3 link and screw link couplings

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3 link and screw link couplings

Postby noddy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:53 pm

Hi everyone
I've been thinking about changing for a while now and decided that i'm going to convert all my stock to 3 link and screw link couplings.
What i'd like to know is your thought's on who's are the best to use??
I've got some Romford screw links but to me they look a little to chunky.

Cheers
Andy
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Neil » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:15 pm

I like the Smiffs ones, a good compromise between looks and ease (ha!) of use. having said that I'll use pretty much 'owt as is cheap' and had a soft spot for the EMGS coupling chain which unfortunately seems to be unavailable at the moment.
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Tim » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:23 pm

I've been using the Smiths ones for the last 5 years now and haven't got a problem with them. Well worth it, even if the hooks aren't the greatest. Ambis do a very nice set of etched hooks though, if you fancy something a little better looking.

Fitting them can sometimes be rather fun, but you soon get used to it.

HTH,
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby iak » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:30 pm

Try Exactoscale Hooks and some chain - I did use that which the EM Gauge Society Used to sell. You could even wind your own if you feel especially committed to fidelity.
Exactoscales links are to my eyes a bit heavy but worth maybe a view as well
The Screw Link option is the Masokits Screw Link with Exactoscale Hooks. OK you have to assemble them but are strong and look fabbo ;)
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby david bigcheeseplant » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:34 pm

Masokits screw couplings for me too, three links I wind up myself round a 1mmx3.5mm bar and cut with a piercing saw.

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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby MartinWales » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:31 pm

Agree with Tim and Neil here as the Smiths type are'nt the best looking but are O.K. for me in exhibition operating conditions., but are an acceptable compromise

Plus I think that our colleague Butoxeter's a user too.....
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby ClikC » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:52 pm

I adore the exactoscale couplings and draw hooks. With my favorite being the working screw link. It does however have the slight downsides of being expensive, and making everyone else think your quite quite mad.

Regards

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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Puds » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:22 pm

Well as you know Noddy, I use those by Smiths, for the simple reason that they're the most effective and practical to use. The hook may well be slightly overscale, but it's a good compromise between appearance and being user friendly.

It's all very well saying that those by exactoscale appear nice, as they do, but how do they stand up to constant use at an exhibition? Are these examples used in rakes of stock that stay just as permanent rakes, or do they coupled/uncoupled as they get constantly shunted around!?
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Rich » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:14 am

I use a mixture of Smiths and Ambis hooks, as has been mentioned the latter are a bit more difficult to use, but look better and are a lot easier to fit (given that the shaft will fit into the hole that is already in the headstock from the original plastic hook. This is particularly useful in stuff which has a metal headstock (eg Bachmann Sealions)
In an ideal world I would like a hook size/shape thats somewhere between the two, with the ambis sized shaft (and one day I may even get round to drawing it up and etching some!)

for the actual couplings, for Instanters I tend to go with an Ambis instanter link and Smiths wire links. for screw links it gets a lot more difficult, as I cant stand the look of the Smiths coupling (not to mention I've had a fair few of them fail on me), I do like the look of the Masokits ones (from what I've seen of the finished couplings) though its a bit of a pain to assemble lots of them (when your sat looking at a rake of 20 wagons that need fitting, the thought of soldering up 20 pairs of couplings really dosnt appeal) Have a couple of packs saw awaiting assembly at the moment, so hopefully will get on ok with them.....
In the past I have used Romfords (and their predecessor) on locos after getting a job lot of them on the cheap a few years back, dont great to look at (though in my opinion better than the track pin through etch that Smiths do), I did like the big loops that made coupling nice and easy. However more recent production has got very stiff at the joints, to the point where coupling is a bit of a pain (no idea if thats still the case, after a few packs and hearing others say the same I stopped buying them.)

The other option I am considering at the moment, is following the approach Jim Smith-Write has used on some of his new street stock, using a DCC controlled coupling which works with the coupling hook (afraid I cant remember the type), and prototypical couplings in between. looks to me like the best of both worlds, as the loco is fitted with screws as per usual, and its the lead wagon thats fitted with the dcc coupling, the combination of looks and hands off coupling really appeals!
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Butoxeter » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:35 pm

MartinWales wrote:Plus I think that our colleague Butoxeter's a user too.....

Yes, my views on the matter are as follows:

It's the second day of a tiring exhibition and you're one operator down. You've been on your feet all day and are tired. There's a constant stream of visitors watching the layout operate, and the sequence depends on a lot of shunting, coupling and uncoupling.

Think about the concentration needed to perform the coupling and uncoupling activities. What is your eyesight like - what are lighting conditions like in the exhibition hall and on your layout? Is your tiredness affecting your concentration and ability to hold shunting pole steady? One way to 'bore' viewers is persistent failure to couple and uncouple properly...

Perhaps your back is beginning to give you gip, as you hunch over the stock that needs coupling?

