MDC Shay Tip Sheet

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by racedirector, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Hi All

    My MDC 2 truck Shay kit arrived today and while I am not running off to build it just yet, I did look in the box. Apart from alot of scary looking parts, I found the 15-16 page instruction book but no tip sheets that I have read about in various places.

    Now that MDC is really no longer, after purchase by Horizon Hobbies and things can't be got from their website, does anyone know where I can get the tip sheets for this kit?

  2. Dragon

    Dragon Member

    Find a copy of Jeff Johnston's book: MDC SHay Handbook - ( has it for $17.95).
    It has ALL kinds of tips and tricks to use to make this a great runner, and a good looker. This book is far more helpful than even the MDC instructions.

    Also, try to find pictures of the particular prototype you are modelling, or a few if you want a generic Shay. They can help you know where to route steam/air pipes, lettering, and weathering.

  3. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Hi Micheal

    I have that book and very good it is. Jeff refers to the tip sheets from MDC in it and sort of recommends having them to compliment the book.

    As for a particular protoype, I don't have one. My road never had one in real life so I am just winging it and adding one to the line. The only definate will be that it will be a coal burner :)

  4. Graham Hoffman

    Graham Hoffman New Member


    I've scanned the "Tip Sheets" (2) and will email to you. If they don't come thru in a readable fashion, let me know and I'll send the original to you.

    If you follow all the suggestions in Johnston's book, as I did, your Shay will run extremely well.

    Graham Hoffman
  5. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Thanks Graham

    That'd be great, I appreciate that. I will PM you my email address.

  6. Debbie1960

    Debbie1960 New Member

    I need help to get my MDC 2 truck shay running good. I have removed all flash from the gears and there is still a binding somewhere. Thanks Debbie

    You can email me directly at:
  7. Tayder

    Tayder Member

    My MDC Shay kit build is making me insane as well. Jumping gears, binding up...sigh. Any hope somewhere?
  8. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The problem, aside from the noise of the reduction gearing, is: The motor, drives a reduction gear, which is coupled to a universal, which drives a worm in each truck, which in turn, drives each individual axle (with a little slop), each axle has a wheel with a bevel gear that drives the same line shaft......if there's any misalignment, in any of the bevel gears, there will be binding. My thought would be to have only one wheel's bevel gear drive the line shaft, or have the line shaft drive the wheels. NWSL also has gearing for the MDC shays.
    FYI, the Bachmann Spectrum 3 truck HO shay uses the lineshaft to drive the wheels, as does the Bachmann On30 shay. I haven't figured out (well, done the work) how to apply motor power to the lineshaft in the MDC shay, so it will run as slowly and as smoothly.
  9. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

  10. Tayder

    Tayder Member

    SHAY Guide

    Paul & shamus, what a tremendous resource you have provided! I am very grateful. I thought I had searched out everything on Google. Apparently not!

    Thank you again!:thumb:
  11. Tayder

    Tayder Member

    Ut Oh!

    Shamus, I have to confess that my old eyes are failing me worse than I had thought, however I'll break down and ask...did you do a "Part 6" that I am not seeing? I seem to find Part 5 then you appear to skip to the Shay-Garrett drawings. Where did I go wrong, please?!?:cry:
  12. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

  13. Tayder

    Tayder Member

    Part 6

    Yep you sure did! I was looking for something about installing the drive shafts and maybe a few words of wisdom regarding the the ways and means of keeing the engine shafts connected to the side frame jackshafts.

    I have copied and pasted your tutorial into a word .doc file if you are interested (and if you haven't already done so yourself of course).

    Thank you sir!

    Bill in Alberta
  14. Tayder

    Tayder Member

    Axle gears

    Shamus - I see from the photos in your tutorial that your axle gears are helical. The gears on my axles are straight cut. Could this have something to do with why my bogies come apart? I am down to one gear on the line shafts, but it's still binding badly. I have sanded the faces - there is no flash to hang up on.

    Scuse me while I go beat my dog :cry:
  15. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Sent you a PM
  16. Bucks Owin

    Bucks Owin New Member

    Yep, as mentioned, Jeff Johnson's book. Anyone attempting this build should get this book at the same time as they get the kit! You'll find out how to build a good runner with the stock parts (no jumping and binding) and how to build a GREAT runner with some inexpensive parts...(noteably, NWSL gears and Echo Mtn wipers....)


  17. leon

    leon Member

    Shamus; I built the three truck shay and am now in need of the motor universal. The male unit split on the casting seam! Could you advise me as to where I can now obtain this and/or these parts?
  18. nachoman

    nachoman Guest


    You have responded to a pretty old thread, so it's kinda doubtful you will get a response from Shamus...

    If you want the MDC part - you could try Athearn (who now owns MDC) They have some parts. Email them with the part number, and see what they have. If not, contact North West Short Line. They probably have a universal set that will fit your application. A few other manufacturers also make universals (ex. Grandt Line). Measure the diameter of the motor shaft and the shaft on the gearbox with calipers, and get a whole new male & female set that will fit those shafts.

  19. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    If you do contact Athearn, you will have to use the part number. Apparently, when Athearn bought MDC, all they got with the inventory was a part number list, and no descriptions. Be patient, MDC had a ton of kits, and parts, and Athearn is still finding surprises.
  20. leon

    leon Member

    Thanks Kevin. I contacted NWSL and they have the part. So thanks for your interest and advice. Also I take notice that there are no dates in the body of these posts! I think I will try something---todays date is March 20, 2008. This way any one looking at this post will know just how old it is.

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