Best material (metal) for model train wheels?
I need to make some wheels for our Lego trains. These wheels will pickup current from the metal tracks. I have stainless steel and could easily buy brass or maybe copper but what would be the best metal to use?
BTW, Lego trains have mostly plastic wheels, the 9volt series of trains have spring loaded conductive flanges for current pickup, the 12 volt series had a pair of contacts that slid along special supply rails, the 4.5 volt trains carried batteries as do the latest remote controlled 9 volt trains. I am making these new wheels so that our 12 volt and 4.5 volt trains can run on the 9 volt tracks (I am using DCC control).
[QUOTE=The Artful Bodger]I need to make some wheels for our Lego trains. These wheels will pickup current from the metal tracks. I have stainless steel and could easily buy brass or maybe copper but what would be the best metal to use?
From my experience Nickel Silver is the best material to use it doesnt tarnish like brass / bronze and does not pick up dirt and etch the wheels like stainless steel does
(a former HO scale Broad gauge 18.3 mm modeller)
got to agree about nickel silver
as stated it will not tarnish but above all its the right colour
nice stuff to turn as well
But,nickel silver-if you really mean German silver,which containig no silver,is really obnoxious to turn.
I turn nickel silver all the time making ferrules for the bamboo fly rods I make. I find it machines quite easily and polishes up beautifully.
Originally Posted by gwilson
Nickel Silver is a bit difficult to solder, if your connections require soldering.If it were me, I'd crimp a terminal on a wire, and attach it to the Nickel Silver slider/current collector with a fastener of some type.
From there, go to the motor or controlling device.
Hmmm....thanks everyone, nickel silver seems to be the choice then, now I need to find some, here in New Zealand, in a suitable bar.
If I cant find some I will give stainless a try.
Yes, where do you buy nickle silver?
Make it fit.
I have 4.5 track for our trains. Where are you getting the track?
I understood that they stopped making the track that will carry any current?
BTW, at 50 years old, I still get excited about legos!
Hi Sid, we have 'miles' of the 12v and 9 volt metal tracks and are 'standardising' on the 9v track for all trains.
We also have a lot of 12v conductor rail and the 4.5v plastic track.
One of the neat things you can do with 4.5v trains is to convert them to carry 4 rechargeable AA batteries, that voltage works out to be much the same. I put a relay in ours and wire brush contacts so that when the train passes over live contacts the relay opens and stops the train while the batteries charge then interrupting the charge current (I use a little electronic timer) sets the train off for another lap of the track.
Three illegal overstayer alien track workers on an inspection trolley, this is a 12v motor running on 9v tracks, note the copper contact brushes, the DCC chip is under their 'seat'.
IMGP0117 by aardvark_akubra, on Flickr
There is still a lot of unpacking to be done after moving house!
Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 07-02-2012 at 09:51 PM.