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NoelG

Rotating axle box covers - a good or bad thing?

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I've noticed some manufacturers in recent years heralding innovative new features such as rotating axle box covers. But have these proven a useful addition, or just a one day wonder that lead to poor running. Pin point axles on stock yield the most reliable and free running, but on some stock rotating axle box covers which means axles that often use a plastic baring rather than pin point metal can run stiff with a lot of drag making some formations of wagons difficult to haul due to the added resistance.

 

What's the general verdict on rotating axle box covers, a good or bad thing? One has to applaud manufactures for trying new innovations but hope there are not unforeseen side effects that effect reliable smooth running.

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My only experience of them is with Atlas O Scale American freight cars, where the trucks are cast metal and do have plain brass bearings in them. The rotating caps are very noticeable in that scale & I like them.

The one teeny downside to them is that the trucks have to remain rigid. Removing a plate across the bolster gives the frames - which are sprung, with real springs - some equalisation, but as the axles go right through the trucks to have the bearing cap on the outside, as the frames twist this can trap the axles, causing the wheels to drag. The springs are a bit too strong anyway, so I leave the trucks rigid, & slacken off the mounting screws a bit. For my track, they need it!!!

I think Kadee did some in HO? As for any UK outline models, I wouldn't have a clue if any have been done like this. I know the proposed Dapol O Scale Class 66 promises rotating bearing caps, that'd be a first in UK O as far as I know.

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American models have had them for years. Never had a problem with them.

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Posted (edited)

If the real loco has them, then a 4mm scale model should; they are very obviously visible and draw attention to themselves, so there's no getting away with it.  But, hang on a mo, engage brain (several minutes of crashing, banging, and the odd boiiiinnnngggg Goon Show style), final drive synchomeshed, slow ahead both, no, it still doesn't make sense.  If the axle box cover is rotating that means that the axle box is rotating, which means it isn't an axlebox.  One of two things is happening here; 1) it is a cover on the end of the axle that is rotating, and the axlebox, which isn't rotating, is open ended like an old Triang wagon's but hidden behind the rotating cover, or 2) (much more likely) something clever that I don't understand is going on.

 

Ok, let me rephrase my original sentence; if a real loco has these whirlygigs visible on the ends of it's wheely spindizzie, then a 4mm model should.  Have you seen the ones on the Guinness Brewery locos that go backwards...

Edited by The Johnster

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The rotating axle ends are as distinctive as the valve gear on steam locos. You just have to have them in HO gauge and above if a model is to have any credibility.

Rollability on stock is an issue, maybe PTFE bearings are the answer.

Many Diesels also have very distinctive suspension systems with compensating beams which move quite noticeably which look most odd when just moulded from a single lump of plastic.

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13 hours ago, The Johnster said:

if a real loco has these whirlygigs visible on the ends of it's wheely spindizzie,

You are Stanley Unwin & I claim my £5. :D

  • Funny 4

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On 13/04/2020 at 09:31, NoelG said:

 

 

What's the general verdict on rotating axle box covers, a good or bad thing? One has to applaud manufactures for trying new innovations but hope there are not unforeseen side effects that effect reliable smooth running.

Just have a look over at the Hattons Class 66 thread. Numerous reports of the axlebox covers falling off and also causing running issues. Hattons have responded by producing a video showing how to glue them back on!

 

However, I did have a couple of HO Scaletrains tank cars which had axlebox covers and the worked fine and looked good.

 

 

 

 

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On 13/04/2020 at 09:31, NoelG said:

I've noticed some manufacturers in recent years heralding innovative new features such as rotating axle box covers. But have these proven a useful addition, or just a one day wonder that lead to poor running. Pin point axles on stock yield the most reliable and free running, but on some stock rotating axle box covers which means axles that often use a plastic baring rather than pin point metal can run stiff with a lot of drag making some formations of wagons difficult to haul due to the added resistance.

 

What's the general verdict on rotating axle box covers, a good or bad thing? One has to applaud manufactures for trying new innovations but hope there are not unforeseen side effects that effect reliable smooth running.

 

I've just been testing and looking over IRM fertiliser wagons and they don't have any problems and they are a positive feature of the models.

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