7mm US model dabblings

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Jordan, 8 April 2013.

  1. Rob R

    Rob R Western Thunderer

    Sorry to drag this old post up but could you not file/mill a flat in the flange of the bearing and print a D shaped hole for it?

    Rob (still got upteen horsepower ringing my ears from 12 months ago..):(
  2. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Rob, indeed, it was a bleedin good day out and I am missing it....I'm sure I may have mentioned that ;)

    The lock down won't last forever and I've banked 5 weeks of holiday; the company were very good at letting myself and my colleague, on the new crane site, carry a week over the 1st quarter threshold. Basically all staff....where practicable.....shall take one weeks holiday before the 3oth of April in an effort to maintain manning levels over the summer period.

    Back to the gearboxes, that's a spiffingly good idea and much easier to accomplish, my previous idea was more akin to a raised key aligned parallel with the shaft. I'm not overly impressed with the Overland drive, there's an awful lot of drag and smooth it is not. Part of it I think is the outside bearings on the cast truck frames, there's a lot of looseness which appears to be translating into axle boxes not running parallel with the wheels stub shaft.

    For my own models I'm going to draw up my own 3D gearbox using Roxey gears, wheels and some top hat ball race bearings.


    These are the Roxey 3'-1" wheels whereby one wheel is screwed on, they scale out pretty close to 42" in 1;48 scale, except of course tread, flange etc etc, but the diameter is okay.

    The plan is a standard inside frame jobbie with roller bearings, fixed outer axles and a little float on the intermediate axle, I'll sort the bearing outer case rotation somehow on that axle later. Having said that, the GEVO truck does not have a pivot point in the middle as you'd normally expect, it's actually ahead of the intermediate axle by a fair margin, 24.62" to be precise. Not exactly midway between the front and intermediate axles but maybe enough to have them rigid and the rear with a little float.

    Or as is more likely, make the whole lot rigid, weight it heavily and let it level the track as it goes along :D

    Plan is simply to shaft drive the intermediate and then forward to the leading axle with one continuous axle, that'll stop the gearboxes trying to rotate through torque and remove another UJ; I don't think I need the added traction of all axles. That means the UJ to the rear of the intermediate won't have a lot of swing and should keep the drive shaft pretty straight.

    The rear axle will have a dummy AC motor 3D printed and fitted, the gearboxes will be a spin off from that in as much they'll be motor shaped as much as possible, certainly from below.


    This is a standard AC motor in a standard truck, the transom is quite hefty so obstructs a lot of the view. On the other hand, the CSX radial trucks are much leaner and the transom much smaller, which gives better access for photos.


    As can be seen, the AC traction motor is a hefty beast and there's not much ground clearance beneath them.

    The motor rear mount is the long linkage to the rear, the lug at the top is a safety feature in case that linkage breaks and the motor tries to drop to the track. There are rubber bushes between the linkage and pin, allowing the motor to flex on the pivot.

    If that all works out okay then I'll go back to the overland models, remove and store their wheel sets and make a drop in inner chassis to attach something similar to the above.

    First thing though is to draw up an inner chassis etch, it has to be discreet enough to allow daylight where daylight needs to be and strong enough to support the weight as well as having tabs to attach the outer dummy side frames. As a test I'll work up a 3D print to get the shapes all right before committing to etch, though the 3D print will obviously have thicker walls. The inner chassis will also need the required clearances for the drive shafts and the traction/pivot point.
    Last edited: 31 May 2020
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  3. JasonD

    JasonD Western Thunderer

    The Roxey and Peartree 3'1" 7mm/1ft wheels scale out to be 40.8" 1:48 wheels, so with their 3/16" axles they can be an unpow'd loco, file the axle-ends off then drop-in replacement for Lionel/MTH/etc wheelsets. Now, lets drive the 3-rail wheels off the geared axles and see what's next....
  4. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    If you compare the two wheels above you'll easily see the difference in tread depth.

    That on the CSX radial truck is close to the witness mark for minimum use, the BNSF truck has near full tread left; the difference is close to 2" by my rough guessing.
  5. JasonD

    JasonD Western Thunderer

    Presumably the wheels go on at the nominal diameter (40/42/44) and no larger?
  6. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Correct, there will be other items that may impact the wheel if the wrong (larger) size is inserted, brake gear or internal structure for example.

