New coupler on the way

Mike Skibbe May 7, 2012

  1. Mike Skibbe

    Mike Skibbe TrainBoard Member

  2. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    Well I'll hold my judgement until I actually see the real thing on a car. These folks have made some nice products so lets hope this is another winner. Several of the other attempts out there have been bummers and especially so with the compatibilty issues. Would be nice to actually have something that would retro to a steam pilot without major surgery or completely replacing the pilot. And of course the next thing is going to be price. The question for me is this going to be comparible to a pack of MT1015s in price. If it is and the product works as stated I'll be lining up to convert the rest of my cars. I still have about 10-15% of my fleet that are a mix of Atlas, Kato, Intermountain, Unimate, and heavens knows what else.
  4. oldrk

    oldrk TrainBoard Supporter

    "Or possibly sooner.."

    One can only hope......
  5. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

    Go, David, go!

    I'll buy 1,000--if they are easy to retrofit.
  6. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

    I can't wait until 2014! I've been asking MT to do this for a year and they keep saying "we've been talking about it".

    I've been adding Z Scale Couplers to some of my equipment and that looks a lot better, but I'm glad to hear someone is looking at fixing this problem.
  7. Virginian Railway

    Virginian Railway TrainBoard Member

    Sooner! :tb-biggrin:
  8. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

    If its easy to install, all my lead engines will be wearing them. Thanks Dave!
  9. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

  10. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    I'm assuming that since it's also a Z scale coupler, it'll be about prototypically correctly sized for N????? The ME Z scale coupler, although it doesn't look much like a real coupler, is the right size in 6 of 7 measurements (I know...I've done the measurements). Too bad about the "dongle"...I cut all of mine off and manually uncouple everything with a long toothpick. I don't have a problem with my 1:1 sized hand entering the scene as some have stated. Actually...I don't know anybody who does. Maybe it's not a pervasive perceived problem?

    I'll certainly try some, and if they work okay...a thousand or so will suffice for my rolling stock and motive power!

    Keep up the good work DKS!

    Bob Gilmore
  11. jdcolombo

    jdcolombo TrainBoard Member

    I, too, hope this project succeeds - or that even the threat will make MT rethink its own coupler strategy.

    HO scale got nice scale-sized couplers many years ago; it's long overdue in N scale - particularly given that modern materials and manufacturing techniques should make a reliable, near proto-sized (I won't get out my calipers to read a 1000th of an inch on this) coupler possible.

    We've got rolling stock and motive power that rivals anything in HO in terms of operation and detail; we have proto wheelsets from several different manufacturers (MT lo-profiles and FVM's are still my favorites); we've got Code 55 track that looks and operates beautifully - and if you want, you can roll your own with Code 40 and FastTracks jigs. Basically, we have everything the HO scale guys have EXCEPT a decent scale-sized coupler that is easy to install and reasonably priced for those of us with multiple-100's of cars. Please let this be the answer!

    John C.
  12. PaulBeinert

    PaulBeinert TrainBoard Supporter

    As I am just getting into MRR (N Scale) and not having much of an inventory, what would be the best couplers to standardize on while waiting for David's to be available?

  13. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

    I would say Micro Trains. Properly mounted they are still the only gold standard that is at least 90% reliable. And as far as the much maligned slinky effect evidently folks have not heard of taking up slack or keeping the train stretched, or by the pusher keeping the train bunched. Yes folks the real one to one versions had the slinky effect. Just ask any old timer who rode in a caboose at the end of a long train. Unimates still do a good job for permanently coupled F units to reduce space between locos.
  14. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter


    Great news about the new coupler you have designed.

    Since you are asking for feedback, I have one... Any thoughts about a shelf coupler for tank cars? That's more of a "pie in the sky" kind of request but just thought I'd throw it out there.

