Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby Tom Dempsey » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:32 pm

I haven't ordered anything from them yet, but is there a problem with the Hollywood Foundry BullAnt? They've been around for awhile and it seems to me from their website that they are pretty amenable to custom work. Tom Dempsey, Spokane, WA
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby scaro » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:13 pm

possibly not, but they only go to code 88 wheels which some think a bit coarse for TT. however, he does leave you the option of buying it without wheels and fitting your own. and in fact you get a discount if you do so. he uses 2mm axles, so NWSL wheels should fit. he does however advise against using 'dummy bullants' unless absolutely essential and that you pick an appropriate motor and configuration for the job you want. i think the minimum spacing between axles is 17mm so if you are wanting to do something like an RSD4/5 or any of the first or early second generation alcos or GEs that used asymmetrical trucks his products won't fit the bill. i think with the minimum axle spacing and code 88 wheels bullants are excellent for 3mm but 1:120 may be a bridge too far. a big US B-B diesel might need two bullants to power it, which obviously drives the cost up. but them's the breaks; i think a split frame RTR chassis in TT just isn't going to happen. i am sorry to say it, but i have seen these discussions in TTSMR, TT_IMS and now here ... if it were doable i think it would have happened by now. a simple kit using a narrowable RTR mechanism like Bachmann's HO 44 tonner seems the most likely inexpensive option for alcos and GEs, anyway, this side of someone winning the lottery.

a few years ago in british TT or 3mm, a fellow named andrew shillito did some technically well engineered bogies for B-Bs, they were called 'shillibos' and powered a lot of 3mm models. not sure if he still makes them.

'areibel' has more experience with bullants so maybe he should comment. mr hollywood's prices are OK considering what you are getting, though the $A has climbed against the $US since last year, and in fact, it's worth more (!) so US purchasers will take a small hit, i think it's now $US1.03 of yours to one of ours. which makes this little kangaroo feel a bit smug. ;-)
Last edited by scaro on Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby sd80mac » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:41 pm

Not to turn this into an international debate, but what's wrong with producing a chassis state-side? Or using US firms to produce these limited-run products? I understand about costs and the weakening US dollar, but why would I want to spend even 3% more in US currency when I can source what I need right here in the USA?

Also, what's to stop anyone from producing a split-framed chassis? There are many on this forum that are more than competent to design one, and resourceful enough to find a way to have one manfactured. There are still many companies whose prices are completely reasonable that can do the work, so what's the problem?

Donnell
Last edited by sd80mac on Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby sd80mac » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:54 pm

The BullAnt is an option, but at $96+ a pop plus international shipping & handling, you're well over $100. The downside (outside of the cost) is at that point all you have is one powered truck. You stil need another truck, a frame, a shell, and various other details.

Donnell

Tom Dempsey wrote:I haven't ordered anything from them yet, but is there a problem with the Hollywood Foundry BullAnt? They've been around for awhile and it seems to me from their website that they are pretty amenable to custom work. Tom Dempsey, Spokane, WA
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:03 pm

I don't think a split chassis is a must. I think it's up to the designer to decide what they think will work best and be affordable. I have decided on a solution with a one piece chassis but that may not be the best choice for a different model locomotive or for the different motors and transmissions. I also decided to check out a few local companies to see if they can mill it for me at a reasonable price (the HUGE advantage being not paying for shipping of a bunch a metal). The gearing can be sourced from a few places - NWSL, LokNRoll / Halling, or something else.

I think the hardest part of a chassis solution is the trucks. You have to find THE perfect ones - in my case Tillig's BR 218 - and know that you won't have problems getting them (no good with Tillig). Or, you have to modify something else - can you accurately and repeatedly modify multiple sets of trucks for at least a handful of chassis? The third option is to design your own and have them manufactured. This pretty much boils down to plastic injection molding which ain't cheap by any stretch of the imagination.
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:05 pm

P.S.

I'm glad you guys are looking at different options. What I'm doing may not pan out - but your ideas may. The more different directions we explore, the more likely it is that someone will succeed and we'll actually have American locos to play with :)
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby scaro » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:41 pm

sd80mac wrote:Not to turn this into an international debate, but what wrong with producing a chassis state-side? Or using US firms to produce these limited-run products? I understand about costs and the weakening US dollar, but why would I want to spend even 3% more in US currency when I can source what I need right here in the USA?

Also, what's to stop anyone from producing a split-framed chassis? There are many on this forum that are more than competent to design one, and resourceful enough to find a way to have one manfactured. There are still many companies whose prices are completely reasonable that can do the work, so what's the problem?

Donnell


i don't live in the USA so i can't answer that question. but it has never happened, for reasons again, that elude me. you guys will have to tell me ...

the brits manage to do it, so does little new zealand. but in the british example particularly they do things as a collective society like the 3mm and 2mm groups, so they have more buying power, and no one expects a profit. even then it still doesn't work smoothly; in the UK many who make bits and pieces like steam loco wheels, for example, are one-man operations and are now very old. in the long term that affects the viability of these societies. The 2mm Association for example, which has finescale standards relied on just one man to reprofile the N scale loco wheels of everyone in the association to the finescale standard. If he gets sick, or runs off and joins the hare krishnas, no one gets any wheels for their locos. this has happened time and again in the UK, we had stapleton wheels, alan gibson, many others, all now gone. the pattern is clear,ominous though it is. for narrow gauge TT at least i can rely on graham farish as they are owned by bachmann.

i think it's now a bit of an open secret that tillig aren't happy with their parts being employed in mechanisms where they don't design them or have the control they'd like to. i see their point of view, although i don't agree. but for me, that's why i think a retrofit chassis where the modeller goes and gets his own trucks is about the only way forward. a tillig BR 218 costs at least $US90 so it still ain't a cheap choice. no easy answers i fear.
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby areibel » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:10 pm

The Bull Ants are nice, but delivery times can be long. It's basically a one man operation, and pretty much everything is custom built so it takes time. And he has had supplier problems that have hurt too.
Injection molding is the holy grail, but it would probably be well over $10K to even get started. Maybe if TT can grow a modest amount we might be able to contract with an existing company to do a truck, but that's a big maybe! No company is going to start building TT until they can be sure there are enough TT'ers to buy it. For now we're stuck using what works.
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby Marquette » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:49 pm

I think TT's in that perfect catch-22... some company will jump aboard if we have numbers to show, but we won't have numbers to show until we've got at least one locomotive that requires minimal work on the part of the purchaser...
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Re: Producing a new US style loco in TT scale

Postby dileTTante » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:59 pm

If it's something the size of trucks then injection molding can be done at home. Years ago there was an article in Model Railroader which was unique for showing something non-USA, a teenager in Japan with a tiny model layout of a mining operation. He molded his own parts in a home made injection molding machine. The attached image is from a photocopy I made of an article which appeared in Model Railway Journal No.55 1991. The author described the process and methods for making molds without machining them. The most complicated part made were 'replacement Triang TT motor bogie mouldings'. Pretty much the same is a do-it-yourself machine for around $1600. http://www.injectionmolder.net/index.htm It can't do a car or locomotive but smaller things, yes.
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