NWSL

Does anyone know the status of NWSL?  Are they still in business?  I ordered some wheels back in March.  After several weeks I was told the materials to make them were back ordered.  A few weeks ago I was told that they were waiting for their "wheel man" to come in and cut the wheels.  now there is no answer at their phone number and no answering machine.   Does anyone have a set of 40" code 145 wheels with flush axles, part number #8279-4 they are willing to part with?  I am trying to replace the tinplate wheels on a Lionel E-8 to run on scale track but need to try a set first to make sure they will work.    The 36" wheels I tried first just seemed a bit small for the truck sideframes, as well as the axles being a bit too thin to hold the gears and plastic bushings. 

Original Post

I ordered 5 sets of wheels from them about 8 weeks ago.  My order shipped out in about 7 - 10 business days, but unfortunately it seems they randomly shipped them to Louisville, Ky. instead of my current residence in Tennessee, even though my address was clearly indicated on the order form and also on the confirmation receipt.

I'm pretty sure they are still in business as, IIRC, I spoke with a younger guy by the name of "Chris" and he was very helpful in getting replacements lined up.  Unfortunately, I never saw the replacements and after giving them about a month with no wheels showing up, I cancelled the order and rescinded the payment.

From what I can see, they keep very little to no inventory of wheels sets and anything you order is made up after you do so.  About 10 years ag,  I used them on a regular basis for wheel sets on several projects and had no problems but I think the business has changed hands since and I'm not sure on the capability of the current owner/owners - just my 2 cents.

 

 

 

"Moreover, experience proves that there is virtually no limit to the amount of cars, track, equipment, etc., the scale model railroader will buy once you have planted the "system" idea in his head. The more he has, the more he still wants." A.C. Gilbert Co. - 1947

Mojave,

Having two railed several Lionel six axle trucks, I can tell you that although 36" wheels are correct for E unit trucks, the truck frames will sit too low and possible come in contact with rail at switches.  I always use 40" wheels on these models when I convert them.  Unless Lionel has made a major change in their truck design since I last saw one, their axles measure out to 5/32" in diameter on their ends.  I have never replaced the original axles but drill and ream the NWSL NWSL wheels to be a press fit on the Lionel axles.  Insulated wheels are made by drilling and reaming the wheels with a 0.001" undersized 1/4" reamer and pressing a piece of 1/4" Micarta rod into the wheel with Loctite 609 Retaining Compound.  The Micarta plug is then center drilled, drilled an reamed in my lathe to fit the Lionel axle end.

I have converted many three rail diesel trucks in this manner and have never had one come back to me for slipping wheels.  I don't think much of NWSL's plastic insulating bushings fitting in 3/32" axle ends.  The wheels can be turned with a little hand pressure and although this may be fine for a car wheel, it does not bode well for a powered wheel set.

Good luck with your project.

Joe

Mike,

I'm glad Joe spoke up.  He's done more of these conversions than anyone else, I know of.

Pay close attention to the things he tells you.  I totally agree with him on the insulators used by NWSL.  They are fine for rolling stock but not for driven (powered) axles.  Primarily, they aren't tight enough and don't have enough surface are (to small) for proper adhesion.  When I'm using the NWSL wheels, just like Joe, I bore them and install my own insulator.

Having said all of that, do you have a way to do the work Joe describes?  A plain old 3 jaw chuck won't be good enough...way too much run-out.

Not trying to discourage you.  If you want to proceed I will assist in providing the wheels.

Oh yeah, one last thing, the NWSL wheels are designed to press onto an 1/8" axle.

Jay

NCNG

A business like NWSL requires a staff of qualified machinists and machine tools dedicated to producing the thousands of parts they produce.  Once a tool is set up to machine bushings they probably machine thousands of them and then set the machine up for another part.  It may be some time before they get to making more bushings. 

On another matter, the profile of their O scale wheels has deteriorated (in my opinion) since they started using a new CNC tool instead of their old screw machine.  It is not the fault of the tool.  Whoever programmed the tool should take a closer look at NMRA wheel profile standards.

I am not a happy camper.  Fortunately I can machine my own bushings, axles etc.  But, I have depended on NWSL for many years to supply wheels and wheel sets in O Scale.

I am not sure the current NWSL management cares.  I contacted them some time ago about their wheel profile and they didn't seem to understand my complaint.  They said they were going to correct the tooling and sent me more wheels at no charge but the new ones were not much better than the first group that was sent.  The wheels do work but they look like hell.  Has anyone else noticed this or am I being too demanding?  The tops of flanges should have a rounded profile.

One thing NWSL does know...how to raise prices dramatically.

Joe

I too have recently placed an order, sent $$$ and was told that my order is ready to ship back on April 26th.  It is now approaching 2 months later and no updates, no wheels, or no refund.  Back on May 30th I sent a note and received a reply saying NWSL is hopelessly swamped, but a month earlier was told my order is ready to ship?  I was then told that there was a personal medical situation they were dealing with...  While I understand those situations take priority, here we are another month later and still no updates, no wheels, no money back, nothing.  I certainly am not going to do business with NWSL in the future, nor will I recommend them to anyone.  

Thank you,

Mike

Really sorry to hear all of you are having issues.  There have been times where I had to wait longer than I wanted but overall I've been happy, or maybe just lucky.  I can't imagine trying to do the things I do without their parts.

Yes, there are some very serious health issues being dealt with. 

