Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

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Penrhos1920
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Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Penrhos1920 » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:03 pm

I have over 70 pre-grouping wagons that are complete all but couplings. I also have a EU butter-mountain of Smiths couplings. But I’m thinking that they are just too big; even though I’ve already got them on a lot of my stock. So I’m looking for something finer. Not too small that I’ll struggle to couple. What do you use? Can you share some comparable photos please.

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David B
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby David B » Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:20 pm

I use the Exactoscale draw hook (4CP303A) from Scalefour stores together with Exactoscale links which I used to get from C&L. Unfortunately, the latter I do not think are available from the Stores but people have made them from nickel silver wire. There have been articles on this and, I think, some posts on the Forum.

Philip Hall
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:01 pm

My preference is for an Ambis or Brassmasters hook, with either home produced links or links adapted from the formerly available EM Society chain. Often I will use a steel EMGS link either side of an old MGW nickel silver link, which gives a coupling a little longer than scale but more user friendly. Near to scale links are available from Smiths as well as the heavily overscale ones they normally supply.

One useful dodge is that I only ever use a single thickness of etched hook. The cynics amongst you will note that this gives you two coupling hooks for the price of one, but a serious reason is that a single thickness is much easier to get a coupling pole around as there is more room to drop the links on and lift off. I round the edges of the hooks so they look reasonable.

Ambis and Brassmasters hooks are used because they are a little over scale; once again a compromise to make the system work. I find exact scale hooks are a bit of a pain because they are so small.

As you have a lot of the Smiths couplings you could use the links by snipping a bit out of each link and reforming it (as I do with the old EMGS ones) and fit them to new hooks.

I will try to take a picture or two next time I’m in the workshop.

Philip

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Tim V
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Tim V » Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:32 pm

I used whatever hooks I could lay my paws on, but links I made using the method in 'The 4mm Coal wagon' by John Hayes (WSP).
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Philip Hall
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:20 pm

Here's a couple of pictures: Ambis hooks I think and the chain I described. I didn't make a very good job of closing one of the middle links! Brassmasters also supply some very fine chain for couplings.

Philip

IMG_9612.JPG
IMG_9610.JPG

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Penrhos1920
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Penrhos1920 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:54 pm

Philip, those Ambis/Brassmasters hooks look better than Smiths. I need to have a look out for some of the Brassmasters links.

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ChrisMitchell
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby ChrisMitchell » Sat Aug 15, 2020 5:06 pm

Hi Richard

Last time we met, I seem to recall we had some discussion about this.

I currently use Masokit hooks, double thickness with the hook shaped a little with a file, together with Smiths links - either 3 link or instanter. This seems to provide a good compromise. Fitting the links to the hooks is easy. Using two pairs of pliers the slot in the hook is twisted open, the top link dropped in and the slot closed up again. I find this is easier than threading an opened up link though a hole In the hook.

Regards, Chris

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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby andrewnummelin » Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:39 pm

Over the decades I've used hooks from many sources, including home made, and have come to prefer the Exactoscale stamped ones because of their superior appearance. However, as others have mentioned, etched hooks can have advantages.

I thought some observations I've made may help your decisions:

1. Pick something that looks good, unlike the one in the middle.
P1020808.JPG

Chemically blacken everything before assembly - don't paint to help avoid the problem with the rear example!


2. Make sure the hook is open enough to avoid the following.
P1020809.JPG

The link on the hook doesn't hang down and may easily bump off when running.


3. Think about whether or not you wish to spring the hooks. In my view not needed for short trains but highly beneficial for long ones in reducing shock from snatching couplings that can lead to derailments. I guess you'll be running 40-60 wagon trains.
P1020807.JPG

The rear one illustrates the need for care with hooks that have a slot for gedge in the top coupling link - if a little too open and the link is not fully closed it can fall out. Has anyone ever made a link with the proper detail in 4mm scale?
(Richard can probably guess the prototypes for these models that have been under construction for a long time.)
Regards,

Andrew Nummelin

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Penrhos1920
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Penrhos1920 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:10 pm

ChrisMitchell wrote:Hi Richard

Last time we met, I seem to recall we had some discussion about this.

I currently use Masokit hooks, double thickness with the hook shaped a little with a file, together with Smiths links - either 3 link or instanter. This seems to provide a good compromise. Fitting the links to the hooks is easy. Using two pairs of pliers the slot in the hook is twisted open, the top link dropped in and the slot closed up again. I find this is easier than threading an opened up link though a hole In the hook.

Regards, Chris


Yes we did talk about this Chris. My objective in starting this topic was to ask people to post photos so that I can make a visual comparision and thanks go to Philip and Andrew who've provided some photos. I think the Exactoscale hooks are just a bit too small and I can see that in a few years time I would probably regret using them!

