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This section covers more general techniques involved in kit and scratch building in Gauge 3.

Articles on specific projects and techniques relating to locomotives and stock can be found here.

If you have entered via this route then we would expect you to have some knowledge of modelling or model engineering. You should also have more than a basic knowledge of electrics and soldering. You may have perfected your skills on smaller scales and be familiar with brass etch kits and plastic moulding kits. Here we would expect you to at least know the theory of Silver Soldering and Soft Soldering even if you have never used it since school. At this level a pillar drill or similar would be used as might a grinding wheel and belt sander.

It may pay dividends to think about CAD programs such as AutoCAD and TurboCAD. These will produce DXF and DWG files suitable for laser cutters. Whether you use these to produce parts from metal or ply is up to the project in question. I would recommend you have a look at the range of 16mm scale kits sold by IP Engineering as these show the level of possibilities that can be done with a laser cutter and plywood working from CAD drawings...

Although DXF and DWG systems are not in my background I did manage to quite easily produce two sides of an LMS coach and the two sides for the brake. The cutting cost me £70 for four coaches and two brakes. These were made in 1.5mm "laser ply". The bogie plates were laser cut from 2mm BMS and cost £65. They now need to be finished with all the knobs handles etc using bits from GRS and Cambrian.

At this level you might think that silver soldering is far too difficult -but actually it is far easier than soft soldering as the alloy formed by the solder normally has a far higher melting point than either of the parent metals of the rod. A "bottle torch" and some rods and a tub of flux will be all you will need for the majority of work EXCEPT BOILER MAKING. For that you will need a hand torch rated at circa 7KW and a 6Kg propane tank...

At this level you would begin to wonder about a lathe to make wheels and axles and several stockists sell "blanks" which are simply slices of steel round bar. The G3S std thickness states that it should be no less than 7mm, I normally buy 10mm thick slices and then produce a 8mm thick wheel from that. Axles may be made from 6mm or 4mm rod.

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