Thursday, July 21, 2016

Switch Engine for the S&I

A combination of 3D printed boiler/cab on a HOn30 mechanism produced this nice little switch engine for the yard at Holden. The track sliders can be seen between the drivers. They will eventually be painted. to hide them.
Although my narrow gauge feeder, the Stockton & Ione is not yet ready for operation, I ran across a blog post about a fellow who used an HOn30 Japanese mechanism and a 3D printed body to build a light Porter 0-4-0T. I purchased the chassis and the body parts and built up one of these little locos. I weighted the boiler and tank with tungsten putty and installed a Soundtraxx mobile decoder (I wanted sound but there is just no place I could find to put a speaker).
The Ione can easily pull two cars plus a little more. 
There were a few problems to overcome, however. The first was that the wheels were gauged for HOn30. I first thought about replacing the 2mm axles with longer shafts but found that I could simply pull out the wheels on the existing axles to HOn3 gauge. The second major problem is electrical pickup. The chassis comes with wipers on all four wheels which is just not enough. I added some track sliders between the drivers and that helped quite a bit but the engine still stalls every now and then. The more I run the engine, the better it runs so it might just need some more running.
     Overall, the performance is very good. The engine can pull 2 cars with ease and a third one on level track, just about what the prototype would be expected to do. It does run very well with the mobile decoder and some momentum built in.


  1. Nice work! A lot of Japanese modelers use a 5.5V .047F capacitor as a way to keep these small chassis running. I have used them my self and they do work in both direction. DC only and I would go over 5.5 volts.

  2. would NOT go over 5.5 volts. oops

  3. Thanks, Chris. I will have to look into doing that.