1/32 Promoting Better Wheels and Track

Discussion in 'G1/32' started by David Halfpenny, 20 December 2012.

  1. David Halfpenny

    David Halfpenny Western Thunderer

    I’m David Halfpenny, and I've been a member for nearly six months.

    I'm interested in promoting better wheels and track because I'm convinced that the great bulk of G1 enthusiasts don't grasp the issues. I certainly didn't, even though my professional background is high speed railway suspensions, including wheels, Switch & Crossing work and, er, derailments.

    Because I run two G1 forums, I get my ear bent at length about all the things that those particular people get worked up about, including the can of worms that we call Standards. I find that among the articulate few there are large numbers who are genuinely bewildered because they literally cannot see why Standards matter: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it,"
    So I decided to demonstrate that G1MRA Standard is broke, and do so in a way that is absolutely clear to both hand and eye.

    Here's my stall set out:

    Crossing Demo 7-11email.jpg

    The caption sheet on the left says:

    two crossings:
    - which looks better?
    - which will last longer?
    - which gives better running?
    (try all the wheels and wagons)

    The photos on the right show terminal damage to a G1MRA Standard crossing after roughly 100 get-togethers:
    IMG_0397t (Small).jpg

    IMG_0399t (Small).jpg

    [The Book is British Railways Track 1971 edition.]
    On wheeling various wagons over the crossing, the majority of punters are astonished to find that it's the Finer ones that look better, the Finer ones that demonstrably run better and the Finer ones that will clearly last a great deal longer.

    So those who stop to chat and play are at last accepting that getting the geometry right makes everything better. And from here they divide:

    - "At my age, lad, Standard track will last me out."

    - "I see what you mean, but I'll stick with Standard so that I can run Vintage and G-Scale."

    - "I've been really bothered by rapid crossing wear, and now I can see how to prevent it without having to re-wheel my Standard stock."

    - "I've been excited by the idea of 'Finescale' but just assumed it wasn't as practical."

    Now while the last bunch have been in a minority, they are the potential converts to ScaleOne32. Well, I've ordered some of Roxey Mouldings ScaleOne32 wheelsets to add to the fun, and now I'm looking for suggestions about how best to put them to work in 2013.

    David 1/2d
    Dog Star likes this.
  2. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

    Hi David, Very to the point!! No better start for you than a battery powered APT-E!! Peter
  3. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

  4. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

    From my own point of view, apart from Cliff Barkers chairs there are very few scale track components to choose from. Slaters seem to be pressing ahead with their MR range in 1/32 but I havent seen any suitable trackwork for it....
  5. David Halfpenny

    David Halfpenny Western Thunderer

    Yes indeed, Peter! I hand out prints from that webpage to people who have tricky choices to make.

    I'm leaving the battery powered E-Train to Alan Coombe :)
    We had a lovely 40th birthday party for E-Train recently, up at Shildon where it lives, being restored by volunteers.

    My Roxey carriage wheelsets arrived today.

    There's not much point in putting them under a vehicle until I have a ScaleOne32 turnout, so I'll add a ScaleOne32 wheelset to the pile of loose wheelsets for people to play with on the crossings, then hand round a set of one each Standard, Fine and ScaleOne32 for people to scrutinise closely side by side.

    [Anyone know the rationale behind the choice of stainless steel?
    Dave says he simply made what he'd been asked for.
    To my mind, stainless bumps up both the material cost and the machining cost, and is harder to colour than mild steel. What have I missed please?]

    Dave said that if we want a batch of disc or 3-hole wagon wheels, an order for a couple of hundred wheelsets would clinch it.
    Might we put that together?

    I forgot to ask whether his turner uses form tools or CNC, but depending on his set-up, we might be able to wangle a mix of diameters within one batch.
    If not, what size(s) would be the most popular - 37", 920mm, 840mm, 770mm etc ?

  6. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    That's interesting and any such development would be very welcome, but when I tried to do exactly that Dave Hammersley was vague and non committal to put it mildly. I'm therefore not holding out any hope in this direction on his front, but I'd love to be proved wrong.

    In any event it wouldn't get us the spoked variants of wagon wheel and would be of limited utility in getting the whole ScaleOne32 thing "off the ground". I will hopefully be following up my potential wheel supplier in the new year.

