Custom Parts

Written by Philip Light

PLEASE NOTE: I am currently unavailable for any repair work.  If all goes well I may resume operations in the fall of 2016.  ~ Phil 


Have an older brass model with broken components?  Maybe a long out of production brass kit or rtr brass locomotive with missing parts?  As you well know, there really aren't any replacement parts out there for older brass models.  Typically, the only way to solve the problem is to scavenge the parts from another engine, but that leaves one model missing components and some of these models are rare.  Light Scale Models may be able to help!  In addition to the "off the shelf" parts you see in our parts catalog, we can also fabricate virtually any component using a combination of processes.  For example, locomotive frames can be cut from sheet stock using a CNC mill in house.  We can also 3D model and rapid prototype virtually any component and cast it in brass using the lost wax casting process!  In some situations, photo etching is the best route, and we can facilitate that process too.  In fact, the photo etched parts in our store are the result of customers with missing or broken components that need replacements.

This page will be constantly evolving to illustrate case studies of custom components fabricated to replace missing or broken parts.  

Custom CNC Milling

Below are some photos of a recently completed set of locomotive frames for an Sn3 C21.  The customer had a kit that was missing the frames but had all the other parts.  Knowing how rare this kit is, the chances of ever finding replacement frames is highly unlikely.  So the frames were 3D modeled and CNC milled from brass stock.

SN3 c21 brass locomotive frames

The axle bearing retainers were pre-drilled with clearance holes for 1mm threaded rod and the rod supplied.  The customer will drill the frame using the retainers as guides and tap for the supplied 1mm rod.

The following parts are for an ON3 D&RGW K-37 which is being built 100% from scratch.  Little to no commercial castings are being used.  Nuts and bolts are simulated using scale hardware to achieve crisp resolution of the final model.  The parts are modeled in 3D from original D&RGW shop drawings for the locomotive and then either CNC milled or fabricated using hand tools.  Future components will be rapid prototyped in wax and cast in brass where machining is not practical.

The tender bolster below is comprised of 6 individual pieces of cnc cut sheet fabricated into the 3D form shown below.

ON3 K37 bolster

The non-counterweighted driver center is cnc milled from aluminum to be used as a master pattern for brass casting.  This part received media blasting with aluminum oxide powder to remove flash and add a cast look to the metal.  The center core and fill gate were later added using brass rod.

ON3 K37 driver center

Below is an "in-progress" shot of one of the frame rails.  Note the individual hardware applied to the pre-drilled holes.  Locating these holes by hand would be a difficult task, so it was laid out and drilled using the cnc mill.  

ON3 K37 frame

All of the smaller components of the frame are individually cnc milled to achieve the ultimate in realism.  For reference, the bolts shown are .5mm scale stainless steel.

ON3 K37 frame components


Photo Etching

Below is a set of replacement vavle gear parts for an HOn3 EBT #14 or #15 Mikado from Hallmark models.  The customer had a broken link on their model and of course, there are no replacement parts available (until now!).  We designed the replacement parts using the original broken part as a pattern and had the replacement parts photo-etched in nickel silver.  These parts are now available to everyone in our store HERE.

EBT Valve Gear

Lost Wax Casting

The parts below are for our yet-unreleased HOn3/HOn30 0-4-0 Porter kit.  While not necessarily a replacement part example, this illustrates the capabilities of lost wax brass casting.  These parts were all produced in house.  With the current technology available, extremely complex parts can be created using a combination of rapid prototyped (3D printing) master patterns or directly printing an otherwise "un-moldable" part, virtually any component can be created in brass.

Light scale models 0-4-0-porter castings

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