Re: Code 88 wheels?

Jim Betz

I'll chime in with a different approach to this topic ...

Background ... one of the things that differentiates two
wheelsets is the shape of the curve where the flange meets
the tread. Pick up two wheelsets and look at them and you
will notice differences in this area right away. This is
especially noticeable if you compare some cheapo wheelset
with an Intermountain or Reboxx wheelset.
Similarly ... the angle of the tread from true horizontal
is also different from one kind of wheelset to another.

Perhaps a more useful method of 'measuring' a wheel would be to
develop a method for consistently photographing it edge-on and
showing the profile for comparison?
I'm thinking that if I had an accurate profile of the shape and
size of two wheels either alongside each other or one on top of
the other that I could see the differences - without knowing
the measurements. If I had the images I could even 'cut' one
and carry it up over the other one and see the two shapes very

Such a method would have to be able to repeatedly reproduce the
same profile for the same wheel - and the relative profile shape
and size of wheels from different manufacturers/models. But I'm
guessing that the combination of a jigged camera set up that
precisely controlled the distance of the camera from the axle
and some controls of the way the image is taken (camera zoom
settings, etc.) - combined with some photoshop filters that repeated
the image changes - would produce jpg profiles that could be relied
upon and used for comparison. Luckily, it seems that the overall
width of two wheels claiming to be Code 88 is close enough to
each other that one ought to be able to determine easily whether
or not two photographically developed profiles are the same or
I know that such a method would be subject to the possible
variations introduced during manufacturing ... but that is
both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it is what
actually gets produced that counts rather than what the designer
of the wheel thought they would be. Bad because it is possible
that you might use a wheel that is significantly different from
the norm for that manufacturer and model. If you ran several
'identical' wheels from the same manufacturer thru the process
you ought to be able to know if they are coming out the same
or not.

Finally - I'd also like some kind of operational data tossed into
the mix as well - stuff like which wheels have problems with which
existing turnouts, etc. From actual experience.
- Jim in San Jose

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