Case Studies


Model railway wheels

For more than 50 years, Gear Services (Letchworth) have been manufacturing a range of 4mm scale model railway wheels under the product name of ‘Ultrascale’. For scale modellers, their product offering fulfils a vital niche in the market and relies on the highest quality materials.

“When we started out, the tyres used for the wheels were made from both steel and nickel silver,” says company director David Rogers, a qualified engineer. “As things have progressed, nickel silver has become the mainstay for all the types and sizes of tyres and wheels we produce.”

Nickel silver has very good machinability properties along with good tarnish resistance. “We also chose NS101 for its good electrical properties as current is picked up from the track via the nickel silver tyres,” continues David. “It has excellent corrosion resistance in humid environments, and for our customers in countries like Australia and New Zealand nickel silver performs much better than steel in these environments.”

The main nickel silver sizes used by Gear Services (Letchworth) are between 5/8” and 1.1/8” diameter. “Over the years we have used a number of suppliers for our nickel silver requirements,” clarifies David, “but none of them have the range, price and customer service of Columbia Metals. They will now be our first stop shop for all our nickel silver requirements.”

About Gear Services (Letchworth)
Gear Services (Letchworth) was established by Brian Rogers in 1970 to carry out subcontract gear cutting. The main focus of the business is now the production of model railway wheels under the brand name ‘Ultrascale’, although gear cutting still features. ‘Ultrascale’ is the name under which a range of 4 mm scale items for modelling British outline steam and diesel locomotives is produced. This range includes the most common locomotive and rolling stock wheels and conversion packs for proprietary, ready to run models. Most of these items can be supplied for either ‘OO’ fine scale, EM and 18.83 gauges. Gear sets and spur gears are also produced that are suitable for the 4mm scale model maker.

About NS101
NS101 is a 10% nickel-containing alloy and the most commonly used grade of nickel silver in round bar. With a pleasing silvery gold colour, it is readily formed into complex shapes by hot stamping and also offers a good machinability. Columbia Metals stocks NS101 and the European CW402J equivalent from 1/8” to 1.1/2” diameter.

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