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                                       Small Suppliers in our hobby ?
     
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1st message | this message only posted: 25 Jan 2018 22:37
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from:
Rob Manchester
 

 

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Hello,

Nigel commented in the Documentation topic earlier about Templot outliving track parts suppliers. Interesting point but you can make track without a specialist supplier as long as a supplier of suitable section rail can be found.

What about all the other small suppliers - by this I mean, generally, home based people who cast/etch/cut/print/assemble items for sale ? Some of them actually design new items these days as laser cutting/3-D printing has given them the technology to make the parts. It is difficult to make enough doing this to have it as your sole income - imagine how many laser cut windows or 3-D chimney pots you would have to sell per month to pay a mortgage !

Lots of kits and etches that were available 30/40/+ years ago have been though many owners since they were originally drawn, often by hand. You couldn't email a CAD file to China for valve gear etches to be made in those days.

What is my point exactly ? Not sure but if anyone does have any views on the future of small suppliers this is where to put it......

Rob


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2nd message | this message only posted: 25 Jan 2018 23:33
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from:
rodney_hills
United Kingdom

 

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Rob,

Noted that large-supplier Peco does not (yet?) list code 75 bullhead rail amongst the Individulay components...
I've just sent of a query on this to the Peco T.A.B.

Regards,
Rodney Hills
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3rd message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 00:51
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from:
Rob Manchester
 

 

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rodney_hills wrote: Rob,

Noted that large-supplier Peco does not (yet?) list code 75 bullhead rail amongst the Individulay components...
I've just sent of a query on this to the Peco T.A.B.

Regards,
Rodney Hills
Hello Rodney,

No, they don't and I am not sure they will aim to do so. They don't have any suitable chairs available as far as I know. The Individulay 'range' is a bit odd in 4mm scale with just a focus on flat bottom rail and associated items that match together. In 7mm either FB or BH Individulay offers all you need to make plain track or turnouts ( assuming you are happy to chop and bodge the crossing/wing rail chairs). I think the 7mm range was introduced to allow users of the Peco RTR turnouts more option in track design but I am unsure if the chair designs are the same ?

Back to 4mm.....the rail used in the Peco 75BH isn't a standard profile as the rail foot is much deeper than C&L's version to give, presumably, more strength to the chair/rail interface. If they sold this as is it wouldn't fit the C&L/Exactoscale chairs. Peco 75BH rail is also skinny on head width as many are ( but not C&L's )

Rob


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4th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 01:05
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
Rob Manchester wrote:Back to 4mm.....the rail used in the Peco 75BH isn't a standard profile as the rail foot is much deeper than C&L's version to give, presumably, more strength to the chair/rail interface.Hi Rob,

I believe Peco have made the bullhead rail symmetrical.

This leads to great cost savings as there is no need to make left and right hand versions of the components -- stock rails, switch rails, etc. Also easier on assembly staff not needing to identify the head of the rail.

regards,

Martin.

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5th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 01:37
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from:
Rob Manchester
 

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: Hi Rob,

  ........................easier on assembly staff not needing to identify the head of the rail.

regards,

Martin.
Martin,

Thank you. Hands up all those modellers who have tried to use BH the wrong way up :D The americans have it right, stick to flat bottom and when it is replaced people can make anvils with chunks of it.

Check out this guy as you like your metalwork Essential Craftsman

Rob



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6th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 02:45
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Rob Manchester wrote: Hands up all those modellers who have tried to use BH the wrong way up
Guilty as charged m'lud.

It was quite a while before I realized too. I think I still have some examples, but I wont be posting any pics :)

Obviously, Peco have it wrong. If you mold the rails into the chairs you don't have any problems. The rails support the chairs rather than the other way around. Admittedly it's a lot simpler to do that with 3D printing than injection molding :D

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7th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 06:29
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Rob Manchester wrote: Hello,

Nigel commented in the Documentation topic earlier about Templot outliving track parts suppliers. Interesting point but you can make track without a specialist supplier as long as a supplier of suitable section rail can be found.

