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Any S-Scale Question Answered


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For those of the society with many years experience building in S-scale, or whose hobby has included lots of kit and scratchbuilding I'm sure the answers to most questions are self evident. For the rest of us however, I wonder if it might be useful to have a place for Q and A? Even if the answer is 'check out this article' or 'read this book' ?

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I have two questions, one of which I think I know the answer to:

 

Should I be using Slaters Plastic Weld, MEK, superglue or A.N. Other glue to fix association plastic chairs to ply sleepers? I think MEK should be fine.

 

Will this lathe be powerful enough to use with the assocation wheel form tool, assuming the tire/blank is shaped to roughly the correct profile ahead of time? (As an associated question - would this lathe be powerful enough for small live-steam work?)

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40 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

Should I be using Slaters Plastic Weld, MEK, superglue or A.N. Other glue to fix association plastic chairs to ply sleepers? I think MEK should be fine.

 

Will this lathe be powerful enough to use with the assocation wheel form tool, assuming the tire/blank is shaped to roughly the correct profile ahead of time? (As an associated question - would this lathe be powerful enough for small live-steam work?)

 

Will,

 

Butanone from C&L is the recommended solvent for our chairs.  I should have put a note with your order.   For a few yards of track the bottle from C&L is probably the best economic bet.  If you want to build a lot of track then a 500ml or 1 litre bottle of MEK from Ebay would be much better from cost per mL.   I've also started using a hypodermic syringe to apply the solvent which I find much better than using a brush.  Ebay (again) usually has a fair number of adverts for syringes - I find the 10mL size the handiest with a medium to fine needle.   The MEK/Butanone doesn't seem to affect the parts of the syringe.

 

The Seig SC2/3 should be fine for a lot of model work.  Its spec is close to the Myford ML7 which was (still is?) the model engineer's standard lathe.  Your only question might be how much distance you require between centres.  300mm on the SC2 looks a lot until you consider that the measurement is between plain centres in the spindle and the tailstock with the tailstock at its farthest distance from the headstock.   Once you mount a three jaw chuck on the spindle and put a Jacobs chuck with a drill on the tailstock,  your 300mm is probably down to around 150mm or maybe less.   My ML10 has about 330mm between centres and I can't remember that proving a problem in the last forty-odd years. :-)

 

Jim.

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2 hours ago, flubrush said:

Butanone from C&L is the recommended solvent for our chairs. 

 

Thank you!

 

I've got enough to get me by this weekend, but a litre of Mek (I have a Slaters bottle of it almost finished) and syringes are on the cards for the next round of purchases.

 

2 hours ago, flubrush said:

The Seig SC2/3 should be fine for a lot of model work. 

 

That's really reassuring to hear - Trevor Nunn just got back to me with the same opinion so I'm really chuffed that I'm on the right track. Thank you for the tip on the size -- I think you're implying that the length should be long enough, which I did assume. I'm not looking to model live steam but in terms of length it looks like I could fit a 5" gauge axle in there (I appreciate that actually turning it might be a different matter entirely). I'm a little unsure as to whether to curate tools/accessories to go with it, or just go with a set such as this - I get the impression that a vertical slide would be more useful than a face plate or steadies but don't really know what I don't know yet.

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39 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

Thank you for the tip on the size -- I think you're implying that the length should be long enough, which I did assume. I'm not looking to model live steam but in terms of length it looks like I could fit a 5" gauge axle in there (I appreciate that actually turning it might be a different matter entirely). I'm a little unsure as to whether to curate tools/accessories to go with it, or just go with a set such as this - I get the impression that a vertical slide would be more useful than a face plate or steadies but don't really know what I don't know yet.

 

Will,

 

In fact if your were turning up 5" gauge axles you would probably turn them between centres. :-)   It's a more accurate way of getting concentric axles than using other methods.    The critical point with small lathes is what diameter you can swing over the bed and that usually dictates what models you can attempt - like the diameter of a locomotive driving wheel,  or the rear wheel of a traction engine.

 

It might be worth getting a copy of a book like "The Amateur's Lathe" by L.H. Sparey.  This is reckoned to be one of the best entry books for small lathes.  I've done a quick Google and there seem to be plenty at pretty good prices.  Here's a listing from Abebooks :-

 

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=0852422881&cm_sp=mbc-_-ISBN-_-all

 

The book has been on the go since 1948 and my copy is the fifth edition of 1972.  I note that some of the editions in the web page have much late3r dates and I would advise you to go for as modern an edition as you can get since that will probably reflect the far East machines like the Seig lathes.  In 1972 they were unknown and Myford was the "king of the walk". :-)

 

Jim.

