Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Anyone create their own scale wire coil loads?

1634 views
12 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 3,101 posts
Anyone create their own scale wire coil loads?
Posted by chutton01 on Friday, September 30, 2022 9:02 AM

As a lead in to the question of modeling wire coil loads...I have several HO scale 66ft gondolas which I want to use in steel service (not scrap, these gondola are lightly weathered and represent fairly new stock in my time frame of late 2010s). Since I have steel plate and strip steel coils, I wanted something a bit different. "Inpiration" (whee!) arrived from  a YouTube channel I posted a year+ ago, East Terminal Railway (the story so far - Brian & Graham and friends replaced some ties and ballast and got the trackage passable, however Brian found that just storing freight cars wouldn't pay enough, nor would they get enough revenue from their one likely client, a bakery.  So, Brian has gotten back to his original plan of transloading, this time metals).  Anyway, wire coil loads (which feature prominately in those episodes as Brian searches for the cheapest unloading method that doesn't end up with damaging either lading or personnel) seemed to be a nice looking change. Cooch certainly thought so but their wire coil loads while nice don't seem to me to capture the look of the ones Brian has manangled over his past two videos.  OTOH, this image from ProtoLoads looks closer to what I had in mind (especially the shorter ones inside the gondola) but when I went to their products page it states no product found (I dunno, for a modern-looking website it seems a bit lacking).  I did find a post on this coil building topic on a different forum (no, not the not-forever one, nor the rescued one, nor the orderly one even) that got a few responses of varying quality, but one that stood out to mewas the warning that you need to use power to wind the wire or you'll go crazy; I'm guessing that means wrapping the wire using a variable speed drill (lowest speed) with a large drilll bit as the mandrel, but that seems too simplistic to work well.

So, my questions are: what are your methods for creating wire coil loads (again, HO scale), what kind of wire do you use, and how do you secure it from unraveling going forward?  Thanks all.

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • 766 posts
Posted by wrench567 on Friday, September 30, 2022 3:43 PM

  Loose steel wire loads would be easy to make. A wooden dowel in a lathe would be ideal but a drill mounted in a vise would work. Look for safety lock wire. It comes in different diameters, is flexible and easy to work with. You can order it from an auto parts store or industrial supply. It's used to safty lock bolts. You will have to experiment on the size of the mandrel to use and remember there will be spring back so a half inch dowel will get you maybe a nine sixteenth inside diameter coil. Work gloves or some type of tensioner is a must.

   Good luck.

    Pete.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,413 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, September 30, 2022 6:09 PM

I'd use RTV molds and thin epoxy to make castings, if necessary using metalizer and buffing for the shine.  You'll have endless trouble trying to keep thin metal wire from springing back or shifting, and any thin material formed into sheet coils will likely be too soft to handle much without 'denting' or deforming.

You might use flexible monofilament like fly fishing tippets... or a material like surgical Vicryl.  If you anneal very fine copper wire, it ought to lay down on a core (a thinwall tube core for open coils) which could then be painted/metalized to represent other metal types.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,016 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, October 1, 2022 2:03 AM

I'm not sure what just happened, but the post that I made a few minutes ago, which included several photos, garnered me a "FORBIDDEN" rating.

Maybe it's time to quit.

Wayne

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • 766 posts
Posted by wrench567 on Saturday, October 1, 2022 6:19 AM

  Wayne.

  I get that sometimes. It's very frustrating.

    Pete.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,413 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, October 1, 2022 8:57 AM

I have tried to figure out what produces the Forbidden -403 post messages... but so far I am stymied.  I tested for unusual Unicode characters or some kind of content-phrase nanny, but couldn't find a way to 'correct' a post once it has triggered that message (cutting and pasting the contents into a new message doesn't help)

Something I have NOT yet tried is something Ed suggested in another thread -- highlight all the post text, go to the little Format menu, and at the bottom select 'clear formatting'...

Here is one place a couple of lines from Steve Otte would be appropriate -- he can find out from IT what's actually going on, and what we should do to fix it when we encounter it.

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 952 posts
Posted by PC101 on Saturday, October 1, 2022 9:35 PM

Magnet wire works great for me...and it's free to me and comes in assorted thickness, color and is pre-coiled. Sometimes he hardest part is removing the wire from the solenoid/coils with out it being destroyed. 

The picture below is credit to Doctorwayne.

This may be one of the pictures Doctorwayne wanted to be seen. He does awesome work.

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,016 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, October 2, 2022 12:16 AM

You're right, that was one of the pictures that I was trying to include.

The coils are all made of copper wire, removed from worn-out open frame motors. I wind them around a piece of dowel or brass tubing, and for most of them, I play the flame from a propane torch over them to remove the shellac coating.  I often drop the coils into a container of blackening agent, which works only on those coils that have been worked-over with the torch.  They are, obviously, meant to be scrap loads.
I also save small damage scrap metal, used as detail parts (grab irons, sill steps etc.),  along with things like staples, usually cut into three pieces.

