Ultrascale Brass Wheels

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Lambridge

Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:13 pm

Does anyone have any experience of the brass wheelsets offered as quick conversion sets for R-T-R locos http://www.ultrascale.co.uk/ucp0001.php

As I'm planning to rewheel a number of locos to P4 the price difference between the brass and nickel silver is quite appealing. Yes, I am from Yorkshire! I'm intending to blacken the tyres with Carrs and the lack of "shine" on the tyres isn't a concern.

I would imagine that the tyres will be softer than N/S and will wear quicker, I'll be using steel rails. However, I would imagine it would take quite a few miles of running before any appreciable wear took place. Do they get dirty easier or react to temperature changes? Any pick-up or conductivity problems?

I'm very attracted to the Ultrascale sets as they seem to offer the chance of R-T-R P4 conversion without having to ensure perfectly square crank pins, wheel axle fit, wheel quartering etc without also buying a load of jigs and tools - I'll get there eventually but the Bachmann/Ultrascale path appears to be a painless entry to P4 motive power to start off with. I've read the article on CLAG for the 8750 conversion, also Ultrascales information sheets. I'd still expect to have to check back to back, but at least that's only one tool to start with rather than several.

I'm very interested to hear of any members experiences or comments regarding these wheelset conversions and particularly the brass wheels.

Since writing this I've been reading the 45xx BACHMANN CONVERSION thread - why can't anything be straightforward?

Cheers.
Ian

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Russ Elliott » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:32 pm

Nickel tyres are bad enough at picking up crud, and brass is worse. Yer pays yer money and...

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LesGros
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby LesGros » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:35 pm

Hi Ian,

I asked a similar question a few weeks ago, if you peruse the thread : Re: Yet another Hello by LesGros » Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:07 pm

you will find the helpful advice given by Keith N and others.

regards
LesG

The man who never made a mistake
never made anything useful

Lambridge

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:44 pm

Thanks for the link Les, I suspected there might be dirt issues, although I'd like to hear from someone actually using brass wheels to see what their personal experience is. I can only assume that there is a demand for the wheels, otherwise why would Ultrascale be making them?

I'm a bit more concerned by the information I'm reading on the 45xx Bachmann Conversion thread, it seems that R-T-R to P4 conversion might not be as simple as the Ultrascale Information Sheets suggests.

Of course I realise that a locomotive chassis made for '00' guage and for a retail price of less than £50 (manufacture cost £20?) might have some tolerance issues, but does that mean entry to P4 is restricted to those who have the engineering skills and time necessary to build a replacement chassis? Is it possibly the case that the wider tolerances of 18.2mm guage are better suited to R-T-R conversion?

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Russ Elliott » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:58 pm

Lambridge wrote:but does that mean entry to P4 is restricted to those who have the engineering skills and time necessary to build a replacement chassis?

No. It means that the quality of running might not be as good as could be obtained by other approaches.

Is it possibly the case that the wider tolerances of 18.2mm guage are better suited to R-T-R conversion?

Yes and no. Yes in as much as widening the supplied wheels should result with the same good or bad running characteristics as the original, but no because the distance between the running rails is not relevant to the errors being discussed in the 45xx conversion thread.

Lambridge

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:55 am

Russ Elliott wrote:No. It means that the quality of running might not be as good as could be obtained by other approaches. ?


I would be grateful to know what those alternatives might be. I'm looking for a practical and economic way of getting into P4, but if that route ends up in frustration at poor running then it could prove a false economy.

Russ Elliott wrote:...no because the distance between the running rails is not relevant to the errors being discussed in the 45xx conversion thread.


I get your point as regards EM/P4 differences, although my understanding of the 45xx conversion problem is that poor axle alignment (out of parallel) that is not a problem at 16.5mm is being amplified by using longer axles and thus creating binding against the connecting rods.

The use of long 3mm rods to check the chassis sounds a good starting point, not converting any "Friday afternoon" chassis that's out of true. Might get some funny looks down the model shop though as I take their stock apart to check 'em!