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Can anyone tell me what the difference is between Butanone and MEK? I have a bottle of both, the label on the bottle of Batanone says it contains MEK.

 

Coincidentally, I just bought a 5l bottle of MEK off eBay last month for £24. Not only is it better value for money but I also got free courier delivery; many modelling suppliers of the smaller bottles don’t do delivery due to postal restrictions.

Edited by ScottW
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I'm building the association RCH wagon kit and having great fun - one small thing I'm not clear on though, is how to set up the brakes - they are located centrally via the brake rigging and are a very close fit against the wheels:

 

image.png.d8b39e6b64deac4fb20ea170e6efda7a.png

 

Seeing as the front axle rocks some 10 degrees or so, clearly the brake shoes are going to foul against the wheels. Am I missing something obvious?

 

Edited by Lacathedrale
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28 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

I'm building the association RCH wagon kit and having great fun - one small thing I'm not clear on though, is how to set up the brakes - they are located centrally via the brake rigging and are a very close fit against the wheels:

Seeing as the front axle rocks some 10 degrees or so, clearly the brake shoes are going to foul against the wheels. Am I missing something obvious?

 

 

Jim (@flubrush) can confirm this but I think the problem might be the wheels. The society sells wheels from two different manufacturers; Alan Gibson (aka Colin Seymour) and Slaters. The wheels sold by Colin Seymour are slightly under size with the flange profile larger than the standard S Scale wheel profile. Up until recently the only S Scale wagon wheel available were those produced by Colin Seymour and I believe the etch for the 1907 RCH wagon was based around these wheels. If you are using Slaters wheels, which are the correct size and profile, then this might why you are experiencing problems.

 

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Thanks @ScottW - my immediate thought is to just shorten the push rod on that side so the shoe clears the wheel when the unit pivots. I'll hold fire until later.

 

For now, almost done:

 

4blwuHk.png

 

 

I added the rings onto the end door pivot bar which were missing in my earlier versions. I'm building this particular wagon without reference.

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47 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

Thanks @ScottW - my immediate thought is to just shorten the push rod on that side so the shoe clears the wheel when the unit pivots. I'll hold fire until later.

 

Is the brake shoe fouling the wheel only on the rocking side or on both?

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The radius of the shoe is a perfect match to the wheel, so I filed it back, shortened the rod by 40 thou or so and it appears to be fine - there's a slight waddle which I've not encountered before, but I'll try to fix it myself before bothering this thread :)

Edited by Lacathedrale
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Will.

 

Scott has given chapter and verse on the RCH wagon brake gear.  In fact,  Dave Provan's first etch was too tight and he re-drew it for the present version.   It was designed around the Gibson WW1 wheel but some people have reported very tight clearances like you have,  and the answer is to relieve the faces of the shoes with an oval needle file to get adequate clearance.   I'm looking at maybe getting another brake gear etch designed along the lines of Dave's,  but being a bit more universal to fit more wheelbases,  and maybe have 3D printed resin brake shoes to avoid  the possibility of shorts.

 

Jim.

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1 hour ago, Lacathedrale said:

there's a slight waddle which I've not encountered before.

 

If you are using the Gibson WW1 wheel then don’t be surprised to find that the waddle is due to an eccentric set of wheels. I have found this to be a common problem with Gibson wheels. Slaters wheels are far superior.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I've got a wagon kit to finish, but to me it's fairly important to have a working locomotive of some sort before I get too far along this route. I enjoyed almost all the time I spent in 2mm, but after ~2 years did not have a working kit/scratchbuilt locomotive to my name (although I got very close quite a few times).

 

I'm wary of treading too familiar ground, especially since my sophomore efforts will definitely cause (at least me) to compare unfavourably to RTR 4mm or one of the eminent builders in S-scale. As I try to home in on a suitable prototype, any practical observations about what to consider would be greatly appreciated - I am going to work on the assumption that a rigid, inside framed, side tanked loco with three axles (2-4-0, 0-4-2 or 0-6-0) is probably the best solution.  I've not really settled on a prototype, but it does seem a little daft to attempt modern image or something which is going to put me in a position of doing Walschaerts valve gear at this stage!

