Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bachmann Cracked Gears and their Replacement

The Merry Christmas Edition

So as most of you already know I have a thing for Bachmann and Life-Like pancake motors.  I've said many times why I like them and detailed how to repair them.

Now it's time to take things to another level...

Cracked Gears

This is problem that plagues many modelers today.  They want to know how to replace cracked gears for whatever reason and get no help on any of the modeling forums.  Most replies are to junk the engine or turn it into a dummy or more completely unhelpful information.

I've been studying the methods used by hobbyists who fly drones.  They generally use a lot of repair parts.  Some of the frequently used parts is several types of small precision gears.  Usually it is not cost effective or their is an accuracy problem with 3D printing these gears.

In their forums a several articles on making these gears by using a mold and casting material.

I've done lots of casting of parts, especially parts that are no longer made such as Tyco sideframes which are frequently missing when purchased on ebay or at a train show.

I decided I would give it a shot and mold several gears that most frequently cracked in Bachmann and Life-Like pancake equipped locomotives.

The primary reason I want to do this is because most modelers tend to be really hard on those who want to repair and restore this type of locomotive.

Another reason is to many modelers these locomotives have sentimental value.  For example, I love my collection of Tyco Golden Eagles.  I also like the like my Bachmann E60CF and I have a huge project going on with a number of Bachmann E60CP.

My projects with these locomotives involve a lot of chopping and scratchbuilding, something I love doing.  To do my E60CP project I required 4 of these locomotives.  Yes there are newer versions with better mechanical, but this project isn't something I want to spend almost $1000 dollars on.

The final reason I'm doing this is because so many people say don't waste your time.  I don't listen to people who say "can't."  I intend to perfect the technique and then post it to the forums.

Right now I've started with 2 gears most commonly found cracked.  I've 2 of 1 type and 1 of the other type in the mold and after 24 hours I'll take them out and make my first cast in polyester resin.  So far I've found this resin has the strength do the job very well.....

We'll find out what happens by Saturday.  If it works I'll post my method here.....


  1. How do I remove the shell of am E60CP.

    1. The tabs holding the shell in place on the first model E60CP are in the fuel tanks on the side. Use a shim on each side and the shell comes off easily.

  2. The solution to cracked gears on Bachmann and Life-Like is to order small gears from ebay. Surprisingly, a bag of misc. small gears contains pretty much any gear, including worm gears, that you might need. The mounting holes on small gears are only a couple different sizes and the first grab bag I bought had more than enough to fix lots of old locomotives.

    The tin foil method I described in the other post works amazingly well on old steam engines that have custom made idlers.