For these reasons, I am more than happy with Smiths hooks and links - they work well, the appearance is slightly compromised but no (IMO) excessively so, and the slightly over-scale size enables the act of coupling and uncoupling to be performed with more reliability than more scale sizes (which I have also tried and still have fitted to some items of stock).
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby noddy » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:26 pm

Thanks Guys.
Looks like i'll be going for Smiths then. I totally agree with what you've said there Tim and from operating Pudley Lane at shows i can see where your coming from.
Best get my bulk order off to them.
Cheers
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Brinkly » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:41 pm

Before you send that order off Andy!

Butoxeter wrote:It's the second day of a tiring exhibition and you're one operator down. You've been on your feet all day and are tired. There's a constant stream of visitors watching the layout operate, and the sequence depends on a lot of shunting, coupling and uncoupling.


Or you could use Alex Jacksons! ;)

Butoxeter wrote: Think about the concentration needed to perform the coupling and uncoupling activities. What is your eyesight like - what are lighting conditions like in the exhibition hall and on your layout? Is your tiredness affecting your concentration and ability to hold shunting pole steady? One way to 'bore' viewers is persistent failure to couple and uncouple properly...


Or you could use Alex Jacksons! ;)

Butoxeter wrote: Perhaps your back is beginning to give you gip, as you hunch over the stock that needs coupling?


And in your condition Tim, I would use Alex Jacksons! ;) :lol: All joking aside it is up to you Andy what you use, I plan to have a mixture of both 3-links (Smiths) and AJs.

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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby noddy » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:44 pm

I did think about AJ couplings Nick but to me they just don't look right.
All coaching stock will be in fixed sets apart from the parcel vans etc and i'm not too bothered about the whole hands on coupling thing. I actually think 3 links add a little to the operational side of things even if theres some out there that think the big arm in the sky looks wrong :)

Cheers
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Color fast » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:47 pm

AJ's are not successful on OO track, too much sideways slop for the stock.
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Danum » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:55 pm

I much prefer 3 links to any other form of coupling but I must admit the AJ is the least obtrusive of the other couplers. Although I do think the Spratt & Winkle type runs it a pretty close second. However I must admit I have never used it under exhibition conditions.

At least with the 3 link type the uncoupling hand may not be desireable but it is there but briefly and then gone whereas the other types are there all the time (if you see what I mean!). And in photos the 3 link wins hands down as, to me, the other types are very obvious. And don't get me started about tension locks!
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Brinkly » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:28 pm

Color fast wrote:AJ's are not successful on OO track, too much sideways slop for the stock.


I didn't know that Tim. Something new I have learnt today. :)

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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Brinkly » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:36 pm

Danum wrote:I much prefer 3 links to any other form of coupling but I must admit the AJ is the least obtrusive of the other couplers. Although I do think the Spratt & Winkle type runs it a pretty close second. However I must admit I have never used it under exhibition conditions.


Don't get me wrong, I agree completely 3-links are great and as Andy said they add operational value, but (and please don't hit me!) there is nothing worse in my book than the hand of god coming down in photographs. Some layouts operated with 3-links the operators give you enough time to get the photo taken, before moving off with the loco/remaining train. But some are just too quick, which is where I think AJs have the advantage over 3-links. However I will use 3-links on my stock for 'through' trains where there isn’t need for uncoupling.

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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Butoxeter » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:15 pm

Brinkly wrote:but (and please don't hit me!)

OK then, seeings as you've asked so nicely!! :P :P

Brinkly wrote:there is nothing worse in my book than the hand of god coming down in photographs. Some layouts operated with 3-links the operators give you enough time to get the photo taken, before moving off with the loco/remaining train

But.... but..... just think a moment - how are real railways operated? In real life, there is a human person called a Shunter, who walks along the side of the train being shunted, and (depending on the type of stock and operating practices of the district) either uses a shunting pole or goes in between the vehicles to couple or uncouple.

Real trains (except modern units) don't just pull up in a siding or platform and suddenly uncouple themselves 'as if by magic'...

I'm always happy to delay operations to let people take photos, they don't even have to ask sometimes - I often surprise them by offering!!

Brinkly wrote:But some are just too quick, which is where I think AJs have the advantage over 3-links

Let me assure you that you won't be that quick off the mark on the Sunday afternoon of a 2 day show, especially if your back's still giving you gip!! :lol: ;)

The 'Hand of God' may well be an irritation to some folk, but I personally don't subscribe to 'uncoupling by spooks!'... ;) :D
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Wenbridge » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:37 pm

On "Pomparles Siding" I find that the walking to and from the layout in order to operate the manual point levers and perform coupling and uncoupling (of three links) created quite a good "rhthym" to operation of the model and in some strange way adds to the realism, echoing what the shunter would have had to do in real life.

Of course in 1/32 scale three links are a darn sight easer to use. (Come on in, the water's lovely ;) )

PS I have a shunters pole/hook built from the plans/description in MRJ that greatly aids the coupling and uncoupling. It has a turned and varnished wooden handle and I feel quite lost without it.

All I need now is the pipe and tweed jacket :roll:
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Brinkly » Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:58 pm

Butoxeter wrote:
Brinkly wrote:but (and please don't hit me!)

