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 close relatives 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.
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. 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.
I have a small batch of RTR Brush 4WBE locos which will be available in 16.5, 14 and 12 mm gauges at £90. After Swanley I have 1 x 16.5 and 2 x 14mm left.
Bogies from the yet to be released WD wagons are available on their own at £16 a pair, less for several pairs, ask me at the show. You get the prints for the frames, brake standard and inside bearing unit with wheels to the gauge requested, the pictures show the 16.5mm version.
A short run of RTR Tenshodo replacement power units, I have 3 each of 16.5 and 14 mm at £55 each.
A one off, a pair of 16.5 mm gauge HO tram bogies with 26.5 mm wb and 9.5 mm wheels, both motorised. Built as a one off for a customer who has not taken possession of them, yours for £100 the pair. The lump of cast alloy in the picture is a good mounting point and is heavy, it goes with the bogies. I did not sell these at Swanley and will take £70 the pair if anyone has a use for them.
27th October - Not the most successful EXPO NG, the squash courts were in use which meant that the OO9 society took up most of the small hall and there were absences from the ranks of the traders, most notable was 7mm S/H Sales as Bob Cope has stepped down and no-one else has volunteered for the job. The turn out was down on last year and the weather was foul, I hope that A1 models got home to Doncaster at some point as apparently the area was badly flooded.
This means that I still have 3 RTR Brush 4WBE locos in 12 or 14mm gauge but I can easily make extra chassis for 16.5mm if required. The tram bogies are still available and the WD bogies will shortly be in my general sales list, they sold well but I have a few left ready to go. I also have a 30mm wb Tenshodo with 10.5mm wheels for sale at £25, used but running well.
I spent the day after EXPO attempting to get my Recreation 21 bow frame Simplex running, the twin O ring drive I tried before was horribly noisy as I had to use a very small geared motor. I thought I would see if a Tenshodo Replacement type of power unit could be built to 22mm wb, it can although clearance between one gear and the motor terminal has to be measured with cigarette papers. It runs surprisingly well and several people have asked about this one so, if you want one, send me an email. I can only supply them RTR in 16.5mm, they are way too difficult to sell as a kit and, as the wheels overlap the motor, 16.5mm is the minimum gauge. Obviously this unit can be used in anything requiring a wb of 22 to 24mm, not just the Simplex but 16.5mm gauge only.
Designed as a replacement for a Tenshodo and based on the unit used in the Brush BE below, these power units will fit in the space allowed for a Tenshodo and can be built to gauges 12mm or wider. Rather than a range of wheelbases that are not quite what's needed for a particular loco, I make them to order for any wheelbase from 22.5 - 35mm.
They have 13:1 gearing and an N20 motor and come RTR, below 25 wheelbase I use an M20 motor,see the motor bogie page for more details.
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 w/bbut 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 is the test build of my latest kit but can you tell what it is? A few clues; Its smaller than a Wren, its not British and no-one has requested it, this is on my wants list. I hope others will want one or I will end up with more than I bargained for.
I was hoping to have it ready for Burton in June but I'm not sure I will make that deadline, the test build will be on display though.
If you know what it is, answers on a postcard to .... just email, its a lot easier. The first few correct answers will get a selection of my small bits in the post.
No correct answers as of 30th March so I've added the latest pictures which look more like it should. Dimensions of the finished loco are length 75mm, height 55mm and width 36mm, it runs on 10.5mm wheels. There were 14 of the prototypes built, all for one major job.
9-4-2019 - 3 people came up with the correct answer, a Franco Belge 0-4-0WT as used to build the Panana Canal. I thought more people would have got it as there was an article in NG&IR and Paul Berntsen built one a little later which was also in NG&IR. The test build is on hold at the moment, too much other stuff to get finished including the masters for the 1/35th scale Peckett.
If you want a Franco Belge, email and I will start a list. Completion is likely to be July/August this year. It is compensated, comes with a jig for assembling the axles and cranks, the valve gear will hopefully look like its working and it will be available for 12 to 16.5mm gauges, 10.5 & 9mm on request. The 14mm version is close to scale and all narrower gauges are achieved by moving the wheels closer together, the 16.5mm one though needs wider frames. This just looks silly as the gap between the boiler and cylinders is too wide. The solution is a larger boiler on the 16.5mm version only which fills the gap without upsetting the looks too much. Both boilers are in the kit as supplied. It can be built with or without the canopy type roof.
