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To all who were able to attend the indianapolis O/S Trainshow,was there any mention of the E Upper/Lower Safety Shelf couplers or the H Tightlock Coupler displayed in the following link? All replies will be appreciated. Many thanks. https://www.dropbox.com/s/brli...%2011.27.03.jpg?dl=0

As Always,

Al Hummel

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Hot digs! Shelf Couplers again.

When the market exceeds one, you may see production.  The all time best way to do this is to get patterns made (or buy existing patterns) and have a short production run cast up.

This is neither difficult nor prohibitively expensive.  When you finally do this, you may get a glimmer of understanding why Protocraft and Kadee have declined.

There are good foundries that do this stuff.  I just had some custom castings made.  Not cheap, but also not out of line for a hobby expense.

I do not know who makes patterns.  I bet an advertisement in MRR would get you started, or maybe Jay C.  has a good pattern maker.  I bet you are under $500 for reasonably good patterns.

All opinion.

Alan Hummel posted:

To all who were able to attend the indianapolis O/S Trainshow,was there any mention of the E Upper/Lower Safety Shelf couplers or the H Tightlock Coupler displayed in the following link? All replies will be appreciated. Many thanks. https://www.dropbox.com/s/brli...%2011.27.03.jpg?dl=0

As Always,

Al Hummel

My suggestion would be to contact they who made the ones in the image you posted.

Simon

SIMON,

This is my problem,I don't have the slightest idea who's behind the "possible" development of these couplers. All I know is the man who drew the design for them & he isn't sharing any knowledge on ownership. At 1 time in the early development of these couplers,the "3D man," was developing draft gear for Atlas cars that would allow these couplers to drop right in place. That would be a great idea I think then sales could be made to Atlas and likely to MTH&Lionel. I'd throw in with this idea. 

RULE 292,

I think you mean I can expect to see these couplers when Hades sees it's 1st snow storm. LOL

As Always,

Al Hummel

Alan Hummel posted:

MWB,

If you opened the link I sent,someone has made,(supposedly), the Masters & looks ready for producion,so figured they'd be advertising them,but sometimes I think this is just a joke. They look very nice in the photo.

Al Hummel

And how did you get that link; who sent it to you? 

As Bob noted above, this could be a reasonable DIY effort.

Alan,

I sincerely hope your getting enjoyment from the trains you have, or are able to buy from the currently available market inventory. The coupler issue you've become involved with shouldn't be a factor in your success in this hobby...many of us deal with limited or nonexistent availability issues and manage to either make our own oddball stuff or find an acceptable substitute and march ahead. Times a wasting ... go enjoy the hobby.

I have done the "lusting after" bit.  I get some strange thing fixed in my mind as a "must have."  It has never been a coupler.

I have never missed.  The first one was an MM-2 in 17/64.  I lusted for that beast from about 1957 to 1984, knowing that I would have to build it.  I now have four.

Then it was the Lobaugh Cab Forward.  I placed a bunch of ads in MRR and 48/ft, and one day Peter Thorp (RIP) agreed to sell me his.

My current project in that vein is a sand- cast Erie-Built.  The sides (the last pieces I need) are now at a foundry. It has been maybe 20 years in its inception.

I think this sort of thing, if kept under control and in perspective, can be entertaining and healthy.  If it becomes an obsession it can be harmful.

Opinion.

BOB2,

You hit it right on the head-obsession with anything isn't good. 

Since getting into O Scale,I had 2 things I said were "absolutes"-shelf couplers & operating ground throws with moving targets. Thanks to All Aboard trains,the switchstands are VERY PLEASANT realities. Truly amazing,these groundthrows are the 1st of their kind in any scale. They work just like the Prototype 'stands. My congratulations to Larry for his years to perseverance & determination.

My problem now is that if these couplers are headed for production,I don't want to start a marketable product to find someone gets ahead of me & I tied up the money for nothing.

As a modeler,I have many 3rail cars sitting in "limbo" with no couplers as I can't afford to put on a Kadee,for instance,then buy a shelf coupler later. What I have for sale in HO&N HAVE TO FUND my O Scale as that's my only form to income for a hobby. So this represents a problem that's unique to me that may not bother other modelers.