Hopefully this is where an organisation such as Scalefour Society comes into play, by liaising with the manufacturer and pointing out that they may be able to make a price premium by producing one or two special batches with a higher level of Quality Assurance. I realise that it's likely they would only be really interested in doing that if the society were offering to buy the batch for resale, as Bachmann do "special editions" of liveries etc. for model shops or preservation societies (even the NRM), but it may be a strategy the society could investigate. I'd certainly be willing to put down a payment in advance against a Bachmann loco I knew had been checked for known defects. Why not go the whole hog and bring Bachmann and Ultrascale together to put out an R-T-R P4 loco, or would that be asking too much?

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Tim V
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Tim V » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:13 pm

Lambridge wrote:Of course I realise that a locomotive chassis made for '00' guage and for a retail price of less than £50 (manufacture cost £20?)


You are being generous there. That £20 includes packing and shipping costs.

You would be surprised by the accuracy of manufactured items, one of the reasons why straight wheel-swaps of RTR wagons is because the wagons are square, probably more square than your etched W iron wagon.
Tim V
Scalefour News Editor

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Russ Elliott » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:34 pm

Lambridge wrote:I would be grateful to know what those alternatives might be.

Building and fitting a better chassis.

I'm looking for a practical and economic way of getting into P4, but if that route ends up in frustration at poor running then it could prove a false economy.

I can't do the frustration versus economy discussion.

Hopefully this is where an organisation such as Scalefour Society comes into play, by liaising with the manufacturer and pointing out that they may be able to make a price premium by producing one or two special batches with a higher level of Quality Assurance.

That will be about 100 grand, please Sir.

I'd certainly be willing to put down a payment in advance against a Bachmann loco I knew had been checked for known defects.

Bachmann will take you to court over such a suggestion.

Why not go the whole hog and bring Bachmann and Ultrascale together to put out an R-T-R P4 loco, or would that be asking too much?

Hmmm. Make that 200 grand.

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Will L
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Will L » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:27 am

Lambridge wrote:
Of course I realise that a locomotive chassis made for '00' guage and for a retail price of less than £50 (manufacture cost £20?) might have some tolerance issues, but does that mean entry to P4 is restricted to those who have the engineering skills and time necessary to build a replacement chassis?


No because I understand that not all conversions are as vexed as the one that is worrying you. But a broad conversion program will reveal problems to be overcome which will require the development of a certain level of skill, if you don't have it before your arrive. I do think we do ourselves and potential new member a disservice if we try to to suggest otherwise. Though I will say I found this true of developing a convincing and cohesive set of rolling stock when I started 00 modelling

Will

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LesGros
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby LesGros » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:30 am

Will L wrote:
Lambridge wrote:
Of course I realise that a locomotive chassis made for '00' guage and for a retail price of less than £50 (manufacture cost £20?) might have some tolerance issues, but does that mean entry to P4 is restricted to those who have the engineering skills and time necessary to build a replacement chassis?


I understand what you are driving at, I too am new to P4, my own 00 Loco stable ranges in difficulty to convert, from Class 20 to a 9F 2-10-0. The first will be a simple drop-in wheelset. :D The latter will probably require a complete chassis, a bit daunting. :o My first chassis will be a simple Branchlines Drewry 0-6-0 package. The plan is to build it whilst following the methods described in Allan Goodwillie's workshop.
SWOMBO gave me an unexpected treat with a Birthday K1. That is a full, rolled boiler job, a challenge that I will be leaving until a bit later.

I do not envy you your first choice for conversion, correcting an out-of-true RTR is a task I would be inclined to put to one side until my skill-set has progressed, On the other hand, there is a lot of experience on these Fora, one of the experts may be able to help you with the crucial tip that makes it all achieveable.

best wishes for success, 8-)
LesG

The man who never made a mistake
never made anything useful

Lambridge

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:26 am

Hmmm...

The thing seems to be - where does one begin? I can't say I'm too keen on diving into making a replacement chassis, which really should be compensated or sprung to make the project worthwhile, when there's a fairly good chance that at my novice skill level it would end up being a lot less accurate than an RTR chassis for 16.5mm guage ever would be. I need to get to grips with a few sprung wagon suspensions and get my fingers singed on some smaller jobs first.

The definite attraction for a beginner is that Ultrascale sets come ready quartered, square on their axles, ready to hit the track spinning so to speak - very appealing.