    As far as stainless goes I have no idea, but Dave did say that any future production would be "normal" steel.

  7. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

    I maintain that seperate tyres and inserts is the most economical way to go, so a batch of 1000 rims would suit several centres.
    taliesin likes this.
  8. taliesin

    taliesin Western Thunderer

    With the added bonus of insulation for those who need it, the way to go, cheers Rob
  9. David Halfpenny

    David Halfpenny Western Thunderer

    The Roxey stainless wheelsets have both journals insulated - visible in Simon's picture below.

    PC043514_forum (1).JPG

  10. Steph Dale

    Steph Dale Western Thunderer


    It probably isn't actually, you double the number of operations to produce a wheel and insert. You've also got to find a way to wed two technologies to do it. I suppose Slaters or the Alan Gibson mob might be able to help though.

    And the use of stainless steel? Well, I suggest it's a 'no brainer' for stock that may be used outdoors.
    I'll get back in m'box now; yes, the one labelled 'manufacturing engineer' :)

    If your contact for producing wheels should happen to fall through, do let me know; I may have another source...

  11. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

    I do see what you are saying, one of the problems is that it will be small quantities. using separate centers and rims means that can have 1000 rims with a choice of 4 different centers rather than having to make say 4000 wheels and have them sitting about for years. Personally I dont like the Slaters, they dont have accurate axles or shaped rear for the spokes, which i consider essential in 1/32, resin centers would provide this. It is the same old problem as the chairs, finding an economical way to produce them.
    What we really need right now is a rich benefactor ;)
  12. David Halfpenny

    David Halfpenny Western Thunderer

    I don't understand why Steph, but then I'm used to live steam keeping everything lightly oiled. I can imagine non-steam getting a light film of rust on bare metal, but I see that as a plus not a minus, and it soon wears off the tyres.

    [It's no big deal for me because I don't have a 1/32 coach, or anywhere to run it, but it is worth finding a generic solution because I've got lots of shiny-plated wheels that are just as difficult to finish as stainless. I plan to try electroplating with iron. Electro-iron (unlike electro-copper) is very hard, and takes paint and patination well. So far I've only used it to make cosmetic items in brass or whitemetal look, rust, take paint and patinate like steel.]

    Choice of material needs care - some plastic wheels made this way distort and go 'drunken', which is far more serious for ScaleOne32 than for G1MRA Standard. When I returned a set as unusable, the supplier bent them roughly true with his thumbs and handed them back to me - needless to say they've crept back to being drunken again.
    Also some commercial tyres fall off, even with 6mm wide tyres, so I feel we'd need a keying groove or knurl inside the tyre.

    [Incidentally I'm working on some ingot wagons with inside-framed 2' diameter wheels. As you can imagine, G1MRA profiles are especially unflattering on such a small, fully exposed diameter. I'm getting them from from Ivan Prior who sells - wait for it - 150 000 turned steel wheels per year!]

    I'd better leave getting that price down that to Steph :) But it occurs to me that there is a fundamental Production difference between the number of chairs we might need and the number of wheel centres. While just a few thousand wheels would suit moulds cut from injection-grade aluminium, chairs would probably need hard steel.

    Another way to look at it is this: the price of wheels matters less to somebody who makes an occasional masterpiece model a year than to somebody who wants to knock up a long rake of kits quickly. Here's Mark Wood's split-spoke wheel:

  13. Peter

    Peter Western Thunderer

    Another way to look at it is this: the price of wheels matters less to somebody who makes an occasional masterpiece model a year than to somebody who wants to knock up a long rake of kits quickly. Here's Mark Wood's split-spoke wheel:

    David[/quote] I agree with David. A discussion may need to take place with Mark regarding the quantity required to achieve a better price.
    As a benchmark for ScaleOne32, I recommend the following sites:

    Best regards, Peter
  14. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    I don't think Mark would be able to reduce his prices owing to the way in which he produces his (beautiful) wheels. He will still turn them up and mount them on axles for you although he doesn't particularly advertise this service as it's very time consuming from his point of view. In having Mark I think we are incredibly lucky and in general I wouldn't look anywhere else for my loco wheels.