Here's some other scrap loads (all "loose") and kept separate when not in use, as they'll usually fit in pretty well any available gondola...

Some of these are earlier ones, and the out-of-scale junk needs to be removed to get a more prototypical-looking load...

...and this is what was left of the open-frame motors, after the wire had been removed...

I use A-West Blacken It or Hobby Black to make metal parts look either rusty or dirty, but gun-blue will yield similar results.

Wayne

  • Member since
    January 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 13,016 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, October 2, 2022 1:12 AM

I forgot tmention that the Chooch coils look too shiney for my tastes, but the ones from Proto Loads are pretty good...a light weathering might make them look even better.

After a strike at the steel plant, where I worked for almost 40 years, I was temporarily transferred from my rolling mill to the wire-making department.  It was a pretty easy job once the wire was attached to the coiling machine, and once it was full, all that was required was to remove it from the machine and transfer it to an L-shaped hook on an overhead crane, which then loaded it into waiting gondolas.

Most wire that goes out from such mills is usually heading to other industries that will alter those coils into whatever each particular company is making.  I'd guess that most of it never again appears in gondolas again.

After a couple of weeks, I was returned to my former mill, where we rolled ingots into slabs.  One day, on a break, I wandered over to the plate mill (where some of the slabs, depending on their composition, were rolled into plate). 
Luckily, I had brought some paper on a clip board, and was able to make a sketch of the set-up used to ship plate steel on flatcars.
The plate was usually no wider than the flatcar, but the shorter pieces were put on first (in two piles). The longer pieces were added atop the short ones, and the longest ones atop those.

There were stakes in most of the stake pockets (to keep the plates from shifting) but at both ends of both piles, an employee inserted a long piece of threaded rod, welded to a piece of steel plate, into each of the stake pockets, from the bottom, then added  a piece of pre-drilled lumber onto the threaded rod, then added a nut and washer to each threaded rod. 

As the nuts were tightened onto the threaded rods, the ends of the longer plates were forced downward, ensuring that the smaller plates beneath would be secured in place.

Here's my HO version of the project...

Wayne

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 952 posts
Posted by PC101 on Sunday, October 2, 2022 9:47 AM

My "Bright" wire coil loads are made from FLORAL STEM WIRE from craft stores or yard sales (not sure of the cost right now), a bag has 40 pieces of 26 gauge bright (uncoated) wire that mics. in at .018''. One piece is 130' HO-scale. It will not spring, I wrap it on the appropate size wood dowel with a shallow hole drilled in it to stick the starting end of the wire into. After the coil is wrapped by hand and is off the dowel, I lay it down flat an flatten it more with a wood stick. This compresses the coil to not look loose/springy/light. 

There is also bags of 35 pieces of green coated wire that is 22 gauge.

All of the above wires left in the straight form make good loads as rod/rebar on Finger Flats or in Gondolas. 

I am not sure that the above size of these wire coils are considered prototypical in thickness size, but I would think where ever they are being shipped to that they will be drawen out to a smaller wire size at that location.    

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 3,101 posts
Posted by chutton01 on Sunday, October 2, 2022 2:39 PM

Thanks so far for the replies, in particular those recommending different types of wire to achieve the coil load. I've seen a few images of  (non-cooch) resin wire coils, and they really didn't seem that hot.
Those who rolled their own, did you follow any methods in winding that kept things nice and neat without losing your minds in hand winding?

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 952 posts
Posted by PC101 on Sunday, October 2, 2022 6:29 PM

HmmNice and neat.

The first picture is my above post wire on a 7/16'' wood dowel rod, notice the black spot, that is the shallow hole to catch the wire in, so it wraps nice and tight in place by hand. No need to try to get the wire to wind up on top of it's self, it can run up and down the dowel as it want to with in reason.

Next the wire is slid off the dowel (you will need to lift the wire's end that is stuck into the black spot in the dowel to remove the coil).

Second picture, the coil will be looking like that one on the forklift (loose and sloppy). The coil will need to be flatten with a piece of wood. You may need to flatten it more then once to keep it in a non-loose type of look (the two coils standing upright in the gondola have been flatten).

 

 

The third picture showes the flatten coils laying down getting stacked ready for shipment. You will want to wrap very thin black magnet wire (banding strap) not shown in the pictures, at three locations on the coil to keep the coil tight while be shipped.

Roughly 9 seconds per coil from the time the wire is stuck into the shallow holding hole till it is slid off the dowel rod.

Each wire coil in the gondola is a scale 130' long. 

 

 

 

  

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • 952 posts
Posted by PC101 on Thursday, October 20, 2022 12:44 AM

Here are some of my finer coils of wire.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!