Date   

Re: Self centering, best solution yet

George Hofmann
 

Well you know, Mr. Lei (UP4096 in this group) who has taken up the manufacturing of Sergent design couplers in China might be able to pull it off. I hope he views this thread.
On the other hand Kadee might have a patent on this technique.
G


Re: Self centering, best solution yet

Andy Reichert
 

I'm sorry about failing eyesight. I'm getting up there myself, so I do understand. But speaking as someone who still manufactures as my retirement hobby,  I can assure you, offering a ready assembled option for tiny inexpensive items is the easiest way to waste a ton of time earning 50 cents an hour that I know.

"A bit more" economically is actually several times the cost of the unassembled item.

Andy

On 12/13/2021 1:14 PM, Leni Bogat wrote:
If I may may modify an adage to suit  the purpose, a manufacturer could also include the whiskers from the beginning. And, on behalf of those with eyes as old as mine, a fully assembled option for ready to install couplers. I would gladly pay a bit more not to require a microscope in order to assemble them myself. After seeing how they look on a few cars, I want them for my entire fleet, but I can’t count on having enough years left to accomplish the task.

Leni

On Dec 13, 2021, at 3:02 PM, Edward Sutorik via groups.io <Edwardsutorik@...> wrote:

IF you have a mill, you could build a fixture that could hold and position a coupler body on its side so that:

you could cut a groove down the side that would hold the wire.  It would both provide easy alignment and also give  more surface area for the glue bond.

I'm looking at a catalog that is showing engraving cutters with a tip radius.  A 90 degree cutter can have a tip radius of .0025, which would be good for .005 wire and smaller.  Same for a 60 degree.


Of course, a manufacturer could include such a groove from the beginning.


Ed

Edward Sutorik
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This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
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Re: Self centering, best solution yet

Dale Buxton <dbtuathaddana@...>
 

Thanks George, 
Way to go Sir! Great out of the box thinking. I agree that this probably is the best solution for centering these.

Dale Buxton

On Mon, Dec 13, 2021 at 09:54 George Hofmann <george.hofmann@...> wrote:
On this forum I have proposed several solutions for self centering but I am always striving to improve. I admire the Kadee "whisker coupler" technique and wondered if it could be adapted. I grabbed my last #158, took a pair of pliers and yanked out the whiskers. They are crimped to the shank (more on that later). I glued the whiskers onto a Sergent narrow shank using CA in the same orientation as on the Kadees. I installed the result into an Accumate box and ... Viola! It works! Perfect repeatable centering, unrestricted lateral movement and importantly, very little force required to move the shank from side to side. The freedom of movement is important because that can sometimes be the difference between a successful coupling or not. If there is slight misalignment such that an open knuckle touches a closed knuckle the two couplers can sometimes slide apart to allow the join rather than pushing the open knuckle closed. This is more likely to occur if there is little resistance to sideways motion.

But that was my last #158. What to use for more whisker material? I got suggestions from another forum that the material was either carbon fiber or stainless steel and that it was .004" diameter. I searched fruitlessly for those materials. But the other day when rooting through my stash of railroad things I ran across a long tube that contained a (nearly) invisible strand of something. The label said "superelastic Nitinol .008". A lightbulb appeared above my head. This Nitinol wire is straight, stays straight, is super springy and is almost indestructable. 

I took out the (nearly) invisible wire and cut two pieces from it each 8mm long. I glued them on like the whiskers before, Tried it again in a box and... Huzzah! It works! These whiskers are a little stiffer than the Kadee ones because these are twice the diameter. They work but I'm going to acquire some .004 or .005 going forward. I saw a price of $8 for a 36" piece. You can get about 30 cars out of such a length. The technique works equally well using a standard shank in a wide box. The whiskers should be a little longer for the standard shank.

