Friday, 9 August 2013

An Unannounced Announcement


We have been working on a little project for some time that should make the drudgery of painting and weathering wheel sets a little bit easier.

A few years ago I got sick of wheelsets being blown all over the place, paint all over my fingers and then having to remove the paint from the treads of the freshly painted wheels so as to not transfer it to the I made up a rudimentary painting jig that while acceptable was not entirely reliable.  Late last year I decided to look at the concept again and during the design phase became aware of a unit being sold in the states.  The unit in question holds 4 axles and while it basically solves the problem of painting I knew I could design a better "mousetrap" as I was the poor sod that needed to be satisfied with whatever I conjured up. 

The design brief I had set myself was that the unit had to hold more than 4 axles, had to be heavy enough so it did not blow around or over while airbrushing and it had to offer the best access for the airbrush to get into all the "hard to get at" places easily...not just the wheel faces.

The design ended up being a unit that has the ability to hold 8 axles with a tread diameter of 10.5mm or 36" in 1:1 speak.  We will offer an alternative unit that has 4 x 10.5mm and 4 x 9.5mm positions should the need arise.  With the possibility of custom sizes should the unit prove popular.  Each pair of retaining fingers are offset to each other which provides plenty of comfortable access to not only the wheel faces but all other surfaces that require painting.  The fingers are manufactured from 2mm cast acrylic which while offering plenty of protection for the wheel treads does not leave the face partially obscured by the use of a thicker material.  We have also avoided the use of any acrylic welding or glue joints and have designed the unit to be easily disassembled should alternative fingers need to be fitted down the track...or in the case of a component being accidently broken a replacement component can be sourced from us and repairs made rather than the unit being tossed away.  There was also a plan to include a couple of stabiliser feet for the unit but after exhaustive testing and the use of 6mm acrylic for the base...I feel it is steady enough although we will keep some in stock should someone ask for these items.

The only minor drawback is there are some variable tolerances in wheel tread diameter and while we have settled on a nominal hole size...some brands of wheels certainly sit better than others in the unit due to these differences and tiny tapers on some examples.  We have tested most of the local wheelsets and likewise for overseas examples and have not found any examples that will not fit in the unit...but some just sit better than others.

So we now have our first run completed and the units will be available from early next week and will be available on the Laser Rail Bits ebay shop....or from hobby shops should they prove their worth and we get approached...

As for price...while this has not been entirely decided upon...we would anticipate a price around $23.00... in reality we are awaiting an answer from our supplier of acrylic who has signalled a hefty price rise on the back of the falling Aussie dollar and when we are made aware of the magnitude of this increase we can then set a price that should remain static for some time.

It is amazing that we get bombarded by suppliers when the Aussie dollar falls but never hear from them when it goes up...

BTW we have named the jig...the WheelWiz which was decided by my daughter Sophie when she was asked what she thought while watching us testing the unit earlier last week...

At the end of the day it is Aussie designed and Manufactured....and that is the important part for me.

I have included some pics and of course welcome any feedback...



  1. G'day Rod,

    I will take one. That looks great. I have been using a dodgy home built timber one for ages so this looks like a good replacement!

    Hope it's not too cold in Goulburn,


  2. Rod

    You can put me down for a set also.


  3. Clever dick....yes please !!!

  4. How does Thinners affect the Acrylic when cleaning is needed I'll have one as well when they are ready.

  5. Hi Rod,

    maybe you could do a smaller version that clips together like this unit