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On the subject of gluing ABS chairs to ply, I can confirm that MEK works well.  For people in Canada who may not be able to get Butanone (aka MEK) via post, I got a liter tin of MEK from our national emporium, Canadian Tire.

 

John

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17 hours ago, Lacathedrale said:

I am going to work on the assumption that a rigid, inside framed, side tanked loco with three axles (2-4-0, 0-4-2 or 0-6-0) is probably the best solution.

Most (but not all) of us go for some form of compensation, be that spring or beam. Generally we have all axles moving with one axle rocking about its centre, and twin beams for the other two. This has the added benefit that you can drop the wheel sets out for painting.

But ultimately it is your hobby.


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Ah, I understand the concept. I have used springs in the past, but only with vertically opened-out bearings rather than what you've shown. If it's not too much trouble, how are the hornblocks retained in the guides your example? I can see the flanges on the inside (presumably corresponding to slots in the hornblock) but what about the bottom? And while I understand the concept the specifics of what I see is a little vague - does the hornblock have clearance to move up (towards the foot plate) or only downwards (towards dips in the rail) from its default position?

 

As it pertains to my loco choice, I was thinking of an LBSCR E1 - if anyone has any strong feelings as to whether that's a good idea or not I'd gladly hear them. Tomorrow however, I try to rescue the wonky RCH wagon :)

 

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They move up and down. To hold them in place, a piece of wire is put across the bottom, through bits of tube. Solder a piece across the bottom of each horn block guide, then cut out the middle piece. This ensures alignment. A small twist at the ends of the retaining wire will keep it in place. Obviously, the twist is only put on one end until after the wire is inserted, and generally the second twist only goes in after everything is built, tested and painted.

 

The benefit of this approach is the facility of dropping out wheel sets. I use a GW models press for quartering, and it is a lot less fiddly fitting the wheels onto and axle without have the frames in the way. Also, I never have to adjust the quartering to get good running.

 

You can use whichever hornblocks you like.

 

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In my view an LBSCR E1 would be a fine choice. Are you intending on modelling the LBSCR or just something Southern region? In the past kits have been made available for both LBSCR and LSWR prototypes eg LBSCR Terrier & LSWR 02. Unfortunately they are no longer available but someone might have one that they're wiling to part with. A kit might possibly provide you with an easier way to obtaining your first S Scale locomotive along with the opportunity to hone your skills. 

 

With regards to hornblocks, I can do no more then recommend those produced by High Level:

http://www.highlevelkits.co.uk/hornblockpage.html

These consist of a very simple fold-up etch that requires minimal fettling.

 

The amount of upward movement of a hornblock really depends on how good, or bad, you track building skills are. The train of thought is that you should not require any more than 1/2mm of movement up and down. If it is any more than that then you should really be looking at the track. If the clearance between the top of the wheel and the underside of the splasher is tight then you can always put a piece of insulation tape on the underside of the splasher to prevent it shorting.

 

Edited by ScottW
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@ScottW that is a very kind recommendation, thank you - I'm prepared that some of these components I'll have to fabricate myself but getting a figurative leg up can't hurt. At the moment my goal is to model somewhere around Croydon, and at the moment I'm tossing up the options of the era: pre-group attracts, but so does that malachite green! I figure the E1 would do decent enough service in either layout.

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Richard Barton was trying to drum up interest in getting a further run of the Terrier etches but didn't get enough numbers to justify proceeding.  I wonder if Richard's interest might have flushed out any shelf queens.  I've certainly got the masters for the castings in the Parts archive.   Another source of kits would be the Alan Gibson ones,  now long out of production.  But I think I remember Stephen Rabone getting hold of all the etches left when Alan retired.  He might know if anything survives although you would have to change interest to the LMS since I think Alan only did LMS locos in S scale.

 

Getting kits re-scaled from other scales rarely works in S due to the minimum numbers required.  I remember once enquiring about getting an etch re-scaled of a 4mm scale Caledonian tank loco and the minimum  quantity quoted to me was 25,  which was more than twice the number of prototypes. :-)    I could have taken two,  maybe three at a pinch,  but I doubt if the other 22 would have been taken up by the remaining membership.

 

You might want to DIY. :-)  Have a read at Michael Woods' recent articles in the Gazette to see how he did it.

 

[Later]  Just remembered that there might still be some of the Hunslett kits remaining on the shelf at Judith Edge - not Southern,  but Industrial.    These kits are good since they come with all the fittings - you only need to put a chassis and wheels underneath them.

 

Jim.

Edited by flubrush
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