Fox Trucks

Don't ask why. I don't really know, but the Fox design caught my eye quite a while ago, possibly because they were so non-traditional. I also suspect they have ties to Pittsburgh via the old Pressed Steel Car Co. If you're interested in the history, you can go here, a really interesting site of a fellow garden railroader.

As luck would have it, there appears to be no commercial source of Fox in G, although Roundhouse makes a nice set in HO for a mere $2 a set. Too bad we can't put them on a copy machine and just press the button!!

Some research in "The American Railroad Freight Car" by John H. White, Jr. (It's a wonderful resource. It'll set you back about 5 good Macanudos and it's worth every penny if you're into history or scratch building!) revealed a couple of pages detailing the Fox design, including these drawings:

photo from MidContinent Rwy Museum.

How to get from A to B????  Looks like I'm going to experiment with resin casting. While ordering a bunch of Ozark detail parts, their 05CS Journal with Coil Spring castings caught my eye. They looked like a good starting point.

Back to basic engineering. Do I want to try to cast an entire truck or just the sideframes? I leaned in that direction, thinking that perhaps if I got to be really good at casting then maybe I could cast the truck bolster as well. However, for the meantime, I decided to take a standard Bachmann arch bar truck and cut it vertically along the mold line. This gave me a front and back of the sideframe. The back, foreground in picture, has the pocket to accommodate the bolster. So if I cast a new "front" and attach it to the "back" I should have what I'm looking for.

Below shows how the top and sides were cut from the journal, the detail filed from the front and the back smoothed on a belt sander.


Journals and styrene have been epoxied to truck frame, left, and some preliminary shaping has taken place. At right, the back is shown, showing putty used to fill in voids. Rivet heads have been added, below, left. Master is sitting in casting rubber, waiting for the top to be poured.

Had some trouble on the first pour as the resin wouldn't set up. Consulted some of the experts and was told to warm the resin components, to shake the daylights out of the bottles, to mix the stuff for a good 90 seconds before pouring and to warm the molds. All of this worked, although I'm going to have to buy the superintendent of domesticity a new toaster oven when this is over with.

Back half of the mold is formed here. The indentions are the keyways that will allow both parts of mold to line up. At right are the front and back halves of the mold. The rubber is surprisingly easy to work with.

Cast sideframes look as above. These still need to be washed to remove oil and mold parts.

Sideframes as they emerge from molds. This set had some black paint sprayed in the mold. Still experimenting.

Finished truck using Bachmann truck bolster. May cast my own for better rigidity.

Current version of truck bolster.

First version of bolster castings weren't too strong!

As it turned out, did make my own truck and car bolsters as well as the sideframes. Switched to a slightly harder resin for better wear and strength. I have three cars on the trucks, so well see how they fare during the summer. 



K&M 12585 sports Fox trucks. You'd never guess that it started life as an off-the-shelf
Bachmann boxcar!