I have been playing around with the new Protocraft coupler. My focus has been on installing the couplers on a variety of my equipment. I have found that the draft gear provided with the coupler will fit on some cars with little or no modifications.
My first installation was on an Intermountain boxcar that was built with the kit draft gear. I modified the draft gear to minimize the overhang on the end. The end of the draft gear overhangs the can end by only .040″ now. The coupler face now extends approximately two scale feet from the end. This matches dimensions I found on AAR boxcar drawings.
I made a new uncoupling lever from steel so that it can be lifted with the magnetic wand.
That was a fairly easy install. My next task was to look at how to narrow the draft gear and still maintain the coupler function. I cut the sides off the box and examined how the coupler to could swing.
I realized that more can be cut to narrow the draft to the point that it will fit into a scale draft gear which are approximately 12″ wide. I decided to make a pattern for a narrow box that could be dropped into a number of my built models. Now to get some cast.
From left to right: the scale width pattern, the middle is the initial modified box. The box on the right is what I installed on the Intermountain boxcar.
After operating a train for a couple of hours on Norm Buckhart’s massive layout. I found that the couplers worked extremely well. The magnetic wand makes uncoupling very easy. While they don’t operate like a Kadee, you do feel more involved with operating the train. I really liked them.