I have told many people that I might get round to doing a kit for Hunslet WD 4-6-0 but never a Baldwin as I don't like them and didn't think they would pay their way. Then I got a call from an American called Dylan Lambert who wanted a Bachmann chassis converted to go under a 3D printed Baldwin body. I was interested to see the body and duly stripped all the running gear off the Bachmann chassis and reinstalled it on one I 3D printed to fit his body. It was a success but didn't look right so we got into discussions about how to improve the body with a view to turning it into a kit. Below are 2 shots of the finished Bachmann chassis bash.
We decided that 2 versions would be required, a 2-6-2 for the US market and a 4-6-0 for WD modelers, fortunately the 2 used common parts for most body bits and I spent some time locating the differences. Dylan extended the rather short boiler and tanks and added all the rivet detail and beading. The chunky panels were slimmed down a bit and we decided that there would have to be 2 boilers as the fittings are different and 2 footplates as the 4-6-0 cab sits 13 inches further forward. The body will be printed in sections which will be used as masters for resin castings, these include boiler, tanks, cab, bunker, cab footplate and roof which are glued together and detailed with brass castings and wire etc. There are slots for Kadee couplings and room for weight, DCC and sound. Below are two 3D renderings of the 4-6-0 showing the detail so far.
Meanwhile I have been working on the frame design. It turns out that the only common parts on the chassis are cylinders and wheels, everything else was bespoke for each one. The sketch shows the frame layers and overlays which will be 1.2mm thick when assembled. They will be buildable to 16.5, 14 or 12mm but the 12mm option may need a different gearbox as my geared motors won't fit between frames that thick. There will be even more overlays for the spring and compensation lever detail which is prominent on the prototype.
Its early days yet but I am hoping to get this project finished this year and the final product will be a full kit of either the 10-12-D 4-6-0 or the 10-12 1/4-D 2-6-2 in 12, 14 or 16.5mm gauges. Anyone know who chose to give the 2-6-2 a model number as silly as 10-12 1/4-D?
Due to the sudden release of Bachmann's 2-6-2 Baldwin, mine will be on hold until I see how the Bachmann one does. Its a nice looking model but has no valve gear, is very expensive and is 1/4" scale. The Americans will buy it but it might not be so popular in Europe except for those modelling in 1/4" scale. The 4-6-0 will go ahead later this year when I have the time.
Sorry to anyone hoping for a US style bar frame 2-6-2 chassis, with or without the body parts, but it would be pointless to go ahead with it as sales would be poor. I might revisit the matter later if there is demand.
The Baldwin is not progressing well, I have clearance problems with the 14 and 12mm gauge versions, it will struggle to get round curves other than wide radius, nothing like the correct wheels are available and the resin body parts are not good at replicating sheet metal. I can switch to using resin for the boiler, tanks and cylinders only and an etched cab and bunker but a complete redesign would be needed.
Therefor I am switching to a 2-6-2T Alco instead. Being outside frames there are no clearance problems in the chassis and there are suitable wheels available. Over the Christmas break I have designed the chassis and started on the cab, Dylan lambert in the US will draw the Boiler, tanks and cylinders which will probably be printed by me as my larger printer is now working. It will have a custom 64:1 three stage gearbox with the biggest motor that will fit, compensated driving wheels and sprung pony trucks. There will also be a Ffestiniog version with both cab types and a modified boiler although this might be a couple of months later.
The Baldwin will be done along the same lines when I find a way to replicate bar frames that are not so thick that I can't get a gearbox in. I am looking at either etched steel frames or pantograph cut hard brass as possible options. I might have to use generic wheels like Romfords or Scalelink or see what China wants to make a batch if I can find other uses for them, as I would have to buy 2000.
I appologise to those that were waiting for a Baldwin, I always knew it wouldn't be easy but I never expected so many problems. It will be done eventually.
Jan 2020 - The drawings for the chassis went off for etching 2 days ago so I should have pictures of the test build in 3 weeks of so. Its a lovely chassis with several body parts like the front pilot and buffer beams attached. The cylinders are 3D resin printed and castings will be made for the crossheads and motion brackets. It has spacers for 16.5 and 14mm,less than 14mm is achieved by moving the wheels closer which won't affect the overall look. The 64:1 gearbox is included and is shaped to fit this loco, I have derawn 3 versions of this which will be available later and will take almost any motor with 2 mounting screws.
I have started on the bodywork which will need 2 sets as Mountaineer, the Ffestiniog version has a few differences, but this is not needed until the chassis is available. All going faster than planned so far.
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.
I added these to an etch for a friend who wanted 180 and I now have a lot spare. They were designed to be used double thickness with wire passed through the holes to create a fence, used double I have enough for 166 posts. They are 0.8mm wide so double are 0.8mm square, height above ground 13.5mm.
5 posts (10 etches) for £1.00
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