 I started in HO with flaky looking F2X couplers then graduated to #5 Kadee's then finally #58 scale couplers,then shelf couplers from Kadee,then Sergent introduced an E coupler,then years later came couplers of ALL types,E,F,H and other unique couplers. These included shelf couplers in the E&F styles.

While I still intend to use Protocraft E couplers on freight,most of my fleet is modern that has shelf couplers & to put anything on them other than these couplers is a serious oversight. Atlas couplers especially earlier style Atlas,are junk. So those have to go too.

I renumber freight cars,design buildings,plan benchwork&track,etc.,but there's times as you modelers know,you have a craving to work on other things,which for me,is couplers and nothing else. 

I know my shelf couplers over the years seem like a "terrible obsession,"  but it's not intended to be. MTH,in their history of the tank car's evolution,even lists double shelf couplers as a modern development,so these couplers are refreshingly recognized.

Just my opinions and desires.

As Always,

Al Hummel

Ed &Jay,

Ed the email for the switchstands is,aatlarry@earthlink.net. Jay ,these groundthrows turn the switch points when the throw arm on the switchstand is turned just like on all groundthrows and turns a lamp or target on top of the groundthrow at the same time. Larry also has a motorized version of the same 'stand. At current,he's working on targets to fit the 'stand. Future groundthrows will be New Century designs. The current groundthrow is a Racor 22 with an Adlake lighted lamp on top.

Larry has lots of great things planned for the future. This is a FANTASTIC PRODUCT for O Scale and plans are for other scales,also.

Hope this helps.

As Always,

Al Hummel

Jay C posted:

Red Cliffs Miniatures offers working switch stands with movable targets and illumination.  Done in brass from lost wax.

Jay

Yes, they are nice piece of kit.

What would be great is to see someone creatively come up with a working Bethlehem New Century model 51.   Pretty common for east coast RRs and many are still in use today with bow handles.

Here we go

Not sure if passenger cars are supposed to have tightlock or some other fancy type coupler, but I read over on the proto48 group that Jim Lincoln completed patterns for type E double and lower shelf couplers as well as type H tightlocks. Jimmy Booth is looking at bringing some or all of those to market? Guess I'm going to need to study up on my coupler knowledge and see what tank cars and passenger cars I own might require any of those. Probably won't swap them all out, but having a few on a few select cars on sidings, etc. would be neat.

My advice - worth only what it cost you - get ahold of these guys with some startup capital.  They obviously have the beginnings of actual production.

Bob2:

The last report on the shelf couplers is that Jimmy Booth is producing E double shelf couplers for tank cars. The government mandated that all railroads have these couplers installed by 1978. The railroads began installing more of the lower shelf couplers on general non-tanker freight and diesels in the years right up to this day. Jimmy also is producing the lower shelf coupler as well as the H Tightlock couplers for passenger trains. Jim Lincoln designed the couplers is the word I got from Jim a long time back. The couplers are supposed to be here this January but I don't know. 

I'm only guessing that passenger cars use F couplers nowadays,but freight's my thing so I can't say for sure. According to Sam Clarke at Kadee,F couplers and H couplers were in existence before the E shelf couplers. These couplers will be able to be operated by cut levers from the top or bottom as well as by magnet. Protocraft sells this magnet & it's great too and will pull the trip pins to the side for handy uncoupling of Kadee&Atlas coupers.

Thanks for thinking of me Bob,if you have more updated info on these couplers,I'd sure be happy to know more about them and anxious to get some.

Jim Lincoln is experimenting with mounting as soon as he gets couplers from Jimmy,as these are made to fit a Protocraft type coupler box. In my experimenting with the modern Protocraft couplers,I cut off the pin located on the rear of the coupler&they will fit a Kadee coupler box.

Thanks again.

Al Hummel

Shelf couplers are a accessory whose time is overdue, and yes there is a waiting market. I like the brass couplers in the link, but would also like to see them blackened or "rusted" in some manner. Before someone says, "get out the airbrush" (and while there's nothing wrong with that), I'd like to point out that the beauty of drop in parts is they just drop in, no muss, no fuss, easy to use. In an age where time is one of the most precious commodities we have, quick easy conversion makes a product very attractive. I, myself, would need 10 pairs for my existing tank cars, plus another 3 for the cars I anticipate to purchase in 2018, along with spares, and 10 or more pairs for when, most assuredly, someone produces the 34000 gallon LPG Tank Car. Tight lock couplers would be appropriate on Amtrak cars and any modernized and/or rebuilt streamlined passenger cars. If Atlas is able to crank out the Trinity Pd Covered Hopper (ala BLMA), there is another car in need of shelf couplers. Change comes slowly to O Scale, but change it must to satisfy the growing demand for prototype appearance and detail. Like Swafford keeps saying, "ready to buy when you supply!" Just my two cents.