What about all the other small suppliers - by this I mean, generally, home based people who cast/etch/cut/print/assemble items for sale ? Some of them actually design new items these days as laser cutting/3-D printing has given them the technology to make the parts. It is difficult to make enough doing this to have it as your sole income - imagine how many laser cut windows or 3-D chimney pots you would have to sell per month to pay a mortgage !

Lots of kits and etches that were available 30/40/+ years ago have been though many owners since they were originally drawn, often by hand. You couldn't email a CAD file to China for valve gear etches to be made in those days.

What is my point exactly ? Not sure but if anyone does have any views on the future of small suppliers this is where to put it......

Rob

Rob
I think the supply of track parts for 4 and 7 mm scales which both you and Nigel are eluding to are safe for both the short to medium term. The currant owner of C&L who is also the distributor of Exactoscale is not only looking to supply these items long term but also if possible increase the range.

In addition to this in the medium term 3 D printing will not only become even better quality, but prices will come down massively (as did home printing for computers). I discussed this matter briefly with the owner of Modelu at Stevenage, who chatted through his own thoughts briefly with me. With 3 D printing costs reducing, perhaps this could even lead to plastic extrusions coming down in price, 

The other thing which is keeping prices high on plastic extrusions is the economies of scale, which come into play when you get higher production volumes, so I guess whilst volumes are low (in manufacturing terms) prices will remain at a premium.

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8th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 10:05
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from:
Borg-Rail
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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They told me they had no plans for any Indivdulay parts for Bullhead 4mm scale.
Rob Manchester wrote: rodney_hills wrote: Rob,

Noted that large-supplier Peco does not (yet?) list code 75 bullhead rail amongst the Individulay components...
I've just sent of a query on this to the Peco T.A.B.

Regards,
Rodney Hills
Hello Rodney,

No, they don't and I am not sure they will aim to do so. They don't have any suitable chairs available as far as I know. The Individulay 'range' is a bit odd in 4mm scale with just a focus on flat bottom rail and associated items that match together. In 7mm either FB or BH Individulay offers all you need to make plain track or turnouts ( assuming you are happy to chop and bodge the crossing/wing rail chairs). I think the 7mm range was introduced to allow users of the Peco RTR turnouts more option in track design but I am unsure if the chair designs are the same ?

Back to 4mm.....the rail used in the Peco 75BH isn't a standard profile as the rail foot is much deeper than C&L's version to give, presumably, more strength to the chair/rail interface. If they sold this as is it wouldn't fit the C&L/Exactoscale chairs. Peco 75BH rail is also skinny on head width as many are ( but not C&L's )

Rob



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9th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 12:27
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from:
Nigel Fisher
Tibshelf, Alfreton, United Kingdom

 

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Rob Manchester wrote:
Martin Wynne wrote: Hi Rob,

  ........................easier on assembly staff not needing to identify the head of the rail.

regards,

Martin.
Martin,

Thank you. Hands up all those modellers who have tried to use BH the wrong way up :D The americans have it right, stick to flat bottom and when it is replaced people can make anvils with chunks of it.

Check out this guy as you like your metalwork Essential Craftsman

Rob




It's even more fun with Code 40 rail in 2mm trying to thread individual chairs that will only go on the right way round......


Nigel Fisher


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10th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 12:38
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from:
Borg-Rail
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Even more reason to use a pair of optivisors or similar. Not particularly looking forward to doing at least 5 turnouts very soon.


Nigel Fisher wrote: Rob Manchester wrote:
Martin Wynne wrote: Hi Rob,

  ........................easier on assembly staff not needing to identify the head of the rail.

regards,

Martin.
Martin,

Thank you. Hands up all those modellers who have tried to use BH the wrong way up :D The americans have it right, stick to flat bottom and when it is replaced people can make anvils with chunks of it.

Check out this guy as you like your metalwork Essential Craftsman

Rob




It's even more fun with Code 40 rail in 2mm trying to thread individual chairs that will only go on the right way round......


Nigel Fisher



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11th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 17:24
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from:
Borg-Rail
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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That will make it attractive to French Modellers, and yes there is still an awful lot of it there, especially in the sidings.
Martin Wynne wrote: Rob Manchester wrote:Back to 4mm.....the rail used in the Peco 75BH isn't a standard profile as the rail foot is much deeper than C&L's version to give, presumably, more strength to the chair/rail interface.Hi Rob,

I believe Peco have made the bullhead rail symmetrical.

