How Taz makes his cars move on his layout

Old Taz has been back in touch with his N scale moving cars:

“Hi Al,

I hope this helps your viewers

How to: By Old Taz

This is not Faller nor Magnoril system, it’s good old back hills ingenuity, know how, got to have and go ahead, challenge me, little r. Thank you so much for your remarks, everyone!

I’m going to do my best, at telling you how I put this racetrack together. It’s not going to be easy for me because of all the master model builders I will be talking to. I mean it. You guys and gals do a great job at whatever you try. And Al, I can’t say enough about what you do for model train enthusiast, you are the best and keep up the good work. I look up to you every time I push the button on my computer to see what you’ve come up with now.

N scale moving cars

So, let’s get on with the show. A lot of the things I used you’re going to find right around your own house. You may have to order some gears, magnets Plexiglass and poster frames. (Just to get the plastic sheeting).

I used a piece of U-shaped metal to mount the plays on. You need something that will not bend, to keep tension on the chain. The bearings were made from a copper electrical connector and a nut.

model train nuts bolts

The nut was drilled out to fit the connector, and the two were soldered together. The bolt I used for the shaft was one that didn’t have threads all the way up. The head was ground down like a carriage bolt.

The pulleys are made out of CDs. I used new ones as I have a lot of them that don’t get used anymore.

mechanism for N scale moving cars

The bottom one was left full size the next two were cut to three inches in diameter and the top one was cut 1/4 of larger. After you cut these, you need to glue the edge because they will come apart.

mechanism for N scale moving cars

The nut in the bearing was apoxyed in the center of the CD’s. A large gear was a proxy to the bottom of the CDs. (At one time I was going to use all gearing on the bottom and

This picture shows a framework that I built underneath to hold the floor.

N scale moving cars

There were holes cut in the floor to match the CD’s diameter plus 1/4 of an inch. This was bolted to the U-shaped metal piece. This space would be the depth of the wing and the magnet and 16th to an eighth of an inch in height.

Below shows you how I built the swing arm for the motor in the motor gear. (Here again the gear sizes I just had to play with to get close to the speed that I was looking for. There you can use a rheostat to adjust your speed if it’s not to your liking.

N scale moving cars

The sheet that I made the road way out of is actually two sheets, I couldn’t color the top or the bottom for the magnets would scrape it off. So, I painted between the two sheets. This was fastened down with six screws three in front three in back. The lighting is on this sheet and was wired with copper tape on the bottom outside of the track.

Below are good pictures to see the wings and how they are cut to go around the pulleys. All the wings are fastened to the chain, (This needs to be loosely done, not tight.) The wings are cut this way so that they follow the pulley and don’t make jerky turns.

moving cars model train

N scale moving cars

You’ll note on the chain there’s something that looks like a safety pin. Well, it is! On the final one I took two large ones soldered them together to give me the tension that I needed to hold the chain in place. I did it this way so that the spring would lay down between the floor and the track.

The magnets were fastened on with hot glue and that way, if I had to move them into a different position, I could do so with my soldering iron and heating up the magnet and the glue and repositioning it. This also made sure that the magnet was flat against the wing.

You know I need a break and you probably do too sitting there reading stuff that put you to sleep Haha. So, let’s all go run our train for an hour or so and then come on back and we’ll do it again.

There I feel better don’t you.

Below show it with the track on in a little more detail. Of course, with the detail of the track the grandstands and all that other stuff, you ladies and gentlemen will never have any problem dealing with that. From what I’ve seen on AL’s website.

cars moving on model train layout

cars moving on N scale layout

cars moving on N scale layout

The N scale moving cars I cast myself, I bought cars made my own casts, I feel that if I don’t sell them, there for my own use, so I’ll keep myself out of trouble.

I have also taken metal, cars filled them with clay finished off the windows and made molds of them also. (there is a clay you can buy that you can use for molding.)

The cars that I’ve used here we’re bad molds. So, I cut the fenders off drilled out the windows, and some of them I carved engines in them. I would like to take that further, with the bumper’s radiator guards in the side skid guards on them. (Someday!!)

N scale cars

model train cars

model train cars

As far as the cars sliding out, I think this was due to it only being on one magnet.

Like I said before if you reverse the magnets in the front, you can make your car stand on its nose all the way down the track. I think it’s just something that I inherited with a few cars; I can’t make them all do that. Or can I! (challenge, challenge)

I hope this answers most of your questions. If not ask away. I will try to help you in any way.

