Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

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Martin Kelly
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Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Martin Kelly » Tue Sep 07, 2021 12:04 pm

As a P4 newbie, I've been looking around for a first, simple, inexpensive option to get a locomotive up and running. My research has led me to looking at the diminutive Hornby Ruston 48DS as a candidate. The bodywork looks nicely detailed and would lend itself to weathering up for an industrial railway micro-layout/test plank. Having got this far, I thought I'd reach out to see if anybody has experience of converting this RTR loco. I'm interested in any experiences/advice you have but I do have some specific questions too:

1). Does anybody know what material each sub-assemble is made from? I'm particularly interested in the chassis, footplate, headstocks and buffers/buffer shanks.

2). What wheels would you recommend for a potential conversion?

3). Beginners question: what steps would be involved in swapping out the OO wheels and replacing them with P4 ones? I'm looking to keep it simple and keep a rigid chassis without compensation/springing for my first attempt.

I am aware that there is a Judith Edge kit of this prototype but I don't want to go down the kit building route for this first foray. I just want to get something up and running with as little hassle as possible so that I can push around the wagon kits I'm building.

Thank you in advance for sharing your wisdom.

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Simon_S
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Simon_S » Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:03 pm

Hi Martin,
There's some discussion of this on RMWeb starting here.

I haven't done this myself but it looks as easy as they come and should be an ideal introductory project for you;
  1. dismantle the chassis to extract the axles
  2. recover the gears and bearings from the OO axles
  3. transfer them to your P4 axles positioning the gear to line up with the gearing from the motor
  4. fit the P4 wheels to the axles
  5. set the back-to-backs
  6. adjust the pickups to bear on the backs of the new wheels
  7. reassemble
You might need to carefully remove some material from the inside of the loco frames to clear the outside faces of the P4 wheels. I recommend Branchlines wheels for this, I think 10.5mm diameter - they have a solid disk wheel which will make setting up the pickups less critical.

Hope this helps,
Simon

Enigma
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Enigma » Wed Sep 08, 2021 3:27 pm

I've been promised a 48Ds body only (the owner has used to chassis for a 3D printed body of his own design) and was intending to use a High Level 'chassis' for it, originally intended for powering the JE kit. Has anyone tried this to see if it will fit OK? I don't see why it shouldn't, the only thing extra to do will be to make some frames - but that shouldn't be to difficult should it?!

Martin Kelly
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Martin Kelly » Thu Sep 09, 2021 8:29 am

Thank you Simon for your encouraging reply. That gives me confidence to go further down this route.

I hope you don't mind if I ask you to elaborate on a couple of points please...

Firstly, what would "recovery" of the gears and bearings involve? I understand you haven't modified this specific locomotive but, based on experience you may have had with other ones, are these parts hard to remove from the OO axles? Are they glued in place or just held by push/friction fit? And am I likely to need any special tools to do the job properly?

Secondly, thank you for recommending the Branchlines wheels. The Branchlines website (such as it is) seems to be very out-of-date and offers no product details or online purchasing options. Is there somewhere online where I can see the product line and place an order? 48DS's typically had 2ft 6in diameter wheels with four holes drilled in the disc. In a perfect world, I'd like to match that as closely as possible but compromise may be the order of the day to get things up and running.

If anybody has other options for the wheels, I'd welcome those so that I have a choice of ways forward.

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Simon_S
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Simon_S » Thu Sep 09, 2021 12:32 pm

Hi Martin,
Glad I haven't put you off! By "recovery" I mean simply pulling the wheels off the axle - the Hornby wheels have a central plastic insulating bush so should come off easily and I expect the gear will too.

I know what you mean about the Branchlines website but you will find him very helpful over the phone and his mail order service is excellent.

Kean Maygib wheels would be a good alternative as they also use a metal wheel with plastic centre bush, they look to be available from the EM Gauge Society stores. Alan Gibson wheels are easy to obtain but use a steel tyre on a plastic wheel disc so may need a bit more work on the pickups. Another possibility would be to turn the Hornby wheel centres down to allow P4 tyres to be pressed on, either as I did here, or, more properly, on a lathe.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Sep 09, 2021 2:04 pm

Martin Kelly wrote:The Branchlines website (such as it is) seems to be very out-of-date and offers no product details or online purchasing options. Is there somewhere online where I can see the product line and place an order?


