Coupling pole for scale couplings

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ChrisMitchell
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Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby ChrisMitchell » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:06 am

Any advice on the best type of coupling pole for use with 3 links and screw couplings?

I've tried using a piece of bent brass wire attached to a small torch, but I'm sure that a little more sophisticated shape to the hook may work better. Does anyone have any suggestions for improvements?

Thanks, Chris

hughesp87
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby hughesp87 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:17 pm

Chris,

After years on the end of a shunter's pole exhibiting Middlepeak, I reached the conclusion that the best tool was a short piece of 0.3mm nickel-silver wire mounted in a pin chuck, with the last 3mm or so bent to a right angle. The wire is strong enough to pick up a 3-link, but not so big that when you have placed the link over the coupling hook, it pulls it off on 'withdrawal'.

I found that this won hands down over magnetic devices every time, although it comes down to personal preferences. One critical part of the armoury though was the backscene - a nice solid structure on which you could steady your uncoupling arm, as any kind of nervous twitch had the potential to snag the wire in the wrong part of the coupling and send the wagons off the rails. And of course this always happened when you had a wagon full of loose stone chippings in the train!

I calculated once that during the course of an average exhibition day, each operator was completing around 400 coupling or uncoupling operations. On this basis we had to find a method that was simple and worked!

Regards,

Geraint Hughes
1645
Geraint Hughes
Cromford & High Peak in P4
Danish Railways in P87

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Flymo748
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby Flymo748 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:30 pm

ChrisMitchell wrote:Any advice on the best type of coupling pole for use with 3 links and screw couplings?

I've tried using a piece of bent brass wire attached to a small torch, but I'm sure that a little more sophisticated shape to the hook may work better. Does anyone have any suggestions for improvements?


By the genius of Matt Ots' MRJ Index, a moment's work finds:

A Shunters Pole for 4mm
William Barter
Issue 21 (1988)
p.69
4mm
W. A. M. Barter on making three-link couplings easier to live with.

A quick consultation of the bound volumes of MRJs upstairs and it's a one page article using a soft iron pin to produce a complex shape that replicates the prototype.

I'm afraid that I've recently scrapped my aged printer, so I can't stick the page online somewhere, but you may even have the copy of MRJ yourself.

HTH
Paul Willis
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

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ChrisMitchell
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby ChrisMitchell » Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:47 am

Thnaks for this info.

I've got a full set of MRJs, so I dug out the article and had a couple of attempts - I failed miserably of course.

I'll think I'll adopt Geraint's method - a quick go with a piece of bent brass wire seemed to work. Of course the proof of the pudding will be at Scaleforum with my entry in the D&E challenge. Here's hoping!!!

Chris

williambarter
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby williambarter » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:58 am

Is getting hold of a soft iron pin the problem? Buy a shirt in the sales, throw away the shirt, keep the pins that are used to pack it. But no doubt one of the specialist pin manufacturers that we know about these days can supply them, or just use brass wire. It is the shape that counts, as the twisting of the hook to the side allows it to be released easily by rolling the shaft between your fingers.

William Barter

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ChrisMitchell
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby ChrisMitchell » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:41 pm

William

I had a few attempts with brass lace making pins. As I understood the orginal article the shape of the hook is bent in 3 dimensions. I struggled to get the bend of the hook (bend C in the diagram) in a different plane to the other two bends. In the picture below bends A and B are also into the plane (away from the viewer). I could not get bend C to lie in thep lane (it always wanted to come out of the plane toowrds the viewer)

Hook  picture.jpg
Hook picture.jpg (5.1 KiB) Viewed 12131 times


I'll have another go tonight.

Chris

hughesp87
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby hughesp87 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 4:56 pm

Chris,

Keep it simple - just a plain old right angle! I suspect the shape of hook you suggest will be more likely to catch in the links as you're trying to pull it away.