There is a short learning curve involved. I apply medium Starbond CA using a toothpick to the vise held coupler. Then using a fine tweezers I lay the wire in place with one end flush with the end of the shank. I carefully center and align it on the shank. Then I hold it down with a knife blade while detaching the tweezers. It could be squirted with accelerant at that point. Or just withdraw the blade and leave it alone for a while. The wire needs to be in solid contact with the shank for the entire contact length to assure that the angle of the wire is correct i.e. so that it matches the shank angle exactly. It can be pushed down with the knife blade without disturbing the positioning. This technique is non-destructive and reversible. See the pictures below.

I'm thinking that it might be advisable to bias the shanks slightly off center in the direction of the knuckle. It seems logical that this might decrease the chances of fouling the knuckle but further testing is required. If the conclusion is correct it should be possible to adjust the neutral position using a styrene shim between one whisker and the box wall.

Not that it matters but I'm pretty sure that Kadee is using this material. It looks like it and acts like it. Further the Kadee whiskers are crimped in place. That would be consistent with this conclusion since you would not want to apply heat to Nitinol in the manufacturing process.

Have fun. Otherwise there's no point in any of this.

George
Edgewood, WA





Re: Self centering, best solution yet

George Hofmann
 

John:
I had mentioned in previous postings that others had already come up with similar ideas. I believe that your concept was one that I was referring to. But I think your method will not work in the narrow Accumate boxes. This whisker technique works in any box.
Thanks for exposing your technique again. The more choices the better. We need to remove all excuses for not using these little marvels.
G


Re: Self centering, best solution yet

John Degnan <scaler164@...>
 


Good idea... but I'd like to throw out a simpler idea I had about 7 years ago for auto-centering my "S" scale Sergent couplers... an idea that doesn't require any form of gluing.  Check out the photos and video on the "PROTOTYPE  PHOTOS  AND  VIDEO" table near the bottom of the following page.

http://www.trainweb.org/seaboard/SScaleGearBox.htm

I used a draft gear box from Kadee a 802 or 808 coupler for this prototype-test build, and as the video shows, it worked flawlessly.


John Degnan
Scaler164@... 


Re: Self centering, best solution yet

Peter York <peterdyork@...>
 

Or better still, a manufacturer could provide them with the wires attached. I can dream, can’t I?

On Dec 13, 2021, at 3:02 PM, Edward Sutorik via groups.io <Edwardsutorik@...> wrote:

IF you have a mill, you could build a fixture that could hold and position a coupler body on its side so that:

you could cut a groove down the side that would hold the wire.  It would both provide easy alignment and also give  more surface area for the glue bond.

I'm looking at a catalog that is showing engraving cutters with a tip radius.  A 90 degree cutter can have a tip radius of .0025, which would be good for .005 wire and smaller.  Same for a 60 degree.


Of course, a manufacturer could include such a groove from the beginning.


Ed

Edward Sutorik


Re: Self centering, best solution yet

Leni Bogat
 

If I may may modify an adage to suit  the purpose, a manufacturer could also include the whiskers from the beginning. And, on behalf of those with eyes as old as mine, a fully assembled option for ready to install couplers. I would gladly pay a bit more not to require a microscope in order to assemble them myself. After seeing how they look on a few cars, I want them for my entire fleet, but I can’t count on having enough years left to accomplish the task.

Leni 

On Dec 13, 2021, at 3:02 PM, Edward Sutorik via groups.io <Edwardsutorik@...> wrote:

IF you have a mill, you could build a fixture that could hold and position a coupler body on its side so that:

you could cut a groove down the side that would hold the wire.  It would both provide easy alignment and also give  more surface area for the glue bond.

I'm looking at a catalog that is showing engraving cutters with a tip radius.  A 90 degree cutter can have a tip radius of .0025, which would be good for .005 wire and smaller.  Same for a 60 degree.


Of course, a manufacturer could include such a groove from the beginning.


