PULLERS, SENSIPRESS+ & THE ALIGNER

The tools I ordered from NorthWest Short Lines for dismounting driver wheels/gears and for the proper assembly of those items again (“quartering”) arrived a couple of weeks ago.  This is totally new to me, so in spite of Dave Rygmyr’s detailed and patient e-mail replies to my questions, I did miss a couple of small accessories for the Quarterer 2.  I’ll do a review of the Quarterer 2 in another post.  This post will describe the tools: Puller 1&2, Sensipress+, and The Aligner.

I’ve never been good at cutting corners, so I typically spend more and buy the proper tools to do the job.

THE PULLER 1 & 2

The picture below shows the Puller 1 on the left and the Puller 2 on the right.  They are essentially the same: Puller 1 will do larger diameter wheels and gears (up to 1-5/8” diameter with a 1” press depth) while the Puller 2 is limited to 1” wheels and gears, however the press depth is greater at 1-1/2”.  Both are suitable for HO scale.  The drivers are mine and I’ll be practicing on them.

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The Puller is dismantled showing the parts (left to right):  puller frame with threaded insert installed, jacking screw with 1/16” diameter tip, jacking screw with 3/32” diameter tip, Allen key for the screws, and v-plate.

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The v-plate supports the item in the press; in the case below, a driver assembly from an MTH 4-8-2 L3a Mohawk.  This is the traction-tired wheel set that I replaced out of 4-8-2 Mohawk NYC 3004.

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It is very important to ensure that the screw tip be smaller than the axle diameter and be centered on the axle for obvious reasons.  While a wheel can be pulled using the setup shown above, it is not the best way to do the job.  The problem is that rotational forces are transferred directly onto the axle and damage to the axle can occur.  NWSL offers another tool that goes in between the screw tip and axle.  It takes the torsion from the screw and absorbs it.  I did not, however, buy this tool as I will do something else….

THE SENSIPRESS+

…the most precise way to remove/install a wheel/gear is with a press.  Therefore, I purchased the NWSL Sensipress+ (a miniature arbor press).  From what I can see, this tool is very well made.  The instructions are quite good, and I will accentuate the main features…

The picture below is scanned from the instruction sheet and shows the general arrangement of the Sensipress+ along with the parts lists.  As can be seen in the view to the lower right, this tool can be made into a rivet embossing press with a special attachment.  I do not have this.

Sensipress

Here is an overall view.

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At the heart of the tool is a geared rack ram actuated by turning a handle attached to a spur gear that drives the ram.  The ram is removed by simply unwinding it up and out of the overarm.  At one end of the ram there is a counterbore where various attachments can be inserted.  The red-knobbed screw holds the attachments in place.  The opposite end is solid and is used for pressing larger items.

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As seen below, I have the attachment end of the ram pointing downward with the 3/32” diameter attachment installed (this attachment comes with the press).  This attachment is usually what I will use to press out driver wheels and gears (the axles are typically 3.00mm [.118”] on my import Chinese-made models).

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There are alternate attachments available for pressing other diameters and shapes like cone-ended axles of rolling stock wheels.  The attachment set I bought is #5059-4 and includes 9 various attachments.  They can be stored in holes along the top of the overarm.  The 1/2″ attachment in the set does not have a hole for storage.

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In the view below, the general arrangement for pressing out a driver is shown.  The driver set is mounted in a Puller frame and V Plate – the jacking screw and threaded insert are removed from the puller frame.  3/32” attachment is centred and cleared to push only on the 3.00mm axle.

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THE ALIGNER

This tool is used to install gears squarely onto the main driver axle.  Basically, they sandwich the gear as it is pressed perpendicularly onto the axle thus minimizing gear wobble which contributes to accelerated gear wear and a rough-running locomotive.  The centre holes are for 3.00mm[.118″] axles.

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In future posts, I will show how these tools are used.

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