As a side note, Dave told me the business is for sale because they want to concentrate on this issue.  I know they are doing their best.  Maybe someone should buy the company and make their fortune with it.

Jay

Jay C posted:

As a side note, Dave told me the business is for sale because they want to concentrate on this issue.  I know they are doing their best.  Maybe someone should buy the company and make their fortune with it.

Jay

Given there's been a fair amount of model railroad suppliers up for sale this year, that might be a hard sell.  Particularly there's a machining skillset required to make gears and such.

Rusty

And that's the problem.  Pay fifty grand for tooling and good will.  How many $4 wheelsets do you have to make and ship before you break even?  It is way more than 12,500, and I submit the market is not that large.

Lower the quality and raise the price?  Volume goes down.

Jay C posted:

Really sorry to hear all of you are having issues.  There have been times where I had to wait longer than I wanted but overall I've been happy, or maybe just lucky.  I can't imagine trying to do the things I do without their parts.

Yes, there are some very serious health issues being dealt with. 

As a side note, Dave told me the business is for sale because they want to concentrate on this issue.  I know they are doing their best.  Maybe someone should buy the company and make their fortune with it.

Jay

Just checked their website info to confirm my septuagenarian memory...

This would be the second sale of NWSL.  Dave and Lynda purchased/moved the works to Montana in 2008, having purchased it from Fred and Sheryl Martin of Seattle, WA, the founders.  NWSL was established in 1959.

Yes, there's no small measure of skills required to design the tooling, maintain/upgrade equipment, track inventory, etc., etc..  As far as that memory of mine goes, I'm really not aware of any other company serving the wide range of this hobby's scales/needs who might fill the void....particularly in the gears department!  And I very much doubt that "A business like NWSL requires a staff of qualified machinists and machine tools dedicated to producing the thousands of parts they produce.  Once a tool is set up to machine bushings they probably machine thousands of them and then set the machine up for another part."  My sense of how the Martins and Rygmyrs have run this business is that it's pretty much a 'Mom & Pop' enterprise.  And, in such a situation health issues....and especially their financial cost...can be devastating.  Some of you have 'been there....done that.'

With the aging demographics of this hobby....particularly O2R/O3R..., for both customer and for many of our under-appreciated contributing specialists, like NWSL, patience all around is increasingly necessary....IMHO.   

Encouragement, understanding, and prayers are probably needed more than anything else.  Meanwhile, asking forum members to check their dust-covered stock/parts drawers for one's immediate needs is spot on.

Dave, Lynda....God bless you through his care and healing.

KD

dkdkrd posted:
 And I very much doubt that "A business like NWSL requires a staff of qualified machinists and machine tools dedicated to producing the thousands of parts they produce.  Once a tool is set up to machine bushings they probably machine thousands of them and then set the machine up for another part." 

I dunno, the company I recently retired from had qualified machinists running the CNC and manual machines, not just any Tom, Dick or Harry from another area of the company.  Plus certain operations require certain cutting tools.

How else are you going to ensure quality?  Maybe not a huge staff, but at least one, preferably two.  Somebody has to know how set up, tear down, program and deal with things if something breaks or otherwise goes wrong.

Rusty

Well, this gives me a lot of options to look at.    The Lionel axles are significantly wider, so I would need to machine the non-insulated hole slightly larger to fit, as well as an even larger hole for the insulated side.  I found several dealers online that sell the Micarta rod that Joe speaks of....I've never even heard of it till I brought this topic up.  Too bad MTH axles are even larger than the Lionel ones.  Would have made the whole job easier.  No standard axle compatibility for O-scale. 

I wonder what made me think you had ordered 40" USH from the eBay guy.  I guess I am getting old and hallucinating.

 No, you know what?  There are two threads about the same thing.  Check out the other thread - he is not stumped; he is pressing forward.  

Two rail conversions are pretty much trivial for unpowered models, and almost trivial for powered Diesels.   Sounds to me like you should either let Jay or Joe do this for you.

bob2 posted:

I wonder what made me think you had ordered 40" USH from the eBay guy.  I guess I am getting old and hallucinating.

 No, you know what?  There are two threads about the same thing.  Check out the other thread - he is not stumped; he is pressing forward.  

Two rail conversions are pretty much trivial for unpowered models, and almost trivial for powered Diesels.   Sounds to me like you should either let Jay or Joe do this for you.

I didn’t want to hijack MM’s thread and ask about alternative sources. 

Sweat the details!...



 

 NWSL posted this on their Facebook page:

”Some grim news, I'm afraid. My wife Lynda, a vital part of NWSL, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer; a complete surprise to us. She had surgery and a hospital stay; she's home now but her energy/mobility is very, very low and so the rest of the team is scrambling to fill her shoes. She's done working at NWSL. Last week we hired Janet from PSC to help and we're training her now, although Lynda is going to be a tough act to follow. Our apologies for the resulting delays in communication and production, but we were literally blind-sided by this and have to adjust accordingly and push on.”

 

Attachments

Photos (1)

We're a small and close knit scale.  Patience is required when those manufacturing our toys are doing so as a labor of love.   

Let's ask the LORD to keep Lynda and the entire family in His care. 

Rob M. ARHS # 3846 PRRT&HS # 8141 EPTC "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway, With An Engineer That's Brave..."

Add Reply

Likes (0)


OGR Publishing, Inc. PO Box 218, Hilliard, OH 43026 330-757-3020
www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×