One of our customers complained that he could not run his trains on our track. He had some bright and shiny track, but when he installed our TinMan favorite, it would not run. I asked him to return the track. The track in question looked fine, nice and bright on the tops of the rails, good current flow and continuity., until we checked current flow from a couple of the pins, and found we were losing almost 50% of the current*! The pin looked fine, nice and shinny, and clean. So we removed the pin and discovered it was completely rusted on the part of the pin that was inside the track! ( Check px) Meeting time! One of our staff mentioned that did not surprise her, because while checking and sorting, she would occasional notice pieces of track that were badly rusted right on the ends of the track. No big deal, she simply rejected those pieces and put them in the recycle bin.
*We do not check our tracks with continuity testers, because they do not indicate current flow capabilities. A wire less than a human hair thick will show perfect continuity as an example. So when we check we induce a 12V 3 amp source across the areas which we want to check.
The portion of the pin that rusted was actually inside the tube of track, and failed the current draw test..Unacceptable! need to find a “more better way” (another one of those technical terms). Well another long term item looks like it is long past due for improvement!
So what’s the story with those slots in Lionel’s original pins?? Someone decided at some point that there needed to be a way to “lock” the pin inside the rail, so they added the slot(s) although only one was ever used. In the track production process they added a “squish tab” (a track production tech term) That would crimp the rail at just the right point to hold the pin in place. Worked great! no question about it, until we had a need to dismantle a layout and pull, twist or whatever the tracks to get them apart, which widened the tube openings, which not only made the crimp worthless, but the pin slots became a fulcrum and actually made the pins so loose they would no longer make a good connection. Somebody else must have figured out it was a bad idea, and consequently, the crimping process had been discontinued. So now the slot area was nothing more than an area that could not be used to conduct current. Ok, don’t need that.
The pointy ends. Why so long? the longer they are the less area for electrical contact, ok can fix that. The total length. After years and years of inserting, removing and reinserting the pins, the ends of the track have become somewhat loose. Sooo lets make a pin slightly longer so it will reach into virgin metal. Our tack jigs automatically compensate for that. The length of the pins protruding from the track will be the same as they would be with the original pins.
The solution!! after months of design and re design!
Tapered *end for easy insert, an extra 1mm of length. No slots to waste contact area, and make sure we had a solid connection thru the whole pin. And!!!!! Finally, what about our initial issue with rust??? no problem 17-7 stainless steel material to the rescue! To all our customers who have purchased track in the last 2 years, we are exchanging the pins we sent for new stainless steel pins at no charge. we tried to email everyone, but if you are one of those customers send us an email or give us a call. If you lost our contact info, just Google tinman3rail, and there we are. All contact info is there.
Brand new this year, a Jig designed to make removing O gauge pins a piece of cake, sold seperately.
Necessity is the mother of invention, The story:
In our commitment to provide the very finest quality reconditioned track that your great great grandchildren will be able to open a box of our track and run trains on it, we were being hampered by a surprise. The original Lionel style steel pins are rusting away even on the inside of the track tubes. Soooo to fulfill on the promise we purchased huge quantities of no rust, no rot, 17/7 stainless steel pins. Starting this season, all of our tracks, switches, crosses, X’s, and uncoupler tracks will be delivered with the stainless steel pins. Great idea right? After all we have all had experience at one time or other of needing to remove pins from either O or O27 tracks. No big deal right? I always liked my 8″ heavy duty long nose for that job. Of course in the process yes i would bend the tubes, and sometimes enlarge them to the point where a new pin could not without treating the end with our track pliers, which yes do work great. So what’s the big deal? Try doing that for over 39,000 pins! One of our guys figured out that the process of pulling the pins, you would put pressure on the ends of the tracks often making them swell the holes, or even bend the ends. HE came up with the idea of making a jig where all the grunt effort is expended on a piece of 1/8″ steel plate, and not the track. It worked. Not a big deal at all, grab a piece of flat stock, bend it 90 degrees, drill it out exactly the right spacing height and width, and you have a jig. Screw it down on a table or board, and off you go. These first “homemade ” jigs definitely helped, but was tough to get the holes just so. We finally ending up going into production with them and now are offering them to all. This jig will work perfectly for both O and O27 tracks.