Scraping off "pizza cutters"

minesweeper Oct 27, 2020

  1. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    I have some old locomotives (mainly from LIMA) with old style "pizza cutter" flanges that do not fit my Code 83 rails.
    Unfortunately the older LIMA locomotives can not have their wheels replaced as there is a plastic gear glued to the inner side as in the Picture 14 in this webpage (3rd from top)

    The locomotives to be worked on are 2 or 3.

    Is there any way I can scrape off that 1/10" that does not imply buying a milling machine?
    Is there anyone of the small model workshops that may offer this service?
    Or where can I get both replacement wheels and gears (unfortunately i think in this case gears have to be made to measure) without spending a fortune?

    Very difficult questions, but thanks to anyone that can help.
  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

    The most professional way would be to use a lathe and turn the flange down. Since you do not want to go that route, you might also be able to put the wheelset in a power drill and use a metal file to sand it down. You might have to remove a wheel to fit it in the chuck though. You would just do each side separately.

    Remove a wheel, put the bare axle in the drill chuck, turn it on and file down the other wheel. Replace the wheel you removed and do the same process for it as well. Just make sure that the flanges are even on all them.

    You might also be able to replace the entire power truck with a Northwest Short Line Stanton truck. I have a Jouef model that I have been meaning to remotor like that. They are not cheap, so if the Lima models run well, just fixing the flanges should be fine.
  3. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

    Turn the locomotive chassis on its back with wheels up. Apply max power with alligator clips to the motor contacts. With the wheels spinning, carefully file down the flanges with a needle file. You can shield the motor with something like masking tape so the filings don't get into it.
  4. S t e f a n

    S t e f a n TrainBoard Member

    I have tried that, and the locomotive motor just didn't have enough torque. I think one would have to be extremely patient.
  5. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Thanks for the "home filing solution"; I was kind of thinking about it, I know now it is feasible, but I consider this as a last resort (one of the wheels also has the gear glued to it) , also I have the same concern of Stefan, these motors were not designed for torque and efficiency, rather for robustness.
  6. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

    Before doing all this filing to the wheels, I would look into BUYING a USED [pretty sure buying a NEW engine, is outta the question] engine. This is an engine is to PRACTICE on, before working on your main engine.
    Be very CAREFUL if you try the wheel filing, the little metal shavings can go EVERYWHERE. A friend of mine, tried to file a couple of wheels down, just about destroyed an engine.
  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    The only method I can think of is to remove each wheel from its axle, mount on a Dremel tool mandrel and spin it against an abrasive surface. You could chuck up several at a time. The mandrel screw would have to be the same diameter as the axle, you'd have to keep a close eye on the flange depth to keep things uniform on all of the wheels and too watch for excessive heat, perhaps quenching as you go.

  8. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    I thought of using a Dremel as well. But to have the engine running and use a sanding tool or file in the Dremel. Then it was brought up about the grit getting into the engine. So Hardcoalers idea sounds better. That's similar to what I used on Lionel engines back in '70s when I worked in a small machine shop.
    Good luck.
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  9. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    It's surprising no one has bothered to produce replacement low profiles for old Lima trains. I have a bunch of them and am using C100 track because of them. I see no other easy option. It also seems like the best option if you collect the older european models as I do.
  10. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    I also think Hardcoaler idea is good, also to avoid the grit entering the motor (the LIMA G is made as such that this is more than likely).
    For Geek, most of the old LIMA stock goes well on my TILLIG ELITE code 83 rails, so I decided to build the layout with these, as they look much better and also are very reliable.
    As a matter of fact the problem stays with few of the oldest stock (the ones from the 70s and before) with some notable exceptions:
    - The oldest version of the ALCO 420 runs well, differently than the European trains I bought in the same period (77/79), and from the latest models with cracking gears.
    - ALL Rivarossi stock goes well, to include some locos from the 60s
    All coaches and freight cars that I needed already have their wheels replaced, however with the engines is more difficult as there are no spares.

    At the moment the most important issue I have is with the ETR 401,
    which I really would have to get moving on my layout as this is the iconic world first working tilting train in revenue service, (and also looks okay as it is quite short) some other stock I already decided to confine to a display as I can go without, or already got some stand ins; also I have some others I would prefer not to keep in the display, but if push comes to shove, I will either sell or keep static.
    gmorider and BNSF FAN like this.
  11. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    My fleet ranges from 60's to contemporary models. I would lose my mind trying to re-wheel it all. Nope, it's C100 for all my european collection.

    The ETR is cool. I see a lot of cool models being offered for Italian trains now. Acme makes amazing models, but I will never own one. With shipping that's 500+ for a four unit train. NOPE!

    I always wait for deals and somehow got a deal on a 300 dollar train for 80 bucks. Yet most of my acquisitions have to be in the 20 dollar range.

    I will have to take photos as my collection is really pretty funny. I just buy what I think looks cool. I have a little of everything.

    An Odd Thought. Most of the important trains always go on the same tracks. What if you make just one line be c100 so you can run your ETR on it?
  12. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    Good news.
    I actually have 2 of these trainsets, one that is mine since the early 70s and had been pretty "used" when I was a kid.
    But I also have another, in better exterior shape, which is a slightly later production.
    When I was working on the original set I noticed the flanges were too big, and thought that also applied to the other one (the latest model have blackened wheels and this one did not have).
    Then I did a little research on the interned to see if I could just find some compatible "wheels with associated gearing" from other, later LIMA models. A long work to get these out of the casing, but less complicated than getting the wheels out of the casing
    AND filing out the flanges.
    I found out the ETR 401 had the same wheels as the ALCO C420 model. o_O
    That model runs well, so I just got an older frame I use for spares and tested it on the layout, as anticipated it worked.
    Then I had the epiphany, what if the second trainset has the VERY same wheels?
    Got the guy on the tracks and..... IT WORKED!!!! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

    So no issue for the most important one.
    For the others, I will see, but will try to replace the geared wheels with some similar later production ones. NO FILING.
    Thank you for all the suggestions here (y), I really appreciated your help even if fortunately the issue was solved otherwise.

    For Geeky, stay away from ACME, these cost a fortune but are NOT designed to be run, their riding is usually bad and there are no spares available.
    The Hornby (LIMA and Rivarossi) are somewhat more robust and run better. Spares are also a less impossible issue to solve.

    By the way I keep to my "older" models, as these run much better, the detail is enough for me (for trains I am in the 2 feet and moving) and usually come cheaper. Also spares is not a real big trouble if you have time and patience to search for cheap used model to take parts from.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
    traingeekboy likes this.
  13. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    Wow, really good news on your trains.

    I have a funny story too. I went out to my shed to dig out my Lima trains and look them over. It was then I discovered I had bought 8 cars in XMPR along with a 424. I honestly had forgotten I got all that. ;)
  14. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    did I remember the discussion on the 424 and the XMPR bar commuter car on the Italian side?

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