    I think that for a "craft" solution the turned tyre with resin/rapid prototyped/moulded centre is the way to go, but I don't really want to spend time "making the wheels" and this approach won't ever "launch" ScaleOne32 in the wider modelling community.

    What is ideally needed is more of a mass production process, and as Dave H has demonstrated this can be CNC machining for a solid disc wheel. This does involve making sure the rim is securely attached to the centre for other types as observed above, but this isn't impossible and is one thing that Slaters do get right.

    My "hope" in this area is someone with good links to (dare I say it) Chinese production facilities together with wide experience of quality model railway production. I am after a scale wheel with a fully revealed centre, but probably not a prototypically shaped axle.

    I agree about rich benefactors, but four (say) people each putting in a significant but not stupidly large amount coupled with an interested producer might just do it (I hope)

  15. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    Hi Steph

    Thanks very much, I will bear it in mind.

    I hadn't really given it much thought and don't know how much of a problem the relative lack of adhesion of paint to SS would be in practical terms in my situation, but I'd agree SS would be preferable in my 2 rail track powered world. Rust on wheel treads has to be watched and dealt with already, although I fantasise that by running lots of trains it would get "naturally worn away":rolleyes:

  16. Phill Dyson

    Phill Dyson Western Thunderer

    I have experienced this effect too with some Roxey/H.O.G. steel wheels as those plastic inserts become worn after high mileages:(

  17. 28ten

    28ten Guv'nor

  18. taliesin

    taliesin Western Thunderer

    Peter Korzilius supplies 1/32 scale wagon wheels for use with his kits etc, both spoked and three hole. Although they are "standard" rather than "finescale" he sells them for @ £8.00 for two sets, or four wheels and two axles if you prefer. My point is that they are made for him by a third party and are reasonably priced so maybe his manufacturer could produce the goods, cheers Rob
  19. David Halfpenny

    David Halfpenny Western Thunderer

    So far in "Promoting Better Wheels and Track" we've covered:
    = demonstrating in public why correct crossing geometry matters,
    = getting ScaleOne32 wheels made commercially.

    So where to next?

    People keep asking me where they can see 'Finescale' trackwork, and (apart from some battered G1MRA Fine items on secondhand stalls) I'm damned if I know.

    Will there be any ScaleOne32 track at Gauge 1 North in April and/or at Gauge One Expo in June?
    (Both of these events are open to the Public this year.)

    And if not, could we at least demonstrate a turnout?

    = If it just sat there on its own, it would at least 'look right'.

    = With a bit of track added at the crossing end, it would demonstrate that scale wheels run well too.

    = If it were placed on or near my stall, I could show that it works better than 'Ain't Broke' G1MRA Standard.

    I'm also pondering making a length of straight track containing one G1MRA Standard crossing and one Scaleone32 crossing. While it wouldn't have the complete Scale Good Looks factor, it would be a starkly In Yer Face demonstration of the practical differences.

  20. Simon

    Simon Flying Squad

    I'm currently planning to bring Pomparles Siding to the Radford Smelly do.

    As far as Finescale tracks go, there aren't very many.

    Mark Wood's is the biggest and best, certainly in the context of steam and garden railways. Although it's US inspired and laid in flat bottom it is all finescale standards and very well built.

    There is a terminus layout near Lincoln-ish, I can't remember the builders name but he is a friend of the talented and much respected Ken Cottle, who has made some suitable gauges etc too.

    Rob Mabbett's engine shed layout is too, but is private and not exhibited thus far.

    My garden line is, but is very unfinished, as is Pomparles, but this is very small and electric only.

    I had my next Scale0ne32 turnout at the AGM in 2011 and demonstrated it as you suggest above.

    When all is said and done G1MRA aren't really the audience for this stuff, the "brokeness" of the "standard standard" is QED, but the "sociability factor" coupled with an inability for G1MRA to tweak or sensibly discuss even this guarantees its perpetuation in that arena. A few years ago Richard Donovan as technical secretary raised the issue but got shot down in flames, as usual. And let's face it, Richard is hardly an "enfant terrible" in the G1MRA context, so what chance anyone else?

    That said I appreciate your efforts, and I personally think that the track/wheel interface is quite an interesting (if technical) part of railway modelling, but I hope you enjoy it for what it's worth as impact-wise on G1MRA I think your surname might as well be Canute:))