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Budget buffers and couplings

Started by Clive_F, Mar 06 2022 11:01

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Can I ask for your combined help and experience? I have started a thread on the " New Products Under Development " topic. It's a project to build a ready to run Gauge 3 loco for as near as possible to £100 to encourage newcomers into this great garden scale:-


This starter loco is for youngsters or people with no technical experience/special tools who just want to build a Gauge 3 layout in their garden and have some trains to run on it. We all had to start somewhere.

Can I ask for your help in finding a supplier of cheap basic buffers and couplings? On the theme of keeping the price of the loco down, the buffers need not be finescale or sprung. Likewise a strong but basic coupling, hook and chain would be fine. Both ready to fit with no machining necessary, single hole fixing would be ideal.

I imagine that the info could be welcomed by anyone on a limited budget who is into home construction.

We are also looking into making some low cost entry  level G3 rolling stock so there could be quite a demand for budget fittings.

Many thanks to you all and stay safe,



Well you could always print your own out of PLA. Check the G3Wiki for the scad files. Also in there are the "practice wagons", hopper, rch23 and toad.

In there are the complete files for "The Wonder engine" which would simply need a pair of power bogies to get it going.




Hello again Ralph.

Thanks for that.

I've been thinking about 3D printing for some time. Is it worth trying out a budget type of printer like this first or could you recommend something more expensive and better featured?


How about software - would I have to buy it too? And would this all run on my HP convertible laptop running Windows 10?

Would PLA be strong enough for buffers and couplings?



John Candy


The example you have linked is a very cheap printer being sold from China.
Be very careful when selecting a machine and go for a recognised brand with CE or similar safety certification.
Poorly designed/low spec printers without safety features built into both hardware and firmware (operating system programming) are a fire risk and could burn down your home!

My Snapmaker 2.0 is a very safe high-spec model but it still has a smoke detector sitting right by it!


P.S. Here is an offer on a low cost machine from a well-respected "name"
My fellow Members, ask not what your Society can do for you, ask what you can do for your Society.


i've experineced some grey plastic coupling hooks from a kit providor, and they end up snapping and needing swapping. i think one needs matal coupling hooks and chains etc. ash


Clive, my RepRap dates from the time when you had to build your own 3d printer from sheets of MDF with a printed set of A4 plans!. My Prusa dates from 2018. At the moment I use  a TRONXY  5A pro. Which is a beast!!!

Hysterically the big new 2021 machine was £100 cheaper than the 2018...

Software is most public domain, I used Open.Scad to design the parts and CURA to produce the print GCODE. PLA would do for oleos & buffers (this is what I use) and gentle tractive work on hooks. Nylon is probably a better bet for rough stuff.

Being a tight fisted ghet I am infamous for extracting the most return on my investment. The Scad files in rhe G3 wiki should print off any machine. But the one found by JRFC looks to be a suitable tool for the job.




If you are going rally basic and simple, then for a little engine like that you could go for dumb buffers - solid lumps of timber in real life, but wood, plastic, resin or whatever you want on the model.

For couplings I don't think you'll get much cheaper than the commercial ones available - cast brass hook and steel links.  A laser cut steel hook might be a few pence cheaper.  You could save money by dispensing with the spring and split pin, but then you'd have to drill the tang on the hook in exactly the right place for whatever thickness bufferbeam you are using - may as well just fit the commercial ones complete.

Here's a main line engine with dumb buffers on the back



I do appreciate all your replies so thank you.

The info regarding 3D printers is very useful and that is something that I now intend to pursue. The section in the G3Wiki was also very enlightening.

My ideal printer would probably be a compact one not taking up too much workshop space and light to move around. But it appears that the open frame types like the one recommended by John are of modular construction anyway so strip down into sections if you want to move or to stow away when not in use - is that correct?

At this stage though I think that I will go with the commercially available metal items if you would like to recommend a supplier.

Once again, thank you all,