This leads to great cost savings as there is no need to make left and right hand versions of the components -- stock rails, switch rails, etc. Also easier on assembly staff not needing to identify the head of the rail.

regards,

Martin.


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12th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 17:39
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email or PM.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
It also means the bullhead rail joiners will fit the head of the rail.

Which could be useful as alignment aids during track building.

Martin.

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13th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 22:53
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from:
Tony W
North Notts., United Kingdom

 

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Rob Manchester wrote:  Hands up all those modellers who have tried to use BH the wrong way up :D
Rob
Even more annoying when you are half way through filing up a point blade and discover that the rail has flipped over in your fingers without you realising.
Regards
Tony.

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14th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2018 23:17
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Rob Manchester wrote:Hands up all those modellers who have tried to use BH the wrong way upWhen I was manufacturing pointwork commercially, after degreasing new rail I used to run a black felt-tip marker all along the rail head before starting work on it. Put two pins in a bit of wood to draw the rail through. It takes only a second or two to mark each length. A lot of it rubs off while working, but enough remains to see instantly which side is which when picking it up. Easily removed at the end by wiping with solvent.

Admittedly after making 500 wing rails or whatever in the press, you can tell which way round in your fingers with your eyes shut. Try it. Pick up and put down a bit of rail the same way round 100 times. Then try picking it up the other way round. It just feels that little bit "different". :)

Martin.

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15th message | this message only posted: 27 Jan 2018 23:01
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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My views on this have been well aired on rmweb. Personally I think the “scale societies “ have a roll to play. What’s surprising is societies like Scalefour ensure the independence of certain track components, but seem to have a blind spot over functional chairs. I’d be much happier if these components where dual sourced ( and this isn’t an opinion voiced as a result of the recent takeover of C&L )
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16th message | this message only posted: 27 Jan 2018 23:11
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from:
Rob Manchester
 

 

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madscientist wrote: My views on this have been well aired on rmweb. Personally I think the “scale societies “ have a roll to play. What’s surprising is societies like Scalefour ensure the independence of certain track components, but seem to have a blind spot over functional chairs. I’d be much happier if these components where dual sourced ( and this isn’t an opinion voiced as a result of the recent takeover of C&L )Dave,

I agree about the 'Scale societies' although some of them have trouble maintaining stock of frequently used items. If you run out of chairs or whatever and want some more quickly it is often quicker to go to the source.

BTW How is your new track book ?

Rob


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17th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 11:54
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Rob Manchester wrote:BTW How is your new track book ?

Awesome , 1956 edition , in perfect condition , more info then I will ever need 
Dave 


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18th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 16:43
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from:
Jim Guthrie
United Kingdom

 

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madscientist wrote: My views on this have been well aired on rmweb. Personally I think the “scale societies “ have a roll to play. What’s surprising is societies like Scalefour ensure the independence of certain track components, but seem to have a blind spot over functional chairs. I’d be much happier if these components where dual sourced ( and this isn’t an opinion voiced as a result of the recent takeover of C&L )I suspect that the 4mm,  7mm and Gauge 1 societies have not got involved with chairs and rail because there has always been good trade sources for these products.  It is an expensive business to get a mould for the chairs made so possibly much better use can be made of these societies' funds.  The 2mm,  3mm and S scale societies do produce their own plastic chairs and rail for members so there is a precedent for doing it if there are no commercial supplies.

I was on the S scale Society committee when the decision was taken to proceed with getting our own plastic chairs produced, and also a Code 87 bullhead rail drawn to go with them.   It was quite a bit of money to commit for a small society of around 100 members and the minimum order quantites from the plastic moulder and the rail drawing company meant that we had to obtain a ten year supply. :D
The rail supplied would actually do us for about twenty years. :D   We only supply one type of three bolt chair and one slide chair and a plastic sprue contains nine chairs and one slide chair which keeps most members happy.   I don't think we could consider funding a larger range of chairs since there is a limit to what we should do with society funds,  and with the minimum order quantites involved,  some chair orders might be twenty to thirty years supply. :D

Previously the society had whitemetal chairs cast for us to match Code 95 rail which used to be available from Jones Bros. in Chiswick.   We bought up the remaining supply of that rail when Jones stopped trading and it ran out about ten years ago.  We were also finding it difficult to find a white metal caster who was willing to cast thousands of chairs at a time.   Hence our decision to get the new plastic chairs and rail.

