Need for a New Design
We have recently become aware that it is getting too costly to produce finished, ready to go mechanisms to cover all the prototypes found on Australian railways, so a simpler approach had to be worked out.
The method of construction we favour is using a printed circuit board floor to support the parts of the drive mechanism, and the cost of having just one board made is costing us $420.00, with no guarantee of sales if we do go ahead and make it.
At the same time, there has been a reluctance to purchase the Mechanism Kits by people who do not feel they are skilled enough to complete the assembly. What is needed is a simple, fully assembled mechanism at the lowest cost, and one that covers all Australian prototypes.
As a result, we have added facilities to our CNC controlled drill system to produce PCB floors from plain epoxy FR4 board with all the copper removed. This board is extremely strong and easily accepts holes for mounting or can be further shaped to fit the model. All you need to do is select the mechanism you want according to its class number, and we can then make up a fully finished, running mechanism for you.
All floors are to the same width of 17mm. The standard motor is a Mashima MH-1626 fitted with dual flywheels, although some short prototypes will be fitted with the shorter MH-1620 motor. The mechanism is wired for DC operation, DCC users will have to re-wire to install decoders, but this is not difficult at all.
Mounting holes are drilled in the floor to allow the mechanism to be screwed into the body. Couplers will have to be fitted to the body by the purchaser.
Please understand that in order to manufacture these mechanisms, we cannot provide options outside of those offered. Manufacturers and shops are encouraged to order and stock these mechanisms, but we do suggest you purchase a mechanism before you start design of the model in order to make sure it will fit.
What Locomotive Types Will Be Produced?
Virtually every bogie style locomotive used on the Australian State railways will be covered. It is quite a job to collate information on all these types, so some may be missed, but will be added if we are made aware of our omission. Odd types such as the Bo-Bo-Bo or TriBo types will not be covered, nor will fixed wheel 0-6-0 shunting types, the range is limited to bogie style locomotives. Not all states will be covered either, the one notably absent is Western Australia, as we have never received a single enquiry from that state for a mechanism.
Please note that we have gone to great pains, with help from many friends in the business to collate the data for as many locomotive types as possible.
The design of our bogies is such that there is an overhang at the ends caused by the gear or belt drive system. Certain prototypes have the front wheels close to the end of the body, and there is no room for the drive tower. The details provided are for the prototype lcomotive, and are not guaranteed to fit existing models or body sheels, simply because we do not have examples of those shells to measure or compare. Therefore it would wise to contact us prior to ordering so we can agree on changes to the dimensions so it can fit the model body you intend to use.
The bogie centres are not necessarily as per the prototype, where the bogie pivot was offset. We consider the bogie centre to be half-way between the axles of a 2 axle bogie, and over the centre axle of a 3 axle bogie. Wherever possible, the figure for bogie centres has been altered to allow for this, as we cannot make the pivot offset from the centre axle. Also, the overall length of the chassis may be longer than some existing model shells, and not allow room for couplings. If you know the maximum overall length that will fit in your model, let us know using the customer note facility at the ordering stage.
When you make your choice, you will see tables of locomotive data for all the prototypes we make for any given state, and all details are shown in the table. Please check that the dimensions are correct for your purpose before ordering. If you know any of the published dimensions to be incorrect, please let us know.
What if My Model is Not Listed?
Choose the 'Custom Locomotives' option at the bottom of this page. Provided you can supply the necessary dimensions, we can probably make it for you. If you need help in specifying the locomotive, please contact us.
The price of the mechanism will depend upon whether the pototype is a 4 wheel or 6 wheel bogie, mechanisms with 6 wheel bogies cost more to produce. However, the mechanisms will be priced approximately $35 above the cost of purchasing the component parts to make up a mechanism. This means we do all the assembly work for you, and it only costs $35.00 extra.
What Scale is Covered?
The mechanisms are only offered in HO scale for all states except Tasmania, where the scale is OO or 4mm/foot.
What Options Do I Get?
In order to make it feasible to make these mechanisms, many options have already been decided for you. You do have options for the type of drive, reduction ratio and gauge where applicable.
Reduction Ratio & Drive Method
We have conducted tests to determine the optimum speed for these mechanisms, and found that a MH-1626 motor with a 15:1 reduction ratio runs at almost exactly the same speed as an Austrains T or Y class locomotive. This means you can place a locomotive with one of our mechanisms in consist with an Austrains locomotive and it will be compatible speed wise. We found that the Austrains and our mechanism ran at a scale speed of approximately 68 mph when running on exactly 12 volts DC.
The default selection when purchasing is the 15:1 reduction ratio. To satisfy those who perhaps want a slower running model, an optional 26:1 drive ratio is offered. This will reduce the top speed to approximately 44 mph at 12 volts DC.
The default drive method is by belt drive, as we want you to have the quietest mechanism we can produce, however you are able to choose a gear drive option if you wish.
The default gauge for all mechanisms is 16.5mm. Where there is a possibility of a prototype running on 3' 6" gauge, we also offer an option of 12mm and 10.5mm gauge.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the following people who helped considerably in drawing up the specification table of prototypes: Ian Dunn, Graeme Browne, Glenn Wright, Michael Dix and Aaron Morley.
Begin by selecting the home state of the locomotives:
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