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.
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.
- Print the parts as oriented in the file
- 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.
- Push the top down onto the screw. There are indention's for button head m2.5 screws so they sit flush.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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...