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New Approach to Magnetic Coupling?


Savoyard
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I have been looking at ways of making coupling easier without loosing the essence of three link coupling. There are a number of variations to magnetic coupling using rare earth magnets, but tend to have limitations and rely on the stock always being the right way round or have two magnets which makes it bigger and more obvious.

 

Today I think I had a brainwave and thought if the magnet could be incorporated within a link it will not be as obvious and you may not need to have the stock the 'right way' round, this brainwave came whilst I was on the way to Ellis Clark Trains and I discussed the idea with Ellis.

 

Tonight I decided to give it a try and made up some prototypes using two wagons and an Class 08 and here is a video showing the proof of concept. It will need further testing and refinement, but I have already had the 08 pulling a Bachmann Brassworks Mk 1 round the layout at speed!

 

 

 

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Looks ingenious.  Not for me...yet.  I still like the idea of using proto couplings. 

 

Of course Hunt couplings are out there.  My friend is experimenting in 4mm and they look interesting.

 

It occurs to me that you ought to be patenting the idea, there are unscrupulous so and so's out there.

 

John

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I’m afraid that patenting an idea is only possible if it is still “unrevealed”.  Essentially it needs to be secret before publication of the patent application.
 

A patent application for something that has already been published on a public forum will not succeed.

 

sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings

Simon

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So in essence no one can patent such an idea which suits me as I had no intention of patenting it.

 

I just thought I'd found a cheap and easier way for magnetic coupling which may benefit fellow modellers so I wanted to share the idea.

Edited by Savoyard
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A very laudable thing to share this idea.

 

I was watching the 08 blasting along and thinking to myself it must be about to blow a gasket.  Mine (Zimo with Paul Chetter soundfile) will not do more than scale 20mph which is accurate but frustrating since it takes forever to do anything.  I use the 28 step option for it.

 

John

Edited by brossard
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4 hours ago, brossard said:

A very laudable thing to share this idea.

 

I was watching the 08 blasting along and thinking to myself it must be about to blow a gasket.  Mine (Zimo with Paul Chetter soundfile) will not do more than scale 20mph which is accurate but frustrating since it takes forever to do anything.  I use the 28 step option for it.

 

John

Hi John,

 

I only ran it at the that speed to see if the coupling would stay connected, I suppose it was a stress test. :)

 

 

5 hours ago, 47606odin said:

It might be okay on small shunting layouts, however being o gauge, the weights are large, so be prepared for lots of divided trains

 

That what I would expect and I thought even for the wagons I was testing it with this might have happened as they were smallest magnets I had, but I was surprised they didn't when I did the test. I have looked and there are thicker magnets at the same size and this would make them robust, again some testing to be done.

 

At the end of the day I want to make is easier for me on my home layout to do some shunting and pull around a small rake of 2 or 3 coaches, and the early indications are that this has the potential to do that, and at just the cost of the magnet which is about 13p each and a dab of superglue.

 

They can easily be added to existing screw or chain link coupling very quickly and easily, I did another coach and loco last night in a matter of a minutes, and whilst it is not a pure 3 link it looks a lot less intrusive than the other methods I have seen so far.

 

So for me it looks like it will work, as for a bigger layout it may be a different story but I intend to test it to see what it's maximum may be, as I've said it's a prototype of an idea I had and I was pleasantly surprised it worked and more than I expected, time and testing will be the proof of the pudding!

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5 minutes ago, 2ManySpams said:

Interesting concept. Where in the 3 link do you place the magnet - center link?

On the test chain link ones, I reduced the links by one link each side and placed the magnet within the end link, so when they link together it is in essence a 3 link coupling, it's a compromise but I am going to experiment further to see how it can be refined and look more prototypical, this was very much a first stab. 

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Nice layout too, must have missed this if it's elsewhere on RMweb. What size is it, & what's the curve radius? Roundy-roundy O Scale home layouts seem quite rare in the UK, especially with scale couplings.