Mike Caddell,

Mike,VERY WELL SAID!! I,myself would like to finally see these couplers for sale even unpainted. I'm also wondering about price and if they'll come as kits or assembled. 

James Lincoln that did the 3D work,said early last year, the couplers may come as kits to permit the ability to make smaller runs at a time,which I assume would allow lower prices,but that's only a guess on my part.

My hat's off to Jimmy Booth and all that had a part in getting these couplers in production.

Yes,Mike,like you said, the Trinity 5161 cvd hoppers, modern tankers,as well as the steel cars were made with the lower shelf couplers. Many cars made with E couplers,are now refitted with lower shelf couplers.

Another great improvement made 1st in O Scale,is the fully operating groundthrow switchstand with lighted red/green lamp. Day targets will be available for modern day modelers. For those interested in this product,go to aatlarry@earthlink.net. Type this in your address bar,that will bring up Larry's Company called All Aboard Trains. Larry's a top notch O Scale Modeler and a fine Christian man that treats his customers like family.

Thanks Mike for the post.

As Always,

Al Hummel

You must have been a good boy Alan... Santa Claus was good to you! 

Fret not,  between the Clouser scale coupler and the San Juan/Protocraft Scale E type coupler we waited YEARS to get an accurate coupler. 

Next up you need that 51-a switch stand with a bow handle. 

(disclaimer - I'm not a modern era modeler, just one that recognizes that modern stuff will bring young life to an old timers hobby)

 

@bob2 posted:

Well, you got me to look.  Did not see couplers - nice HO models, though.

Suspect you are well aware that Jimmy Hill (No, It's Jimmy Booth!) is the owner of Glacier Park, who was supposedly making the SHELF couplers. A few things to consider: that was a while back, and a lot of stuff has happened between then and now (can you say Corona, and we ain't talking beer!) I think somewhere along the way Alan (who is a much nicer fellow, than You or I) gave up on his O dream because of the cost of track and switches. If I were wealthy (I'm NOT!) I would have tried to help him.

I think we will ultimately see Shelf couplers. (Note that others are now showing interest.)

Maybe someone who knows more than I can start a Go Fund Me for Al. They have been done for a lot of worse reasons!

Simon

Last edited by Simon Winter
@bigboy25 posted:

Thanks for the link @Simon Winter, but I didn't see anything about the couplers. Is there a specific page I am supposed to be looking at or are you suggesting that I email them?

The squeaky wheel gets the grease! As we all know, the crap hit the fan in 2020, so I don't think it would hurt to e-mail Jimmy. (That E-postage is pretty cheap!)

Jay C. is a good guy, maybe he will find out something!

Simon

That was illuminating.

Alan may be a nice guy, but he got fixated on a couple of relatively small issues and it destroyed his enjoyment of the hobby.

Regardless of what your hobby is, if you fixate on the unavailable, your enjoyment is doomed.

O Scale is not for everyone.  But there are so many facets, and so much available both new and used, that if one wants to be an O Scale hobbyist on a budget, there simply are no insurmountable obstacles.

But if you decide that the only way you can possibly enjoy O Scale is with shelf couplers -

@bob2 posted:

That was illuminating.

Alan may be a nice guy, but he got fixated on a couple of relatively small issues and it destroyed his enjoyment of the hobby.

Regardless of what your hobby is, if you fixate on the unavailable, your enjoyment is doomed.

O Scale is not for everyone.  But there are so many facets, and so much available both new and used, that if one wants to be an O Scale hobbyist on a budget, there simply are no insurmountable obstacles.

But if you decide that the only way you can possibly enjoy O Scale is with shelf couplers -

From his (Alan) last comments that I saw, it seemed more like the financial burden was what drove him away. Maybe he will return and illuminate things for us. The last posts of his that I saw were lamenting the high costs of track and switches.

