2019 Update: This product page now sells AB air brake systems WITHOUT attached regulators only. AB air brake systems WITH attached regulators can now be found on their own separate product page via our main Shapeways store page.
This product is now available in three sprue sizes, which can be selected from the menu to the right. The "small" size includes 2 complete AB brake system sprues (as originally offered); the "large" size includes 4 complete AB brake system sprues; the "extra large" size includes 16 complete AB brake system sprues (available in SFDP only). A small hobby blade and a file or sanding stick will be required to separate parts from their sprues and to clean up the edges.
These parts are offered in both SFDP and XSFDP material. Most of the photos above show parts printed using XSFDP, which is the default material offered. Parts printed using SFDP may exhibit a slightly more "serrated" texture, although the difference is very hard to discern with normal eyesight alone. SFDP material can be chosen via the menu to the right for a decreased price.
This model now features improved, more accurate geometry, too!
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This may not be the first AB air brake system offered in HO scale-- but it just may be the best!
Included with each AB brake system sprue are:
-AB valve with attached air filter;
-Brake cylinder with attached piston rod, B-end brake lever, and lever hangers;
-A-end brake lever with attached lever hanger and pivot bracket (for a version that includes an attached brake regulator, please visit the appropriate product page via our main Shapeways store).
Multiple sprues are included according to size selected before purchase!
The AB brake system replaced the earlier K brake system as the AAR standard design for American railroads in 1933, making it mandatory equipment on all cars built after that date. By the early 1950s, AB brakes were required on all cars used in nation-wide interchange service.
These AB parts are not modeled after parts already produced by "the other guys"-- these parts are truly scale, modeled from prototype drawings, plans, and photographs. The cylinder, reservoir, and infamously-complex AB valve are modeled with exacting scale fidelity-- you may be surprised to see how much better these parts look than those found included on high-end models! But even the lowly brake levers, with their included hangers and rod hinges, are made to AAR-standard lengths and proportions.
Use these parts to bring your current R-T-R models up to a new standard, to repair damage, or to detail a kit or scratch-building project already under way!
These parts are designed to be not only incredibly realistic but also easy-to-use. Because the brake levers and hangers are offered as pre-made assemblies, there is far less chance of fumbling with small parts compared to some other brake system kits-- and you can still "see through" them for an impressive side-view profile. The AB valve has its scale air filter pre-installed, also helping to keep delicate work to a minimum. All of the parts-- including the brake levers-- have pre-formed holes for the easy installation of wire pipes and brake rods as supplied by the modeler (0.012 or 0.0125 rodding is recommended). The AB valve has holes in its back for all five of its prototypical ports-- including one in the air filter itself. The B-end brake cylinder lever features a realistic printed clasp for the installation of a metal hook and handbrake chain, but it also features a hole behind that clasp for modelers interested in an even more secure attachment point.
All of the parts feature mounting pins. The brake cylinder and AB valve feature pins that will fit into #76 drill holes. The air reservoir and brake levers feature pins designed for #80 drill holes. Because the cylinder and AB valve are mounted to their sprues via their pins, be careful not to trim off the pins by mistake when removing the sprues-- although if this does happen, both of these parts feature broad flat surfaces that are still easy to glue to. Of course, all pins can also be cut off intentionally if it is desired to glue any particular component to a flat surface without using a pin hole. Because brake-mounting brackets varied by prototype, styrene plastic may be needed to create new mounting brackets for these parts, depending on the HO car being used.
Because the brake levers and hangers are made to railroad industry standards, they will fit almost any center sill without modification-- we've tried them successfully on cars from many manufacturers (Tichy center sills run a bit narrower than most, but our brakes will still fit-- see photos above). However, please note that our brake levers are not made to fit "fishbelly" center sills-- although they can be made to work with a bit of modification.
The brake systems are delivered in sprues that form a cage around all of the parts to protect them during shipping. Care must be taken in cutting away the cage and removing parts from the sprues-- please separate one part at a time from the cage before removing the direct sprue connections. See illustrations above.
The AB valve and its attached air filter feature several delicate details! To avoid unwanted damage, see photos above for recommended handling techniques for this part. (We went a bit above and beyond with this valve, figuring that, even if damaged, one of our AB valves is still better than anyone else's!)
As always, take care when using blades to cut sprues, and enjoy using these parts!