About a year ago there were a few postings   (Picture from Lee W. below) on converting the couplers on the thomas cars and engines  to Brio type magnets so young children could couple them up easier when setting up or recovering from a derailment.  Lee W.  was lucky enough to have some of the wooden train magnets to start with and then augmented them with well glued neodymium magnets.  

 

I am about to start this project and was interested in the current state of the art on design ideas.  Bigsmooth also mentioned in this post that he had found some good sources for magnets on line and in hobby stores.  any references on where and what model magnets to get, which work best?  Any design  improvements since that original post?  Thanks for any details and  updates to this good project.

 

 

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Original Post

I just bought 50 Rare Earth Neodymium magnets off ebay for around $3 shipped. VERY strong but mine are 3 x 3 mm.....you might need a bigger magnet.....but there are MANY different sizes and quantity for sale right now.  

I highly recommend LEGO magnetic couplers.  Their magnets swivel so they will couple regardless of each piece of equipment's orientation, unlike the wooden railways' couplers that only allow equipment to face one direction.
Those are the newer versions, yes.  If you don't want the whole assembly, there's a smaller individual component that holds the magnet.  I have one that's part of a set from the LEGO Insectoids series; I'll see if I can't dig it out and take a photo.
Originally Posted by GCRailways:
I highly recommend LEGO magnetic couplers.  Their magnets swivel so they will couple regardless of each piece of equipment's orientation, unlike the wooden railways' couplers that only allow equipment to face one direction.

What do you mean by swivel? They still have to be opposite polarity magnets to connect.

I am glad you brought this up. I have stuggling with the derail attention and forgot about this solution.

 

I found these Brio type magnets on eBay with Grade 8 ceramics. They may be strong enough.

 

I ordered some, I'll let you how it works out next week.

The heads spin in their brackets so that the correct pole is automatically presented:  each one has both + and -.
 
Originally Posted by Moonman:
Originally Posted by GCRailways:
I highly recommend LEGO magnetic couplers.  Their magnets swivel so they will couple regardless of each piece of equipment's orientation, unlike the wooden railways' couplers that only allow equipment to face one direction.

What do you mean by swivel? They still have to be opposite polarity magnets to connect.

 

Here's the part (actually two parts) I have:

image


If you're interested the part numbers are:

Magnet: 73092
Magnet Holder: 2607, or 260726

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I originally bought the nails and magnets that are similar to what you find on the Brio and Thomas wooden trains to make some of my own custom rolling stock for my sons trains. I can post some pictures when I get home.

 

I purchased the magnets and nails used from Casey's Wood Products and the parts I ordered were:

 

Ceramic Magnet Dot with 1/8" hole (Part 5053)

Chromed Head Nail (Part 5053E)

 

They work together very well, having good holding power, and are compatible with the Thomas / Brio trains. Functionally, there is no difference in performance between the couplers on the manufactured trains and the ones I built.

Originally Posted by bigsmooth:

I originally bought the nails and magnets that are similar to what you find on the Brio and Thomas wooden trains to make some of my own custom rolling stock for my sons trains. I can post some pictures when I get home.

 ...

If the link is inappropriate since they are not a forum sponsor, let me know and I'll send an email offline.

 

Photos of wooden rolling stock with the magnet and nail couplers as promised.

 

IMG_20150415_192225605_HDR

IMG_20150415_192239900_HDR

IMG_20150415_192315029

They are easy enough for my son to un/couple but strong enough that they stay connected together even hanging 5 of them in the air.

 

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Last edited by bigsmooth

Thanks Aaron, that Lego coupler looks like it has possibilities.

 

Bigsmooth,

That's a possible solution. Thanks for the vendor link. The magnet(5053E) looks like a good size and thickness for a ceramic magnet. Too bad they don't provide the grade.

 

I went with the Brio hemi-spherical button in case I need to use a rare earth magnet. Don't want any pinched fingers. That nail head has rounded edges, so it would be ok.

 

 

Many good ideas here and thanks to all.  I just bought a combination of items so I can play around with ideas:

1) Here is the best deal I found on Lego type couplers.

2) And the deal from Moonman above is also tough to beat for the traditional Brio option, impressive holding power in the bigsmooth pictures.

 

Here is the best deal I could find on a larger (10mmx 3mm) round magnet, and from a US source so no terribly long wait.  I may get these too - who can fight 20 cents each? with free shipping?

 

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