    So you pick the right sized wheel and then it wears down or gets turned down to the witness line and then either scrapped or re-tyred.

    Peartrees 3' - 1" wheel fits a nicely part worn 1:48 42" wheel.
    Rob R likes this.
  7. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Carrying on from the discussion about space and layouts in the 47xx thread I dragged out some old models for scale comparisons.

    The 7mm Dash 8 we are all familiar with, the 4mm Athern Dash 9 is a model from 20 or so years ago, never run and still mint and boxed, I also got a SP AC4400 at the same time. The 2mm model is a FP45 from a part works collection many years ago, non powered model screwed to a plastic trackbase; I think some parts are parts of genuine models but the rest is cheap old tat.

    Both 2m and 4mm have moved on in detail in the intervening years and I am seriously tempted by one of the Scale trains rivet counter Dash 9's in HO, probably the best GEVO rendition in RTR in any scale; Overland do some nice 4mm models as well.

    To complete the line up I should really get a Aristocraft G scale Dash 9 as well, but only if the price is right and Sante Fe ones don't come up that often; I think I should ditch the FP45 and get a matching Dash 9 in 2 mm for a full house.



    Looking at purely RTR then you'd have to go with 4mm and I am seriously tempted as the models are very good these days, but I've too much invested in 7mm at the moment so it's a case of working out the best way to 'play' trains in 7 mm,

    Industrial would be the way to go and the location is hard to nail down, Florida has it's own unique scenery and foliage and a LA based one would cover most western Railroads and allow wider pool power locos here and there. Having said that, somewhere further north where the foliage becomes more evergreen has it's attractions.

    One advantage of American Industrials is the landscape profile, some industrial spurs have fierce gradients for short sections, earth works are limited (expensive) and the line often follows the lay of the land.

    GT 6420.jpg

    It is common to foul the main whilst shunting.

    UP 1065a.jpg

    Many facilities allow the engine to go inside to collect loads which adds interest.

    One aspect you often see is over powering of trains, in this instance a local has left Winston yard and turns north at Plant City.

    CSX 7859a.jpg

    It'll head north a few miles and shunt a large phosphate plant in Zephrhills, granted you probably don't need 13,000HP but there are some big rakes of wagons to sort at the facility, 30-40+ on occasion. The reality is that this consist is probably off an over night train and will be used again tonight, so rather than break down the units it's easier to leave them all coupled up.

    Later in the day the set up returns through the northern burbs of Plant City, having swapped the covered hopper for some tankers at the phosphate facility.

    CSX 7859j.jpg

    From the outside you'd be hard pressed to reason why so much power might be used, but an aerial shot shows just how big the plant actually is.


    There will, at some point in the week, be larger trains in and out of the plant.

    A little way south is Mulberry yard and this SD40-2 has just returned with a local pick up turn out in the bone valley. The engine is on the top end of a wye and rather than drive in on the left (western) leg, uncouple and run around, has passed behind me and set back on the eastern leg to push the stock onto the rear of a northerly departing train in Mulberry yard in the background; probably that manifest in the far background.

    CSX 8008c.jpg

    One other source of industry could be a loco refurb facility, that'd allow all sorts of crapped out engines to arrive and new spangly fresh ones leave.
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  8. Big Train James

    Big Train James Western Thunderer

    I would very nearly guarantee that 3 of the 4 CSX units on the plant run are offline. Logically still mu'ed as you suggest, and still idling typically, but cut out of throttle engagement unless tonnage warrants it. Essentially along for the ride.
    Jordan likes this.
  9. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Indeed, I caught 7859 ten days earlier with a long 100+ manifest at Wildwood, only the two lead units were working. They're just abut to draw forward a cut of cars and switch them with standing ones in the yard, before departing north a short while later with only the two lead units applying power.


    Looking back through my Florida photos, this does seem to be a fairly normal consist on manifests, three GE's and a solo EMD, usually tucked inside, in this case it was a tail end charlie GP39-2.

    The train possibly originated in Tampa or may even have been a collection of shorter smaller ones made up in Winston yard, it'll set out and pick up on it's way north toward Jacksonville, whether it'll get there in a day I'd doubt.