Ed

Edward Sutorik


Re: Self centering, best solution yet

Edward Sutorik
 

IF you have a mill, you could build a fixture that could hold and position a coupler body on its side so that:

you could cut a groove down the side that would hold the wire.  It would both provide easy alignment and also give  more surface area for the glue bond.

I'm looking at a catalog that is showing engraving cutters with a tip radius.  A 90 degree cutter can have a tip radius of .0025, which would be good for .005 wire and smaller.  Same for a 60 degree.


Of course, a manufacturer could include such a groove from the beginning.


Ed

Edward Sutorik


Re: Self centering, best solution yet

Leni Bogat
 

Genius!!!


Self centering, best solution yet

George Hofmann
 

On this forum I have proposed several solutions for self centering but I am always striving to improve. I admire the Kadee "whisker coupler" technique and wondered if it could be adapted. I grabbed my last #158, took a pair of pliers and yanked out the whiskers. They are crimped to the shank (more on that later). I glued the whiskers onto a Sergent narrow shank using CA in the same orientation as on the Kadees. I installed the result into an Accumate box and ... Viola! It works! Perfect repeatable centering, unrestricted lateral movement and importantly, very little force required to move the shank from side to side. The freedom of movement is important because that can sometimes be the difference between a successful coupling or not. If there is slight misalignment such that an open knuckle touches a closed knuckle the two couplers can sometimes slide apart to allow the join rather than pushing the open knuckle closed. This is more likely to occur if there is little resistance to sideways motion.

But that was my last #158. What to use for more whisker material? I got suggestions from another forum that the material was either carbon fiber or stainless steel and that it was .004" diameter. I searched fruitlessly for those materials. But the other day when rooting through my stash of railroad things I ran across a long tube that contained a (nearly) invisible strand of something. The label said "superelastic Nitinol .008". A lightbulb appeared above my head. This Nitinol wire is straight, stays straight, is super springy and is almost indestructable. 

I took out the (nearly) invisible wire and cut two pieces from it each 8mm long. I glued them on like the whiskers before, Tried it again in a box and... Huzzah! It works! These whiskers are a little stiffer than the Kadee ones because these are twice the diameter. They work but I'm going to acquire some .004 or .005 going forward. I saw a price of $8 for a 36" piece. You can get about 30 cars out of such a length. The technique works equally well using a standard shank in a wide box. The whiskers should be a little longer for the standard shank.

There is a short learning curve involved. I apply medium Starbond CA using a toothpick to the vise held coupler. Then using a fine tweezers I lay the wire in place with one end flush with the end of the shank. I carefully center and align it on the shank. Then I hold it down with a knife blade while detaching the tweezers. It could be squirted with accelerant at that point. Or just withdraw the blade and leave it alone for a while. The wire needs to be in solid contact with the shank for the entire contact length to assure that the angle of the wire is correct i.e. so that it matches the shank angle exactly. It can be pushed down with the knife blade without disturbing the positioning. This technique is non-destructive and reversible. See the pictures below.

I'm thinking that it might be advisable to bias the shanks slightly off center in the direction of the knuckle. It seems logical that this might decrease the chances of fouling the knuckle but further testing is required. If the conclusion is correct it should be possible to adjust the neutral position using a styrene shim between one whisker and the box wall.

Not that it matters but I'm pretty sure that Kadee is using this material. It looks like it and acts like it. Further the Kadee whiskers are crimped in place. That would be consistent with this conclusion since you would not want to apply heat to Nitinol in the manufacturing process.

Have fun. Otherwise there's no point in any of this.

George
Edgewood, WA





Re: "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

Terry Van Winkle
 

I would be interested in purchasing samples of the SA bell cpuoplers.

Please contact for ordering information.

 

From: SergentEngineering@groups.io [mailto:SergentEngineering@groups.io] On Behalf Of Brian
Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2021 7:51 PM
To: SergentEngineering@groups.io
Subject: Re: [Sergent Engineering] "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

 

This is a Link & Pin coupling I designed a couple of years ago, this particular type of coupling is for the bell type L&P coupling as used by South African Railways on most of there 2ft. gauge lines.

