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Discussion Starter #1
All of my engines with the exception of one Micro Trains F7 have them but the treads are all shiny nickel plate. ( or whatever it is they plate them with)

The MT F7 with it's bare metal wheels outpulls a Kato F7 by at least 4 cars up an incline, so I'm wondering if there's any reason I shouldn't take a Dremel to the wheels on everything else?
 

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When you post that the MT outpulls the Kato are you saying the Kato slips it's wheels?

If so, the usual resolution is to add weight to the loco. Many hobby shops have
lead weight strips marked in 1 ounce sections. I would try this before
using the Dremel. Some have used wheel balance or fishing weights flattend
to fit. You could test this by taping weights to the top of the loco and running it
with cars.

Don
 

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All of my engines with the exception of one Micro Trains F7 have them but the treads are all shiny nickel plate. ( or whatever it is they plate them with)

The MT F7 with it's bare metal wheels outpulls a Kato F7 by at least 4 cars up an incline, so I'm wondering if there's any reason I shouldn't take a Dremel to the wheels on everything else?
gimme30;

First try what Don suggested. If that doesn't do it for you, I wouldn't use a Dremel to remove the black coating from the wheel treads. It may damage something, and there is a safer way. Turn the loco upside down and run it with a DC power pack or 9v battery while holding a miniature file or X-acto knife against the wheel tread. It will quickly clean the wheel and won't hurt anything,

regards;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When you post that the MT outpulls the Kato are you saying the Kato slips it's wheels?
Yep, that's exactly it. At first I thought one had to be heavier than the other so I put them on the scale, and that's when I noticed the plain wheels on the MT engine. They make such a big difference it had me wondering why most manufacturers go to the trouble, especially since they might save a penny if they didn't.

Personally I think they should all (n scale, at least) come with traction tires!
 

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Yep, that's exactly it. At first I thought one had to be heavier than the other so I put them on the scale, and that's when I noticed the plain wheels on the MT engine. They make such a big difference it had me wondering why most manufacturers go to the trouble, especially since they might save a penny if they didn't.

Personally I think they should all (n scale, at least) come with traction tires!
gimme30;

The early N-scale locomotives had bright, "shiny all over" wheels, and many wanted a more realistic look. However, the blackened "tread" or "tire" area (the part that rolls on top of the rail) of some model wheels isn't even realistic, so it doesn't make any sense.
If a prototype locomotive has been run in the last month, or two, the tread area of the wheels will be bright & shiny. If its been sitting that long, the tread will be rusty.
By law, real railroad wheels can't be painted, so the dark color is a combination of rust, dirt, grease, and the black dust from brake shoes. None of that will stay on the wheel tread long if 200 tons of locomotive has been trying to grind it into a solid steel rail. That action will soon polish the surface to a mirror-like shine.
I suspect the blackening process involves submerging the assembled wheelset in a chemical bath, or spraying the whole assembly with a chemical blackener, and maybe that's why the treads are as black as the rest of the wheel. Try cleaning the treads and see if it helps. Adding weight will help too.

I wouldn't mention your "traction tires on all N-scale locomotive wheels" idea around any old N-scalers. Most early N-scale locos did have traction tires. The tires were rather less than perfectly round, and often of a slightly larger diameter than the other wheels. This resulted in many early N-scale locomotives behaving like your recent BLI steamer. They waddled down the track shaking all over! Newer traction tires are much better though.
N-scale locomotives, as you have doubtless observed, are freaking SMALL. Getting enough weight into them to provide decent traction, has always been an issue. Some smaller steam locomotives are lucky to move themselves and a half dozen free-rolling cars, even on level track. A few, like my old Bachmann 4-4-0 American can't even pull that many. Oh well! keep saying the mantra, "Model railroading is fun ..... Model railroading is fun.....o_O

regards;

Traction Fan 😄
 

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Hi Gimme,
Did u find some method to improve adhesion for the shiny wheels?
Thanks,
Cid
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey cid!

I think so. Bullfrog snot. Based on this description, what N scaler wouldn't want some!

"Extracted from the suffering sinuses of mature Mojave Macho male frogs in mating mode, under the full moon, as fast as our wrugged wranglers can wround ‘em up off their free-wrange and herd ‘em in."

Haven't pulled the trigger yet since $20 seems a little high for sticky green goo, but I'll probably pick some up on my next attempt to purchase an engine that actually runs.
 

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Hey cid!

I think so. Bullfrog snot. Based on this description, what N scaler wouldn't want some!

