Sometimes, the only thing to do when stumped is to find a way to just make it work. If you can’t make it work, make something that does. So, I did.
Model railroading has been around for a long time. It is a very enduring hobby. In the earlier days, there were many variances and inaccuracies in scale and detail. One of the most easily overlooked but crucial details of model railroading is couplers.
There are a variety of different styles of couplers used in model railroading. There are hooks and loops, trucks with coupler arms, coupler boxes attached to body frames, interchangeable couplers, permanently installed couplers, metal and plastic ones, all metal, all plastic–so many variations!
A customer came seeking a particular style of coupler for his son’s rolling stock. His son was swapping out his truck-mounted and pin-fastened horn couplers for knuckle couplers because he wanted a more prototypical aesthetic. There is a specific coupler that will fit the little pins, but they are out of production. Therefore, I decided to fashion some adapter sleeves that will secure modern knuckle couplers around the holding pins.
I used 3/32″ and 1/8″ hollow copper tubing to make a two-part sleeve. The inner sleeve fits around the fastening pin, and the outer sleeve fits around that sleeve and within the coupler loop.
I would have used only one size of tubing, but I did not find any of appropriate fit. Now that I think about it, I am glad I am using two sizes. There is still a very small tolerance between the inner sleeve’s outer diameter and the outer sleeve’s inner diameter, and that leaves a little wiggle room for fine fitting to slight differences in pin diameters.
This photo shows the adapter sleeves in place with a No. 5 Kadee coupler and copper mounting spring.
The adapter sleeves are simple. However, they do take a little time to make and install. If they are too thick or thin, they may not hold the coupler in place well and could fail. Trial and error are great teachers.
This is my cat, Korra. Oddly enough, she is afraid of my train sets. Even the little N scale one makes her leery…. One day, I am going to get her to ride on my G scale set. It will be epic!!!