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Back in the day,” as the kids would say, we used to build things we needed. Not that the purchased item wouldn’t be better or nicer looking, we simply didn’t have the money.

These are simple test stand rollers for Lionel Steam Locomotives. I don’t know if they’ll fit diesels ‘cause I don’t have any. You’ll have to build them to find out, or post the wheel dimensions and I’ll tell you.

These rollers were built entirely with hand tools. A drill press would be nice but I don’t have one. Same goes for a cutoff wheel or bandsaw.

Materials.jpg

The first slide shows all the materials except the piece to join the two roller sets (I used plexiglass cut to fit cause I had it, but cardboard or thin plywood will work just as well).

Everything is available at HD except the bearings. I bought them off evil bay from china. Search for ‘skate bearings.’ The size I used was 16 x 2 mm with a 5mm center holes.

tools.jpg

This second slide shows some of the hand tools I used. Missing here are the hacksaw, file, and 11/64” drill bit. You’re drilling aluminum so you don’t need a hammer drill – ¼ inch drill will do.

Dimensions.jpg

This third slide shows the two roller sides chucked in a vise for drilling. Obviously I first had to cut the angle iron to length and file the ends to true them. The angle iron being back to back will give you two exactly opposite holes. The small wood board provides a little ‘crush’ so that the vise grabs both pieces, otherwise one might ‘walk’ while you’re drilling. Use a couple size smaller drill bit first.

The 11/64” drill bit will allow your tap to cut 75% threads. For the uninitiated a larger drill allows less thread a smaller one more. There is no such thing as 100% threads, it simply wouldn’t work.

There are plenty of charts on the web to convert decimal to fractions etc. Basically the bearing are spaced at ¾ inch and there is 3/8 inch left on either end. This means that two units (you do need to make two) butted end to end will still have ¾ inch between each bearing.

1615.jpg

The dimensions on the last slide aren’t critical but show how my 1615 rides on the assembled bearing unit. The Plexiglas ‘bottom’ is simply epoxied to the angle iron. Without it the rollers will ‘walk out from under the locomotive.

I’ve left the last piece entirely up to you. There’s nothing that says you can’t power the center pickup with an alligator clip/jumper wire. There are any number of other solutions that come to mind. Post whatever you come up with to make this project truly yours!

While not the 'goto' tool in your box this is a fun project and simple enough for entry level with room to improve. We were all 'tool challenged' in the beginning so don't let that stop you!
 

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You can add the center roller contact pretty easily, here's a couple different roller sets that I have.

Either set has a contact similar to the left hand set under the insulator board to contact the center rail. The one change I'd make to your design is to put the insulating board on top and make the angle under it shorter so there's room for the center contact strip.
 

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The one change I'd make to your design is to put the insulating board on top and make the angle under it shorter so there's room for the center contact strip.
You need to look at the pictures more closely John. The final picture clearly shows the insulating board on top.

As for powering it from a track, that is of little value to me. It's just as easy to hook up two jumper wires.

The epoxy method I used doesn't lend itself to being track powered because it will walk off the track and cause a short.

But then you bought yours.:laugh:
 

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You're right Bob, don't know why I thought it was on the bottom! :eek:hwell:

I see your point about it walking off the track. The screw heads extend down to keep the commercial ones on the track.

As far as shorting, if it walks to the side, what keeps the angle iron from shorting to the center rail?
 

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Thanks

Thanks for the great information. I will now build one myself. Just ordered the bearings tonight. I like to buy not working old American Flyer steam locomotives. Once I rebuild them I used to set up a track just to test run them. Not any more!
Thanks:smilie_daumenpos::smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Back in the day,” as the kids would say, we used to build things we needed. Not that the purchased item wouldn’t be better or nicer looking, we simply didn’t have the money.

These are simple test stand rollers for Lionel Steam Locomotives. I don’t know if they’ll fit diesels ‘cause I don’t have any. You’ll have to build them to find out, or post the wheel dimensions and I’ll tell you.

These rollers were built entirely with hand tools. A drill press would be nice but I don’t have one. Same goes for a cutoff wheel or bandsaw.

View attachment 369737

The first slide shows all the materials except the piece to join the two roller sets (I used plexiglass cut to fit cause I had it, but cardboard or thin plywood will work just as well).

Everything is available at HD except the bearings. I bought them off evil bay from china. Search for ‘skate bearings.’ The size I used was 16 x 2 mm with a 5mm center holes.

View attachment 369745

This second slide shows some of the hand tools I used. Missing here are the hacksaw, file, and 11/64” drill bit. You’re drilling aluminum so you don’t need a hammer drill – ¼ inch drill will do.

View attachment 369753

This third slide shows the two roller sides chucked in a vise for drilling. Obviously I first had to cut the angle iron to length and file the ends to true them. The angle iron being back to back will give you two exactly opposite holes. The small wood board provides a little ‘crush’ so that the vise grabs both pieces, otherwise one might ‘walk’ while you’re drilling. Use a couple size smaller drill bit first.

The 11/64” drill bit will allow your tap to cut 75% threads. For the uninitiated a larger drill allows less thread a smaller one more. There is no such thing as 100% threads, it simply wouldn’t work.

There are plenty of charts on the web to convert decimal to fractions etc. Basically the bearing are spaced at ¾ inch and there is 3/8 inch left on either end. This means that two units (you do need to make two) butted end to end will still have ¾ inch between each bearing.

View attachment 369761

The dimensions on the last slide aren’t critical but show how my 1615 rides on the assembled bearing unit. The Plexiglas ‘bottom’ is simply epoxied to the angle iron. Without it the rollers will ‘walk out from under the locomotive.

I’ve left the last piece entirely up to you. There’s nothing that says you can’t power the center pickup with an alligator clip/jumper wire. There are any number of other solutions that come to mind. Post whatever you come up with to make this project truly yours!

While not the 'goto' tool in your box this is a fun project and simple enough for entry level with room to improve. We were all 'tool challenged' in the beginning so don't let that stop you!
You don't have to mess with China.... Grainger carries that size for $3.00

https://www.grainger.com/category/power-transmission/bearings/ball-bearings?attrs=Bore+Dia.|5mm~~Outside+Dia.|16mm&filters=attrs
 
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