"Extracted from the suffering sinuses of mature Mojave Macho male frogs in mating mode, under the full moon, as fast as our wrugged wranglers can wround ‘em up off their free-wrange and herd ‘em in."

Haven't pulled the trigger yet since $20 seems a little high for sticky green goo, but I'll probably pick some up on my next attempt to purchase an engine that actually runs.
gimme 30;

Glad you're back! I figured to hear from you on Thurs. or Fri. , since I think you said "that's your weekend." If you are put off by the high price of bullfrog snot (I've not used it) then here are some possible alternatives.

1) While the loco is upside down in a cradle,(see photo) and powered up to make those shiny wheels turn, apply a THIN layer of a TINY AMOUNT of rubber cement, (or RTV sealant?) with a small disposable paint brush. Once cured, the rubber cement will form a rubber "tire" for more traction.
NOTE: This will be a pioneering experiment on your part. Try one wheel, and let it dry overnight. Then test run the locomotive. If it pulls better, and doesn't wobble excessively, then do another wheel. Two wheels, at opposite ends of one axle, should do it. After all you will still want as many wheels picking up power as possible. If it doesn't work, run the loco upside down with an X-acto knife blade against the "traction tire"/ "god awful mess" you have created to remove it from the wheel tread.

2) If you want maximum traction, and maximum electrical pickup too, use a fine toothed ( 70 TPI) Zona brand razor saw to cut wlittle tiny slots in the wheels, and the rails of your track to create a cog railway! Be wary, wary, carefwul to get the spacing right on those tiny wittle teeth!

regards;

Traction Fan 😁
 

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Discussion Starter #10
LOL TF you are a funny funny guy! :LOL:
My apologies, I would have posted last weekend but what should have been a two hour max garage door replacement (I've done it before) wound up taking both days. Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a cheap s.o.b. who refuses to pay anyone else to do something I can do myself, but then I wouldn't have any money to spend on engines that don't work either!!:ROFLMAO:

I actually thought about using rubber cement. I've had great success with Walther's "Goo" for all sorts of things, but it's exactly the god awful mess I'd wind up with that stopped me. The "cog railway" on the other hand....now that's something I hadn't considered. Wonder if my rusty hacksaw will work as well as a Zona.....?

To be honest I wasn't really looking for more traction. Well, I mean, I am, but what I was really wondering about was why manufacturers made their treads so shiny slippery smooth when an unfinished bare wheel obviously works so much better as far as adhesion goes. Conductivity issues maybe? Equipment incapable of plating only part of the wheel? (AFAIK nickel or chrome plated parts are still produced by multiple dipping processes)
 

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LOL TF you are a funny funny guy! :LOL:
My apologies, I would have posted last weekend but what should have been a two hour max garage door replacement (I've done it before) wound up taking both days. Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a cheap s.o.b. who refuses to pay anyone else to do something I can do myself, but then I wouldn't have any money to spend on engines that don't work either!!:ROFLMAO:

I actually thought about using rubber cement. I've had great success with Walther's "Goo" for all sorts of things, but it's exactly the god awful mess I'd wind up with that stopped me. The "cog railway" on the other hand....now that's something I hadn't considered. Wonder if my rusty hacksaw will work as well as a Zona.....?

To be honest I wasn't really looking for more traction. Well, I mean, I am, but what I was really wondering about was why manufacturers made their treads so shiny slippery smooth when an unfinished bare wheel obviously works so much better as far as adhesion goes. Conductivity issues maybe? Equipment incapable of plating only part of the wheel? (AFAIK nickel or chrome plated parts are still produced by multiple dipping processes)
gimme30;

Did you get my reply to your, scenery/ access hatch cover, question in your other thread about "Building scenery one coffee ring at a time?" You could always put the shiny wheeled loco upside down in a cradle and run the wheels against a miniature file to remove the chrome coating. Certainly, your hacksaw will work, but the cog teeth you create will be fewer and larger. they will also be way over scale size, and I know what a stickler for prototypical accuracy you are! You would never have selected those super realistic looking Atlas turnouts otherwise.
All "cog railway" kidding aside, Scratching the wheels sideways with a razor saw might create more traction, due to auto tire tread-like, rougher surface. I use a version of this technique to make the tree bark effect on my conifer trees. The trunks start out as smooth, shiny plastic paint brush handles. The bark texture is scratched in by drawing a razor saw blade along them. The file below illustrates this, along with other steps in tree making.
I suspect the reason for the shiny wheels is likely what you say, something in that manufacturer's particular process. However, prototype wheels are usually also pretty darn shiny on the tire area that contacts the rail.

Regards;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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