This week I have a modified shell to share with you for my N Scale EMD DD35 project. The new shell option incorporates body mounted couplers rather than truck mounted.
My DD35 3D printed shell is designed to fit onto a modified Bachmann DDA40X chassis which has truck mounted couplings. Only the shell and fuel tanks are 3D printed, the trucks and pilots come with the chassis. You can find the kit here.
The real DD35, and the DDA40X, has body mounted couplings, or rather chassis mounted, which allow the trucks to rotate freely under the chassis. I originally decided to leave the truck mounted couplings on the model, simply because of the length of the locomotive. As it’s so long, body mounted couplers will cause a problem with tight curves. As the locomotive navigates the tight curve the coupling moves too far away from the center of the tracks and can pull the connected rolling stock off the rails or derail the locomotive. That’s also why Bachmann built the DDA40X model the way they did.
But some layouts have larger radius curves than others and I was asked if I could produce an extra part to allow body mounted couplers to be fitted. So I did and they looked like this.
These came in the form of a pilot section with a cutout for a body mount coupling which, with a bit of modification, could be fixed to the underside of the shell. You can read my post about them here and they can be found here.
But the ideal situation is to have the pilots 3D printed as part of the shell and that’s what I’ve done as you can see in the renderings below.
The new pilot section has the pocket and screw hole for Micro-Trains body mounted coupling. The problem comes with fitting the new one piece 3D printed body section onto the chassis which is now too long. As the pilot sections tuck under the chassis this makes it impossible to simply drop the body down onto it.
The original modified chassis, as shown below, has the pilots attached to the trucks and the chassis stops roughly where the pilots start.
To make the new shell fit, the first thing to do is remove the existing pilots. These are held on with two screws which release the coupling and pilot.
The pilot mount is plastic and projects from the truck frame.
This needs to be cut off and that can be done with pair of side snips.
The chassis also had to be shortened by filing the ends. From point to point the chassis needs to be 150mm (5.906″) long in order to fit inbetween the new pilots on the 3D printed shell.
With the chassis reassembled it now looks like this. I also filed a chamfer on the four corners to ensure the shell was a good fit.
One other modification I made was to file off the four locating bumps on the sides of the chassis. These normally located the DDA40X shell which has matching holes on the shell. As the DD35 shell doesn’t have these holes and is held in place by the length of the chassis they are not required. They will also cause the shell to spread if left in place.
The new shell, which is 3D printed in Shapeways Fine Detail Plastic, fitted onto the chassis and clipped into place, as did the fuel tank.
Once the shell has been painted I will fit the body mount couplers and get some videos of the DD35 traversing curves with its body mounted couplings. I’ll share that with you in another post.