    The things that are really important to me are: (in order of importance)
    1. Strength, both for staying coupled and for not exploding. (AcMate's fail this test)
    2. Automatic coupling (IMHO, MTL does a perfect job of this, AcMate's have some issues)
    3. Looks - I thought your comment about color on TRW was a good plan. Color, size, and shorter shaft length are the keys, with "no slinky" being up there on the list as well. The actual look of the knuckle itself...well I do prefer function to form so whatever you can do "between MTL-esque and the real thing" is acceptable to me. I will be using the Z coupler so I don't expect size to be an issue.
    4. Mount-ability - not crazily concerned about this...I concur with the others wrt universal pockets and so forth.
    5. Cost - Not overly concerned about cost. There are plenty of options available for the budget-minded...I want top-notch quality and INNOVATION, not "no man's land" like the McH's are. Only reason this is 5 and not 6 is, well, I do have about 700 freight cars.
    6. Automatic/magnetic uncoupling - I tend to be a "pick" guy so this really doesn't matter to me but I get that it's necessary for sales so I'm on board!
  15. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter


    I'd say..."it depends". Honestly I'm not sure I *would* standardize on anything at this point if you are considering the NZT's. Just use whatever knuckle they come with for now. If you are converting rapido's then I would say go with MTL's unless you can find McHenry's on sale somewhere. I wouldn't pay real money for Accumates but you might find someone willing to send you some for the cost of shipping or something.

  16. ChicagoNW

    ChicagoNW E-Mail Bounces

    Your choice is simple Rapidos or Knuckles.
    But I would not count on a product that exists only on a flyer. Every coupler ever made has disappointed, so don't expect anything better.

    Besides no matter what is made, some rivet counter will find fault with it.

    Remember they're still using chains to connect cars into trains out there in the real world.
  17. Alaska Railroader

    Alaska Railroader TrainBoard Supporter

    Doug, in all of his explaining to me over time, especially in our travels this weekend, David has more than just a hope that these areas will be an improvement but he is extremely confident that they are improvements. Knowing DKS like we do there is no way he would waste his brain cells or his money on anything less than a coupler that he knows will meet all points on your wish list. The only unknown right now is your #5 but it sounds to me as if he will do his darnest to make them as affordable as possible.

    As far as the slinky effect on 1:1 compared to the slinky on 1:160 or 1:220, the 1:1 does not bounce back and forth like a super ball in a hallway. No way is our current "slinky" anything like the real thing. I will like this feature in spite of it being low on most people's lists.

    Hope to see you guys in Medford next month.
  18. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

    I have no doubt of Mr. Smith's abilities....I have one order of his parts and they are fantastic! (and would have had another, even larger order had it not been stolen out of my mailbox!) His stuff advances the hobby, already! I think that is why everyone is so excited at the prospect of what he might bring to the table.

    In all fairness though...I seem to recall similar giddyness when McHenry's were said to be coming to n-scale. Not saying they are bad at all but they certainly didn't raise the bar. I remember thinking...."no way they aren't at least a little smaller than MTL's, right....that's got to be an easy competitive advantage for them, right?" Ummmm, nope, bigger.

    That's not to say I'm doubting anything you say personally so please don't get me wrong. But if you're looking for some cold water to splash on ProtoMate, it's from McHenry Springs. (puns aplenty not intended, but
  19. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

    Oh, a shelf coupler, that would be so nice to have proper tank car couplers.
  20. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Supporter

    Ordinarily I would agree with this statement completely. However, in this case, the product also exists in a patent. This is not to say that's proof that they will live up to all expectations, but the design has been scrutinized very thoroughly by learned individuals. So, from a functional standpoint, they stand a good chance of performing as advertised. At a minimum, the design is such that there is a 100% guarantee of no slinky effect. The rest of the product is dependent on how the cosmetics are executed; so, finding a shop capable of precise micro-tooling will go a long way to making a great-looking product.

    Once again, I will agree that this is all on paper, and I cannot make assurances that every claim will be met. But as others have said, I will do everything in my power to live up to my word.

    Also note that I am seeking input now, before the tooling is done; this is so I can meet specific customer needs, rather than force everyone to live with whatever I give them. I feel this is an excellent way to increase customer satisfaction. I've already received excellent feedback at Railwire, and this thread exists to do the same at TrainBoard. As I've indicated, the heart of the coupler is a done deal; plus, it's not visible. So these threads can focus on what folks are interested in actually seeing. Shelf coupler for tank cars? That's a viable option, so it's been added to the list.

    One last point. There will be far more suggestions than I can possibly satisfy, so I will focus on those that are the most popular and practical. So, if your idea is not used, please don't feel as though you're being ignored; quite the opposite. Every bit of feedback will be studied and saved. The product line will grow over time, so many ideas may see the light of day, somewhere down the line.

    Thank you all for your enthusiastic responses. It's all good!

Share This Page