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HOn30 Shay Conversion
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 Posted: Fri Dec 20th, 2013 01:16 am
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W C Greene

Joined: Fri May 4th, 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas USA
Posts: 8253
This ain't for the faint of heart when it comes to messing with tiny stuff but it is worthwhie. My good friend Joe has several HOn30 Joe Works Shay locos which ran like..well, manure. He loved these little mechanized mice and wanted me to see if I could make them run right. I found out that a KATO RDC N scale model had trucks with the right wheelbase and was KATO all wheels pick up power. Here's what I came up with.

As you can see, the RDC trucks had the sideframes filed or ground down flat and the JW Shay frames epoxied to them. Then it was a relatively simple matter to use NWSL 1.5MM universals to hook up the trucks to the existing drivetrain. I had to make some small pads attached to the trucks as bolsters for the mounting screws.  Yes, the side driveline still works and looks fine but now this little punk runs like a proper KATO locomotive, in other words...very well! The pickups were wired to the motor and that was about all.

Here's the little devil along with a giant thumb to show the "scale".  A little touch up of paint and she's back at work on Joe's logging line. The RDC trucks are available from KATO as parts and anybody who has one of these dudes and it don't run for crap can make it happen with a bit of work. Thought ya'll would like to see this, I imagine there are some of these locos hiding in boxes or on a shelf because they are infamous for their lousy running qualities. Have heart and try this if you dare, you won't be sorry.

Woodie-losing my eyesight because of these tiny things.

It doesn't matter if you win or lose, its' how you rig the game.
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 Posted: Fri Dec 20th, 2013 04:16 am
2nd Post
Ray Dunakin

Joined: Wed Jul 25th, 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1243
That's pretty cool, Woodie!

I used to have one. Bought back in the mid-80's when I was starting to build an HOn30 layout in the garage. Then we had to tear everything out to put a room over the garage, and the HOn30 stuff stayed in boxes for the next 20 years or so.

Finally sold it off when I got into 1/24th. When I unpacked it, I was amazed that I had ever been able to see such tiny things.

Visit to see photos of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!
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 Posted: Fri Feb 28th, 2014 10:37 am
3rd Post

Joined: Sat Nov 24th, 2012
Location: Wernersville, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 159
Love it Woodie.

I'm messing with both HO and On30 now, and with the HOn30 stuff, it can be a challenge to get the N scale mechs to run right. I've got 7 n scale mechs now that all need locomotives built on them (well, 1 is 75% built) and it can be a pain. I'll have to keep my eye out for a junker RDC...

If by prototype, you mean the first time I built something, then yes, it is prototypical.

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