Based on my lessons learned during the last operation session, I’ve already started to mount couplers to the bogies. The result works very well, however I’m not quite happy with the looks: too clumsy, too heavy. So I’m trying a more delicate approach for the second coupler.
Our Summer Operation Session was a lot of fun, but most of all it was informative. I learned three very important lessons concerning my flatcars:
- Frame-mounted couplers need large radii
- Bogies need clearance for operational reliability
- Bogie-mounted couplers increase reliabilty
My faithful Porter had some work to do during this winter, for which it was transported to different places: Into the garden, at my parents-in-law’s, even at work. Of course, these transports always entail boxing and unboxing into transport crates, which lead to considerable wear regarding the coupling between loco and tender on the one hand, and the conductor’s platform at the tender’s rear end on the other hand. Thus, we’re going to focus today on ever-occuring maintenance and possible improvements.
Since the first test run some time has passed by, but there have been only a few opportunities to make progress with the tender’s construction. Nevertheless I managed to slip into the shop now and then and today I’d like to summarize the progress.
The most important thing first: the tender’s got a knuckle coupler. On the one hand it seemed plausible to me, since I’m going to model a railroad at the beginning of the 20th century, as mentioned on creating the blueprints. On the other hand I’m hoping for easier operations. I’ve already got some experience with link and pin couplers and I find it quite cumbersome to pull and put the links and pins between the cars with a long set of tweezers. Knuckle couplers however allow for automatic coupling at the best of times, especially if you can set brakes on the cars. Decoupling is even easier if you have cut levers at the side of the cars or use an R/C-controlled servo to pull the pin.
Of course, the electrical connection between loco and tender made it necesarry to add a coupling between the two before there could be any test runs. In order to stay close to the prototypical concepts and to make a long-lasting connection, I wanted to use threaded rods and square nuts. Unfortunately there was not enough room on the loco to use nbw on both ends, so I soldered a square nut onto a threaded rod with a diameter of 1,6mm. That way it looks like a genuine nbw from the outside, but can be screwed into the thick plastic frame.