Mine is 17ft x 8ft in the loft, with 3ft radius curves, but it's American outline with Kadee couplers - it's no good for Heljan big diesels and rolling stock.

 

EDIT - Ignore me - found the Thread!! I think I might even have posted in it before!! :fool:

Edited by F-UnitMad
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11 hours ago, brossard said:

A very laudable thing to share this idea.

 

I was watching the 08 blasting along and thinking to myself it must be about to blow a gasket.  Mine (Zimo with Paul Chetter soundfile) will not do more than scale 20mph which is accurate but frustrating since it takes forever to do anything.  I use the 28 step option for it.

 

John

More likely slip a crank, I believe that was the reason for the progressive reduction in Gronk max speed from a not unreasonable 30 mph down to 15.  I clocked this one at around 45 MPH with a stop watch, dead easy on a Gronk as they travel almost exactly 4 metres per revolution.  I would love to hear the sound track raised an octave to match, like the racing Ambulances on Carry on films.  As for magnets it should be possible to haul long trains  I use magnets to hold couplings against stop blocks in OO and how some locos struggle to remove stock from the magnets.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been experimenting further with the magnetic coupling ideas, I have modified my original idea to use a more powerful 3 x 2 mm magnet, the original was 3 x 1 mm.

I have moved the magnet to the third link to avoid potential buffer lock on my slightly tighter curves, the third link is also slightly wider to accommodate the 3 mm wide magnet.

I kept the original screw link connection between the loco and the first coach.


Here is a new test video using five coaches.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: The original video was corrupted so I reloaded it this afternoon.

 

I am using a slightly different method on the wagons based on a suggestion by Andrew Booth. I will be testing this a further before I do a video.

 

Edited by Savoyard
The original video was corrupted so I reloaded it this afternoon.
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  • 11 months later...
Posted (edited)

I have been working on and off on various versions of the magnetic couplings, but last week I got a 3D printer and decided to take a fresh approach.

 

I've made two versions using a 3D printed link to hold the magnet so no need for glue.

 

The small version holds a 3mm x 1mm round magnet suitable for small wagons.

 

IMG_9110r40c.jpg.09fb0e1e9b7dceacccd06610b28edadf.jpg

 

This is how they come off the printer. The initial tests were done using white PLA but a dark silver metallic PLA arrived today for the final versions.

 

 

 IMG_9111r50c.jpg.a4e18560cbde1214bc0f9e3be96af44a.jpg

 

The magnet clips into the round hole and then attached to the hook as shown above, Originally I just had one metal link and the printed link, whilst it worked OK if the magnets were aligned correctly it looked clumsy if they weren't though they did connect. Therefore I've added a small link on the hook which allows the printed link to move more freely and connect whatever way the magnets have been fitted.

 

IMG_9116r35.jpg.7280b1c0e062bee27d881b6ad72f09b7.jpg

 

When fitted it reasonably looks like a 3 link coupling.

 

IMG_9113r35.jpg.ff18a78c6b4e6b474a1353a8115703fe.jpg

 

With the overlapping links it gives the impression of a three link coupling (if you don't look too closely! ;) )

 

 

Here is a short video showing it working, this is only a first test run I will be doing a full test once I've converted more wagons,

 

 

 

The second version uses a 3mm square by 1mm deep magnets for coaches and bigger wagons,

 

IMG_9134.jpg.3b8722e40a4492d8f3893621f14dcabf.jpg

 

Again the magnet just clips into the link.

 

IMG_9133r35c.jpg.706f2dd8f3e1aa5ec3864085dc982cc9.jpg

 

As they come off the printer, this time I remembered to use the second PLA for the printing raft. The raft gives a good surface for the small links to stick to, it was too hit and miss printing without it.

 

IMG_9139r35.jpg.8628431ca397fe626faf74758552a0e1.jpg

 

Though uncoupled they don't look as prototypical. once coupled the overlapping links give the appearance (from a distance) of a full link. As with small version there is a small link on the hook.

