A Review of My OO Gauge Fixed Link Wagon Coupling’s

This week I had hoped to bring you the next post about fitting ESU Loksound decoders to three Alco C-855s but time has been rather short this week and they’re not ready yet.  You can find the first post here.

So this week I’ll simply leave you with a review of my 3D printed ‘OO Gauge Fixed Link Wagon Coupling’s’ by Charlie at Chadwick Model Railway.

Thanks to Charlie for the review, for me it’s back to the work bench, until next week.

A Different Material for Gears

For a few weeks I’ve been experimenting with different materials for small gears and in this week’s post I wanted to share with you one of the materials which doesn’t work.

For a while now I’ve been 3D printing replacement gears for a variety of locomotives in Shapeways’ Smooth Fine Detail material (formally known as FUD).  This material has the advantage of being very accurate to the 3D model size; the detail is crisp, which is ideal for small teeth, it’s hard so it wears well, and several gears can be 3D printed in close proximity to each other without actually touching.

The disadvantage of this material is it hardens, which also makes it brittle.  For larger gears this isn’t a problem as the big surface area also adds strength, but with small and tiny gears the teeth tend to break under shock loads such as a locomotive suddenly stopping.  The tiny teeth have no flexibility and crack when overloaded.  The Smooth Fine Detail material is acrylic, or very close to it, and the properties don’t allow for flexibility.

Recently Shapeways’ introduced a new materiel, Multi Jet Fusion Plastic or PA12.  This is a product which comes from Hewlett-Packard and is a nylon plastic.  This sounds ideal for gears as it’s hard, but with a touch of flexibility, meaning the teeth can take a shock impact.  And it comes in dark grey which is nearly black.  Reading the design specifications for this material the level of detail attainable is not as high as the Smooth Fine Detail but I wanted to see how close it was.  So with a set of gears I’ve recently produced for the 009 Society I 3D printed them in both the Smooth Fine Detail and the PA12.

As you can see the PA12 simply doesn’t have the precision of the Smooth Fine Detail. The teeth have rounded as the material has flowed into itself and the gears are all fused to the spindle.  With the Smooth Fine Detail set the teeth are crisp, the same size as the 3D model, and all spin freely on the spindle.  To be fair these gears are particularly small at only 4.3mm in diameter for the larger and 3.4mm for the smaller.  The PA12 may work with some of my larger gears and I’ll give it a go with a later order.

But for now my primary material for gears is still the Smooth Fine Detail.

Sad News From The Deeping Model Railway Club

This week I have some sad news from the Deeping Model Railway Club.

For the last twelve years they have held the Stamford Show and this year it was to be on the 18th of May 2019 at the Stamford Welland Academy.  As with most of the shows I attend, and the one I organize for the Poole & District Model Railway Society, most of the traders and larger layouts set up the day before.  Unfortunately in the early hours of the morning the premises was broken into and the layouts and trade stands were destroyed.

The secretary for the Market Deeping Model Railway Club has set up a crowd funding page in which he says:

“Market Deeping Model Railway Club needs your help to rebuild. We have held our annual show in Stamford for the last 12 years. Months of planning goes into the show and years of work goes into building the layout. Imagine our horror and grief when we were greeted by this scene of absolute devastation on the morning of 18th May 2019. Some of the models on display are irreplaceable and whilst money cannot possibly replace the hours of painstaking effort that has been so wantonly destroyed, we would ask that you make a donation, no matter how small, to help us get back on our feet. Please accept our thanks in advance.”

The link to the crowd funding site is below.


Links to news stories in the press:

Deepings Nub news 


The Rutland and Stamford and Mercury 


I hope the The Deeping Model Railway Club can rebuild and recover from this devastating incident.

Price Changes for 2019

This week I had planned on bringing you an update on the new 3D printed gears for the N Scale Bachmann 4-8-4.  However something a little more pressing has come up which requires my attention.

As of today, the 29th April 2019, some of the prices in my Shapeways shop have changed.  This is because Shapeways have had a restructure of their pricing system for their Smooth and Smoothest Fine Detail Plastic materials (formally known as FUD).

