To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Model Power Trucks Part 3A - Making Your Power Truck

The idea of making a modeler's own power trucks has probably entered the mind of most trolley modeler at least once during his or her career in making models. Ever since the 1st O scale, either 17/64' or 1/4", trolley model; modelers have made their own power trucks.

While this post may not start you on your way to making your own power trucks, it is intended to pique your interest on how a power truck is made and repaired.

In August 1968 Model Railroader published an article on "scratch-building" power trucks in O scale. Pay attention to the parts of the ,power truck -
  • a motor.
  • a gear box (worm, gear, and casing),
  • wheel sets (wheels & axels ready to mount),
  • a method to power both axels,
  • sideframes, and
  • a method of mounting the power truck in the model.
As with the Wagner catalogue in the 1st post on power trucks, you should be able to print the article full size, 8-1/2" x 11".

A lot has happened since 1968. For one, Kemtron is now owned by Precision Scale Models (PSC). This means the Kemtron stock numbers (SKU) are not the same as for PSC.

For a history of Kemtron read the newest issue of O Scale Resource Magazine Vol. 1 No. 5 May/June 2014  While you are at it, note the photo on the front cover.

PSC does not stock the same items as Kemtron once did. However, some of the items in the article about building your own power truck are available. The PSC gear case has been slightly changed while the gears are not available. I do not know if the pulley set is still available.

Next, open frame motors are hard to find. Can motors are now the standard small electrical motor. There are many can motors available. They come in different sizes, voltages, and performances values.

If you do decide to build your own power trucks for, let's say, a fleet of cars; you will find it better to obtain the can motors from an established, reputable source. You will need to obtain a number of motors which are exactly alike over a period of time.

Perhaps what is more important about the article is the idea of being able to not only build your own power truck but to be able to rebuild an existing power truck. You may have an old power truck laying around which requires rebuilding - the motor has shorted out and requires replacement or you now require a different wheelbase, etc.

Over the years I have built my own power and trail trucks including making the wheels out of soft steel stock. While I have no desire to do this again, I have rebuilt Wagner design and Q-Car power trucks to different wheel bases. Wagner wheels have been changed to NWSL wheels. Non-insulated wheels have been changed to insulated.

To do any of this kind of work a hobbyist metal turning lathe, a precision drill press, and a small hand arbor press are required.

More about making, altering, and making your own power trucks are coming up!