I would imagine that the minimum order quantites are also quite a consideration for C&L - not so bad for quick moving products where the outlay is recouped fairly quickly,  but it must be a worry if several slower moving lines require re-stocking at the same time.  

Our chairs were designed by Len Newman of Exactoscale so the sprues look identical to the Exactoscale 4mm sprues and I can attest to the fact that they are an absolute bu**er to handle when packing them into retail packs. :D   They come in very large plastic bags with almost every one interlocked to others which takes a bit of care to untangle without breaking chairs off. :D

Jim.

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19th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 18:06
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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Jim Guthrie wrote: madscientist wrote: My views on this have been well aired on rmweb. Personally I think the “scale societies “ have a roll to play. What’s surprising is societies like Scalefour ensure the independence of certain track components, but seem to have a blind spot over functional chairs. I’d be much happier if these components where dual sourced ( and this isn’t an opinion voiced as a result of the recent takeover of C&L )I suspect that the 4mm,  7mm and Gauge 1 societies have not got involved with chairs and rail because there has always been good trade sources for these products.  It is an expensive business to get a mould for the chairs made so possibly much better use can be made of these societies' funds.  The 2mm,  3mm and S scale societies do produce their own plastic chairs and rail for members so there is a precedent for doing it if there are no commercial supplies.

I was on the S scale Society committee when the decision was taken to proceed with getting our own plastic chairs produced, and also a Code 87 bullhead rail drawn to go with them.   It was quite a bit of money to commit for a small society of around 100 members and the minimum order quantites from the plastic moulder and the rail drawing company meant that we had to obtain a ten year supply. :D
The rail supplied would actually do us for about twenty years. :D   We only supply one type of three bolt chair and one slide chair and a plastic sprue contains nine chairs and one slide chair which keeps most members happy.   I don't think we could consider funding a larger range of chairs since there is a limit to what we should do with society funds,  and with the minimum order quantites involved,  some chair orders might be twenty to thirty years supply. :D

Previously the society had whitemetal chairs cast for us to match Code 95 rail which used to be available from Jones Bros. in Chiswick.   We bought up the remaining supply of that rail when Jones stopped trading and it ran out about ten years ago.  We were also finding it difficult to find a white metal caster who was willing to cast thousands of chairs at a time.   Hence our decision to get the new plastic chairs and rail.

I would imagine that the minimum order quantites are also quite a consideration for C&L - not so bad for quick moving products where the outlay is recouped fairly quickly,  but it must be a worry if several slower moving lines require re-stocking at the same time.  

Our chairs were designed by Len Newman of Exactoscale so the sprues look identical to the Exactoscale 4mm sprues and I can attest to the fact that they are an absolute bu**er to handle when packing them into retail packs. :D   They come in very large plastic bags with almost every one interlocked to others which takes a bit of care to untangle without breaking chairs off. :D

Jim.
Jim

Much the same in 3mm. We had a member producing chairs at home using a rather labour intensive method, which were very effective; The Society also had a bash at commissioning its own chairs, less successfully; seemed a bit fragile. But a couple of years ago we returned to the question and started producing both track bases and chairs, which are great.

Don't know who the suppliers are but it may be the same ones as do the 2mm and N-track stuff. Whatever, a scale needs this sort of thing to remain attractive in the modern world. The chair sprues contain 10 chairs plus one each of a slide and check-rail chair. For the more complex chairs one needs to butcher standard chairs, which is generally OK. The track bases mean that it's very easy for somebody getting started to slap down some track to try things out.

One thing which has changed is better access to suppliers. If you want something etching then people like PPD provide a very useful service; likewise, 3-D printing is very accessible.

Nigel

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