Regards,

Geraint
Geraint Hughes
Cromford & High Peak in P4
Danish Railways in P87

williambarter
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby williambarter » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:31 pm

It's 20 years since I made one, should make another to remind myself! But I think if you do bend C first, then B the A it works better. As for getting stuck in the links, no, that is just what it doesn't do, as it is released by twisting in the fingers and so sort of rolls out from underneath the link, with the point then downwards and unlikely to pick up another link by accident. Following the prototype is another good rule, and I spent several hours staring at one in my little office at Severn Tunnel Junction trying to work out how it was shaped.

William Barter

williambarter
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby williambarter » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:39 pm

Chris,

Looking at your message again properly, it is right that bend C goes the opposite way to A and B. But drawn the way you have it, A and B should be coming towards the viewer, and C goes away from the viewer.

Hope that helps!

William

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Dave K
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby Dave K » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:06 pm

Attached are some pictures of my current coupling pole and a new one made today. The old one is made from 0.5 brass wire attached to a length of rail and the whole lot stuck to a pen torch. I find it invaluable to have extra light to see between whatever you are coupling. The one is made from 0.5 nickel-silver wire again soldered to rail. The rail gives a nice flat surface to attach to the torch. The design was influence bt the article in MRJ.

Coupling Hock 001-1.JPG

Coupling Hock 004-1.JPG

As you can see from this plan view the tail is bent slightly like the prototype, I find when you have coupled to, to rotate the torch slightly this allow you disengage without catching the wagon etc.

Coupling Hock 005-1.JPG

You will notice the bend is to the left as I am left handed.

williambarter
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Re: Coupling pole for scale couplings

Postby williambarter » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:35 am

Here's a couple of mine.

William Barter
Attachments
Coupling pole0002.jpg
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Coupling pole0001.jpg
Coupling pole0001.jpg (11.63 KiB) Viewed 11936 times

Rhobat Bryn

Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:29 am

Does anyone know where I can get hold of an uncoupling hook used to handle three-link couplings? I believe I've seen some that have a torch built into it.

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David B
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby David B » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:28 pm

Not difficult to make your own. I made mine by twisting the pointed end of a Peco track pin into a pigtail and inserting it into a suitable handle. I don't use a torch but have seen people using small ones that come with key rings and strapping them to the handle.

David

IMG_6010.JPG
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45609
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby 45609 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:49 pm

Hi Rhobat,

This is what you may have seen before...

LMS shunters pole

Cheers....Morgan

Rhobat Bryn

Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:38 pm

Many thanks, Morgan; that's just what I was looking for.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:57 pm

Mind you almost anything will do for uncoupling, its the coupling up where the fun comes ;)
Keith
Regards
Keith
Grovenor Sidings

Rhobat Bryn

Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:37 pm

grovenor-2685 wrote:Mind you almost anything will do for uncoupling, its the coupling up where the fun comes ;)
Keith


Well it's partly because I took the anything will do approach that I got into difficulty; tweezers are not a good idea. Does anyone have any experience of using a magnetic uncoupling device?

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Tim V
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Tim V » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:41 pm

Only works if you've got iron links at the end.
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:47 pm

Yes, I have used the original Studiolith magnetic shunters pole, and still do. As Tim says it only works if you have a magnetic link at the end of the chain, and if the other 2 are not magnetic. Very simple for uncoupling, a real aquired art to couple up, but probably no harder than any other.
See http://www.scalefour.org/history/p4rscomponents.html right at the bottom of the page.
Keith
Regards
Keith
Grovenor Sidings

williambarter
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby williambarter » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:21 am

grovenor-2685 wrote:Mind you almost anything will do for uncoupling, its the coupling up where the fun comes ;)
Keith


That is the beauty of David B's hook-shape - as the end of the pigtail points almost sideways, twisting the pole in the fingers releases the link as the hook rolls out from underneath it.

That shape is in fact very close to the prototype. As for uncoupling, indeed the hook itself plays no part, you just stick the pole over the buffer (fulcrum) and under the link and lean on your end of it.

Here's mine, made from a soft iron pin such as comes with shirts - keep the pins and throw the shirt away.

William
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Coupling pole0002.jpg
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Coupling pole0001.jpg
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Simon_S
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Simon_S » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:46 am

Coupling hooks are a very personal thing! I can't use anyone else's and no-one else gets on with mine.

