutouts, a guide is supplied for either functional or cosmetic use. There is a fold up tag to set the height in the frame cutout and/or limit the travel as may be required. Both use 5 x 2mm double shielded ball races with a 2mm bore and have vastly less friction than a similar sized bush with no need to lubricate ever.
When fitting, the axle must be a push fit through the bearings and is locked in place with a tiny spot of bearing lock when positioned. If the axle is a bit tight, it can be eased by spinning in a drill or lathe and fine abrasive paper used to reduce the diameter a fraction. I an now fitting these ball races in my motor bogies as standard and they greatly improve performance.
Supplied in pairs of either type at £4.00 for 2mm axles only and yes I can supply spare bearings if needed.
I have recently had some failures of the small motors used in my Universal Power Bogie, this motor is a Chinese 11/8 can motor. I have sold well over 50 of these as kits and RTR and have had to replace 2 motors for customers and 3 for myself. A customer asked if the controller might be an issue so I ran his repaired chassis 6 times up and down my 6ft test track using my pulse width modulated controller, it ran well and got a bit warm. I then repeated it with my Gaugemaster type D and it didn't run as well and got quite hot.
I called Gaugemaster to discuss this and was told that all Gaugemasters are only half rectified and have no inbuilt power restrictions, this gives a raw output that small motors don't like, the larger ones can cope as they are a bigger heat sink but it will probably still shorten their life. When the motor gets hot, which it will do on half rectified power, it will keep getting hotter until it burns out and there are no power limiters to stop this. This was a bit of a surprise as I thought the problem was the Chinese motor suppliers lack of quality control when it looks like it was my Gaugemaster all the time.
Therefore I cannot recommend my smallest motors for use with Gaugemasters or any other half rectified controller. I have done some research and found that PWM controllers should heat motors more than plain rectified one but half rectified controllers heat them even more. Suitable controllers are any controller using full rectification which includes the Hornby R965, HM200, the Tech4 range, most H&Ms with the wave switch in the full position and any make of hand held unit so long as it is supplied from a fully rectified DC supply, not from AC as then the inbuilt half wave rectifier will take over.
Sorry for this but I have no say in how manufacturers design their controllers. If you have a controller that you are unsure about, ask the manufacturer, if it uses full rectification it will be fine, if its a hand held, use a fully rectified DC supply, if its an old one that's no longer made, ask others on forums, try Google or ask me.
This kit has been on hold for a while as the rush due to Covid 19 and the panic to get the Alco ready both took over. I have done absolutely nothing to it since early this year but I will be getting to it some time soon. The etches I have are good to go but they only cover the body and basic chassis, I needed to build this before I tackled the valve gear and that is the next stage, followed by the castings.
Now available in 5.5mm gauge for 16.5 mm track
I can now supply this in 1/32nd or 1/35th scales, that's the best bit of 3D printing, just scale it up or down and print.
It has been pointed out to me that my Barclay chassis which is 7mm or 1:43 scale will actually make quite a good chassis for an O&K tank loco or similar in 1:35 scale. Well, I didn't see that one coming but in 16.5mm form it certainly will. I will have to try it myself.
I bought an unknown vertical boiler loco body thought to be 1/35th scale on Ebay, it turned out to be a 7mm scale ETNA by Smallbrook Studios. Rather than use a Smokey Joe chassis, I printed one to fit and used my larger geared motor, 16mm spoked wheels and rods and cranks borrowed from one of my Pecketts. The result was surprisingly good, except that its more suited to 1/35th or 1/32nd scale. Its sort of an adaption of a De Winton but much bigger to fit the Hornby chassis.
If anyone has an Etna that they would like to use for whatever scale but need a better chassis, I can build these to order. You get Scalelink 16mm spokedwheels and around 140:1 gearing with an N20 motor. The drive is smooth and silent and very good at slow speeds. These are RTR only at £90.00 and take around 10 days to supply as I make the outside rods to order.
This is a print from Tom Bell of Teebee models from Shapeways for which I printed a chassis for 14mm. Its not wide enough for 16.5mm so can only be gauged from 14 to 12mm but I can make achassis for 10.5 or 9mm if required.
Cost in any gauge is £90 as the loco is fairly large and the print is around £36 on its own.
Paint not included.
These have finally arrived from China and they have surpassed my expectations.
The gears are so well cut that they need no running in and just work perfectly from first fitting. They are 0.4 module 13:1 ratio, the gear is small enough to use with 8.5mm wheels and the worm is actually 2mm longer than the ones in the picture, they were a test sample. Both have 2mm tight push fit bores to suit my power bogies where they will be standard fitting from now on.
The wheels are 10,5mm blackened steel but still conduct electricity, on turned plastic bushes with 2mm brass pin point, brass blind or steel blind axles. They are supplied loose so that I can choose the axle and they push on dead square every time, unlike some plastic centered wheels I have had to use lately. They are also perfectly concentric as they are CNC machined. I have these wheels in 12 and 14mm now at the same price.
The pulleys are much as my previous ones, no real changes there. The large one is bored 2mm and the small one 1mm, ratio around 2.8:1.
All these are available separately, a gear set £3.50, 2 pulleys with 2 O rings £2.50 and wheels £2.50 per axle.
The bottom picture shows the new wheels at the back, my previous ones in the middle and Gibsons at the front for comparison.
As I need a lot of these for kits etc, I had a batch of 10,000 made in China, I can supply standard 1/8th bushes, large 2mm bushes, same as the 1/8th ones but with a 2mm hole, standard 2mm bushes and extended 2mm bushes, same as standard but longer. I can supply these in any quantity 12 or above.
Found by chance while looking for something else on Chinese websites. It turns out to be the best iron I have ever owned, mine has been in use for over a year now and I still can't fault it.
Its variable from 90 to 420 degrees with a temperature lock switch to avoid accidental adjustment, has the fastest warm up time I have ever seen, 0 to 360 degrees in around 20 seconds, It also does not loose temperature when soldering, even on a large piece with the biggest bit.
It comes with a sponge tip wiper, a brass shavings tip cleaner, a solder reel support (not shown), 5 assorted bits and has a sleep function that lowers the temperature after 10 minutes of inactivity. Extra spare bits are universal to most Chinese irons and come in packs of 11.
I have sold several now and highly recommend them. The irons come from a European warehouse so supplies are quick but the bits come from China and can take a month to arrive so I try to keep a few packs in stock.
The wholesaler has increased the price of the station by £3.00 so I have had to as well, sorry about that.
WEP Soldering Station£45.00, 11 bits £10.00
Soldering Station with 11 extra bits £53.00
I now keep replacement elements for this iron at £10.00 each.
They last a long time but I thought it best to keep a few in stock as they have to come from China and can take a few weeks to arrive.