Simon

From his (Alan) last comments that I saw, it seemed more like the financial burden was what drove him away. Maybe he will return and illuminate things for us. The last posts of his that I saw were lamenting the high costs of track and switches.

Simon

Nothing is cheap these days, hobbies included! 🙂 I agree with bob2 about "fixating" on things; as has been mentioned many, many times, it's all a compromise of sorts, so we have to do the best we can... As far as couplers are concerned, I like to keep the original dummy types on my vintage stuff: I love Kadees ( for a lot of reasons), but those old cast ones just look..."right". 🙂

Mark (on the cool) Oregon Coast

@Strummer posted:

Nothing is cheap these days, hobbies included! 🙂 I agree with bob2 about "fixating" on things; as has been mentioned many, many times, it's all a compromise of sorts, so we have to do the best we can... As far as couplers are concerned, I like to keep the original dummy types on my vintage stuff: I love Kadees ( for a lot of reasons), but those old cast ones just look..."right". 🙂

Mark (on the cool) Oregon Coast

You start with a trite comment and then criticize the man for what he likes and because he is poor. Your post is irrelevant to the topic. Shame.

Simon

I bought a few sets of the Shelf Couplers from Jimmy Booth to check them out. I’m not sure of all the varieties he is selling, but I bought 2 pairs of double shelf Type E, 2 pairs of lower shelf Type E and 1 set of Type F.

They are cast brass with 5 parts - the receiver, the knuckle, the tongue, the pin and a spring for draft gear. I also ordered the draft gear boxes - They are 3d printed resin in 2 parts a top and a bottom. The draft gear boxes have some detail including a key slot.

The couplers took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to assemble. Simply slip the tongue into the receiver and push it all the way up open position. Then push the knuckle into the receiver. Then pass the knuckle pin through the receiver and the knuckle to hold the knuckle in place. That’s it. Push or pull the tongue up and the knuckle opens, close the knuckle and the tongue drops and locks the knuckle closed.

I have yet too install them or operate with them so can’t really comment there yet. A few I’ll have to tackle are

1 - limited swing distance, what will the minimum radius with these installed.

2 - bottom operated or modify to top operate. I’m thinking I can install a small steel ring on top to the tongue to operate the couplers with a magnetic wand.

3 - finishing and lubing them. I’m thinking chemically blackening the couplers and applying graphite to the moving surfaces as well as the striking surfaces.

Definitely beautiful. Thank you Jimmy for this beautiful product!

rocky@glacierparkmodels.com

And thanks again JayC for the tip.

72F30D3C-B1EF-4BF9-97D3-A6D117421A4BE654C93A-6ACE-40E9-9B20-70ED82F04642813B8296-8989-4D23-B575-91C07393456A56AC9790-B8D0-4C68-9E8B-F3DB578C2BC7

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Last edited by Greg Amer
@Greg Amer posted:

I bought a few sets of the Shelf Couplers from Jimmy Booth to check them out. I’m not sure of all the varieties he is selling, but I bought 2 pairs of double shelf Type E, 2 pairs of lower shelf Type E and 1 set of Type F.

They are cast brass with 5 parts - the receiver, the knuckle, the tongue, the pin and a spring for draft gear. I also ordered the draft gear boxes - They are 3d printed resin in 2 parts a top and a bottom. The draft gear boxes have some detail including a key slot.

The couplers took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to assemble. Simply slip the tongue into the receiver and push it all the way up open position. Then push the knuckle into the receiver. Then pass the knuckle pin through the receiver and the knuckle to hold the knuckle in place. That’s it. Push or pull the tongue up and the knuckle opens, close the knuckle and the tongue drops and locks the knuckle closed.

I have yet too install them or operate with them so can’t really comment there yet. A few I’ll have to tackle are

1 - limited swing distance, what will the minimum radius with these installed.

2 - bottom operated or modify to top operate. I’m thinking I can install a small steel ring on top to the tongue to operate the couplers with a magnetic wand.

3 - finishing and lubing them. I’m thinking chemically blackening the couplers and applying graphite to the moving surfaces as well as the striking surfaces.

Definitely beautiful. Thank you Jimmy for this beautiful product!

rocky@glacierparkmodels.com

And thanks again JayC for the tip.

