Now that’s an uncoupling tool!
As I mentioned in a previous post, while testing my first batch of EC64 S scale couplers from Sergent Engineering I quickly realized I needed a lit uncoupling tool. I had purchased a couple of penlights at the local hardware store, and taped a Sergent model MS tool to the barrel of one of them.
It worked, but I wasn’t perfectly satisfied.
First, the light was a bit peely-wally – emitting as it did from a single LED. Second, I was having trouble figuring out how I would secure the tool to the penlight with something nicer than packing tape. And I didn’t like the on-off button on the end of the pen, which was sometimes fussy to activate.
So today I built the beast pictured above.
I already had some other small LED flashlights around the workshop, including this REACTOR light. It’s in an all-metal housing with a machined-in diamond pattern in two bands for a sure grip. It has a nice big power button on the end. And it has an array of nine LEDs so it issues plenty of light: Compared to yesterday’s first attempt at a tool, this one is The Galvanick Lucipher.
It’s also, actually, a cheaper flashlight than the penlight – which was already pretty cheap. And I think it looks neat.
As the photo suggests, I wrapped two bands of flat brass bar (0.015″ x 0.042″ – Details Associates) around the barrel to either side of the knurled grip just behind the lens. I cut them to length, soldered their ends together, and then soldered the Sergent uncoupling tool across the two bands. (If the solder joints hold, then great: If not, I’ll figure out how to add a mechanical connection between the bands and the tool.)
It works much better: It’s very comfortable in the hand when opening knuckles for coupling or uncoupling, or for lining up couplers. And it’s unlikely to wander off in someone’s pocket after an operating session.