Gormo`s 3 Link Coupling Project.

Discussion in 'Workshop Benches' started by gormo, Jul 17, 2021.

  1. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Folks,
    I have been tinkering with a 3 link coupling system for a good while now, as can be seen in a couple of topics I have published a few years ago.

    https://platform1mrc.com/p1mrc/inde...105-18-the-gormo-3-link-coupling-system.2987/

    https://platform1mrc.com/p1mrc/inde...-106-18-the-gormo-3-link-coupling-pt-ii.3057/

    Well I have moved further forward with the system to the point where I think I can put it out there as a viable alternative to tension locks and Kadees and the standard commercially available 3 link systems.
    The system is a compromise, in that it`s not 100% prototypical in it`s appearance, however, that said, it looks a lot better than a stonking great tension lock coupling.
    It is relatively easy to use. Wagons can be shunted coupled or uncoupled, forwards or backwards. Uncoupled through a curve depends on the radius of the curve.The hand of God is required to uncouple, however the system will allow hands free coupling in most situations.
    I guess it needs the operator to get his or her head around this different way of coupling, but it really is quite simple to the point where I prefer it to tension locks.
    Tension locks are good in principle, however their different sizes and the fact that manufacturers seem to be incapable of agreeing on a standard height for them, makes them quite frustrating to use for shunting. Just towing trains about is fine but shunting can be difficult unless you have all the one size of tension lock and no NEM droop.
    I have put together a demo video which is a combination of two demo videos I did for Toto, Paul and Gary from the Admin team. These videos were done pre Covid and have been kept under wraps until I released them today.
    My initial thoughts were to produce this coupling commercially, hence the secrecy, however life is too short to be worrying about all that stuff and patents cost a fortune.
    So stuff it !!!......It`s out there in the public domain now and if anybody can get some good use out of it.....that`s great.
    I will follow this post up with an in depth look at the new system and methods of producing it, but for the moment, we have the demo video.



    :tophat:Gormo
     
  2. Dr Tony

    Dr Tony Full Member

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    That's a brilliant and well thought out system and works and looks very well indeed.
    Having spent a lot of time on my two exhibition layouts making tension lock couplers couple and uncouple on demand and another with Kadees doing the same, but with delayed action, I can appreciate the sheer amount of work you have put in to make this system work.
    I am too invested in my own systems to change over, but i can see the use myself in a potential future early days layout using 4 wheel non air NSW coal hoppers and the like.
    I think it would be quite challenging to make a commercial go of the system, as there are just so many mounting issues with different wagon makes and models, then bogie mount and finally locos. There would be all sorts of adaptations required, commercially, this would be a huge range. Kadee has most of them covered for their won system, but I guess it had taken them a while, and the inventory of different types is huge. This would be a big undertaking.
    Cheers
    Tony
     
  3. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Tony,
    Yes this system really suits small tank engines and four wheeled wagons.
    Basically mounting the coupling to the buffer beam only becomes a problem on the longer locos and longer bogie wagons.
    What we are fighting here is the amount of swing we get when the body passes through a curve. Too much swing will exceed the amount of travel allowed in the couplings and derailments will occur.
    On the other hand, if we allow too much swing / travel in the couplings, they will also lock up through a curve when being pushed. So it`s a balancing act and a compromise.
    The bogie wagons can be adapted easily enough by mounting the coupling to a wire attached to the bogie. Each bogie wagon will present it`s own unique mounting problem, however these are usually easily solved.
    When it comes to locos, mounting to a tender is no problem, however pony trucks and or bogies on diesels present new challenges.
    With that in mind, or if it just gets too hard, I will have a number of converter wagons with a tension lock at one end and a 3 link at the other end.
    There is usually always a way around problems......we just need to think outside the box and allow some concessions here and there for the sake of ease of use.
    :tophat:Gormo
     
  4. Chris M

    Chris M When nothing is going right ... go left Full Member

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    Hi Gormo,

    Use of magnets in couplings is increasing and may well be the way of the future. Your system certainly proves that with a bit of ingenuity, construction skills and some trial and error you can create a great coupling system that looks far more realistic. As far as uncoupling goes, even the prototype is not automatic and needs human intervention.

