Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WMC Iron Ore Wagon (and WMD)

My latest 3D-printed model from i.Materialise arrived on Monday, and made its debut at the September AMRA S scale night.  It is a model of a WMC iron ore wagon, the prototypes of which were built for and owned by Western Mining Corporation, and used to haul iron ore from the Koolanooka Hills mine near Morawa to Geraldton.  The mine originally operated for about 6 years in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

I have always liked these distinctive wagons since seeing photos of them hauled by A class diesels in Westrail publicity brochures from the 1970's.  (There is a photo of a long ore train on the Rail Heritage WA site.)

The model includes many details including vacuum cylinders, brake pipes, and the complex gear and chain drive system for closing the bottom discharge doors.  Details to be added by the modeller includes brass wire for the handrails, handbrake levers and two cross shaft which are part of the door mechanism, as well as fine brass chain linking the handbrake levers to the brake linkage.

Later in their long lives, many of the WMC's were converted to WMD class by the addition of hungry boards and were used for carriage of talc, wheat and coal.  A few were converted to WME class after being fitted with a closed steel top, and were used for mineral sands.  See Andy May's wagon pages for more information on the prototype.

The model currently only represents the original WMC design, but I could be persuaded to produce a WMD version with hungry boards if there is sufficient interest.  If I go ahead with the WMD version, the hungry boards would be included in the 1-piece 3D print.  As was discussed at the AMRA S scale night, the WMD version is probably more suitable for running in general traffic over wide areas of the state (see photo at Narrogin), whereas the WMC version ran in block trains in the Geraldton area.

Update:- In the 48 hours since the S scale night, I have created a WMD version with the hungry boards, and a test print of it is on order, which I will hopefully be able to display at the October S scale night.
Computer Rendering of WMD Version
In the 2000's, most have been converted back to iron ore traffic and have been fitted with air brakes rather than vacuum brakes.  The WMC's, now recoded to AHMF, were in active service carrying iron or until early 2013 when they were superseded by more modern wagons as part of the upsurge in iron ore mining in the MidWest area, and are in storage at Narngulu.

Photo by Phil Melling. Taken 24/8/13 at Narngulu
Some of the photos of the model show it in unpainted condition.  They were originally painted grey by Western Mining.  The model pictured is fitted with roller bearing bogies made by Black Diamond Models in Queensland.  These bogies are the closest I have found which are commercially available.  The sample pair of bogies which I have are fitted with Jackson (UK) wheels with steel axles, which can interact with Kadee uncoupler magnets, potentially causing unintended uncoupling.  The sample bogies are quite old and it is not known whether current production bogies have steel axles.  These bogies are cast in white metal (or similar).

I have also drawn up the correct bogies for 3D printing and I am awaiting test prints in three different plastic materials to test their suitability, particularly in terms of strength and stability.
Computer rendering of bogie currently being 3D printed.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Will this be made available to Public? I am from Geraldton and would love to purchase some of these.
    David Melling