Wheel-fitting Heresy

The standard approach to putting wheels on axles seems to be – well – to put the wheels on the axles. The assumption is that the wheels are complete: they have their tyres and crank pins. It’s easy to see why that would be the standard. If you buy your wheels, they naturally have tyres […]


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Crank pin parts

The crank pins for 1120 are much heavier than those of 622, and as a result much easier to fabricate. Most of the time in their fabrication went to tapping them for 0-80 bolts as my tap kept binding when I tried to reverse it out of the holes. Even so, the pieces are tiny, […]

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There is a point after you’ve accumulated some hours with a tool or technique when it becomes enjoyable. I think, after five years with the lathe I am finally there. Sure, there will always be parts that will challenge me, but simple ones, like these bearings enable me to get into a rhythm of turning, […]

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Finding the slots

Although, being jig-made, the slots are probably in the same place on the two axles, the question remains: where exactly are they? The right-hand (red is always right in my workshop) end is noticeably off-centre, while the left-hand looks pretty good. Our eyes are fantastic at noticing things that are not straight or centred, but […]

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Slotted axles

Once the jig was made, slotting the axles took a remarkably small number of swipes with the hack saw. Percy’s 1/8″ axles, being made of 316 stainless, were much tougher than this 3mm 12L14 steel axle material from Northwest Short Line. I made a little go-no-go gauge out of a couple of pieces of wire […]

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Axle Jig

Percy helped me determine that a keyed connection between axle and wheel works best for me. I don’t have a milling machine, and so a jig is the only way to make the slots in the axles reasonably precise. My thoughtful wife bought me a four-jaw chuck for the lathe for my birthday, and it […]

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Driver tyres for 1120

Between family trips, sunshine and business I’ve struggled to get much going on the railroad for at least a month. However, a pleasant evening with the lathe has produced five quite precise rings. These will be the tyres for 1120, which will be the new name for Next Victim. Progress promises to be slow due […]

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Bring in the next victim

Despite my success with Percy, I still don’t feel ready to tackle 622 and 10 again. So, I procured a Bachmann Spectrum “modern” 4-4-0. I’d always wondered what made this a “modern” engine, and it wasn’t until I was checking if it fit on Pembroke’s turntable that I noticed. Almost all eight-wheelers kept their fireboxes […]

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Impending operations

Now that I have Percy operational, and most of the turnout controls are in, I am starting to turn my thoughts once again to operations. The layout doesn’t operate well enough to share it with others yet, so Marc Simpson is in no danger of losing the bet. However, it won’t get any better if […]

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Percy visits the paint shop

I found only the dried out dregs of a bottle of paint when I went to paint Percy’s new parts. The dregs looked almost viable, and I wanted the project done so I pressed forward with thinning and spraying. It was one of the worst airbrush experiences of my life. That’s saying something as my […]

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