 

------ Original Message ------

From: "Ross Pinyan" <monaross75@...>

Sent: 2/12/2021 10:40:53 AM

Subject: [Sergent Engineering] "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

 

Some of you may consider this post a bit off topic, but since this group focuses on couplers, passing along this eBay listing that might be of some interest.  BTW: I have absolutely no interest or association with this seller.  Two pictures hopefully will be viewable below.  See eBay details at:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/334235571519





Ross PINYAN - Irvine, Calif.

 

Virus-free. www.avg.com


Re: "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

Brian
 

Of all of the various 2ft. line the SAR had, Port Elizabeth had chopper couplings on that system.

------ Original Message ------
From: "Ross Pinyan" <monaross75@...>
Sent: 2/12/2021 12:15:19 PM
Subject: Re: [Sergent Engineering] "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

Thanx for you YouTube video... very interesting.  As a matter of (almost) ancient history fact, I was in Port Elizabeth, SA,for a day or so in late Sept/Early Oct. 1973, and remember seeing similar steam powered trains come to a halt there.  Was totally amazing... and me sans camera.  I should have examined the couplers more closely.  The engineer on one of the diminutive locos strongly resembled the posed photo of the cigar chomping hogger in Beebe and Cleege's "Steamcars to the Comstock."
Ross Pinyan - Irvine, Calif.

Virus-free. www.avg.com


Re: "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

Ross Pinyan
 

Thanx for you YouTube video... very interesting.  As a matter of (almost) ancient history fact, I was in Port Elizabeth, SA,for a day or so in late Sept/Early Oct. 1973, and remember seeing similar steam powered trains come to a halt there.  Was totally amazing... and me sans camera.  I should have examined the couplers more closely.  The engineer on one of the diminutive locos strongly resembled the posed photo of the cigar chomping hogger in Beebe and Cleege's "Steamcars to the Comstock."
Ross Pinyan - Irvine, Calif.


Re: "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

Brian
 

This is a Link & Pin coupling I designed a couple of years ago, this particular type of coupling is for the bell type L&P coupling as used by South African Railways on most of there 2ft. gauge lines.

------ Original Message ------
From: "Ross Pinyan" <monaross75@...>
Sent: 2/12/2021 10:40:53 AM
Subject: [Sergent Engineering] "Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

Some of you may consider this post a bit off topic, but since this group focuses on couplers, passing along this eBay listing that might be of some interest.  BTW: I have absolutely no interest or association with this seller.  Two pictures hopefully will be viewable below.  See eBay details at:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/334235571519





Ross PINYAN - Irvine, Calif.

Virus-free. www.avg.com


"Link and Pin" Coupler Patent Model

Ross Pinyan
 

Some of you may consider this post a bit off topic, but since this group focuses on couplers, passing along this eBay listing that might be of some interest.  BTW: I have absolutely no interest or association with this seller.  Two pictures hopefully will be viewable below.  See eBay details at:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/334235571519





Ross PINYAN - Irvine, Calif.


Re: The wand

Jamison Amis
 

This is a cool idea, George.

While all the wands I use now are the brass tube style with the small cylindrical magnets in the ends, I do like the idea of using heat shrink to make it a little easier to grip them.  I once owned one of the solid magnet wands in the past, which I lost when it was dropped and fractured upon impact.  Didn't think to salvage it once the replacement came.

I'll be trying this one out soon.  Thanks for sharing.



Jamison Amis


On Tue, Nov 30, 2021 at 12:06 PM George Hofmann <george.hofmann@...> wrote:
I broke one of my Sergent uncoupling wands. Dropped it on the floor and it broke cleanly in two. Glued together with CA, broke again, same place.

