Discussion in 'FAQs' started by MasonJar, Jun 23, 2003.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Does quartering really matter on model steamers?

    There has been a lot of posting at a variety of forums (fora?) recently about quartering.

    I understand that is the term used to describe off-setting the side rods by 1/4 turn, so that the steam powered pistons are not having to both work on the greatest resistance to turning at the same time - makes for smoother, easier running.

    But my question is - is it really necessary for models? Our miniature steamers' drivers are powered directly, so to speak. They in turn move the side rods back and forth. The rods are along for the ride really.

    Can anyone shed a bit more light on this for me??


  2. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Andrew, It sure as heck matters in HO. One axle is driven by the motor and the side rods transmit that to the other drivers. Drivers not correctly quartered will bind. Now, in N scale I understand the drivers are all geared so that the valve gear actually does nothing, and in fact is kept a little "sloppy" to prevent binding. If this is so, then quartering may not be as critical.
  3. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    What Gary said. I'd add, any scale model locomotive where the side rods transfer power to the drivers. Sometimes, quartering is the only way to get a lurching loco to run smoothly.
    My quartering tool has a prominent place in my tool box. It has been a life saver.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Thanks for the quick reply guys!

    I have yet to get up the courage to open my engines to the point where I can see the gearing inside, but I guess I had assumed that they were all geared - as per the Nscale comment from Gary.

    Thanks again... Next purchase, or at least the latest thing on the list, will be a quartering tool!

  5. Blake

    Blake Member

    From what I've seen, most of the "regular" steam locos (Kato, Rivarossi, Con-cor ect.) have all gear driven drivers. However, the Kato Mikado has 3 gear driven drivers and one (the front one) rod driven driver. On the other hand, I think most brass N scale steam have rod driven drivers. In any event, you shouldn't have to worry about that as long as you don't remove the drivers from their axles or turn them on their axles.
  6. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    The reason for quartering on the prototype is not because of some resistance thing. It's a] to prevent a "dead center" position. If the rods were not quartered and the loco stopped with the crank pins directly in line with the rods, either all the way forward or all the way aft, the pistons could not get the wheels turning.

    And also it's b] to allow the engineer to set the loco in forward or reverse motion (there's no gearbox in there) which he could not do if the crank pins were not offset.

    Quartering isn't difficult so it's worth while (and necessary) to do on any model loco except those that have all drivers geared.

  7. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi All:
    The "S" gauge quartering tools are rather pricey so you might want to shop around a bit before you pick one up. The six wheel one is $110 and the eight wheel one is $129. HO and N might be much more reasonable since they're more numerous.

    Quartering is essential on the "S" gauge stuff, it'll bind up if not done properly. I don't have the tool, can't afford the durn thing, so when i work on my steamer i'll take all but one set of drivers off, fix whatever is the problem, and then use the still attached set of drivers to remount and quarter the others. Then i'll take the last set of drivers off and fix the problem there. So far, ahven't had to do anything to them that would require me to remove all the wheels at one time.

  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I'll pop in and say that, if the rods are mounted at the same point, you can get the second axle turning backwards if the loco isn't on the rails. This happens with cheap toys.
    Quartering doesn't have to be at 90 degrees. On models it can be off a bit as long as all the axles are off the same bit . Three and four cylinder locomotives often had the rods at odd angles.
    I looked at the NWSL quartering tool, but it also requires an arbour press (Or something) that I don't have.
    One of the English manufacturers makes wheels with square holes and axles with square ends.
  9. Jim Cullen

    Jim Cullen Member

    Quarthering in real steam engines is important in that it prevents a top or bottom dead-center problem that could occur. That's why one side is 90 degrees from the other. All the counterweights on the drivers are also aligned.

    Models do not have to worry about top or bottom dead center since they are not powered by live steam. But the turn "quartering" is still used but it really means that the side rod connecting pins on all drivers, per side, must be in the same alignment. If you look at one side, all the pins connecting the side rods to the drivers should be in the same clock position, e.g. 3 o'clock. This is done to prevent side rod and linkage binding which directly leads to wobble and rough running.

    Most of the time you do not have to mess with the quartering on models unless you take the side rods, linkages and drivers apart, and attempt to put them back together. Drivers which are "keyed" on the axle make this much easier. But on the old n scale Minitrix steam engines I have, the drivers can slip on the axle, which causes the quartering to go out, which means it doesn't run very well.

    When I take my engines apart, I use a simple homemade quartering jib, to set the side-to-side relationship of driver pins to be the same on each driver set.

    Taking a model steam engine totally apart is easy. Putting it back together so it runs smooth take a little practice, patience, and prayer.

  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    No kidding! The "exploded view" diagram that came with my P2K 0-6-0 shows the loco is built from (roughly) about 1 billion parts ;) !

    Thanks for all the comments / info / advice everyone!

  11. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    I use my NWSL quartering tool with either a drill press (used like an arbor press) or, if I don't want to walk out to the garage, I just use a C clamp on it. Also I suppose you could use it with a vise too.

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