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The three Ts. Lift the lid on the secrets of how you do things so others can have a go.....

Magnetic couplers

Postby mattinair » Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:17 pm

I've put these magnetic couplers on several cars
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Pulling up slowley, connecting with a little click and then taking off with the car in tow....What fun!....even though until I figure out a decoupling system I have to manually decouple them... :)

The actual magnets are 1/4 sections of a 3mm round magnet
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I was surprised by how easy it was to snip these sections....

I let the magnets attach themselves to either side of a piece of card paper
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Cut off the hook ends of the couplers and making sure they're properly aligned glue them onto the magnets
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I'm going to experiment with grinding the magnets down. Both for looks and because the magnetic connection is way too strong for a practical decoupling system...
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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby Ozrail » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:38 pm

I think this is a fantastic idea for an alternative coupler system.
Out of curiousity, do you need to make sure the carriages are the right way round for the magenetc polarity?
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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby dkightley » Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:09 am

What about these blighters??

http://www.ebay.com/itm/25-Powerful-0-7mm-x-0-7mm-Tiny-Disc-Neodymium-Magnets-Crafts-Hobbies-Warhammer-/262065460402

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-PCS-Super-Strong-Tiny-Block-Cube-Magnets-1-x-1-x-1mm-Miniature-Crafts-/231700567680


Out of curiousity, do you need to make sure the carriages are the right way round for the magenetc polarity?


I would think the answer would be Yes.
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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby mattinair » Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:07 am

RE: direction of cars effecting the magnetic connection>>>I would have guessed yes>>>> :|
>>>But the answer is NO... :P
I don't know why but I've tried connecting the cars every which way but they always click together just the same......
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Maybe because the pieces are so small(?)....In any case I'm glad it works so well :)
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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby NeilM » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:18 am

I have just ordered some magnets (larger size for another project) from theses people, http://www.first4magnets.com

If you select 'Disc magnets' from the homepage then they list items down to 1mm, and usefully they also list the pull of each type they sell, so you can compare different types.
Neil

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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby mattinair » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:50 pm

Up date on polarity of the magnets effecting the connecting of cars.....Although the magnets do not repel each other when miss matched; through a magnifying glass they appear to connect slightly off center. The hinging of the coupler compensates and allows the cars to stay on track
NOTE: When I was testing 3 cars, all miss matched, I was actually able to push them through all of my switches. But if I went a little too fast the middle car would lift a wheel out.....Not a train stopper<but still>
Toy train are such fussy little things....

P.S. Get the pieces of magnet as small as possible>>>I think mine could still be smaller.....
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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby mattinair » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:02 pm

Just another update on technique>Rather trying to get the pieces smaller before I glue them onto the couplers; I found it easier to just glue the whole 1/4 section on first, then snipping them short after the glue had cured..
Before snipping
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After snipping.....one of them painted black..
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I've been trying some decoupling ideas....that look like they should work pretty well>> initially tried using a small tab coming up through a hole in between the rails...this is pushed up and down with a servo using the same controllers that run the switches.....

train pulls in tab comes up
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train pulls off leaving car or cars in place..
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another view of tab...
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I think I might try using a thin carbon fiber rod instead...less chance of interference(?)
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This all is going to take some fiddling around....
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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby mattinair » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:25 am

Ok, ok you guys were right I was wrong..... :roll:
Although it is possible to pickup cars with pos pos or neg neg alignment on the coupler magnets, doing so causes the couplers to be misaligned and pushing the cars through the switches can be highly problematic even at very low speeds.....
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To keep the cars couplers aligned I've set the cars up with a magnetic coupler on just one end and a coupler with a piece of metal on it on the other end...I've painted the non magnetic couplers orange....I make sure the magnetic couplers on the cars are the opposite of the larger magnet on the motorized pulling unit....that way no mater what the puller unit connects up with the couplers will be aligned....not prototypical and a lot more moves.... but watch'n this actually work is total fun......I've got a box with half a dozen magnetic couplers and the same number of metalic couplers....I've gotten REALLY good at putting couplers on and off the little cars...whew! :)...IS IT RAINING (?) little dots everywhere.....
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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby NeilM » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:37 am

A great bit of lateral thinking to just use one magnet per car. Glad you got round the problem. This does mean all rolling stock has to be the correct way round, but on a layout without reversing loops that should not be a problem during normal operation (My 009 rolling stock has this restriction too due to the couplers I use).

I am just working on automating couplers in the larger scales at the moment, but once done I will get back to experimenting in T. However, as my project is tiny 4 wheel British rolling stock I am not sure if magnets are possible - I think with the small and light stock any lack of flexibility or sideways force from the magnets would just pull the whole train of the tracks - but I may give it a try anyway to see how it actually works out.
Neil

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Re: Magnetic couplers

Postby mattinair » Thu Dec 17, 2015 5:22 pm

Like everything at this small scale a lot of fiddling around is required....the magnets have to be strong enough to hold the cars together but weak enough that the cars can be easily pulled apart.....I've been making the magnets on the cars about half the size of the larger magnets on the motorized pulling units...this is usually too strong a connection so I add a drop of UV glue (If you haven't tried this glue do so...it's a total game changer...) if the gap is too big and the connection's too weak you file the drop down until it's just right...and lots of other fiddley things ....but I've gotten to where I can pretty much play with the trains all evening and only occasionally reach over and "adjust" things....The metallic ends wont connect to each other so there's a few more moves and a little more forethought required....there's something about remotely controlling stuff that just gets me stoked..(!) I usual play with 6 unit trains ....3 motorized and 3 cars. But I have successfully played with 9 unit trains....pulling is easy but pushing 6 cars through the switches takes some REAL SLOW buzz creeping... :D
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