    With DCC, we may even end up with intelligent couplers using electro magnets. BUT do we really need to go that far? I think half the fun of model trains is we get to 'play' with them. If everything ends up automated, running trains could quickly become very boring. I'm a software engineer, but I have no interest in running a model railway with a computer. For me, it takes away too much 'hands on' fun .......... but hey ....... if you want to fully automate, go for it ...
    I will now climb off my soapbox.:faint:

    Overall Gormo, this is great work :thumbs: and it's a pity that it could not be commercialised to reward your efforts. Thanks for providing all the details so that others can make their own versions if they want to.

    Chris
     
  5. Gary

    Gary Wants more time for modelling.... Staff Member Administrator

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    Excellent video Gormo. :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:

    If a modeller who runs wagons/coaches at the NMRA spec, will the magnets be strong enough to pull a train ??

    Here is a table from the NMRA with weight to scale calculations : https://www.nmra.org/beginner/weight

    Now, in accordance to the table (I will use HO for OO), the average Mk1 coach weighs around the 160 gram mark, give or take depending on age or manufacturer. Now the NMRA table states for HO, that the initial weight (first added) of 1 ounce or 28 grams to be added followed by 1/2 an ounce for every inch of the coach. That would mean that you are adding an extra 6 ounces or 168 grams to a coach that already weighs 160 grams +/- some....

    Personally I think 320 grams per coach would be far too much for a locomotive to pull. Another words, a 5 coach train would weigh in excess of 1.5kg.... Ouch !!
    I can already here a Pacific screaming "I think I can, I think I can..." :avatar::avatar:
    Now, the NMRA table does not state if the initial weight is the 'manufactured weight' or not. :scratchchin: If it includes the manufacturers weight, then only 8 grams would be need to weigh the coach accordingly...

    Cheers, Gary.
     
  6. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks Chris,
    Yes it all depends on how an individual wants to run their railway.......some love fully automatic, some love completely hands on and some love somewhere in between.
    So there is something there in the hobby to suit everybody in terms of operation.
    This coupling has evolved out of my frustration with tension lock couplings in regard to shunting wagons mostly. Coaches usually remain in rakes so the same issues rarely arise.
    My system is much closer to prototypical compared to tension locks, but it does have it`s limitations like any other coupling.
    :tophat:Gormo
     
  7. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Gary,
    I have not explored nmra standards as I am only interested in running stock as it comes from the manufacturer.
    The neodymium magnets have terrific pulling force however that force depends on the surface area that they can attach to.
    My couplings have a minimal surface area as they are only a link in a chain making contact with the magnet. I do grind the end of the link to make a flat surface and therefore increase the surface area, however it is still minimal.
    That said.......one coupling can pull 32 wagons and or 11 coaches.
    I have designed this system basically for wagons only. Coaches are a different story and Hunt couplings retail a good product to deal with coaches.
    So by the sound of it, the nmra standards are a bit on the heavy side for my liking.
    Anyway........I`m just putting the info out there for people to use........most of us are not running really long trains so weight will not be an issue.
    If anyone is interested in running very long trains to nmra standards using these couplings, they would have to do some serious testing before going forward and full on into production of the couplings and conversion of stock.
    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  8. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    OK Folks,
    Here is the video that will explain how I build these couplings.
    It`s quite long at 58 mins, however seems necessary in order to cover the amount of information I`m putting out there.
    The thing to keep in mind when using a magnetic system is the fact that these little magnets radiate their attractive properties in all directions with the strength of the attraction decreasing the further away from each other they become.
    This is what makes creating a chain system with magnets difficult.
    My system employs two links of copper ( the upper and the middle ) to create enough distance away from the magnet for the third link ( iron core ) so that it won`t be attracted permanently to it`s own magnet and therefore it will hang and swing freely.
    The magnets are also fitted to the wagons so that their polarities repel each other. If you have the polarities around the other way where they attract each other, it creates a problem if you wish to shunt a single uncoupled wagon........it stays attracted to the wagon pushing it and it won`t easily let go.
    The repel set up actually keeps a small distance between the wagons buffers which is good if pushing through a curve because there is less likelihood of buffer lock.
    Anyway there are lots of details and most of the info is covered in the video.
    You best get in a good supply of beer, pretzels and crisps because it`s a long one........hopefully not too boring.