I find the links drop off the pigtail shaped hooks too easily so I prefer a simple hook shape. Torches make too clumsy a handle for me so I use something like williambarter's. Good illumination is a big help though, I wear a headtorch when I have a lot of coupling to do.

Have a think about what you need and make a prototype, tweak it until it works for you. Twenty years on, I'm still tweaking mine occasionally ;) Then make several hooks because they tend to hide when you need one!

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Noel
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Noel » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:38 am

I made a couple of hooks from fine brass wire, soldered into tube which was then glued to the end of a pencil torch. The basic shape was bent up following the shape of full size version illustrated in an article in MRJ 21. The tube was for rigidity as I didn't want too much spring in the hook. The overall length is about 3 inches from the face of the torch. The principle is the same as the ones shown in earlier postings.

When fitting three link couplings I would suggest:
Links and hooks which are slightly overscale make life easier. I use the Smith's version, which have to be made up, but for which magnetic links are available. Alternatively it is possible to make your own.
Ensure that the links move freely.
Three links or screw couplings are not really compatible with corridor connectors on coaches.

Apologies if this seems a bit obvious ... :D

Noel
Regards
Noel

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Will L
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Will L » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:54 am

There is no doubt that the choice of coupling hook is personal. My taste in such things has developed over the years, from a plain strait hook when dealing with relatively course objects attached to OO models, to a more subtle curved and bent variety for dealing with the more refined scale couplings generally found on the front of P4 models. The same progress forced a migration to a finer wire too. The picture shows my life collection, the two in the front are the only ones I would want to use today. My hook shape is a bit more primitive than Mr Bamber's, but like his, uncoupling is performed by rolling the shaft of the hook between the fingers, so the end revolves around the shaft and winds itself out of the link. Perhaps because I have a slightly more pronounced hook, unlike Simon, I have no problem with premature disengagement. In use it quickly becomes obvious that this design is handed. Which hand you need depends whether you want to couple the link on the left to the hook on the right or visa versa. My hooks had always been double ended, and now I had a good reason, left hand at one end right hand at the other. Though which is which is a level of definition I have yet to reach.
coupling hooks.jpg

The wire is fine steel. To make, form a semi circular U bend over a suitable sized drill (say about 1-1.5 mm), snip off one side of the U, and bend the curved section 90 degrees sideways. Repeat at the other end, remembering to bend the other way. The grip is coiled low voltage insulated cable, the difficult bit is getting that to solder to the steel wire.

In my advancing years I need more light too, I find a LED head torch is just the thing.

Will

P.S. Join the Campaign for Real Couplings - Auto couplers, Jackson, Dingham or Hornby nee Triang, are all the work of the devil.

martin goodall
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Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby martin goodall » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:53 pm

Here's my version (designed and made about 30 years ago).

It is double-ended, with both left-handed and right-handed hooks.

The essential feature is the 'tail' bent at 45 degrees both forward and to one side (right or left for the right-handed and left-handed hooks respectively).

The shunter's pole is used by lowering it vertically, engaging the bottom link of the coupling with the tail, twisting the shaft between the fingers and lifting it vertically to pick up the link and drop it over the opposing hook. The tail is then disengaged by twisting in the opposite direction and then lifting the shunter's pole away.

I am grateful to Philip Hall for the photos, which were taken for a magazine article which has never been published.
Shunter's pole 1   ©  Philip Hall (by courtesy of WSP Ltd).jpg
© Philip Hall (by courtesy of WSP Ltd)

Shunter's pole 2   ©  Philip Hall (by courtesy of WSP Ltd).jpg
© Philip Hall (by courtesy of WSP Ltd)

Rhobat Bryn

Re: Uncoupling Hooks

Postby Rhobat Bryn » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:53 pm

Many thanks for all your comments. I have, since posting, bought a 4mm shunting pole complete with torch from Lanarkshire Models. I'll see how I get on with that. Regarding the magnetic shunters pole, has anyone ever produced an electro-magnetic pole where the magnet can be switched on and off?


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