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Old 02-23-2017, 04:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: East Coast
Posts: 1,039
Scales Modeled: O
Cool Building my own track cleaning car

Track cleaning cars are expensive for O Gauge. I've seen some for well over $100 and I just don't want to pay that much. I had a beat up Lionel 6-17407 Flatcar that I have been using for a while with a wadded up scotch bright pad screwed into the bottom.


It worked but it is really ugly and a royal pain to swap out the pads. I decided it was time to make this more professional looking and make it easier to work with.

Parts needed:

It wouldn't be too hard to build 2 blocks out of wood and drill some holes in it. One block is 12mm thick and the other 24mm. They are 38mm x 59mm in the other dimensions.

I decided to 3d print them to make my life easier and added some beveling and screw holes so I don't have to drill. I have made the model available on thingiverse here. All told it cost about a buck and about five hours to print two of these for the lionel flat car.

To install:
  1. Print the parts as oriented in the file
  2. Push the 8-32 screw through the bottom part with the large indention so it sits flush. You may need to drill it out some so the screw slides right through. I had to drill one part but not the other.
  3. Push the top down onto the screw. There are indention's for button head m2.5 screws so they sit flush.
  4. Cut a scotch bright pad to fit. I get 2 cleaners out of 1 pad. It's designed to only require one cut of the pad.
  5. Place the pad inside the opening like you would sand paper in a block and then tighten down the two m2.5 screws till they hold the pad.
  6. Drill an 8-32 hole into the bottom of the car you will be using as your cleaning car and slide the whole thing in and tighten down the nut
  7. Depending on the car height you can add a spacer so that the scrubber is always touching the track. Load up the car with something heavy so that the wheels stay on the track. Ideally the scrubber is compressed some.

I only finger tighten the nuts as I have not had any issues with it coming loose. It makes it really easy to swap out the pads. Just undo the nut, pull the block out, loosen the 2 screws, and replace the pad. Takes just a few minutes.

For this car I printed 2 of the little guys and stuck them right behind the wheels so I don't take out scenery material as it goes around the track. I might move them a little closer to the wheels still. With the way I had it before with the wad in the middle I was constantly dislodging things so that was one of the goals to fix as well.

Now to design a nice load for the car to hide the weight...
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:39 PM   #2
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Very nicely done!Some great pictures as well. Thanks!
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Old 02-23-2017, 08:02 PM   #3
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Old 02-24-2017, 08:51 AM   #4
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Location: SE-PA, USA
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Looks like it'll do the job just fine. That's really all any of these cars are. Here's my Trackman 2000, it just has the pad on a heavy block to scrub the track. The only enhancement are the articulated arms that keep the pad on the tracks for curves.

MTH ASC Certified Tech, Factory Authorized Lionel Service, ERR Dealer
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:02 AM   #5
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Looks very well done.

Thank you for sharing.

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Old 02-24-2017, 08:14 PM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Thanks guys. I'm glad you all like it. I've updated my thing on thingiverse with a new feature.

I've been working on a load for this car to not only hide the screws but also allow me to fill the area with weight. I need to still be able to get to the screws so I can change the pads but I want them hidden. I found a 20 foot shipping container on thingiverse that I was able to modify for me needs.

It is based off of this thing but heavily modified. It's been resized and scaled up to O Scale size to best fit 2 of these in the flatcar. I have also modified it with a removable top that has a lip so that it locks into the top without glue. This also makes it easier to print with less support needed. I can then glue these open shipping box bottoms to the flat car and still get to the screws so I can change the pads by removing the top. Whole goal is to hide the components so the flatcar looks like any other car on the track or as close as I can .

I plan to have 2 of these in the car. One on each side and I think it will look really good. The second one is printing now and will be ready in the morning. I love this 3D printer

I did move the pads closer to the wheels as well. I'm finding that works much better for cleaning and doesn't take as much scenery material up.





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Old 02-24-2017, 09:25 PM   #7
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I like the idea, have you seen what we use at the San Diego
Tim Lewis
San Diego 3-Railers
All Gauge Toy Train Association of San Diego, CA
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:53 PM   #8
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That's really cool. I had not seen that. I bet you have no trouble with those weights staying on the tracks Where do you get those generic shamwow pads?
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Old 02-25-2017, 07:48 AM   #9
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Location: new jersey
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Lostsoul, very cool! Great build! I have the trackman that grj has, I think besides what he said it also has springs to create tension. Easily added to your design if needed:-)

Tim, I like the vid, ty for posting it!
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:24 AM   #10
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This is the one that I built years ago for my flyers. It's based on a boxcar that was surplus.. It has a green scotch-brite pad glued to a light-weight piece of aluminum. It's spring-loaded, and it's also adjustable to add more or less tension to the surface of the track.001.JPG


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3d printing , add-on , lionel , track cleaner

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