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  • Topic: ProtoHands from Old Iron Designs

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    • May 19, 2013 11:35 AM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      At the ECLSTS I per-ordedred several sets of ProtoHandsTM from Geoff Ringle of Old Iron Designs. They arrived on Thursday and I immediately got busy converting cars from AMS, Bachman and the CVSRy Car Shops. I wish I had gone back and re-read the announcement thread Anyone tired of non working Glad Hands? because I would have remembered several of the installation tips Geoff offered. But I didn't so a few mistakes were made. Fortunately they are easy to correct.
      After I got about 10 cars converted I ran an operation to test them out. On the way out I took a few shots of my install on the various cars. Here is a set installed. On the right is a CVSRy car with an Ozark casting. The casting is a bit undersize for FN3 but the hose installation is easy...


      Next is a Bachman car. I used 1/8" black heat shrink as an adapter to the oversize angle cock stub. This didn't work well for several reasons; the angle cock is plastic so you need to be very careful about application of heat; both angle cock and hose are too smooth for the heat shrink to get a good bite, so I ended up adding glue. My close up reveals a bit of glue residue at the top of the hose...


      Here is another CVSRy car. The Ozark angle cock on this one has a nub that the hose will push over eliminating the need for glue...


      AMS cars are the most work and cleanest install. The stock hoses are glued on and are a tough to get off cleanly. The new hose install needs glue as well. I used 3M Emblem & Trim Adhesive with good results. I also tried CA glue but it sets up too fast. This close up reveals that I need to do a better job cutting the hose. I found side cutters to be the easiest, but a sharp Exacto would make a cleaner cut...


      Finally, another Bachman car. I ran out of black heat shrink so I used the original Bachman hose with glue inside. This method works well, but I think just pushing the hose on with a bit of water for lube as Geoff suggests would look better...


      I did not take any detail shots of the hands themselves, so here are a few of Geoff's pictures...




      Operationally they work better than expected. Most of my railroad is on the ground and I envisioned a bit of trouble making the connections when picking up cars. In practice it's quite easy; couple the cars normally then push the hoses toward each other and they snap together. I did learn that using a metal tool to do the pushing doesn't work so well, but turn the tool around and use the plastic handle at it's all good!
      I found hose length to be the biggest concern. Too short and they can't connect. Just right (prototypical length) they work fine on straight track, but disconnect on curves. When cut extra long they drag on the ties when joined and don't assume the correct attitude when joined without help. Just a little long and they still drag when uncoupled. Murphy's 78th Law states that A Dragging Hose WILL Find a Snag, Stretch To the Breaking Point then LAUNCH To Parts Unknown. This law was field tested on the C.V.S.Ry. and found to be true.
      For now, as I tweak operation I'm leaving the hoses a bit long (Geoff suggests to Err on the long side). To solve the dragging hose problem I fashioned some small hooks out of thin steel music wire that allow the hose to be hung from a rear grab. I'm running out now for some yellow paint for the hooks. When I get them painted I'll post some pictures of them in use. Ideal hose length is definitely a trial and error process.
      Overall I'm very happy with this product and will be ordering enough to finish outfitting my fleet. Operationally they add a bit more interest and realism when switching cars. Aesthetically they look much better than the stock glad hands from any maker.
      I can't really come up with a list of Pros and Cons. The only slight negative is strictly the installation / length tweaking issue that as I do more cars becomes less of a problem. I really think this is a great product at a fair price.

      This post was edited by Jon Radder at May 19, 2013 11:49 AM EDT
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    • May 19, 2013 3:17 PM EDT
      • Spokane Valley, Washington St.
         
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      All manufactures have their valve at different spacings from center. And even my scratchbuilt stuff is not the same dimensions. So coupling different makes together adds to the hose length prollems, as well.

      You cant just make up a bunch of hoses ahead of time. (I learned that the hard way).

      You have to find a happy medium that will work with all makes.

    • May 19, 2013 6:21 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Exactly.  My biggest challenge so far was the Bachman Long Caboose. The angle cock is way off center requiring a long hose. Make it long enough and it drags on the rail or ties. Thus my little hangers for when the car isn't coupled. I've seen chains on brake hoses before so it's not too far off prototypical practice,

      If I had lots of time and more rivet counter in me I would move the angle cocks as close to the coupler as possible and give them a 30% angle toward center.

      I have been installing them to the angle cock at full length, then trimming at the glad hand end. I find that if I cut them approximately to reach the open face of the coupler that works out to be long enough. Sometimes that's too long to keep from dragging.

      I'm also experimenting with a short length on 20Ga Aluminum wire inside the hose at the vale end to force a curve up and away from the rails.

      This post was edited by Jon Radder at May 19, 2013 6:33 PM EDT
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    • May 20, 2013 7:07 AM EDT
      • Southwestern, NH
         
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      Jon,

       

      One other thing to consider is that on the prototype the angle cocks are angled torwards the center of the car about 30 deg. if i remember correctly. this will help with length and alignment issues. on some cars may present a coupler swing issue. one think you pictures show clearly is the various angle cocks different manufatures use are way oversize. Maybe they will consider making replacements of those also?

