Author Topic: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?  (Read 1950 times)

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NscaleMatt

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Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« on: January 09, 2012, 11:13:39 PM »
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While talking to a friend about Kato track, I was told that Kato track can wear down wheels on curves.  I don't use Kato track and never I've heard  of this so I'm somewhat skeptical of this, but I thought I would put it out there to those who use their product.  In addition to that I may have to find some Kato track and an old engine and some cars and do a little Myth Busters on this!
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 11:16:10 PM by NscaleMatt »

Hyperion

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 11:48:11 PM »
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Outside of the radius, which isn't manufacturer-dependent (you could as easily lay your own 9" radius as use Kato's), I don't see what could possibly lead to abnormal wheel wear, or even wheel wear period for that matter. 

There's both insufficient mass and insufficient speed to generation the friction that would be required for any appreciable amount of wheel wear between the rail and the wheel, regardless of whatever brand it may be.  It would take years and years of continuous operation to "wear down" a wheel.  Even wearing off the microscopic layer of nickel plating on the wheels can take many hundreds of hours of operation.  For most people this would equate to decades if not a lifetime of use, just to wear off the plating.
-Mark

NscaleMatt

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 12:08:09 AM »
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That's how I feel, but either way the experiment has begun. I can only refute this by seeing hours of operation.  I laid a test loop and have an old Atlas sd60 pulling 4 MTL cars.  I guess I will re-address this in a few months on my findings after several hundred hours of operation!

kalbert

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 12:22:13 AM »
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I'd wager you'll wear the motor or gears out of the loco before you get wear on the wheels or track, no matter whose equipment you use!

Matt Noel

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 01:10:27 AM »
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That's what I'm betting on. 

rogergperkins

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 08:39:16 AM »
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I am very, very skeptical that Kato Unitrack would wear down wheels on curves at any greater rate than any other n-scale track.  If there is wear to wheels, I suspect it is insignificant.
I have used Unitrack about 10 years of the 35 years I have modelled in n-scale and see no evidence of this type of wear.

This sounds like a malicious piece of "urban lore" that a competitor may have initiated.  8)

davefoxx

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 09:50:50 AM »
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Given that crud seems to build up on wheels over time, there's not likely any wearing down of the wheels.

DFF

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sirenwerks

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 10:50:59 AM »
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It's not beyond possibility at all. If the Kato track is made using a harder metal than the wheelsets then wear can occur.

As an analogy, think of the 'sharpening' steel most people use when they're about to carve a bird on the table' that's the cylindrical piece of the knife set. A steel does not sharpen at all, as many people mistake it for doing, it simply straightens the slight warps and nicks that have developed over time in the knife blade since sharpening - a straight edge makes for better easier cutting. So as not to take any metal away and yet be hard enough to straighten the knife blade, the steel has to be the same density as the knife blade's metal. If it's harder, the steel will wear away the knife blade; if it's softer, the knife will wear away the steel.

The same principle applies to wheels and track. Depending on the materials used in the two opposing objects and the force they interact with, one may very well be giving way to the other. Of course, the tell-tale would be metal shavings at the point of wear.
Now seeking Pacific NW N scalers to create a Modutrak-style modular club featuring NP's shared mainline between Seattle and Portland. PM me if interested.

Bob Bufkin

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 11:42:08 AM »
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This is an interesting question but in reality I don't think that any wheels are going to wear unless you run the same cars over and over for a considerable number of years.  Also got to consider that most wheels are plastic not metal and there would be a difference in wear because of this.

Nato

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 12:18:12 PM »
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 :|       We would be more likely to see wear on "Pizza Cutter" wheels Buzzing Along  running on the ties and spikehead detail on Atlas Code 55 track then we will ever see of any wheels running on Kato Unitrack curves. Nate Goodman (Nato). "Bring back Code 70".

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 01:03:23 PM »
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The flip side is...
If Kato track is harder than wheels and wears them, are other track lines softer than wheels and will wear out quicker than the wheels?
'In my great and unmatched wisdom'

milw12

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2012, 03:36:41 PM »
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The case I'm familiar with is actually the opposite, with metal wheels wearing out the rails.

A few years ago I did some volunteer work at the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum, an O-scale club layout open to the public. In essence, the layout was a giant (around 2 O-scale miles- huge!) four track loop for display running, and they ran trains almost constantly five (or six?) days of the week. At one point a member explained to me that they actually wore the rail down on the curves because of metal wheel sets, and had to relay the track due to derailments caused by the rail wear. fwiw, the curves were very generous and superelevated, but being O-scale might explain a bit. I remember the main culprit was a train consisting of solid metal hopper cars equipped with metal wheel sets, hefty to say the least.

This happened over the course of years with usage that far exceeds anything most modelers will come across, so it'd be a non-issue in my opinion. As previously stated, you'll probably blow the locomotive motor or gears long before any noticeable wear appears on the wheels/rail.

-shrubs

SkipGear

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2012, 10:24:33 AM »
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We have a display layout at the shop. It has improssibly sharp curves to make it fit in a display case. The first loco to die on the layout was a Bachmann 0-6-0. The side rods wore through the crank pins but also, the flanges were razor sharp at the end of it's life. Now keep in mind, it's lifespan was around 1800 hours. It ran 10 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 months. The rails are fine after about 5 years on this layout now but there is a nice natual weathering and oil stain line on the tracks. I couldn't have modeled it on purpose any better.
Tony Hines

sizemore

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2012, 05:53:16 PM »
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This should be tried with old Trix F-units with brass gears and well distributed weight proportions.

The S.

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Re: Does Kato track wear down wheels on curves?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2012, 08:44:31 PM »
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Sounds like something a shop manager would tell you who is anti nscale and trying to sway you to HO.  I say horse pucky!
Brian

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