Author Topic: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?  (Read 1301 times)

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SandyEggoJake

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Once upon a time, railroad wheels were made of cast iron and most had ribs on the back, referred to as "chilled cast iron" wheels.   

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Visually striking.  Especially on high riding cars, log skeleton cars or caboose.  But look great even on boxcars.  And of course as a flat car load.


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Ribbed back wheels were prohibited from being installed on new cars after 1957. They were prohibited from interchange after 1970.  But you still find them on MoW and RIP tracks for years and on legacy tourist roads even today. 

Many here will remember the old Kadee version.  A pinwheel on the backside of a pizza cutter wheel attached to a metal axle.  Other than the cool detail, they had a wheel profile that was seemed to be designed to pick points and collect dirt.  (@peteski - I've seen an old Atlas board post from you where you were discussing another Kadee version that you thought had metal wheels on a plastic axle, but I've not located any of this type to confirm their construction.) 

Rib backed wheels are readily available in HO and larger scales, both in various plastics and in cast metal.  But as far as I can tell, no one is currently making a rib backed wheel in N scale - neither in plastic nor in metal.  Most plastic wheels in N today are one part items, and the metal wheel are all turned - and neither method is conducive to producing a prototypical rib back wheel.   

QUESTION: If such was available in 33" metal wheels on a metal axle, would you buy them it the price was $1.00 more per wheelset (about $14.40 for an 8 pack assembled?)   

Assume they are fully NMRA compliant, had an axle of the desired length to fit your truck, were one wheel insulated, chemically blackened, fine flange and exterior dish.  Also assume it would be initially only in a wheel turned to the "original" tread width (now referred to as "wide", which has better handling over a broader range of track types and conditions, and is thus the standard for most manufactures today).


(As an interesting aside - perhaps to just me - many have written that "chilled" conotes the purpose of these ribs was to dissipate braking heat, and phased out as improved braking of diesels made them obsolete.  While this is likely an added bonus, I've not been able to confirm that this is why they are called chilled.  My review of old foundry notes and patents alternatively suggest "chilled" denotes a metallurgical process to manipulate the carbon and thus convert the exterior of a cast iron object into "white iron", which apparently is much harder and more like steel.  The ribs - or webs - were placed to facilitate the chilling process deeper and more uniform into the wheel.  And banned as these old cast iron wheels were deemed inferior to new steel wheels.)

   
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 04:27:10 PM by SandyEggoJake »

garethashenden

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2017, 02:19:30 PM »
+4
I would think that the people who would care about the detail on the backs of the wheels would also be the people who would want the narrow tire width. I know I would. I may be interested in fitting these to car, but they'd definitely find a home as loads, something like extra trucks in a wreck train, but wide tires would be a non-starter personally.

Additionally, they're called chilled wheels do the the manufacturing process.

tom mann

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 02:33:15 PM »
0
I would think that the people who would care about the detail on the backs of the wheels would also be the people who would want the narrow tire width.

Yes; I would say that a wheel has three major visual components (front face, tread width, backface), and if effort is spent making one aspect look great, the other two should also look great.

peteski

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 02:34:16 PM »
0

Many here will remember the old Kadee version.  A pinwheel on the backside of a pizza cutter wheel attached to a metal axle.  Other than the cool detail, they had a wheel profile that was seemed to be designed to pick points and collect dirt.  (@peteski - I've seen an old Atlas board post from you where you were discussing another Kadee version that you thought had metal wheels on a plastic axle, but I've not located any of this type to confirm their construction.) 


At first I was only aware of the Kadee/MT ribbed-back wheel sets which had plastic wheels on a diecast metal axle. But then other members (here) enlightened me that Kadee/MT also made another version of the wheel sets: those had a plastic axle and diecast metal wheels.

IIRC, we also had a discussion about those wheels here, ot too long ago. I'll see if I can find that thread later.
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SandyEggoJake

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 04:38:49 PM »
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Good point re tread width.  I was thinking of personal experience, were a local club shuns the new semi-scale metal wheels, given issues with the quality of their track work. 

@peteski - I did search TRW and elsewhere prior to posting, and didn't come up with anything obvious to this topic.  So yes, if there is an old thread here, I'm interested.  As I mentioned, I did find an old Atlas board thread and some further back.  Also if you can find an item number or image for the old MTL diecast wheels, that would be of interest.  It's just a guess, but suspect these were phases out, given (like the cast versions in larger scales) they aren't smooth runners as the precision turned, corrosion resistant wheels we have today.   
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 04:45:19 PM by SandyEggoJake »

atsf3751

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 04:51:34 PM »
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There are cars where the back of the wheel is visible such as tank cars. This would be a nice touch if you are running transition era (or older). All my cars are equipped with narrow tread wheels so that would be a requirement for me. I wouldn't use them on cars that you have to pick up and turn over to see the detail. I usually try to run my trains so that the bottom of the cars are not visible.