If you e-mail Branchlines they'll e-mail you a pdf catalogue (see http://branchlines.blogspot.com/2006/06 ... files.html ).

DT

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Captain Kernow
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Captain Kernow » Thu Sep 09, 2021 6:51 pm

I would be interested to see how you get on. I have one of these to convert as well and have already bought some 10.5mm 'Black Beetle' wheels from Branchlines (very helpful, as ever).
Tim M
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bécasse
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby bécasse » Thu Sep 09, 2021 8:22 pm

The two chassis side members, which are sheet steel on the prototype, are die-cast metal (integral with the footplate) on the model and thus overscale thickness and only 21,3 mm apart.

The wheels have to fit between these side members, and with the minimum P4 dimensions being 1,8 mm for the thickness of each wheel (AGW wheels are 2 mm, I don't know about Branchlines) plus 17,67 mm back-to-back we get a wheel set width of 1,8 + 17,67 + 1,8 = 21,27 mm. Given that some sort of provision is going to have to be made for preventing shorting between the wheels and the chassis side members and that the chosen wheels may be more than 1,8 mm wide anyway, that isn't going to work without the removal of metal from the inside surfaces of side members and that, at least without access to a milling machine, doesn't look as if it will an easy task, certainly more difficult than removing metal from inside splashers on a steam loco model.

I suspect that if the task was easy we would have seen a fair number of P4 48DSs around by now.

Philip Hall
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Philip Hall » Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:39 am

On such a small engine reducing the width of the wheels to below 1.8mm might be a solution. I have recently narrowed Alan Gibson wheels to 1.7mm to allow for extra sideplay in a Hornby Terrier which had to go around 18” radius curves. Also Ultrascale wheels for the Hornby Sentinel were narrower than that, I believe.

Philip

Martin Kelly
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Martin Kelly » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:25 am

What is it that makes removing some metal from the side members so difficult? Is the metal very hard? Is the place it needs to be removed from inaccessible? Or is it something else?

Also, is a milling machine really needed for this job or is it something that can be achieved using a grinding disc and a Dremel?

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David Thorpe
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby David Thorpe » Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:17 am

Martin Kelly wrote:Also, is a milling machine really needed for this job or is it something that can be achieved using a grinding disc and a Dremel?


No. Provided there is sufficiewnt room, a grinding disc and drill (I use a Parkside one for rougher jobs) is all I've ever used in such cases although it's a bit of a pain doing it. I don't have access to milling equipment.
DT
Last edited by David Thorpe on Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

David Catton
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby David Catton » Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:18 am

If you can get hold of them, North West Shortline do - or did - (H0) 33 inch diameter P87 wheelsets that might work.

davebradwell
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby davebradwell » Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:35 am

It still sounds too close - you need to add a bit on for clearance, even 0.2 per side would seem close plus a bit for endfloat in the axle. How good is your vernier - that might need up to 0.2 adding, or it might be in your favour, of course? You need almost a mm more space, minimum.

I've chiselled die casting away using a graver in the past when it hasn't been worth setting up in the mill - it's like a small HSS chisel but will likely need grinding to a different angle.

Nice to see someone using numbers.

DaveB

Tony Wilkins
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Tony Wilkins » Fri Sep 10, 2021 12:21 pm

Martin Kelly wrote:What is it that makes removing some metal from the side members so difficult? Is the metal very hard? Is the place it needs to be removed from inaccessible? Or is it something else?

Also, is a milling machine really needed for this job or is it something that can be achieved using a grinding disc and a Dremel?


Hi Martin.
The metal used for die-casting is usually a type of Mazak, a Zinc based alloy and fairly soft. You would be better off with a grinding burr in a Dremel rather than a grinding disc, which will quickly clog. I have used coarse files to remove material in the past. It will clog fine tooth files. It can also be cut with a sharp blade. The problem from the sound of it is that you have a blind hole to work in so limiting the stroke length, but it should be possible to widen the internal width of the chassis, but it may be slow going. It is also a sensible precaution to remove the die-cast block from the mechanical parts to prevent any filings getting into them.
Regards
Tony.
Inspiration from the past. Dreams for the future.

Enigma
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Enigma » Fri Sep 10, 2021 1:05 pm

From reading the last few posts it appears that fitting a HL 48Ds 'chassis' could be a bit more difficult than I initially thought! Probably nothing insurmountable but more work than I anticipated. I'll wait until I get the body before making any more predictions as to whether It will work or not.