So, enough of that. Glued it again but then enclosed it in a length of 1/8" shrink tubing. I will do the same on my other wand as well as I hope this will protect it from breakage. I took the adhesive tape off that holds the knuckle pin and then used CA to glue the pin to the wand. The shrink wrap also covers most of the pin. The pin had been slipping under the tape so that's another problem solved.

I used gentle heat from a soldering iron to shrink the tubing so as not to affect the magnetism in the wand. It works as well as before.

The added diameter of the tubing and its texture gives a friendlier feel and better grip on the wand.

I would recommend using a bright color tubing rather than black. That would make it a little easier to find.

George
Edgewood, WA (where it has resumed raining)

 


Re: The wand

Riley Kinney
 

Awesome idea and I vote for Orange as the bright color….

Michael


Re: The wand

Mark Lewis
 

George,

Great tip!!

Mark Lewis
Narrow gauge modeling in N.C.


On Tue, Nov 30, 2021 at 12:06 PM George Hofmann <george.hofmann@...> wrote:
I broke one of my Sergent uncoupling wands. Dropped it on the floor and it broke cleanly in two. Glued together with CA, broke again, same place.

So, enough of that. Glued it again but then enclosed it in a length of 1/8" shrink tubing. I will do the same on my other wand as well as I hope this will protect it from breakage. I took the adhesive tape off that holds the knuckle pin and then used CA to glue the pin to the wand. The shrink wrap also covers most of the pin. The pin had been slipping under the tape so that's another problem solved.

I used gentle heat from a soldering iron to shrink the tubing so as not to affect the magnetism in the wand. It works as well as before.

The added diameter of the tubing and its texture gives a friendlier feel and better grip on the wand.

I would recommend using a bright color tubing rather than black. That would make it a little easier to find.

George
Edgewood, WA (where it has resumed raining)

 


The wand

George Hofmann
 

I broke one of my Sergent uncoupling wands. Dropped it on the floor and it broke cleanly in two. Glued together with CA, broke again, same place.

So, enough of that. Glued it again but then enclosed it in a length of 1/8" shrink tubing. I will do the same on my other wand as well as I hope this will protect it from breakage. I took the adhesive tape off that holds the knuckle pin and then used CA to glue the pin to the wand. The shrink wrap also covers most of the pin. The pin had been slipping under the tape so that's another problem solved.

I used gentle heat from a soldering iron to shrink the tubing so as not to affect the magnetism in the wand. It works as well as before.

The added diameter of the tubing and its texture gives a friendlier feel and better grip on the wand.

I would recommend using a bright color tubing rather than black. That would make it a little easier to find.

George
Edgewood, WA (where it has resumed raining)

 


Re: Tool for coupler alignment

George Hofmann
 

On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 04:56 AM, Jamison Amis wrote:
 
I can see the merits of this system when mating couplers with identical profiles as viewed from above, but how well does this work for pairing dissimilar ones, like an E/SBE/SE to an F/SF/H?  Due to differences in distance from the sides of the couplers to their centerlines in such pairings, I'd imagine there'd still be some fiddling required to line everything up?
 
I also note in your pictures you have a bit more space between your cars than I normally run with, and no air hose details adjacent to your couplers that I can make out (at least in the example photos shared).  How does this tool mod fare with closer-proximity coupler mounting and air hose detail being present?

 

I think you are probably correct about the dissimilar profiles being an issue. I have regular E and lower shelf E couplers only (and I haven't built the lower shelf ones yet). I think the paddle would work when mating any combination of those but probably not so well with the others you mentioned.
The paddle does work with more closely coupled cars. The paddle can in fact be narrower than the prototype in the picture.  I also cut angles off of it so that it looks like an arrow pointed up. This was to avoid snagging it on brake wheels, etc.
For truth in advertising I will say that it sucks when using with non self centering couplers. But I'm sold on self centering. True there are conditions where it is a hindrance but I can live with that.

George

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