Andrew's photo of ANDR wagons, possibly the only British wagons to have buffer beams above the wagon floor, show that sometimes a true scale hook and links are required.

Andrew, I'd love to run 60 wagon trains but at the moment the fiddle yard will only take trains half that length. Plus filling a fiddle yard that size with 34 trains will required lockdown to continue for another 5 years!

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John Donnelly
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby John Donnelly » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:28 pm

I decided some time ago to standardise on Smith's hooks and links. I accept that they are oversized but, having tried to couple up using scale hooks and links, I decided that life was too short...

Image

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David B
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby David B » Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:06 pm

Exactoscale hooks and links. I touch the top of the hook on each side to the angle grinder to make a bit more of a point which makes it easier to drop the links over.
3-link_C8787.jpg

In answer to Andrew's mention of a gedge, I put a pinch in the top link of screw couplings and use it to put the link in to the hook. The hook is again Exactoscale and the screw coupling Masokit.
screw_C8786.jpg

Knuckles
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Knuckles » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:47 pm

I've standardized on Smiths hooks precisely because they are over-scale. Might seem to be a lack of logic there but I like to use them with Dingham Auto Couplings and with a gentle bend here n there and the slightest file on the top a Dingham loop will slot over a Smiths hook without any bother. Adds flexibility here n there. I sometimes mount them a little forward than they should be for Dingham compatibility so visually they don't look perfect but for locomotives much better visually than a Dingham as you still get a 3/Screw Link look at least.
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Enigma » Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:42 pm

I've standardised on Smiths as well for the same reason that they are easy to use and easy to see. I've got many wagons built many years ago when my eyes were still focussing naturally close up with small 'scale' hooks - and I have difficulty these days using them. If the Smiths do look overscale they are still 'better' than any autocoupling but I would like to try Dinghams some time for the fact that they have a hook built in. I use home made links with a steel bottom one for magnetic 'hooking'.

billbedford
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby billbedford » Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:12 pm

You could try scale ones...

BWK0220.jpg
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:24 am

billbedford wrote:You could try scale ones...

BWK0220.jpg

How strong/Brittle are these Bill? .... they look great :thumb
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Porcy Mane » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:03 am

Hello,

I wind my own around home made formers using coated copper jewelers wire. Not affected by uncoupling magnets and you can wind your links to whatever size your happy with. Using copper wire also makes crimping a working gedge flat quite simple. The hook is from Ambis.

3-Link-C'plngs-015-EditSm©PwD.jpg


3-Link-C'plngs-009-EditSm©PwD.jpg


P

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Noel
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Noel » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:03 am

Le Corbusier wrote:How strong/Brittle are these Bill? .... they look great


So they do, as does the wagon, but presumably they are printed, and therefore rigid? If so they are not functional.
Regards
Noel

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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby billbedford » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:15 am

Le Corbusier wrote:
billbedford wrote:You could try scale ones...

BWK0220.jpg

How strong/Brittle are these Bill? .... they look great :thumb


There are more than strong enough in a straight line, but tend to be brittle if sideloaded.

They are available from Shapeways
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby billbedford » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:17 am

Noel wrote:
Le Corbusier wrote:How strong/Brittle are these Bill? .... they look great


So they do, as does the wagon, but presumably they are printed, and therefore rigid? If so they are not functional.


They are printed, but they are articulated and so fully functional.
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:12 pm

billbedford wrote:
Le Corbusier wrote:
billbedford wrote:You could try scale ones...

BWK0220.jpg

How strong/Brittle are these Bill? .... they look great :thumb


There are more than strong enough in a straight line, but tend to be brittle if sideloaded.

They are available from Shapeways

Do you have a recommendation as to minimum track radius to avoid side loading? .... at a smidge over £1 per pair they seem good value ;)
Tim Lee

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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby billbedford » Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:41 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:Do you have a recommendation as to minimum track radius to avoid side loading? .... at a smidge over £1 per pair they seem good value ;)


No, I think that as long as you stock is on the track there will be no problem. The difficulty will come in a derailment or with heavy handling where you could get the stem of the coupling to break.
Bill Bedford
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Le Corbusier
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Re: Which 3-link coupling? Please show your favourites

Postby Le Corbusier » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:17 pm

billbedford wrote:
Le Corbusier wrote:Do you have a recommendation as to minimum track radius to avoid side loading? .... at a smidge over £1 per pair they seem good value ;)


No, I think that as long as you stock is on the track there will be no problem. The difficulty will come in a derailment or with heavy handling where you could get the stem of the coupling to break.


Fine for me ... would be interested in feedback in due course on how well they go on a busy show layout.
Tim Lee


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