Greg,

Did you make any further progress in installing these shelf couplers?

Do you need any tools for getting these castings ready for installation like a drill press or an air brush?

I just ordered a set of the Lionel 30K, tank cars  and think that these double-shelf couplers would be a better choice over the Kadee couplers that I am used to.

These are just my opinion,

Thanks,

Naveen Rajan

Hi Naveen.

I was playing with them earlier this month. I epoxied some .032” diameter steel rod into the keys to make them operate magnetically. They operate pretty good with the steel inside. Since I know they work magnetically, I think I’ll solder the steel rod into them. I also tried some mini ball bearings instead of steel rod, but the rod was a better solution.

6AF54B55-0439-4C88-8C10-CB251E10948E767E1C7D-F416-49AA-8579-77E13CAC3E4B
F5A3C2AB-2EE2-4B26-B858-C8B0F771A0ED

I dipped the couplers in the photos above in blacken-it. I also used neo-lube on the operating parts to blacken and lube them.

The only tool I used to assemble them was a sanding stick to burnish some parts. Assembly was pretty easy. There are 4 parts and pretty much only one way to put them together.

The double shelf E couplers I assembled worked great on the bench, but I haven’t installed them onto a car. The coupler draft gear pockets work well also. The opening in the coupler pocket is pretty narrow, so these will probably only work on broader radius turns.

I experimented the F couplers and the lower shelf E couplers, but had trouble keeping those together. I’ll have to work some more on those varieties to figure them out.

Overall, I like them, but honestly haven’t really put them to practice with any real installation and real use.

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All of this really started with the modification of the original Clouser coupler.  How do I know this?  Because I'm the one that made the original modifications.  The shelf couplers came into being because Jimmy was helped Norm with the final product (for now) and these are an offshoot from all of that.

One of the interim coupler boxes was far different from the current production.  They look more like a Kadee box.  Why do I mention this?  Because the shelf couplers should fit in the older box and they allow for more swing of the couplers.  I know Protocraft has a decent supply of the older boxes.  Norm is away for the Thanksgiving Holiday but he should be back is a week, or so.  Give give him a call and get some of the boxes if you operate with tighter radius curves.

I do remember making the modification that allows for the short steel rod installed in the lift pin.  We drilled out a Clouser, created a slot, and glued a short piece of steel rod in the opening.  I found cutting up a paper clip to be the easiest.  Soft steel, easy to cut, readily available, cheap, and one clip will make a lot of pieces.

If needed, I suppose I could create a few photos.

Jay

Last edited by Jay C

Good info
thanks Jay,

I’ll have to try a paper clip, because the piano wire I’m using is super hard, making it a pain to file to the proper length.

I kind of suspected the old Protocraft coupler boxes might work with these and I contacted Norm about them a couple months ago, but forgot to follow up, I guess I let it fall through the cracks. I’ll have to check back.

@Greg Amer posted:

Hi Naveen.

I was playing with them earlier this month. I epoxied some .032” diameter steel rod into the keys to make them operate magnetically. They operate pretty good with the steel inside. Since I know they work magnetically, I think I’ll solder the steel rod into them. I also tried some mini ball bearings instead of steel rod, but the rod was a better solution.

I dipped the couplers in the photos above in blacken-it. I also used neo-lube on the operating parts to blacken and lube them.

The only tool I used to assemble them was a sanding stick to burnish some parts. Assembly was pretty easy. There are 4 parts and pretty much only one way to put them together.

The double shelf E couplers I assembled worked great on the bench, but I haven’t installed them onto a car. The coupler draft gear pockets work well also. The opening in the coupler pocket is pretty narrow, so these will probably only work on broader radius turns.

I experimented the F couplers and the lower shelf E couplers, but had trouble keeping those together. I’ll have to work some more on those varieties to figure them out.

Overall, I like them, but honestly haven’t really put them to practice with any real installation and real use.

Greg,

Thank you for the update. The couplers look better with the black finish over the earlier colors of the brass castings. Do you plan to leave the couplers with the black finish or do you plan to further paint them? The couplers that I had seen on real trains seem to have a rust-colored orange / brown shades in addition to the matte black colors.