    Wildwood is an odd yard, some days it'll be full to the brim, other days tumble weed empty, there is at least one local turn from here, possibly two but I've no idea where they go to or how many loads the work.

    Typical power is a pair of GP's and I only saw this one once heading away toward the south, no idea where it went and looking at maps, can't find many if any industries it could go to.

    CSX 4311d.JPG

    Winston has four local turns and back then all had cabooses on the rear as they are required to run backward on the main for quite some distance. At least three were powered by the former GP60 Demo engines with their unique rounded noses. Two head head east and two head west every day from Winston. Rumour has it all remaining GP60 demos were staged at Winston, certainly back in 2015, I only ever saw two of them.

    Lakeland was a good place in the evening to bag the two eastern ones, Plant City was good for the western ones, but the northern wye at Winston would bag all four.

    First to arrive back through Lakeland to the roost was 6897, she's come off the Carters sub directly behind the train over the brow of the hill, probably serving industries around Auburndale, Haines City and Winter Haven.


    The pet cloud arrived for 5899 return, she's come off the Vitis sub which turns left up yonder just past the signal gantry. I've no idea what that local served as I cannot find any industries of size on the Vitis sub. The large tree area to the left is the bottom end of what used to be a large yard and depot at Lakeland, all gone now and finally what was left was ripped up in the early 80's, but it'd been all but abandoned long before that.


    Interestingly, both GP60 demos have what appears to be a SP light cluster nose cut out, I wasn't aware of that until just spotting it now, I'll have to dig back and see where they got them from, don't ever recall them getting SP paint, but then I'm not 100% up to speed on their careers before they ended up on CSX.
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  10. allegheny1600

    allegheny1600 Western Thunderer

    Hi Mick,
    I haven't got one of their Dash 9's (yet?) but I do have one of their SD40-2s and I can happily say that it sounds simply fantastic with it's ESU sound decoder and is really quiet running with no sound on.
    In fact, I would say it's running is easily the equal of a Kato mechanism - far be it from me to encourage your spending!
    mickoo likes this.
  11. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Meet Joe, Little Joe from Milwaukee.

    Sellers photo


    He's quite a rare beast in O gauge and I'm a bit of a fan so was rather taken aback when not one but two turned up on Ebay last week, they're not cheap but oddly neither attracted much bidding and after several glasses of red last night I decided 'what the hey' and put two throw away bids in before turning in as the hammer was going to fall around 05:30.

    Woke up to winning one and loosing the other by $25, hey ho, why would I need two anyway :p

    The only downside to both was that both had niggles, this one is complete with pantographs, it is common for Overland to sell them without and that was the issue with the other one, it had no pans; however, it was the later rendition from the 60-70's. This one is an earlier one, certainly pre mid 60's so to bring it up to date it'll need a few tweaks.

    In fact I cannot recall seeing any images with those tall pan support brackets, all have a large box affair up there, easy enough to fabricate from some scrap brass and the transformer cover needs some vents and walkways, they may already be in a little bag in the box.

    Later engines also had a number board over the central small high grill and much later the sand fillers (four slots in the grill area) where moved up to the cant rail level, that might be 'hack' too far but there are one or two that kept the four fillers later than the rest.

    Finally, two small classification lights need adding to the nose each side of the door, the MU tower at one end needs cutting down to one socket and the pilot at one (both on some) end has to go and be replaced with a curled snow plough. There are a few other nick nacks to add and small changes to make to complete the transformation.

    Much later engines had the rear cab blanked out and ran as single cabbed units, usually MU with diesels and were turned at each end. All single cab units had the high level cant rail sand fillers though.

    Right now, Joe is sitting in the postal hub and hopefully in 6-9 days will arrive here; then I'll take some decent studio photos and post them up.

    As an appetiser, here's #77 doing what they did best, oh for a time machine.

    [​IMG]MILW, Portal, Montana, 1974 by Center for Railroad Photography & Art, on Flickr

    It's a late rendition, high level sand fillers, winterization drivers cab side window and single cabbed, as is the trailing unit.

    #77 also had different grills, as did #78, these were EMD grills and the cab at one end was a grafted on F unit after collision damage.
  12. cmax

    cmax Western Thunderer

    Mmmmmm, very nice, like that.