OK then, seeings as you've asked so nicely!! :P :P


:) ;)

Butoxeter wrote:
Brinkly wrote:there is nothing worse in my book than the hand of god coming down in photographs. Some layouts operated with 3-links the operators give you enough time to get the photo taken, before moving off with the loco/remaining train

But.... but..... just think a moment - how are real railways operated? In real life, there is a human person called a Shunter, who walks along the side of the train being shunted, and (depending on the type of stock and operating practices of the district) either uses a shunting pole or goes in between the vehicles to couple or uncouple.

Real trains (except modern units) don't just pull up in a siding or platform and suddenly uncouple themselves 'as if by magic'...


Yeah but in real life the person isn't 76.2 times larger is he!? Giants and beanstalks I say sir, Giants! ;) :D

Butoxeter wrote:I'm always happy to delay operations to let people take photos, they don't even have to ask sometimes - I often surprise them by offering!!


It tends to be the gentlemen operators who offer this service sir, chaps such as your self. ;) Not all are so considerate.

Butoxeter wrote:
Brinkly wrote:But some are just too quick, which is where I think AJs have the advantage over 3-links

Let me assure you that you won't be that quick off the mark on the Sunday afternoon of a 2 day show, especially if your back's still giving you gip!! :lol: ;)

:D All joking apart a two day event must take it out of you, I find that after a day's walking round the classroom and leaning down to the children's height tiring, let alone operating a shunting layout!

Butoxeter wrote:The 'Hand of God' may well be an irritation to some folk, but I personally don't subscribe to 'uncoupling by spooks!'... ;) :D
I refer my Honourable friend to the comment I made earlier, about giants! ;) :D

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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Butoxeter » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:33 pm

Brinkly wrote:
Butoxeter wrote:The 'Hand of God' may well be an irritation to some folk, but I personally don't subscribe to 'uncoupling by spooks!'... ;) :D
I refer my Honourable friend to the comment I made earlier, about giants! ;) :D

I don't really think the two can be compared. In real life, there is a visible human intervention to achieve coupling and uncoupline. This activity also takes a period of time to accomplish, a few seconds for a deft shunter using a pole on unfitted stock, to a minute perhaps for someone going in between vehicles and connecting screw coupling, brake pipe, steam heating pipe and perhaps other connections.

What you get with a shunting pole is the closest representation to that, that you can. The actual operator's hand ought not to come too close to the stock, if the 'pole' part of it is a suitable length. You certainly don't see any 'giants' striding the model landscape, or any other inappropriate characters from the Borthers Grimm either, for that matter...

I might be more persuaded by some clever animatronics of 4mm scale shunter figures, stationed at each uncoupling magnet, but then what would they do at other times, when the train is not there?
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Clive » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:00 pm

With this talk of "human intervention" I use to have "shunters" for my tension locks. These took the form of an "L" shaped piece of clear plastic card. The leg of the "L" being used to lift the hooks. To give them a human touch a figure was slided in half then both halves glued either side of the "L". He would be made to walk down the train and every now and then make his "cut" in the train for shunting. :)

I did try to make a figure with a shunting pole on the end of a rod for three links, this was not successful. I didn't seem to be able to make the angle between the rod and the shunting pole correct or the length of the pole without making Henry (the shunter) look like he was flying. :?
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Neil » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:44 pm

Brinkly wrote:
Butoxeter wrote:
Brinkly wrote:But some are just too quick, which is where I think AJs have the advantage over 3-links

Let me assure you that you won't be that quick off the mark on the Sunday afternoon of a 2 day show, especially if your back's still giving you gip!! :lol: ;)

:D All joking apart a two day event must take it out of you, I find that after a day's walking round the classroom and leaning down to the children's height tiring, let alone operating a shunting layout!


An interesting tack gents, and I suppose it highlights the desirability of matching layout height with that of the operators becomes more crucial where uncoupling has to be done by hand. I'd imagine that those with reliable remote uncoupling devices can lounge around on their bar stools, sofas or deck chairs to operate in comfort and ease, while the rest of us suffer for our art.
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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Brinkly » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:23 pm

Neil wrote:An interesting tack gents, and I suppose it highlights the desirability of matching layout height with that of the operators becomes more crucial where uncoupling has to be done by hand. I'd imagine that those with reliable remote uncoupling devices can lounge around on their bar stools, sofas or deck chairs to operate in comfort and ease, while the rest of us suffer for our art.


:D That's really made me smile! 'art' hadn't thought of it like that before! Anyway like I said don't get me wrong I think 3-links look wonderful on a goods train, even more so when it is at eye level, but for me and for my proposed layout ideas they are a bit of a no no when uncoupling is concerned. 3ft wide boards and high scenery doesn't help, which is why I plan to have a mixed of 3-links and AJs. But Neil you have made a very valid point. I wonder what the best layout height to person’s height ratio is?

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Re: 3 link and screw link couplings

Postby Butoxeter » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:51 am

Brinkly wrote:I wonder what the best layout height to person’s height ratio is?

Your back will provide you with the answer soon enough!! :P
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