Cut Lever Installation

jhn_plsn Oct 28, 2012

  1. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    Ok I give up!!!!:rats:

    What is the secret to installing the BLMA cut levers?:crying:

    Where's my 38.
  2. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

    Don't give up!...

    but there's no 'secret', as far as I can tell...
    are you adding them to rolling stock or locos...

    I haven't added any to rolling stock yet, but here are my observations on adding them to locos-specifically, Kato F units.


    First-the first one is the most difficult!...applying these on a curved surface, like the pilot of a cab unit, is a little more difficult, even with the BLMA-supplied drilling template.
    instead of using the template to lay over the pilot, I trace the template onto a piece of masking tape; Tamiya tape works well because it has a subtle 'see-thru' quality that allows me to position it properly...
    then drill the 4 holes necessary to add the tiny hooks/hangers.
    Using a pair of tweezers, dip the protruding rod of the hook/hanger into a drop of decanted super glue, then position into place with the open part of the hook facing 'up'.
    apply super glue to the inside as well to secure the part (this assumes you're doing a loco pilot and have access to the back side of the pilot)
    after the glue is cured and the parts are secure, test fit the lever; bending, as necessary, to fit. again, this is more difficult with a curved pilot.
    I fit the lever, from the top, into the hook/hangers-once they are laying in the proper orientation, and you're satisfied, apply a tiny drop of thin superglue to each point where the lever touched the hook (I use a chiseled toothpick to do this)

    again, the first one is the %&$##- but the 'secret' is to take your doesn't go quickly-however, the second, third, fourth, etc...definitely go quicker when you have one 'under your belt'!

    I'm going to add them to my passenger cars and I'm thinking they may go a little quicker without having to bend them in compound curves, but i also don't have a clue how/where to 'hang' them until I research prototypical photos...
    Hope this helps,
  3. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Not really a secret, just a steady hand, good magnification and lots of patience. I think I only tried a couple times, the best advice might be to glue or solder the mounts to the levers and then drill the holes in the pilot and glue the accembly on. I do remember that installing them was quite taxing of my patience, a simple factor of the size of the work, and I believe I may have ended up just gluing some directly to the pilot (it's not really cheating, really)
  4. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    Thanks Guys,

    I do like the tape idea and also simply gluing directly onto the pilot may be on my list now. I think I will try adding the pilot layover from BLMA and assemble it all away from the loco first. This may make painting a bit easier too.

    We'll see.
  5. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

    here's the secret, hire Bruce
  6. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    One thing is for sure I need a super fine tip on my tweezers.
  7. Shortline1976

    Shortline1976 New Member

  8. sandro schaer

    sandro schaer TrainBoard Member

    there are cut levers emd style and ge style.

    one of them uses rings and are a real pain to install. the other type has c-shaped 'rings'. glue them into the pilot. the outer facing upwards, the inner facing downwards. clip in the cut lever.

    then there are cut levers from trainworks. one single piece. all it needs are two holes and a steady hand to fold the cut lever.
  9. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    Thanks Sandro, I have been attempting the EMD cut levers that have the rings of pain. I was looking at the GE levers and thought I would try to cut the rings to have the slip in style installation. I will give that a try and if not successfull I plan to order up some Trainworx units.
    Funny I just walked away from the table as the cut lever I was working on just flung across the abyss that is the garage. I did buy the bulk pack so have extras, but I have a feeling someone will get a gift in the mail.
  10. Brian K

    Brian K TrainBoard Member

    The rings of pain need to be redesigned. I end up taking the GE rings and using them for the EMD cut levers. More expensive, but my sanity is worth it.

    Craig, if your out there watching, please consider changing the EMD rings to match the GE versions. It would be much appreciated...

  11. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

    No, do not change them! The EMD versions look way nicer. They are fine just the way they are.

    I have installed BLMA cut levers on about 40 engines. The easiest way I have found is to drill the holes and glue one of the outer rings to the pilot. Then I thread the other 3 rings on the cut lever. Next I thread the cut lever onto the one installed ring. I put a small amount of glue on the next hole and use my tweezers to position the ring, then install the next until it is done. It takes only a few minutes and looks great.
  12. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

    Yeah, I agree with jpwisc's methods. Only...I still find it frustratingly difficult. The GE ones that have "open" rings are much easier, you don't have to thread them on at all. If you have spare GE rings, use them instead. And while I'm on the topic, it would be nice if BLMA made more styles of loco cut levers, the type seen on the older GE Dash 7 and Dash 8s have a different shape than the more contemporary ones made by BLMA, the loops have different curves on them.

  13. Brian K

    Brian K TrainBoard Member

    I'm not saying change the cut lever, I'm saying change the rings to include an opening like the GE versions have. Much easier to just put it in position, glue and paint. From 6 inches away, can you really tell the difference in the rings, let alone 3 feet away?

  14. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I too do as Karl. The only difference is that I do my installation in natural light without magnification. So far at 39 my eyes can see it. I only have a few more years left of doing it this way though.
  15. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

    Jim, I'm right there with you, my eyes are still young (35 now) so I don't use magnification. I do have a special light on my workbench called an OTT light. It makes things very easy to see using light that is far more natural than fluorescents.
  16. Craig Martyn

    Craig Martyn TrainBoard Member

    I'm here and always watching...

    The EMD Cut Levers were designed long before the GE style, and hence we were able to make a provision the GE models after years of my own experience. As time permits, I will see about going back to revise the original EMD Cut Lever artwork - should be a huge deal, but we have stock to sell through before we can produce the new design.

    For others, please note we offer four styles of cut levers: Early Locomotive (#11) Modern EMD (#13), Modern GE (#14) and E/F Units (#99). Furthermore, we offer Freight Car Cut Levers as #404. Hope all of that information helps!

  17. pastoolio

    pastoolio TrainBoard Member

    Use a Sharp xacto knife and cut a section out of the EMD rings so they look like the GE rings. Use tape to hold them in place or they will go flying! You can tape a bunch down and cut them all at once.

  18. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    More great info. Thanks a bunch guys. I do like the looks of these BLMA levers so will try again, and again, and again,..... I am determined.
  19. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    So I took the advice of gluing one ring into position then threaded and glued one ring at a time. Even though it was still challenging I was successful, but not as straight as I would like.

    On the next lever;

    1. Copy the drill pattern from the fret to tape and use the tape to better position the holes on the pilot.
    2. Install one ring onto the pilot and allow the glue to set, then thread the lever through it.
    3. Add one ring at a time and glue into position before moving onto another.
    4. Have the lever bent to the desired shape before threading into the ring, otherwise attempting to bend it while in position could cause the rings to become dislodged from their desired position.
    5. Look forward a better result and experience on the next one.

    Thanks again guys. I hope to add a photo when I finish adding some other items.

Share This Page