Marty Young
San Diego, CA
Marty Young
San Diego, CA

Mark5

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 04:53:02 PM »
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Also if you can find an item number or image for the old MTL diecast wheels, that would be of interest. 

I have samples of all of these early Kadee N scale wheelsets (I can post pics when at home if needed). But these are only of interest as artifacts in my opinion.

Mark

peteski

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 04:57:13 PM »
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Good point re tread width.  I was thinking of personal experience, were a local club shuns the new semi-scale metal wheels, given issues with the quality of their track work. 

@peteski - I did search TRW and elsewhere prior to posting, and didn't come up with anything obvious to this topic.  So yes, if there is an old thread here, I'm interested.  As I mentioned, I did find an old Atlas board thread and some further back.  Also if you can find an item number or image for the old MTL diecast wheels, that would be of interest.  It's just a guess, but suspect these were phases out, given (like the cast versions in larger scales) they aren't smooth runners as the precision turned, corrosion resistant wheels we have today.

This is the thread I mentioned. It includes a photo do the wheels, but no part numbers. I also don't have part numbers for both types of the ribbed-back wheels. For all I know, trucks using both wheel variations might have been sold under the same part number.

One of the posts in that thread speculates that those were discontinued due to broken/worn  molds.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

Nato

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2017, 05:11:49 PM »
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                :| As an N Gager, now Scaler since the beginning 1964, the only Ribbed Back wheels I remember were the Kadee , plastic wheels with metal axels which were replaced with their all plastic Pizza Cutters which were less complicated to manufacture. I still have some of these wheels on some cars I run at train shows surprisingly on code 55 track. Not having cleaned the wheels in ages the black crud coating that has built up on them lets them run on the C55 track without buzzing along on the ties. These are probably the only wheels I have never regularly put in my ultrasonic cleaner and cleaned. Yes I would purchase some scale size wheels with ribbed backs for use on selected cars, just because of the "Coolness Factor." Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.  :|

SandyEggoJake

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2017, 05:40:35 PM »
+1
Thanks @peteski

So had I searched for "ribbed Pizza" I would have found it?   :facepalm:

Good info there though.  Thx again. 

Someone reports "Ribbed-backs' flange diameter is 0.276", corresponding to a tread depth of 0.0355". All-plastic pizza-cutters' flange diameter is 0.272", so tread depth is 0.0335".  Thus the had an even larger flange than the hated pizza cutters.  And apparently, as one source (an ebay buyers guide by Neville Wilson) reports, by Sept of 1987 the MTL plastic rib backed wheel mold was retired "irreparably damaged and/or worn out" and MTL began to use the one peice smooth backed pizza cutters. 

With that much flange, clearly neither of the Kadee / MLT rib-backs are reliable runners on code 55 and less.... unless you ... err... follow @Nato and run 'em dirty!

@Ron McF posted a pic of both the rare and short lived Kadee diecast (white metal?) wheel with plastic (POM?) axle wheelset on the right, as well as the far more common Kadee plastic wheel / metal axle version we all have haunting our junk boxes.  [ Guests cannot view attachments ]



« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 06:22:53 PM by SandyEggoJake »

sd45elect2000

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2017, 05:45:24 PM »
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I'm In.

Interestingly , just last year on my carrier we changed one of these wheels on a Russell snowplow. The wheel was literally coming apart with large chunks of the tread flying out. It was on a non braking axle too, very strange.

FYI, the lead axle on a Russell snowplow doesn't have a brake.

Randy

Missaberoad

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2017, 06:19:02 PM »
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To answer the original question, I would be very interested in a rib backed wheel comparable to BLMA or FVM fine tread wheels...
Ryan in Alberta

SandyEggoJake

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2017, 06:37:34 PM »
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Some more interesting notes on wheels - but perhaps not entirely authoritative. 

http://www.vbfamily.com/Wheeldoc.htm

Doug G.

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2017, 11:37:07 PM »
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I still have a couple of cars on the layout with the original metal ribbed-back wheels on them although I don't remember which two. I do remember that the rolling qualities of the metal ribbed-back wheels are just as good as the plastic ribbed-back wheels, contrary to a claim on some long ago thread.

And, they clickity-clack. :D

Doug
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peteski

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Re: Any interest in ribbed backed metal "Chilled" wheels in N scale?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2017, 11:59:03 PM »
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I still have a couple of cars on the layout with the original metal ribbed-back wheels on them although I don't remember which two. I do remember that the rolling qualities of the metal ribbed-back wheels are just as good as the plastic ribbed-back wheels, contrary to a claim on some long ago thread.

And, they clickity-clack. :D

Doug

Good to know, but not surprising either. The pointed Celcon* axles run in Celcon bearing cups in the side frames. Which is exactly the same combination used in today's MTL trucks.  That is where most friction occurs in the N scale freight car trucks.

* Celcon is the trade name of Polyoxymethylene used at MTL (the other trade name is Delrin).
--- Peteski de Snarkski