The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Monday, December 26, 2016

Replacement Scale-Craft bolsters?

One thing that affects Scale-Craft trucks pretty widely are bad bolsters. They shrink, they fracture. There is a point where the solution would be to make new ones.

In my case, I have quite a few more parts for every part of S-C OO trucks other than bolsters … and a box of broken bolsters that can’t be used. If it were cost effective and I knew how to design them, 3D printing replacement bolsters would I think be ideal. Until then, here are some examples of how others have solved the problem and the solution I am working on.

My idea is to use plastic tubing, a round tube inside a square tube, and original S-C brass pins salvaged from broken bolsters. They are harder to get out than you would think, I think they may have put the pins in place before injecting the Bakelite plastic in the mold.

What my method simplifies though is the accurate drilling of the end holes. The complete bolsters seen came from different sources. The common element is they drilled all the holes into solid pieces of modern plastic and used modified screws as end pins. If you had a drill press and made a jig I suppose it would not be terribly hard to drill the end holes, keeping them really square.

In any case, I don’t need more bolsters urgently right now and have to work out a better way to press the end pins on. But perhaps a reader will be helped by this idea for replacement bolsters.

UPDATE: A better option has arrived! 3D printed...


Anonymous said...

Interesting approach to fixing them. I have a passenger truck that is in several pieces. I have no plans to run my set up so there will no strain on whichever repair that I try ( I did post on your Facebook page). I was thinking of using JB Weld epoxy glue. Any thoughts on that approach?
Philip Palance in Houston

John Ericson said...

The little I have tried to use Epoxy it did not hold up in operation. Super glue has worked in some applications for me. If your bolster pieces have a tight fit, you might try that.