 

IMG_9141r35.jpg.b1504767e7cd18875e7188fbf272ada3.jpg

 

The connection to the loco. Once I have got some more nickel silver wire I will redo most of these links.

 

This is a test run using a Dapol Jinty with three Ellis Clark Mk 1 suburban coaches, as you can see there is no problem pulling these coaches which are quite heavy, and as you can see it easily couples up on the curve. It is not on this clip but the rear coach derailed on a point and other coaches and loco did not uncouple and stayed attached!

 

 

I very pleased with the results using the 3D printer but I will be doing more testing over the next few days.

 

The 3D printer is a Flashforge Dreamer and I have been using the free version of SketchUp, more of this on another day.

 

Edited by Savoyard
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Interesting results so far but one wagon and a van on level track is not a test of its practicality.  Propelling round curves/through pointwork may be an issue?  I particularly like the way the coaching stock auto-coupled to the loco.

 

I'm thinking of its applicability to a friend's extensive coarse scale 3-rail layout with max train length of 35 x 4-wheel wagons, all weighted for stability and some steep gradients, and in any case I don't see his fleet ever being converted if only because of the sheer number of 3-link couplings.  The sharpness of curves is such that long bogie wagons and coaches would have buffer locking issues without overscale buffer heads, so he uses rigid swinging single links on coaching stock.  All the same, I shall follow your further developments with interest,

 

A meaningful strength test wouldn't mean converting a whole rake - you can try converting just one end of one wagon and hanging a lot more on the end using their existing couplings.  However I think you'd need to do a fair number to ensure buffer locking isn't a problem especially with propelling of long-wheelbase and bogie stock 

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5 hours ago, Michael Hodgson said:

Interesting results so far but one wagon and a van on level track is not a test of its practicality.  Propelling round curves/through pointwork may be an issue?  I particularly like the way the coaching stock auto-coupled to the loco.

 

I'm thinking of its applicability to a friend's extensive coarse scale 3-rail layout with max train length of 35 x 4-wheel wagons, all weighted for stability and some steep gradients, and in any case I don't see his fleet ever being converted if only because of the sheer number of 3-link couplings.  The sharpness of curves is such that long bogie wagons and coaches would have buffer locking issues without overscale buffer heads, so he uses rigid swinging single links on coaching stock.  All the same, I shall follow your further developments with interest,

 

A meaningful strength test wouldn't mean converting a whole rake - you can try converting just one end of one wagon and hanging a lot more on the end using their existing couplings.  However I think you'd need to do a fair number to ensure buffer locking isn't a problem especially with propelling of long-wheelbase and bogie stock 

 

I did say that this it was an initial test with the wagons and I will be doing a full test once I have converted some more wagons. If the smaller magnets don't work then I have the stronger magnets as a backup.

 

The second video shows the bigger magnets on three Ellis Clark Mk 1 suburban coaches, these are heavy coaches with brass sides and a metal chassis, and it pulls them no problem and they remained connected when the rear coach derailed, the engine did not uncouple.

 

It went through various points with no problem and  the maximum radius of 5' and mainly under, so below the recommended radius, and it worked fine with no buffer lock. If there is some problems I would look at adjusting the links to compensate.

 

It is of course horses for courses, it won't work for every layout but for my 20' x 12' shed layout it looks like it work fine, even with an element of unevenness on the levels, part of a current work in progress! :)

 

The main reason I wanted to develop an easy to use magnetic for shunting and not be restricted by having to have the wagons/coaches in the right direction to work. The layout goods yard has been designed so I can do the Inglenook Puzzle and I don't want to be messing with 3 link couplings when shunting.

 

1 hour ago, davefromacrossthepond said:

How would you uncouple?

 

I just use a small stick or pointer, as long as it is not magnetic, it works fine. Failing that the hand of god as in the video! LOL!

 

I will be doing more testing and I will post the results on here.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Savoyard said:

 

The main reason I wanted to develop an easy to use magnetic for shunting and not be restricted by having to have the wagons/coaches in the right direction to work. The layout goods yard has been designed so I can do the Inglenook Puzzle and I don't want to be messing with 3 link couplings when shunting.

