Protofour W iron units

John Lewis
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Protofour W iron units

Postby John Lewis » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:15 pm

When Protofour was young(-ish) wagon W iron units were produced in tinplate (I think).

It was suggested that these were attached to the wagon body by 12 BA bolts through the two holes provided on the centre line of the W irons. A degree of springing could be provided by trapping a short length of model aeroplane elastic between the wagon body and the W iron unit.

I have some wagons with this type of suspension. Has anyone still have wagons with this type of suspension, please? Was this system satisfactory on a layout?

I rather think the aeroplane rubber I used ought to be replaced, if still available, if the suspension units can be retained. I realize I probably ought to replace them with Bill Bedford units!

John Lewis

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby grovenor-2685 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:19 pm

I have a few of these in use, they run very well and my rubber is not yet in need of replacement.
regards

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Andy W
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby Andy W » Sat Feb 23, 2019 10:22 am

I’ve built W irons with one fixed and the other pivoting on a piece of normal rubber band attached to the floor. Cheap and works.
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DavidM
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby DavidM » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:40 pm

I’ve used this system too, building about two dozen wagons more than 30 years ago using ordinary rubber band strips and MJT W irons. It does seem to work fairly reliably providing the same care is taken to ensure the units are aligned carefuly and secured squarely, as applies to any system. At the time I used cyano which has resulted in some of the rubber strips becoming brittle and detaching, but easy to repair. These days I would use proper springing with Bill Bedford W-irons, but have not needed to replace the older units to date. At the time I regarded it as a temporary solution to get some stock running quickly, but as a bodge it seems to have gone the distance!


David Murrell

Philip Hall
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby Philip Hall » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:35 pm

If the W irons are still OK I really wouldn’t bother replacing them. If the rubber has perished I would just replace with a piece of rubber band, glued across the W iron with Evo-Stik. I have various W irons lying around and intend employing this system to use them up. So much easier to glue in a bit of rubber than arranging a pivot. I like the idea because it allows some ‘sort of’ springing or resilience.

Philip

martin goodall
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby martin goodall » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:20 pm

Agreed. I have several wagons with these W-iron units, which I built in the 1970s. I didn't use screws or pins, but simply stuck the W-iron units to thick rubber band with Evostik - a narrow (1 to 1.5mm strip) at one end, and two broader strips at the other.

The flexibility of the rubber and the Evostik adhesive allowed the W-iron unit with the narrow central strip to pivot, thus giving the wagon 3-point suspension.

The rubber band has never perished. One of the W-irons did eventually part company with its rubber band pivot, but it was only a minute's job to apply fresh Evostik and put the wagon back into traffic.

I still have a stock of the original Studiolith W-units and thick rubber bands, and do still use this method of compensating some wagons, although the use of wheels with deeper flanges has largely removed the need for compensation.

Another way of avoiding the need to compensate wagons is to allow a reasonable amount of slop in the axle boxes (both axles).

My methods are undoubtedly crude, but have proved effective (as well as saving time). I don't stick rigidly to any one method of mounting wheels under wagons, and am happy to vary my approach with different vehicles.

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Tim V
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby Tim V » Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:19 pm

I have a lot of wagons with these W irons, but I used two track rivets instead of the bolts. A piece of plastic with two holes, the rivets against the floor, low cost solution :)
Tim V

martin goodall
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby martin goodall » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:01 pm

Tim V wrote:I have a lot of wagons with these W irons, but I used two track rivets instead of the bolts. A piece of plastic with two holes, the rivets against the floor, low cost solution :)


I assume Tim melted the rivets into the plastic 'pivot bar' with a soldering iron. I tried this, but the rivets parted company with the plastic sooner or later, so I stuck to the rubber band method after that.

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Tim V
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Re: Protofour W iron units

Postby Tim V » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:30 pm

No, I laminated two pieces of drilled plastic at the time.

I have found some of my older (40+ years) wagons had distorted floors, solved by using a brass strip with track rivets. The brass strip spanned both W irons, and the Brassmasters jig was used to ensure the axles were parallel.
Tim V


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