A little closer

Prompted by a mega thread on RMweb (and an enthusiastic customer) I’ve completed the drawings for a set of loco frames that, it’s hoped, will make like much easier for those who want rarer locos but who don’t enjoy assembling etched brass kits.

The renderings represent a MR 1F 0-6-0T which is part of a batch of MR and S&D Johnson kits that will be put into production in the first half of next year. The main part of the frames is cast in brass and the keeper is sintered nylon. Etched phosphor-bronze strips are attached to the keeper to for the pickups. This particular set of frames is a test piece to test the fit of the keeper, it is intended that the frames that are included in kits will have the footplate and splashers included in the cast. With luck this set will be ready before Christmas and then work can start on the production frames.

Constructive comment welcome.

MR 1F 0-6-0T cast frames.

Components of cast frames for a MR 1F 0-6-0T

Loco Bodies

There has been a discussion of 3d printed loco bodies in this thread with interesting contributions from Atso and Atlantic 3279. Experience with the O4/5 body has shown that, not only will a raw 3d print be expensive and need a lot of finishing, but that the machines which these prints are made on are not always consistent in what they produce. I have come to the realisation to the best way to produce loco bodies is to cast them in resin from 3d printed patterns. This will give major advantages e.g.

Lower prices and/or better margins.
‘Ready to paint’ finish.

However there are some disadvantages.

Longer lead times.
Batch sizes will be larger.
The holes for fixing handrails have to be drilled by the modeller.
Some parts e.g. backheads, cab fittings and possibly smokebox fronts will have to be made separately.

In view of the need to order resin castings in batches I am going to need some, maybe 12-15, pre-orders before they are put into production.

However this is all in the future, as most of my design time of the next few months will be directed towards producing drawings of frames for the loco and loco frame kits that have already been announced, together with some others that have been promised but not announced on the website. In all I am aiming to have about a dozen done by Christmas. Renderings of these drawings and forthcoming wagon and coach kits will be posted on my Newsletter as they are finished.

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Coach kits

I’ve had a prototype of one of the promised coach kits to work on over the last couple of weeks. It has taught me some interesting things about the sintered nylon I used. Basically while it will make acceptable underframes and roofs, getting the good finish needed for a coach side is all but impossible. So it’s one step back and one to the right and I’ll have to go off in a slightly different direction until the technology catchs up with me.

I had an enquiry this morning about some SECR coaches, and it may be worth posting much of my reply here to show everyone the way I’m thinking.

I’m working on a system to provide complete kits for most of the etched
coaches in the 4mm catalogue. This will consist of the body etch, more
or less as supplied at the moment, a roof, a floor/seat unit and one
piece underframes and bogies. Leaving the modeller only to supply
wheels, paint, glue etc. The price is likely to be in the region of
£70-80 depending on the prototype.

I’m also working on a alternative version of this system that uses cast
resin sides and ends instead of the brass ones. This has the potential
to be offered painted and ready to run, but is somewhat further away.

This latter item is the way I’m intending to produce the lits advertised in the coach kit section of the main website.

BUF025 GCR 60' Underframe

Brighton Bogie

Here we go again

It’s some time since the last posting, and much has happened in the mean time. As far as the business was concerned, There was major calamity when I managed to wipe my hard disk and lost a number of drawings. Most of the damage has been repaired, but there are still things I look for, only to realise they have dropped into the great bitbucket and are gone for good.

Thinks have moved on, though. The first of the resin wagons is in production and the first batch has completely sold out. The second batch has been ordered. You may notice that there is a new set of pages on the main site which details some new coach parts. These will simplify construction, especially of underframes and roofs of pre grouping stock. I’m not going to repeat what is written on the introduction page, suffice to say that the new materials and production methods mean that all sorts on new possibilities are opening up and the face of kit design and building is going to change radically in the coming years.

Of course, all this high tech stuff doesn’t always go to plan, though. I have a whole range of small lineside pieces, barrows, barrels, pallets etc. which I would like to put into production, but my supplier will be reviewing the way he supplies one of his materials this autumn. Until he has finished his review and the prices and design rules become permanent, I don’t really want to chance putting these things into production. I’ve been told that the review should take a month or six week and the material will be available after Christmas.

Which just gives me time to do some more amazing designs.