This is the main material I use for locomotive shells, detail parts and replacement gears.  Back in May of 2017 a similar change was made which also affected the prices of the parts in my shop.  As with that change some models have come down in price and some have gone up.  I’ll be working through all of my models to ensure the price change is either beneficial or not too excessive.  This will mean a lot of the models may end up on some sort of sprue to reduce the individual part count.  But that’s not a bad thing and as this is 3D printing, not injection moulding, the parts don’t necessarily have to touch the sprue, just like the gears for the Bachmann N scale 4-8-4 below.

It’s going to take a while to go through all the models so if there’s something you’re thinking of ordering and the price seems rather high please get in touch, either via email at jamestrainparts@yahoo.co.uk or via the contact page, and I will make that product a priority.

An Upcoming Show

In this week’s post I had hoped to bring you some news on the new 3D printed parts I’ve been working on.  But due to a mixture of design issues and time delays they’re not ready yet so I’m going to make this week’s post nice and short by simply letting you know about the next exhibition I will be at.

This coming weekend I and the rest of the team from ‘Solent Summit’ will be at the Crawley Model Railway Exhibition in West Sussex with part of our large modular layout.  The show is on Saturday and Sunday at Tanbridge House School, Guildford Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1SR.  You can read more about the show here.

With a little luck I’ll have some of the new 3D printed projects ready to share with you next week.

Going Uphill – Part 2

In last week’s post I shared with you plans for my new module for our layout ‘Solent Summit’ based on the Tehachapi Loop.  In this week’s post, as promised, I have some photos of the completed track work and the first trains to run through the loop.

The track bed is laser cut to ensure the loop ends in the right place and to help keep the gradient correct.

The track bed is supported on timber posts which have a bevel cut on top.  This was to ensure the track bed didn’t level out at each support.  To add a complication there are three locations where the twin tracks cross board joints.

The actual incline starts just after the line passes under itself and stops just before it passes over itself.  The real railroad continues to climb as it makes its way up Tehachapi Pass but as our line also has to come back down I needed to level it out as it runs out of the back of the module.

I still need to add a few more supports under the track bed and to do a little more work to smooth the gradient out but for testing purposes the loop is ready.

For those of you who are familiar with our layout you’ll know we like to run long trains so what better place to start than with a long coal train?  Approaching from the left is a pair of Kato SD70MAC’s with a train of Kato bethgon coalporters and a banking SD70MAC behind.

As I described in last week’s post, the loop is also a passing place.  To make the loop modular so it can be transported, the passing place has been made shorter than the real one, but it still allows for a 13′ (in N Scale) train to wait while another train passes.

The first pass we had was an SD40-2 with double stack train being passed by an auto-rack train.

The other reason I wanted to do tests with these trains was for height.  The double stack and auto-rack cars are some of the tallest on the modern railroad and I wanted to see how they looked in proportion to the loop.  The real loop climbs some 77′ before it passes itself due to the considerably larger radius.

The loop on the new module only climbs 33′ but as you can see below there’s still lots of clearance between the upper and lower lines and I think it looks good.

Throughout the day we tested many trains through the loop with trains heading down on the inside and trains heading up on the outside.  This is because the larger radius on the outer track makes for a slightly reduced gradient.  Coincidently, we also operate right road running for passing so this fits in with the rest of the layout.  Below two SD60s take a sulphur train down the line.

The Tehachapi Loop was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad so of course we had to try the iconic SP cab forwards with a Pacific Fruit Express (PFE) train.

I was amazed how long trains, such as the Santa El Capitan, which as you can see below normally stretch out on the layout, seem to disappear in the length of the loop.

Of course several of our trains did have an issue with the gradient; combined with the drag factor of the curve some of the heavy freight cars in short trains with just one locomotive ended up wheel spinning and stalling.  The answer is to add some more power and below is a video of how the Southern Pacific moved loaded coal trains over the loop.  I think 15 locomotives will do it!

The next stages are for me to start looking at the scenery, turnout control and signalling for the module, a lot of work still ahead.

This coming week I’m taking some time to work on my stock of trains and give them some much needed attention to several of the running issues I’ve had at shows lately. This is downtime for me, getting back to my hobby so I won’t be posting, instead I’ll just be enjoying working on my trains!  So in a fortnight’s time I hope to bring you some news on some more 3D printed parts.