Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How I made IP Engineering wheels compatible with LGB pointwork

You will see from one of my postings (How I constructed a cattle wagon from an IP Engineering kit) that the line has two IP Engineering cattle wagons which I later modified by replacing the heavy metal roofs with lighter plastic ones (see Progress Report 41). Whilst the wagons ran smoothly out on the main line, they struggled to negotiate the LGB R1 points which I use in the yard at Beeston Market station. Often they would derail on the frogs.

Careful scrutiny of the wheels showed the profile of their flanges were much narrower than those used by LGB and hence the check rails were not accurately guiding the wheels through the frogs.

I tried reducing the back-to-back measurements between the flanges by pushing the wheels closer together on the axles, but this was not always successful. I even tried adding brass shims to the check rails but this caused some of the other stock to have problems.

A thread on the G Scale Central Forum suggested the IP Engineering wheels could be replaced with 24.5mm diameter Bachmann metal wheels. This I did successfully but, because the Bachmann wheels are wider overall than their IP equivalents, the solebars on the wagons had to be carefully prised off and re-fixed. Fortunately I managed this without damaging the wagons but it was touch-and-go!

When it came to replacing the wheels on my Swift Sixteen corrugated van (see How I assembled a corrugated van from a Swift Sixteen kit), I ran into difficulties. The axles are mounted beneath the van inside brass tubes and would have meant engaging in major surgery to replace with Bachmann wheels.
Update: Since May 2012 Swift Sixteen kits are supplied with Accucraft wheels

I figured that if I could make the IP wheel flanges fatter, then maybe I wouldn't need to replace the wheels. Measuring the wheels passing through the pointwork I decided that 1.5mm thick discs could solve the problem.

Squares of 1.5mm thick plasticard were roughly cut from a sheet, slightly larger than the 23mm diameter wheels, and a 5mm hole drilled approximately in the centre and a cut made from the hole to one of the edges - to enable it to be slipped over the axle.

The plasticard was then superglued to the back of each wheel and held in place with small clamps .......

...... until set.

The plasticard was then trimmed off with a pair of scissors, leaving a little to spare round the wheel rim.

For the unfitted wheels, the axles was mounted in the chuck of a drill and the excess plastic filed off ....

....and then slightly chamfered at the back of the wheel.

However, this was slightly harder to achieve with the wheels already mounted on the van as they could not be removed and so the same procedure had to be done slightly more laboriously by hand.

As can be seen, the profile the 'disked' IP wheels (in the middle) now more closely resemble that of the Bachmann wheels (at the top). The original IP wheels are at the bottom.

The wheels are now a much cosier fit in between the check-rails and the wing rails of the LGB points.

However, the proof of the pudding ................................

Rewheeled wagons being propelled through two LGB R1 points in reverse-curve formation

Note: The first two wagons are IP Engineering cattle wagons (with Bachmann 24.5mm replacement wheels), the last (black) wagon is the Swift Sixteen corrugated van with 'disked' IP Engineering wheels..

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