With the chemically blackened Bachmann 2-8-0 loco wheels back in place, we’re about to take a test run around a lap of track.
I’m working on a bash of a Bachmann HO 2-8-0 steam locomotive model. I started with a complete teardown of the loco and tender per an Iain Rice article in a 1999 Model Railroader magazine. I probably went too far with this bash–more on that in another installment.
Objectionable to me for some time has been the tread width of HO model rolling stock. I had wanted to try a loco with Code 88 (.088″ wide wheels) which is a lot closer to the prototype width than current NMRA RP25 spec Code 110 wheels.
This series of Bachmann steam loco models has driving wheel centres that are recessed some 20 to 30 thousandths of an inch from the outside edge of the tyre. Hmmmm–what if I could remove some of the tyre width and thereby get closer to scale wheel width? I don’t have a lathe, and don’t care for having to requarter drivers after doing this work.
And then a method for doing this came to mind…
As I had the loco somewhat disassembled anyhow, it was a simple enough matter to remove the drivers as well. I’d thought of many methods to narrow the tyres, and finally settled on the method seen above. A sheet of scrap lumber is clamped to my workbench. A V, or “bird’s mouth”, is cut into the edge of the wood to allow the wheelset’s axle to nest into the wood sheet and hold it while I file down the tyre. There is NO need to disassemble any wheelsets.
I used a small fine-cut Stihl brand file with blank safe edges on it. To protect against wayward file strokes damaging the crankpins, small pieces of styrene tube were slipped over the crankpins and secured with CA.
I found that .088″ tyre width was arrived at just before my file began to polish the wheel spokes. I found the best procedure to file to about .092″-.090″ and then carefully lightly file to the required width, checking with my digital vernier caliper as I went.
Bachmann driver tyre partly filed down on my wood block. I worked over a small garbage can so that the metal shavings created could be brushed into it as I went along.
Careful filing and only holding the wheel being worked on helped maintain the driver set in quarter; a concern that I had when contemplating this work.
With all four wheelsets and a lead axle reduced to approximately .088″ width, the assemblies were cleaned up and dipped in A-West chemical blackener. A minute’s or so dipping resulted in a nice greyish-black cast to where I’d removed metal from the wheels. The wheel was withdrawn from the solution, and immediately rinsed in plain tap water.
The wheelsets were re-instaled in the loco frame and the loco running gear assembly married up to the tender. I ran the loco on my son’s old 4′ x 6′ Code 100 brass tracked oval for a few minutes to check things out on DC.
With no operating issues found, it’s time to move on to detailing this model.