Author Topic: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?  (Read 1267 times)

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Bart1701

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Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« on: July 26, 2020, 08:40:24 PM »
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I have an older Atlas GP35 that currently has a TCS CN decoder installed in it. I am not entirely satisfied with it. As you increment the speed, it will noticeably slow down at certain increments and then speed up noticeably as you move to the next speed increment. I would call this "lurching" for lack of a better term. I posted about this many months ago and I have tried tweaking it based on the recommendation received, but still am unhappy. Apparently there may have been some issues with with decoder, and TCS would replace it it for a fee. TCS told me there were some issues at the higher speeds, so I am hesitant about replacing it since my problem is at the lower speeds.

I am thinking I would like to drop a Digitrax Z scale decoder in it. I have had excellent results using these in other older locomotives.

I used Aztec before to get my milled frames. Since they are no longer doing this, is there any other company (or anyone) that can mill out this frame to accept a decoder?

Thanks,
Bart



Steveruger45

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2020, 09:13:45 PM »
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Bart, there should be room to fit a Digitrax Z decoder at the rear above the rear truck.   It would need cutting the frame but would only need simple tools namely a hacksaw and a file.  Marked up picture attached.  I did it this way a long while ago before I started putting sound decoders in everything.
Of course a lot depends on your comfort level but You don’t need to put the decoder in the tank,  as I believe Aztec used to. [ Guests cannot view attachments ]
Steve
Atascocita, Texas

CRL

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2020, 09:57:04 PM »
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From what I’ve gathered, some European decoders (Lenz, Zimo, ESU) perform much better than TCS, Digitrax as far as speed control is concerned.

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« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 09:59:33 AM by CRL »

ns737

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2020, 10:55:47 PM »
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I need 4 older f7's milled

Bart1701

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2020, 10:13:20 AM »
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Bart, there should be room to fit a Digitrax Z decoder at the rear above the rear truck.   It would need cutting the frame but would only need simple tools namely a hacksaw and a file.  Marked up picture attached.  I did it this way a long while ago before I started putting sound decoders in everything.
Of course a lot depends on your comfort level but You don’t need to put the decoder in the tank,  as I believe Aztec used to. (Attachment Link)

Thanks, Steve!

I will consider this suggestion. I am pretty sure this would be within my comfort level to do.

Bart

nickelplate759

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2020, 12:37:30 PM »
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The results won't be pretty, but if you have  a Dremel (or similar) tool and a cutoff wheel you can do the milling yourself.   Expect to make a mess (lots of little metal particles everywhere) and break a couple of cutoff wheels.   Wear safety goggles and don't hold your work piece in your bare hand.  You'll need to completely disassemble the loco before you start (because of lots of little metal particles everywhere) and clean and lube it before reassembly, but it's not difficult at all.

I use a Sharpie to mark the parts I want to cut off before I start.
George
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I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

Steveruger45

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2020, 01:05:13 PM »
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Thanks, Steve!

I will consider this suggestion. I am pretty sure this would be within my comfort level to do.

Bart

Bart, just to open up options.  I prefer esu decoders for many reasons and picture below is an old non DCC ready Kato that I put a version 4 lokpilot board in a couple of years ago.
I tend not to use dremel and cut off wheels but just a junior hacksaw and a good machine shop metal file. I find Hand tools more controllable And these don’t get the frame too hot to handle either.
Don’t get me wrong though, I do use dremel on occasions.   I like these older lokpilots (still available at around $30) as they have all the leds already on and they play nice with my Loksound decoders.

Anyway, if you go ahead post some pictures.  And yess total disassemble the loco before cutting/milling/filing etc and wash the frame halves in Dawn and warm water with an old tooth brush to get ridd of all the metal filings.
Good luck.
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« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 03:31:41 PM by Steveruger45 »
Steve
Atascocita, Texas

mmagliaro

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 01:24:07 PM »
+1
The results won't be pretty, but if you have  a Dremel (or similar) tool and a cutoff wheel you can do the milling yourself.   Expect to make a mess (lots of little metal particles everywhere) and break a couple of cutoff wheels.   Wear safety goggles and don't hold your work piece in your bare hand.  You'll need to completely disassemble the loco before you start (because of lots of little metal particles everywhere) and clean and lube it before reassembly, but it's not difficult at all.