BTW: I was certainly not intending to suggest that Bachmann are making anything other than a perfectly engineered product for the purpose for which it is designed. However, conversion to 18.83mm guage is not part of that design and all warranties would most certainly be invalid on changing wheelsets, that's only to be expected.

At the moment I'm just waiting for my Bill Bedford etches to arrive to build up some Cooper Craft wagon kits to P4 - just like "the book" says.

I would like to have a loco to pull them up and down my SMP 18.83 'plank track' and having read Ultrascale's "Pop 'em out - Pop 'em in" instruction sheet I picked up a new Bachmann 45xx (for a song) at a local exhibition with just that thought in mind.

It just seems a shame there's a chance (and fortunately I think it seems that it may only be a small chance) that there might be a snag with my cunning plan.

Meanwhile, returning to my original question - Has any one ever fitted a set of Brass wheels to a loco? And would they ever do it again?

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LesGros
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby LesGros » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:31 am

Meanwhile, returning to my original question - Has any one ever fitted a set of Brass wheels to a loco? And would they ever do it again


I recently asked a similar question on my "Yet another hello" thread. The replies were not much in favour of Brass tyres' so I will not be using them. I have ordered some Ultrascale wheels, but there is an up to 16 week delivery quoted. Patience, and long term planning is required.

My own chosen path into P4 is similar to yours, in that I will do a few drop-in waggon wheel changes and then be practising brasswork on sprung waggons. I await a couple of Bill Bedford "W iron "etches and Palatine waggon base plates. I will practice on these before moving on to more serious carving of waggons as required.

I have a Branchline Drewry package-deal kit which which contains all you need ( Dapol body, Branchlines chassis, wheels, gearbox, and motor) for a rigid chassis . A set of sprung hornblocks ordered from scalefour stores complete the ensemble. I will build it using the guidance from Allan Goodwillie's tutorial piece over the next few weeks. I will know then to what extent I wish to self-build, and wether or not to convert or dispose of existing Locos.
Regards
Last edited by LesGros on Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
LesG

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Philip Hall
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Philip Hall » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:44 pm

Meanwhile, returning to my original question - Has any one ever fitted a set of Brass wheels to a loco? And would they ever do it again?


I've just remembered that my father fitted a set of Hamblings wheels to a Triang M7 for me over 40 years ago and I seem to recall that current collection was awful. But then, I was running on Peco Streamline in 00 at the time. I also had some lengths of Streamline with brass rail and I think you could almost see the tarnish forming before your eyes after you'd cleaned it. Pendon also had some of Guy Williams locos which were fitted with modified Hamblings drivers, but I would imagine they're all gone now.

However, I've just unearthed from my box of bits awaiting a home a front bogie for a Bulleid Pacific, also made by my father at about the same time. This is again fitted with Hamblings wheels, flanges like a bacon slicer, but although they've been stored away for such a long time they don't appear to be too dirty. Maybe once the tarnish gets to a point it doesn't get any worse? This bogie is also notable for the fact that Dad folded it up from 1mm brass & drilled it for the 1/8" axles that Hamblings used; It's absolutely true and square. But then, he was a toolmaker. Slightly off-topic, he also beat a turntable well out of one piece of aluminium sheet, walls, central circle and all, all perfectly round and true. I still have it, and intend to use it on the new layout, and it serves to remind me sometimes how his skills were far in excess of my own.

Philip

David Knight
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby David Knight » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:25 am

In my early days in HO I had occasion to use, and despise, brass wheels. If they are blackened and used on rolling stock they are no great problem but when asked to collect current they were in need of constant cleaning. They are, in fairness, a step up from plastic wheels but I would not use them preferring nickel silver or steel.

HTH

David

Lambridge

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:34 am

Many thanks for getting us back 'on-topic'. I think for the £6.50 involved it would probably be sensible to go for Nickel Silver - but it does raise the question of why Ultrascale make 'em?

