Thursday 15 November 2007

Couplings - the electraNE way

It's been a while since anyone posted to the blog so I thought I'd let you see what I've been up to since coming back from Hull.

Our own Chris Mills has been tweaking the design of the electra coupling and the new version is called electraNE. Before too long there will be an article in the 2mm Magazine describing his findings and outlining the revised design.

One of the problems associated with construction of very small items (apart from the obvious one of making them) is holding the things together so various operations like soldering can be carried out. My latest 'frayed temper' saving device started out in life as a jig for soldered track. Anyone who has one of these will immediately recognise the parts, although I have milled away the rail holding lugs because they were not required in this instance and pretty worn out anyway.

The pictures need little explanation but the larger piece of kit is purely to keep hold of the 'phosphor bronze' hook and the dropper whilst the latter is soldered in place.

The second piece of kit is used to form the 'walking stick' part of the dropper. i.e. the bit that is threaded onto the hook. In the original John Whitehead design the dropper quite simply had one end bent through 180 degrees, hence the name 'walking stick'. For a long time now I have been forming a loop on the end that is to be attached to the body of the hook. Simply - the dropper is a piece of straight .008" sprung steel wire about 20mm long with a 90 degree bend at both ends although in opposite directions. One end is positioned in a previously drilled hole and retained when the upper, shorter, bit of tufnol is clamped down. The other end with the 90 degree bend up over is simply wound around the little peg which is part of a broken .35mm drill (of which I have lots....!) fixed into the end of the base block. Zoom in and you'll be able to see it better. When the soldering is done the dropper is released and the excess wire at the loop end and the 90 degree bend at the other end are cut off leaving a straight dropper with a nice little loop to thread over the body of the phosphor bronze hook.
Now I want to devise a jig to hold the completed coupling whilst it is fixed to the vehicle in exactly the same place every time. Chris has solved this one using a little etched plate which Bob is etching for him. This will be fine if the heights of the vehicles don't vary too much. I will be needing something in the short term so although I will use the Chris Mills designed etch for now I have to forge ahead with my own solution.
The other part of my recent activity has been to look at the various DCC systems on the market. My own requirements for DCC are quite simply to control trains. I am probably never going to get to the stage where I build a layout of such grand proportions as to warrant running more than two locomotives at once. In fact to run two locos simultaneously on anything I might build would probably be an oddity. I am currently quite impressed with the Bachmann Dynamis EZ command system having watched Richard Chapman demonstrate it at Hull last weekend.
Watch the space.
Mick S

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