Five Shunter Challenge Pt2: How do you build a straight chassis?

One of the objectives of attempting to build these x5 shunter kits simultaneously is to become better at each step of the building process.

Chassis difficulties

I find that the most challenging stage of constructing loco kits is chassis building. There is nothing more frustrating to me than when the finished product runs poorly. There are a few reasons why poor running can occur, but the first suspect will be whether the chassis is built straight and whether the axle bearings are free running. The next will be whether coupling rods align with the wheels properly.

Chassis jig

I decided to invest in a chassis jig a while ago. This item isn’t cheap, but it really took a lot of the stress out of the initial set up of the chassis block and axles. There are a small number of these type of jigs available, but the one I have is the Chassis2 by Avonside Works.

While building the various chassis’ as part of the x5 shunter challenge I have also become more comfortable with building these kits by hand (without the jig), which must be a step in the right direction.

Building the chassis block

For each of the kits I cleaned up the side frame etches with wet and dry paper. I then fitted the ‘dummy axles’ to the jig and set the jig up so it aligns to the position of the axles on each model. Setting the axle positions on the jig allow each side frame to be constructed in an identical manner and then the whole chassis to be soldered together straight and firm.

2014-10-09 20.10.27LR

It is also important to note that all five of these chassis will be built with compensation (my previous kits have all been rigid chassis), but more about that next time.

Below is an update on progress with each model. I aim to have all of the chassis completed and prepared before moving onto constructing the bodies for each loco.

x5 Shunter Challenge Progress

BR Class 02 Diesel ShunterDJH

No progress

Sentinel post war 100HP 0-4-0VBT – RT Models

The chassis is folded up and the axles are fitted. The instructions are nice and simple to follow.

Ruston & Hornsby 88DSJudith Edge

Side frames cleaned up

11001Judith Edge

Spacers fitted

English Electric/Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0DEJudith Edge

No progress

P.S. If there are any aspects of x5 shunter challenge that you want me to cover (be it soldering, equipment… anything at all) please do leave a comment or contact me by email. I will reply. You can also follow me on twitter for instant updates.


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