Following on from what Philip was saying about skills, unfortunately sitting at a PC keyboard all day for the last twenty-five years hasn't done much for my hand-eye co-ordination when it comes to using proper tools. My paternal grandfather was a pattern maker carving masters from wood for sand box casting, I sometimes wish skills like that could be genetically inherited, but it doesn't appear to be the case. So I'm getting some practical practice in, while waiting for my W iron etches to arrive, by trying to persuade a piece of plasticard to take on the appearance of a timber goods shed - plasticard, I can hear my grandad's mutterings from here and we buried him forty years ago!

Anymore brass stories out there, or do Ultrascale advertise them as some sort of 'in-house' joke?

Philip Hall
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Philip Hall » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:16 pm

I don't think it's a joke - I think David Rogers told me quite some time ago that they do have customers for brass wheels. I guess he wouldn't be making them otherwise. Probably, though, they're not on this forum...

Philip

Lambridge

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:42 am

Well the wheels are ordered now, in Nickel Silver, for a Bachman Jinty (lovely photo set in the Scalefour News this week) and the 45xx. Only four months (or so) to wait for them to arrive.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby grovenor-2685 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:31 am

Here is the set i used on my Jinty, from Alan Gibson, they have been trouble free and it runs just fine.
Image

You can see it doing banking duty here
Even with a decoder fitted there is room for lead weights to bring it up to 308 grammes which gives it good traction.
Regards
Keith
Regards
Keith
Grovenor Sidings

Lambridge

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:00 am

My plan is certainly to use AG's for the kits I hope to build over the coming year(s).

I'm watching the Allan Goodwillie thread regarding building jigs and guides to ensure square crankpins, excellent stuff, so hopefully I can get my crankpins in straight and my axles on square for my 517 and Metro Tank.

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David Thorpe
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby David Thorpe » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:38 am

Lambridge wrote:Anymore brass stories out there, or do Ultrascale advertise them as some sort of 'in-house' joke?
When I was at the Glasgow model railway show this weekend I spoke to the operator of an EM gauge layout who told me that all his locos (diesel) and rolling stock are fitted with brass wheels (albeit not Utrascale). He explained that his stock is all fitted with Kadee magnetic couplings, which require magnets to be placed under the track at strategic places. When he used steel wheels, or even wheels with steel axles, he found that the under-track magnets "grabbed" at the wheels and effectively impeded good running. He told me that he had had no problems with the brass wheels and certainly the impeccable slow running of his locos appeared to bear that out.

David

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John McAleely
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Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby John McAleely » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:54 pm

DaveyTee wrote:When I was at the Glasgow model railway show this weekend I spoke to the operator of an EM gauge layout who told me that all his locos (diesel) and rolling stock are fitted with brass wheels (albeit not Utrascale). He explained that his stock is all fitted with Kadee magnetic couplings, which require magnets to be placed under the track at strategic places. When he used steel wheels, or even wheels with steel axles, he found that the under-track magnets "grabbed" at the wheels and effectively impeded good running. He told me that he had had no problems with the brass wheels and certainly the impeccable slow running of his locos appeared to bear that out.


I can certainly agree that stock UK wheelsets on RTR (steel? NS?) are attracted to the stock magnets sold for use with Kadees. This does make slow speed movement over the magnets prone to judders. I understand that in the US market, Brass is far more common on rolling stock for exactly this reason.

However, my plan to address this is to move to using electromagnets to activate the Kadees (or any other magnetic auto coupling I settle on). Others have suggested this works well, although I've not had the chance to confirm this yet.

Philbax

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Philbax » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:27 am

Whilst we are on the subject of wheels, how do people keep them from rusting?
I have a number of models stored in the house but I notice that after some time there are small areas of rust appearing. I can usually clean them with a fibre brush, but what do you folks do?

Philbax

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Philbax » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:30 am

Sorry I should have said they are steel wheels!!

Lambridge

Re: Ultrascale Brass Wheels

Postby Lambridge » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:32 am

DaveyTee, many thanks for your contribution, it's certainly useful to know there is a practical purpose to brass wheels and that they can provide a solution to a problem.
To follow up on Philbax's question, I'd be most interested to know of members' preferred methods of keeping wheels in perfect condition, since a rust attack on the steel tyres, and subsequent pitting of the surface I imagine could impede smooth running on P4 track. Would members advise use of those silicon granule packs to keep humdity away from wheels when vehcles are stored?


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