 

I find the most difficult part of using link couplings onto drawhooks is trying to couple between gangwayed coaches, especially when there's other stock in the adjacent road making if impossible to see as well as limiting where you can get your fingers.   Uncoupling is slightly easier, and 3-link is generally easier too.   So the way those magnets jump together is a big plus. 

 

I don't like the limitations of uncoupling ramps for OO tension locks, magnets or solenoids buried in the four-foot etc, or the cost of fancy expensive loco-fitted uncouplers.  I can cope with the Hand of God (usually both hands, one on each vehicle where magnets are used) for uncoupling.

 

What you are doing seems to be just a larger version of the 4mm scale Hunt couplings, although the attractive force required for trains to remain coupled is naturally that much greater in 7mm.  It works very well in OO although they do have to make a number of different styles to suit different rolling stock, but that is mainly to do with the way NEM sockets are actually installed in the OO RTR market.  Their range still seems to be expanding and they also produce couplings for N scale, so I wonder whether they will expand their range to cover larger scales in due course.  Their Elite range seems to work on the basis of using the stronger square magnets so oriented that both their North/South poles are facing outward on each coupling and there is no problem of having the stock facing the right way so couplings don't repel.

 

As regards patents, the Hunt coupling web site does say patent applied for, but I don't think that should stop you.   I am not a lawyer but my layman's understanding is that making a UK patented item for your personal use is OK as long as you don't do it commerically, although that may not apply to a US patent.  

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4 hours ago, Savoyard said:

It went through various points with no problem and  the maximum radius of 5' and mainly under, so below the recommended radius, and it worked fine with no buffer lock.

Pushing? Or just pulling?

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Even if a patent is “applied for” that simply means what it says and there is no patent in force until there is an actual Patent Number. So, you are free to continue development until then!

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21 hours ago, Michael Hodgson said:

What you are doing seems to be just a larger version of the 4mm scale Hunt couplings.

 

I take a different approach to Hunt as the magnet is part of a link whereas they use a new style of coupling to hold the magnet.

 

 

21 hours ago, Michael Hodgson said:

As regards patents, the Hunt coupling web site does say patent applied for, but I don't think that should stop you.

 

There are a number of companies producing couplings using a similar method for a number of years.

 

Here are some examples.

 

First4Magnets from 2013

 

GLR Bespoke Services

 

MagClic (I  think have been doing O Gauge couplings in the same way for a few years now)

 

I would therefore be surprised they could patent it as I would have thought it would have to be a new and original idea, which going by these links it is not.

 

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Agreed Savoyard, it's not a new concept. LEGO were using magnetic couplings in the early 70s. 

 

What is neat is the use of a 3d printed link to hold the magnet. I use magnets for a lot of things. You can't solder them and the shiny surface makes them difficult to glue so having them in a fairly tight support is good engineering. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Dave John said:

Agreed Savoyard, it's not a new concept. LEGO were using magnetic couplings in the early 70s. 

 

What is neat is the use of a 3d printed link to hold the magnet. I use magnets for a lot of things. You can't solder them and the shiny surface makes them difficult to glue so having them in a fairly tight support is good engineering. 

 

 

Dave,

 

I've tried all sorts of glues, with varying degrees of success even with the same glue. I even tried soldering and whilst this worked, the heat reduced the power of the magnets, perhaps I should have known this but it was worth a try.

 

I then thought of using a plastic housing and the best way to do this I thought was using a 3D printer, so when I eventually got my printer last week it wasn't long before I started experimenting.

 

I had tried the larger square magnet on a Heljan Deltic attached to six Darstead Mk 1's which were attached together using Kadees, it didn't work so last night I found some 5mm x 2mm round magnets and quickly drew and printed some larger links.

 

I attached one to the loco and one to lead coach and it did pull the six coaches but once it hit the tightest curve on the layout it failed but it did manage the other three quarters OK, so perhaps some more tinkering.

 

  

 

Edited by Savoyard
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