Thursday, February 5, 2015

Just Like Pulling Teeth

Six days before I got married I was sat in a dentists chair being treated by a trainee dentist. I'd managed to break a tooth and the remaining stump had to be removed. After half an hour of pulling on the stump he gave up and let the supervising dentist take over. She had the tooth out within about 10 seconds.

It turns out that removing gears and wheels from an axle is a bit like pulling teeth. Experience and the right tools and it can be a quick and (fairly) painless process. Use the wrong tools and it can be a slow and frustrating process.

When I built the first test chassis for the Hudson-Hunslet diesel I found getting the wheels off the axle exceptionally difficult. It's supposed to be possible using a set of pliers and a hard surface, but that didn't work well for me and in the end I destroyed one insulating plastic part and bent an axle. Now the wheels aren't two expensive (£1.25 per axle) but I wouldn't have to ruin too many before it got costly.

The solution of course is to buy a tool designed for the job, specifically a small gear puller. A number of people made suggestions but in the end I went with the NEEWER W010 gear puller. According to the box this seems to be designed for people building remote control helicopters but it seems perfectly suitable for railway modelling as well. It comes with five different size pins to allow for different sized shafts. There are no measurements given but three are completely round and measure (according to my callipers) 0.8mm, 1.58mm, and 1.85mm. There are also two pins that are mostly round but have a flat side, the round part of these measure 1.70mm and 2.7mm.

So far I've tested it by removing a wheel from an axle and pulling a worm from a layshaft both of which it did without any effort at all. If you are tempted by one be careful where you shop though. I bought mine from Amazon and paid £11.95 although the price does seem to fluctuate a little. If you look on eBay though they seem to be on sale for around £112! I think someone got the decimal point in the wrong place but amazingly the page suggests that they've sold at least 17 at that price. Some people really do have more money than sense.


  1. Gosh that reminds me of the days when I rebuilt a Morris Minor and had a puller for getting bearings off shafts: similar but a tad bigger! eBay can be very strange. Gaz recently pointed out a particular childrens buggy which was on bid 11 and standing at over $250,000. That was really bizarre.

    1. Ah yes, the buggy. That listing went viral based on the accompanying description and generated lots of newspaper articles. Seems to have sold for just £325 after the daft bids were removed.