    • May 20, 2013 11:00 AM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Al Pomeroy said:

      Jon,

       

      One other thing to consider is that on the prototype the angle cocks are angled torwards the center of the car about 30 deg. if i remember correctly. this will help with length and alignment issues. on some cars may present a coupler swing issue. one think you pictures show clearly is the various angle cocks different manufatures use are way oversize. Maybe they will consider making replacements of those also?

      I agree!

       

      Jon Radder said:If I had lots of time and more rivet counter in me I would move the angle cocks as close to the coupler as possible and give them a 30% angle toward center.
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    • May 27, 2013 5:07 PM EDT
      • Juniata Falls, Pennsylvania
         
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      The issue of hoses too short is something we deal with on the mainline occasionally as well.

       

      Several months ago I was shoving a train back from Pittsburgh when we went into emergency. When we found the brakeline break, we were dumbfounded. On a car with cushion underframe, the hanger for the hose is directly under the coupler, with a sliding hanger. Someone had welded a stopper onto the hanger's slide-track which prevented the hose from traveling its full distance. While being shoved, everything was fine. When the couplers were stretched, the hoses popped apart.

       

      Other times, even when solved together, the hoses are too short to mate. Times like this call for new hoses to be installed. But if thats not possible, its been known to find a short 6-8 inch long "dutchman" installed between the two standard hoses.

    • May 27, 2013 5:49 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Ive been running these for several rounds of operations now.  I definitely need to tweak the length and glad hand position. I haven't run into a too-short problem yet; most everything is too long.

      I did make up some hose hangers and they work well. Haven't got any pics of them yet.

      If I run into issues with hoses too short I'll remember that "dutchman" idea and make one up.

      This post was edited by Jon Radder at May 27, 2013 5:50 PM EDT
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    • July 21, 2013 11:56 AM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      I'm back with an update.  Geoff Ringle of Old Iron Designs has been very helpful in educating me on installation tricks & techniques.  I now have about half of my converted cars tweaked to where the hose will not drag on rail-heads, get snagged in switch points or on guard rails but still make it through my wide radius switches in an S-curve configuration at the entrance to my indoor yard without disconnecting.

      One of Geoff's suggestions was to move the angle cock on Bachmann equipment that is too far away from the center line to allow for a hose length that would connect, but not drag when disconnected. Well, it just so happens that the last time I had my Bachmann long caboose out I managed to snap off the molded on angle cock, so this was a perfect opportunity to try Geoff's suggestion and make a repair at the same time.

      First I used a razor saw to remove what was left of the molded on brake pipe. Then I drilled a hole as close as I could come to the brake pipe diameter in the end beam. I placed this hole about half way between the coupler pocket and the old brake pipe location...


      Then I inserted the angle cock with it's brake pipe remnant into the hole and secured with a drop of 3M Emblem Cement...


      Note that I also introduced the prototypical tilt to the angle cock.....


      Once the glue dries I'll trim the hose so the glad-hand is just above the rail-head. Geoff suggests a business card across the rails but I'm using a small piece of .020 styrene since it was handy. After the hose is trimmed it gets tested through the S-Curve connected to a cat that has already passed that test.

      I used Geoff's technique 1.0 to fit the hose to the oversize Bachmann angle cock - a little spit for lubrication and force the hose on. Geoff's 2.0 technique is to cut off the oversize stub, then drill for a piece of brass rod to slip the hose over. If I find that the bump in the hose bothers me I'll update to Ver 2.0.

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    • July 21, 2013 1:51 PM EDT

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      Jon,

      These look really cool, I didnt even know they were being made let alone in 1/32nd scale.

      It would be nice if the guy made them in 1/29 but maybe. Can you bring a extra set to Shawns this week so I may look at them?

      Thanks Nick.

    • July 21, 2013 2:09 PM EDT
      • Burbank, CA
         
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      Nick,

      I bought four sets of these back in March. Mine were in 1/20.3. They work great with a little adjusting on the hose length. I used them on my AMS J&S coaches. Nice detail.

    • July 21, 2013 2:38 PM EDT
      • Candlewood Valley, Connecticut
         
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      Nick S. said:

      Jon,

      These look really cool, I didnt even know they were being made let alone in 1/32nd scale.

      It would be nice if the guy made them in 1/29 but maybe. Can you bring a extra set to Shawns this week so I may look at them?

      Thanks Nick.

      Will do Nick.  The ones I have are 1:20. Probably way to big for the 1:29 stuff. 1:32 may be close enough.

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    • July 21, 2013 2:41 PM EDT
      • Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada
         
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      Nick S. said:

      Jon,

      These look really cool, I didnt even know they were being made let alone in 1/32nd scale.

      It would be nice if the guy made them in 1/29 but maybe. Can you bring a extra set to Shawns this week so I may look at them?

      Thanks Nick.

       

      Nick

      I got the eye-opener at the Calgary show when I watched how neatly they work in HO. And then .... I discovered that my buddy with the huge HO layout installed some on his stuff.

       

      It will be a while before he has all of them done (if he ever plans on that). We're usually running 42 car consists - 4 engines up front - and there is still a lot of stuff hanging around all over the place.

      He added "a few more" tracks to staging and we're now running three pairs of coal trains, instead of one pair.

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      Coldstream, BC  Canada


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