20150627_15034920150627_150918

I noticed that you also bought the draft gear boxes. How do they compare to the Kadee gear boxes, in regards to height and mounting hole spacing? The newer Lionel freight cars seem to have mounting pads, screw hole spacing and some also come with spacers and screws that allow conversions to Kadee couplers, much easier.

These are just my opinion,

Thanks,

Naveen Rajan

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Last edited by naveenrajan

Thank you Jay.

Naveen,

I’ll paint these rusty brown eventually. The mounting holes in the gear boxes do not correspond with the Kadee hole spacing. Height can be adjusted with shims like Kadee.

A Wells,

I think a well car would be fitted with a standard type E coupler or a lower shelf Type SBE coupler more recently. The ones pictured above are double shelf type SE.

Cheers Greg

@A. Wells posted:

@Greg Amer (Greg) What kind of coupler is on the unit in this photo: (https://www.gbrx.com/wp-conten...1/06/maxiiv_1007.jpg)?

Anthony & Richard,

Both photos are type E bottom shelf; abbreviated SBE.

Richard,

These are not very hard to put together even with fat fingers and crappy eyesight. It’s only 4 pieces and the only tool I used was pliers to fully seat the knuckle pin down after I started it into the holes by hand.

Cheers,

Greg

Rich,

I'll talk to Jimmy about it.  I was somewhat hesitant to get involved.  Many issues, least of which would be, dealing with certain modelers that will never be happy with anything.

When you mentioned the difficulty with assembly, are you referring to getting the couplers into the draft boxes, and all that goes with it?  I think these couplers, in Norm's larger boxes would be far easier.

Jay

Last edited by Jay C

After reading this thread, I took note of the couplers on a passing train recently. There were only a few, maybe less that ten, couplers that did not have shelves. I was surprised how many double shelves couplers there were. I recall when the single shelf coupler first came out, McConway Torley  advertised that if everyone used single shelf couplers, double shelf couplers would be unnecessary. They felt so strongly about this that the sold the single shelf coupler at the same price that they sold the E60 for.

All I know is that simple assembly takes time, and time is money.  If it only takes ten minutes to assemble a pair, that adds ten bucks to the price (unless the assembler gives away his or her labor).

The overhead "gets" you.  I think the minimum order for assembly without being charged a half hour for setup would be 20 pairs.

I don't know about Jay, but you couldn't pay me enough.  I am sticking to flight instruction, where I charge enough to offset "set-up" time.  And it is not mindless assembly - it is actually fun!

@bob2 posted:

Boo Rim does not pay US wages, I bet.

one could buy several hundred and ship to Boo Rim for assembly?

Well Duh!  Why do you think no model train manufacturer builds stuff in the U.S.  Nobody in the U.S. manufacturers much of anything anymore except maybe cars.  Because in China/Korea there are not all the health and safety stuff and unemployment insurance, 40 hour work weeks (had to laugh at that one), pensions or IRAs, minimum wages, blah, blah, blah.  All said and done U.S. workers make 2X to 10X or more what their Chinese/Korean counterparts make.  While McDonalds employees here want $10+ an hour McDonalds employees there make less than $10 a day and work 12+ hours a day.  And there is a line to take the job if you're not OK with that.

You said you wouldn't do it at any price.  They do not have that choice.  That is why things like squid games happen.

But you cannot take the parts and ship them there for assembly because they won't accept them unless they do the whole thing.  My guess is that the parts are cast in Asia anyway.  All of those rules also make foundry work restricted/regulated in this country.

@Greg Amer posted:

Hi Anthony,

The car in the photo you posted earlier is stenciled SBE60EE on the face of the car right below the DO NOT HUMP stencil. I’m not sure about where to find detailed diagrams.

Greg

I'll make due with the diagram from the McConway website coupled with photos.  It does provide measurements.  Now I just have to figure out what a "Yoke" is.

Last edited by A. Wells
@Greg Amer posted:

It sure does. Did you design it?

Yes.  There are a few unknowns and since I can't get up close and personal, they'll  have to stay unknowns.  I take it you've not seen my Gunderson Project.  I'm working out the measurements for the forward facing part of the coupler box shroud even as we speak.  Once I get the coupler box situated in the AB-end frame and settle on a final well car outer width, I plan to start the printing process.  I'll come back to the coupler itself if I should reach a satisfactory 3D production process point.

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