Philip Hall
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Philip Hall » Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:06 pm

The NSW wheels in Andy’s separate post work out at 1.625 mm x 2, plus a P4 back to back of 17.7mm gives a distance over tyres of 20.95mm which gives a very small clearance of 0.35mm overall. I think a little scraping would increase that to an acceptable amount.

Another way of doing this would be to thin down the front face of a Branchlines wheel, either in a lathe or by simply rubbing it on a file, a little bit at a time. I would actually try and scrape or use a burr to get some extra clearance, but not get too carried away, and then start reducing wheel width.

Philip

Martin Kelly
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Martin Kelly » Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:57 pm

At the risk of hijacking my own thread, I'm still considering other options as well as the Hornby Ruston for a first no-fuss RTR conversion to P4. With that in mind, I've stumbled across the Hatton SECR P Class (which they did in a couple of nice BR black variants suitable for late-period steam light/industrial railway use). So I'd be interested in any experience or thoughts on this option. At first glance, there don't seem to be any potential chassis clearance/shorting problems and I can see that there are suitable P4 wheels in the Alan Gibson catalogue. So could this be as simple as "recovering" the gears and bushes from the OO axles, transferring them on to P4 axles and fitting P4 wheels?

I've seen a photo on an RMweb thread that shows one of the axles has a simple springing mechanism, so that also seem favourable.

David Knight
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby David Knight » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:36 pm

Hi Martin. I did a conversion on the P class but replaced the frame with the SEF one as the Hornby axles are 2mm and Gibson’s are 1/8”. There *may* be a suitable bushing for converting the wheels for use with 2mm axles but I may well be wrong on that point.

FWIW the conversion using the SEF frame looked like an easy swap at first but turned out to be a lot more work as it left the body sitting too high up. A great deal of filing and fettling later it worked but was a test of my patience. Since you seem open to steam there have been a couple of articles by Bernie Baker in the Snooze on doing the Hatton’s Barclay and the Hornby W4, both 0-4-0Ts.

Cheers,

David

Edited to add source for articles

Martin Kelly
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Martin Kelly » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:19 am

Hi David,

Thank you for the information! I have to admit that I was rather disheartened when I first read about the differing axles diameters last night. However, today is a new morning and I found this other thread on the forums:

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=7398

Which appears to show appropriate bushes being used on another RTR conversion. So I'll post a couple of questions there.

In the meantime, can you tell me a a bit about the fittings on the Hattons P Class chassis please. I'm particularly interested to know what the brakes and sandpipes are made from and whether you think they would need repositioning to avoid snagging on P4 wheels.

Thank you again for you earlier response.

David Knight
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby David Knight » Wed Sep 22, 2021 2:43 pm

Hi Martin,

I dug out the P class frame and the brakes and sandpipes are all plastic and, to my eye, rather well done. Unfortunately they are firmly set for 00 standards and the plastic does not look like the kind that can be squeezed to gauge. I am hoping to sell on the mechanism later so I’m reluctant to do any potentially destructive experimentation. I have attached a photo for reference.

Cheers,

David

6300A1C6-C3F9-4F0D-B37B-951EF606D921.jpeg

Martin Kelly
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby Martin Kelly » Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:09 am

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to do that David. At the moment I'm still tempted by the idea of trying to convert this chassis to P4. The detail of the locomotive looks pretty good and there don't seem to be any really nasty engineering jobs like milling away from of the frame to achieve clearances for the wheels plus there are none of the extra problems of dealing with outside cylinders like on the Hattons Barclay and the Hornby Peckett.

Compared to those, working out a way to deal with the sandpipes and brakes seems small beer (especially when they're plastic components so there are no electrical shorting risks). I wouldn't expect you to attempt any further experimentation that might cause damage but does it look like those plastic parts are glued in place with superglue or something similar? If so, then use of superglue debonder may be an option.

David Knight
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Re: Any experience with the Hornby Ruston 48DS?

Postby David Knight » Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:59 pm

I’m not sure about the glue TBH, I’m told that some companies use a thick PVA type of glue and even this varies according to the whims of the person assembling the model who may do some joints and not others. Good luck with your efforts :thumb

Cheers,

David


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