Monday 16 November 2009

Stealing Children's Toys...

No, not a raid on the Thomas the Tank Engine trainset for some rolling stock, but an inspired source of one of those things that you can't easily find elsewhere...

As part of setting up my short test track, I want to be able to check the operation of the Sprat & Winkle autocouplers. For a piece of board, I can't and don't want to set up an electromagnet beneath the board - too large and too easily knocked, and needing to be wired in to a power supply every time something is tested. However to get hold of a small button magnet to put under the level of the sleepers was also problematic.

Maplin sells them, for use with reed switches, but at over a quid a shot, a few for testing purposes would be pricy. I didn't have anything like spare kitchen cabinet catches to dismember, so I was feeling a little stuck. And then inspiration struck...

My nine year old stepson has a number of plastic "bones" with magnets in the ends so that they can be stuck together to make sculptures or designs. He won't miss one, will he? A quick snip with the modelling pliers and I've liberated two button magnets that are about 5mm across and 3mm deep.

Then I got my Dremel out, and drilled a shallow hole between the sleepers in the board. A couple of taps with a hammer on the end of a drift, and the magnet is tightly in place. I've popped a drop of superglue in for security, and that should be that.

The photos show the board, and then the close-up of the magnet and the "bone" that I got it from. The intact one I will be slipping back into his room later tonight - I don't need *that* many for a test track.

The magnet fixed in place:

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