    :tophat:Gormo
     
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  9. Chris M

    Chris M When nothing is going right ... go left Full Member

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    Gormo,

    Such an epic video deserves a place in movie history. This is a suggested cover for the DVD when you offer it on Amazon. Can't guarantee that this cover will help win an Academy Award but it should help get it noticed .... :avatar:

    Gormo Coupler.jpg

    Looking forward to the sequel ... The Odd Couple II ...

    Chris
     
  10. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    :avatar::avatar::avatar::avatar:...........I suppose it could get me sued...????

    :tophat:Gracias Amigo.......Gormo
     
  11. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Thinking about it why don`t I just move straight into the "Grumpy Old Men " series.........:scratchchin:.......would I be Jack Lemon or Walter Matheau
    :tophat:
     
  12. Sol

    Sol Full Member

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    I would say Walter Matthau...:avatar:
     
  13. Chris M

    Chris M When nothing is going right ... go left Full Member

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    Well you had to mention it ... and I couldn't help myself !!! :facepalm:

    Grumpy Old Men.jpg

    Sorry Gormo, Walter Matthau wouldn't give up the part.

    Chris
     
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  14. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    Well I guess my wife would agree with you all that my temperament would suit the part........:avatar::avatar::avatar::avatar:
    :tophat:Adios amigos.........back to the work bench
     
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  15. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    G`day Folks,
    I had a little flash of inspiration today and set to and redesigned the shunters pole for the three link couplings.
    This now of course now makes the previous model redundant.........I sound like a phone manufacturer...:scratchchin:
    It`s no great flash of intelligence.......it`s just using and adapting what I had laying about.

    This is a heat sink clamp that I have had for years and it`s perfect for what I want to do.
    Mind you some minor modification was required. It has been attached to the pole by means of filing a flat edge on part of the pole. The pole was then Super glued to one arm of the heat sink then wrapped with strong cotton and then varnish over the cotton.


    IMG20210722163102.jpg


    Prior to fitting the pole, the original rivet was removed so that I could add a scissor edge to the insides of the jaws. A new rivet was fitted and then a slight bend was added to the jaws to improve access to the gap between wagons.I also filed down the tips of the jaws to create a raised section behind, which will help catch the link in the chain and encourage it to move downwards.


    IMG20210722163224.jpg


    The varnish is drying overnight

    IMG20210722163110.jpg


    I`ve done a short video to show it working.
    This pretty much winds up this project, however my thoughts are now moving towards coaches.......:scratchchin:



    :tophat:Gormo
     
  16. gormo

    gormo Staff Member Administrator

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    On the subject of coaches......:scratchchin:
    I have now turned my thoughts to a magnetic system for coaches.
    There are magnetic systems out there already commercially available and seemingly very easy to retrofit to you rolling stock, so why bother.?....you ask.
    Well as far as I can determine, the current crop of these couplings come in set lengths and you determine which length you want to add to your rolling stock dependent on the tightest radius curves you have on your layout.
    So I thought " why can`t they be adjustable "......so that you can achieve the closest coupling to suit your railway, and if things change in the future, it doesn`t matter because the couplings can be re-adjusted.
    Anyway, this subject is probably best presented and discussed in another thread, so when that is sorted out I`ll link both projects.
    https://platform1mrc.com/p1mrc/index.php?threads/close-coupling-coaches-project.5620/
    :tophat:Gormo
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021

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