  13. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    I didn't know they were called 'Little Joes' - the only Little Joes I was aware of were the four famous 0-4-0 B&O Switchers that worked the Pratt Street area in Baltimore. I think their official Class designation was C16 if memory serves; 2 of them had tenders & these were C16a.
    Years ago I had an Atlas N gauge version which ran like a dream....
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  14. LarryG

    LarryG Western Thunderer

    The FP45 has a far more attractive cab than the 'comfort' car design. In fact it was the introduction of the latter in the late 1980's that killed my interest in USA railroads. All things come to an end of course, nevertheless it was sad to see the SD's and U-boats going.
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  15. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer


    Have you thought about asking Malcolm at Peartree for some wheel-sets that would scale out correctly ? He's very good at producing items to customer requests.

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  16. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Does he do spoked wheels, I didn't think he did, all the 'Joe' wheels are spoked, even the drivers.

    Overland wheels are not too bad, not for me anyway, it's not the sort of thing that I get hung up on or P48 either.

    That's one of the big reasons why I gave up on S7, 'those wheels look wrong' 'you know if you turn down those wheels it'll look so much better' 'shame about the wheels'.........Enough, stop with the wheels, so I left.

    I admire and support those where S7 is their way, but it wasn't for me.

    Granted you can't run finescale wheels on S7 track, but it all seemed a chore too much quite frankly.

    At best I might try and get a mini puller and hoof off the wheels and turn the rim a bit, but an exact P48 profile will never happen, I'm too lazy, life is too short and the time saved will be spent on a clients model.....that will ultimately assist me in funding another Overland model purchase.

    Next on the radar is a Colton Buffalo (SP C630) and I have my eye on a FA2 + FB2 set up which I'll change to FPA2 + FPB2 and form a CN pairing. Most FPA/Bs are new builds and have differences, but four (two A's and two B's) are genuine converts and retain 99% of the original engines appearance.

    I have decided recently not to get hung up on only getting models that follow one vein or railroad/era, I will apply rule 1 liberally with a broad broom, if I like it, I'll have it :thumbs:

    I suspect long term my US layout will be P48 gauge and that's where it'll end, perhaps skim the rims a touch for visuals.

    The other downside (also an upside) with Overland models is that they are often collectors pieces, the box and especially the box label are important, the minute you change anything it looses a part of it's originality and value.

    The GTEL is different, it's a mish mash of pieces and has no official #label or box, I think it's a collection of pre demo models, that could be rare in itself but it does not have the baggage/kudos of a factory model. The Dash 8 is genuine but hand painted, the decals are yellowing so at some point it'll need repainting all over, the Little Joe is genuine and even painting it will devalue it a bit.

    The choice is simple, keep as original to maintain maximum $$$ value or just say sod it, do what you really want and enjoy it at a slightly lessor $$$ value.

    In reflection I am the personification of oxymoron, In my personal modelling I stress over some of the smallest details, yet am totally willing to ignore others.

    Where were we? Oh yes, wheels....maybe I'll do something with them at some point :D
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  17. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    I think it'll look nice once finished.....that's a task I'm struggling with on any personal project at the moment lol.
  18. Lancastrian

    Lancastrian Western Thunderer


    I wasn't thinking specifically of the "Joe" but the other project (Dash 9 ?)
    I know Malcolm was looking into the feasibility of spoked wheels for UK freight stock as he had received numerous enquiries about them.


    P.S. I've completed/corrected your answers in my BR Blue Era thread ;)
  19. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Ah, the Gevo then yes I'd like better wheels, as a stop gap I've got some Roxey wheels (they may even be Peartree and they have a dealership) which are reasonably close to the US diesel wheel profile and I could skim a little off the face and rim to make them look better.

    They split down nicely so could be gauged for P48 easily and pimped a little.

    I either do it all P48 or not at all really and having Overlands as noted above, it's a hard call to convert as once done I don't think you can easily go back.

    The SP Cab forward is a whole different ball game, there's little side play as it is so re-gauging to P48 will require the solid cast frames to be skimmed on each side.

    The little Joe drivers are probably a bit big for spoked UK freight stock, topping out ¾" shy of 4 foot, even with the 1:43.5 to 1:48 scale conversion it might be a step too far.
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  20. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Yes I saw, my bad, forgot to reply :oops:
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