I use a Sharpie to mark the parts I want to cut off before I start.

Except for the part about breaking cutoff wheels, all the rest of this pretty much applies to what somebody has to do with a milling machine.  If I were doing this in my milling machine, I would still have to take the whole thing apart, still have to clamp it under the cutter (not hold it in my hands), and still have to thoroughly clean the frames out after milling before putting it back together. 

I'll throw this out there...
I'd be willing to help people out with this  IF... you disassemble, clearly mark what you want milled out on the frames with a sharpie, and send me just the frame halves to be milled, and pay shipping costs both ways.  I would mill away the metal, wash out the frame halves in alcohol, and mail them back to you.  PM if interested.

NtheBasement

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2020, 07:00:25 AM »
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Just FYI my Aztec-milled frames also have channels to run the wires.  There is zero room for them under the shell.

mmagliaro

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2020, 02:43:04 PM »
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Just FYI my Aztec-milled frames also have channels to run the wires.  There is zero room for them under the shell.
Good point.  And that is not hard to add while one is milling out a cavity.   Thanks for pointing this out.

Mike Madonna

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2020, 08:54:10 PM »
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Except for the part about breaking cutoff wheels, all the rest of this pretty much applies to what somebody has to do with a milling machine.  If I were doing this in my milling machine, I would still have to take the whole thing apart, still have to clamp it under the cutter (not hold it in my hands), and still have to thoroughly clean the frames out after milling before putting it back together. 

I'll throw this out there...
I'd be willing to help people out with this  IF... you disassemble, clearly mark what you want milled out on the frames with a sharpie, and send me just the frame halves to be milled, and pay shipping costs both ways.  I would mill away the metal, wash out the frame halves in alcohol, and mail them back to you.  PM if interested.

Hey Max,
Nice offer... may have to take you up on that in the future. Thanks!
Mike
SOUTHERN PACIFIC Coast Division 1953
Santa Margarita Sub

wm3798

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2020, 09:59:10 PM »
+1
I used to do the milling with a band saw.  Slow and steady, nibble away most of what you need, then finish with a file.
I have some GP35s with decoders already in them...  pretty much as described above.  Haven't run them in years, probably won't for another little while.  In fact I have one that's cut, but the decoder burned out, so it's ready to install.  It had a DZ125 in it, I believe.  I probably still have the OEM light boards, too.

If you're interested in a swap, I'll take the frame you've got and send you mine.

Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

delamaize

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2020, 10:11:30 PM »
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Go get this:
https://www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/tools/3000-variable-speed-rotary-tool

This:
https://www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/accessories/dremel-115-carving-bit

This:
https://www.dremel.com/en_US/products/-/show-product/tools/220-01-workstation

And This:
https://www.amazon.com/Proxxon-27100-Micro-Compound-Table/dp/B000S81MHY

And try it yourself.
This is the exact setup I use for large material removal. If I need to get more precise, I use a different bit. It has a little play, but for milling out a space for decoder, It works.
Mike

Northern Pacific, Tacoma Division, 4th subdivision "The Prarie Line" (still in planning stages)

wpsnts

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2020, 06:08:12 AM »
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Streamlined Backshop Services
DCC Decoder Custom Frame Milling
Contact them for info.
http://www.sbs4dcc.com/
« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 06:12:29 AM by wpsnts »
Dave

Bart1701

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Re: Any sources to do so milling on an N-Gauge frame?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2020, 11:54:53 AM »
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Thanks everyone! A lot of options to consider... do it myself, send it to Max, trade frames with Lee, or use Streamlined Backshop.

I contacted Streamlined Backshop to get some information. Once I have that, I should be able to make a decision!

Bart