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Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:26 pm
by abenn
All of my N-gauge rolling stock (Dapol and GF) is very light, and sometimes derails when being pushed over points, crossings or slips. The obvious answer to adding a bit of weight to open wagons is to put a load in them, but what do you do about closed wagons and carriages?

I'm thinking to drill a small hole in the bottom and insert some material though it, but what material, and how much? I've got quite a bit of ballast left over, so I'm thinking maybe some of that followed by thin epoxy resin or PVA glue to stop it sloshing around. Or maybe some thin resin by itself would be enough. Any tips please?

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:31 pm
by End2end
I've added lead sheeting under vans for weight. I've covered it in electrical tape to hide and seal it and used black tack to hold it in position.
Thanks
End2end

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:43 pm
by fourtytwo
I understand the problem, some wagons in particular seem very jumpy indeed so those are the ones I use for fixing bad track! its sometimes to much gap between rail ends or they have been cut badly leaving a ridge, so either some filler, a file or relaying a point usually fixes the problem.

The problem with adding weight is the very flimsy wheel bearings, just a spike in a Delrin? (black plastic) cone and I am not convinced they would last with much additional weight.

Actually I even have trouble re-railing the little buggers :roll:

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:20 am
by GeraldH
I use offcuts of lead sheet. I now tend to paint the lead black once it is fitted, both to disguise it and to prevent it oxidising and leaving hazardous grey dust around. Wash your hands after fitting it :) .

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:28 am
by abenn
Good point about the wheel bearings so, whatever I do, I'll take it easy. I've got some lead flashing which I use for ballast in my model aircraft, but it's about 2mm thick (1 foot in N-gauge terms!) so will be quite prominent. Is there a common source of thinner lead sheet?

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 9:36 am
by Bigmet
Glad to see mention of other factors to be considered.

The track.
fourtytwo wrote:I understand the problem, some wagons in particular seem very jumpy indeed so those are the ones I use for fixing bad track! its sometimes to much gap between rail ends or they have been cut badly leaving a ridge, so either some filler, a file or relaying a point usually fixes the problem...
A smooth rail profile in short, is really important.

The wheelsets.
fourtytwo wrote:...the very flimsy wheel bearings, just a spike in a Delrin? (black plastic) cone and I am not convinced they would last with much additional weight...
And the wheels themselves, check they are undamaged, run true and freely, and have no dirt build up.

The couplers. Check for consistently free action and matching height.

The vehicle weight. Consistency is the ideal: at the lowest weight per vehicle that generally works reliably on your layout. Typically directly proportioning the weight to length as a starting guide is a good plan.
abenn wrote:... Is there a common source of thinner lead sheet?
You might check a specialist modelling supplier such as Eileens Emporium.
Personally, if you have a metal block that you can use as an anvil, then I find hammering out lead is wonderful therapy. It is pretty ductile so doesn't take long to achieve a result.

Ruthlessness. Sometimes you get a troublemaker, that resists all attempts at improvement. The scrapline is where it belongs (or use it as scenery, the wrecked wagon from a derailment, the grounded van body etc.).

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:29 am
by abenn
Thanks Bigmet, lots of points (sorry!) to consider there, I'll check them all.

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:26 pm
by End2end
Bigmet wrote:Personally, if you have a metal block that you can use as an anvil, then I find hammering out lead is wonderful therapy.

It certainly is Bigmet. :lol:
If going the lead flashing route a pair of tin snips are invaluable for cutting it into the size(s) you want.
Thanks
End2end

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2020 8:50 pm
by abenn
I normally cut it with a Stanley knife 8) I don't have an anvil to make it thinner, but I suppose I could cut off thin slivers about 1mm thick and then cut them into suitable lengths.

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:29 pm
by Byegad
I have thin metal sheeting, pliable and adhesive backed. I bought it on ebay for little money .

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:51 pm
by Bufferstop
Eileen's sell fine lead shot, spread superglue over the underside of the floor, tip the lead shot over it. Let it set then tip the excess off. A thin layer of superglue will hold onto only one or at most two layers of shot. Don't use PVA it doesn't mix well with lead. There's some stuff called Liquid Gravity which can be used with PVA but it costs a lot more than the lead. Using shot, you can trial your wagons with some loose in them and when you are happy with the weight you know how much to use. I acquired a very neat folding electronic scale, being flogged off by the water gardens centre (must have been weighing fish food). All innocent like I was demonstrating to my son putting weight inside a loco shell. He looked at the scales and said "don't let the fuzz see that, they'll mark you down as a dealer for sure."

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:50 pm
by 21C1
If you know of a fishing tackle shop, they will likely sell tungsten shot in lieu of lead. It is more eco friendly, is also very heavy and doesn't react with PVA.

Re: Adding weight to rolling stock

Posted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:33 pm
by abenn
Thanks for all those tips guys. Lead, or tungsten, shot and superglue seem like the simplest.