Yours till the whistle blows.

Old Taz”

A huge big thanks to Old Taz for shaing his N scale moving cars. Here’s the vid from his previous N scale cars post:

And here’s the mechanism in action before the scenery:

It is fascinating seeing the cars whizz round without the scenery – clever stuff from Hall of Fame member, Old Taz.

Please do leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you all think on this one.

I will never tire of the inventions and solutions you all come up with.

Taz’s good old back hills ingenuity did remind of Rob’s Faller system video.

That’s all for today folks.

Keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you stop dreaming and start doing, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

19 Responses to How Taz makes his cars move on his layout

  1. Joe Yeti says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! You have truly inspired me with your fantastic creativity! GREAT JOB!

  2. That is awesome….one question….does the white car always win?
    Thank you,

  3. Brian Olson says:

    So clever! Not likely for me to try to do but I could see this working for cars/trucks/busses on a layout.

  4. Greg Marples says:

    Thanks for explaining your “magic trick”. It makes perfect sense now!

  5. Larry Dalton says:

    TAZ. You got me rethinking my layout plans as I plan my N Scale Southern Pacific layout. What else could I mechanize. First thing that came to mind which was simpler in the construction phase was a merry go round in the park. I am sure there are others things that will come about. Great job on the race track. Love it!

  6. George Zaky says:

    Old Taz
    Ingenuity, creativity, and persistence define the train modeler and sharing the ideas a testament to greatness. Much thanks and keep it up.

  7. Terry Sipe says:

    Taz, Thanks for sharing you method to your madness. I imagine there will be many of us N scale types (and others) who will in some way try to duplicate you ingenuity. Great job.

    This took me back over 60 years. I spent a lot of time (preschool) at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, PA. I learned my numbers from the numbers on the cars. Only problem was; 1+2 = 12, 4+3 = 43, 5+7 = 57. It took some time for my teacher to explain that is not how math works.
    Thanks again…This post is a keeper.
    Terry in PA.

  8. Martin Taylor says:

    I love this, and the timing is just right! I have been thinking on similar lines as Faller and Magnorail are out of my price range, so this has given me a lot of food fof thought. It also brings back a lot of memories of the fifties when stock car racing first hit the UK. I have been a fan ever since.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  9. Richard Smyth says:

    Thank you Taz
    Amazing creative stuff. You are so talented.!

  10. Mike Balog says:

    Great ideas how to put some moving displays on a layout no matter what scale you model.. just wondering where you did find those Gears and how did you figure out the gear ratio you needed? Using a similar set up, it would be interesting to have small boats moving in a harbor or a mine carts in a mine scene or fork lifts pulling loaded wagons at a warehouse or dock scene.

  11. Erick says:

    Wow that great?

  12. Gary M from Long Island says:

    Taz….. Talk about being impressed…….that is unbelievable………great work with the magnets……great imagination……….WOW!!!! That is hall of fame material…..

  13. David Sprague says:

    This looks great! Reminds me of the old midget racers when I was a kid. Back in the early 60s, my older brother used to take me to them in Skagit County. Oh the memories, nothing like pit smoked hotdogs, and split sodas, of course, you spilled your soda getting so excited, and jumping up to cheer on your favorite car.

  14. ted martin says:

    Taz, NASA needs you for their Mars project.

  15. John Reynolds says:

    Hey Taz
    Very ingenious, I love it!
    Thank you for a great tutorial.

  16. David Howarth says:

    Taz …nice work …something for us all to think about adding

  17. Don Kadunc says:

    What a great idea. You gave me an idea for a Trolley system in a city street. glue down track. Use a router to put a slot between the tracks. Put in chain and magnets. Cover with styrene and paint the street. Add a magnet. to the front truck of a dummy trolley Motorize the chain. I believe the track could turn left and right. add a second trolley and they could pass on main street. I am not sure how San Francisco cable cars work, but your idea could be used in that operation.

  18. Bruce S. says:

    I have seen layouts with moving cars and this is definitely my favorite. The crude cars remind me of those on a mud track I visited some years back. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Jim Kennedy says:

    That is the greatest modeling accomplishment that I have seen since I have had this drive to build model RR. You did it in conjunction with the RR. This is such a great idea. I would dearly love to have one of your molds for your cars, hint, hint! It is my plan to build my own figures as well as any building that I use too.

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