CUT LEVERS

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Here’s how I make rod-style coupler cut levers for freight cars.  To achieve some consistency, I made two jigs from styrene (shown above).  In retrospect, their function though could be combined into one jig.

I generally use .010″ Tichy phosphor-bronze wire.  The first thing I do is run some 400 grit paper along the length while rolling the wire – this roughness helps the paint to bite onto the surface better.

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Next I cut a length (longer than I need) and put a 90 degree bend into it.

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The first fixture has a groove for the wire built-up with .015″ strip styrene.  There is a .0135″ diameter hole drilled (at the blue arrow).  This hole is positioned at the desired cut lever length from the right end of the lower built-up strip styrene.  The short end of the bent wire is inserted in the hole and the long length goes into the groove…

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…then I hold the cover over top of this…

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…and bend the end of the protruding wire to the right.  Afterward, I usually need to make a more defined 90 degree bend with pliers or tweezers and the cut lever dismounted from the jig.

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I trim and file the wire to the edge of the jig.

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Then, I insert the cut lever into the second jig and trim the handle length to the jig edge.

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Here is the finished cut lever.

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I drill two holes for eyebolts into the car end.  The eyebolt above the coupler box is offset slightly towards the cut lever handle so that the end of the cut lever is on centreline of the coupler.  The other hole is inside the poling pocket.  I CA the eyebolt above the coupler box and insert the lever as shown below.

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I then slip the second eyebolt on from the handle end onto the main length of the cut lever.  Holding the car with the end pointing to the sky, I use gravity and a pair of needle-nosed tweezers to insert the second eyebolt into its hole.

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Lastly, I add a dot of CA on the second eyebolt where it meets the car sill and then a dot between each eye and the cut lever.

Cheers!

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