Alan Gibson wheels & conversion sets

Members Forum RTR Conversions Locos Alan Gibson wheels & conversion sets

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    • #247185
      John Cutler

        I have just purchased an EM conversion set of Crab wheels (for an N mogul).The axles supplied are miles too long so have to be cut (a pain) and then filed to length.I queried this with Colin Seymour of AG.Apparently demand for 3mm axle wheelsets is small so a large batch of overlength axles was made for all 3mm wheels so as to be an economic run. It will be some time before these stocks are exhausted.

        I also asked Colin if he could put a countersink in the back of wheels for the crankpin, when he renews moulds or produces a new wheel. Poor crankpin location is ascribed as the cause of many poor running wheelsets. Drilling a countersink is especially difficult where the crank-throw means part of a boss has to be cut out. Unfortunately it seems the (legacy) moulds are not one for each wheel, but a composite of tools to make up each mould. An oversimplified explanation is that there are 7 or 8 “wheel-backs” that cater for all wheels. There is no mould registration between the “fronts” and “backs” to cater for the crank orientation, so to introduce countersinks would require one mould for each wheel. This is very expensive and would make many low-volume wheels uneconomic to make.

        This explains why Alan Gibson wheels are economic to buy.

      • #247186
        Stuart Firth

          I suppose that’s fair enough – they are a reasonable price. I have always got away with twiddling a drill bit into the rear of the crankpin hole – perhaps 1.5mm or 2mm, to create a slight countersink.

        • #247188
          Paul Tomlinson

            I concur with John’s point about Gibson wheels being economic to buy. I’m looking into buying some 3’3″/3’6″ wheels – I bought some from Markits at about £15 per axle, but am looking at the plastic centred ones available. Those from Ultrascale are more than I think affordable, at £22 per axle, Gibsons are around £7.50 per axle, and I’ve just been looking at Sharman wheels, at £13 per axle. Does anyone have any feedback about Sharman wheels from Phoenix Precision Paints, good or bad? I’ve been looking at a relatively recent Drewry 04 on the EMGauge70’s site, which is very nice, and must have Sharman wheels fitted, as they are the only supplier of 3’3″ wheels, as far as I can see…

            With regard to the cut axle ends, I’ve some of these etched covers, which neaten them up a bit. Planet Industrials (their photo), and Markits (taken from RMWeb).

          • #247193
            Nigel Burbidge

              I must admit I have consistently used Alan Gibson wheels and, like Stuart, either run a sharp craft knife around the hole or twiddle a drill to get the countersink. On axle length, it is usually just a case of measuring and then filing before fitting to the wheels. Filing a rebate on the edge of the newly filed end helps with the wheel fitting too.


            • #247203
              Paul Willis
                On Paul Tomlinson said

                I’ve just been looking at Sharman wheels, at £13 per axle. Does anyone have any feedback about Sharman wheels from Phoenix Precision Paints, good or bad?

                I’ve had a couple of P4 wheelsets from Precision for the GER Y14.  In this case, the Gibson kit, not the Hornby RTR.

                The wheels were part of the “under the counter” phase of supply, before the relaunched wheels were widely available.  I assume that the ones listed now on the website are to the same standard.

                What can I say?  Robust, of a more rigid plastic than Gibson wheels.  The moulded in crankpin means that I don’t have to make sure that I drill/screw the separate one in accurately.  Tyre profile is spot on.  Once fitted properly, I expect them to be extremely reliable.

                I’d definitely suggest them for consideration, and are probably in my opinion superior to the more flex-prone Gibsons for getting a chassis running with consistent back to backs.




                • #247205
                  Paul Tomlinson

                    Thank you very much for your reply, Paul, which certainly helps. I did once own wheels bought from Mike Sharman, and Alan Gibson for that matter(!). It is reassuring to know that the current wheels from Phoenix will probably be of a similar quality to those I remember. I’ll try a set and report how I get on. Cheers.

                • #247209
                  Richard Spratt

                    Sharman wheels are only available until the current stocks run out.  EG. there are some sizes that only have 1 axle available!  Buy now all those you think you’ll ever need.

                  • #247355
                    Paul Tomlinson

                      After reading Richard’s post above, I fired off an email to Phoenix asking about stock levels of the two wheel types I was interested in (and am still awaiting a reply…) – I confess I misread the note about diesets being worn out, thinking they meant “diesels” – oops. I found a workaround by trying to add qty 99 axles to my basket, which gave the total number of axles Phoenix hold in stock – and true enough, one type had one axle in stock, just as Richard had reported. I also found the p+p calculated didn’t match the rates on the website, so I ended up paying an extra £3.00. The wheels have just been delivered, and I’m very relieved to say they look fine, phew! Phoenix are about to begin a month-long shutdown, so I’ll pause to consider whether to stock up while I can. By coincidence, a similar enquiry to mine has popped-up on the Scalefour forum (link below). I have some wheels from Alan Gibson due, so I’ll have the opportunity to compare the two types.



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