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Author Topic: Ball bearing source?  (Read 8382 times)
veetwelve


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« on: February 01, 2013, 08:44:50 PM »

Hello All,

Since all of my rolling stock already has metal wheels, I was planning to upgrade to ball bearings by mounting the ball bearings inside of the side plates of the trucks.  I used to have quite a supply of miniature ball bearings back in the day, but no longer.  When I went to source the quarter-inch OD, eighth-inch ID ball bearings, everything I could find was over $5 a copy.  That’s more than ten bucks an axle; over forty bucks a car… I can get the entire ball-bearing wheelsets almost as cheap as that!

Anybody out there aware of a source for this size ball bearing at a more reasonable cost?  I don’t intend to run outdoors in the rain, so stainless steel is not a requirement.  Surely somebody has identified an alternate source for these bearings… discarded computer cooling fans for instance?

Any advice would be appreciated.
Jay
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armorsmith


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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2013, 12:37:23 AM »

Jay,

Here is a link to Fastenal,  623 ZZ 3mm x10mm x 4mm - Shielded - Radial Ball Bearing:

http://www.fastenal.com/web/products/detail.ex;jsessionid=pqLyRMXMkZxhHnGGjnQlH8SyhWR25XMMj31rJ7JKVWc9twJbvvwT!963291601!-1558548786?sku=0402127

Do keep in mind that most of this stuff in made in China and is really metric anyway.  Also search your local R/C Car/Plane/Boat Hobby shop, they may also have some.

Bob c.

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Old John


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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2013, 12:33:10 PM »

Jay,

There was a company that advertised in the out of print Finescale Railroader magazine that sold Timken bearings for about $.25 each.  I installed them in Accucraft, Bachmann, Aristcraft and USA trucks.  They were lube free, 1/4" in diameter and with the exception of Accucraft they we very easy to install.  The cars have been running now for over 8 years and no problems, roll as good as the day they were installed.

If your interested send me a message and I'll dig out my old magazines for the phone number and address.

Old John
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Barry BBT

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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2013, 03:21:31 PM »

I have been buying BBearings for over 20 years and my primary source is Boca Bearings in Fla.  The catalog is 52 pages long and divided into Metric and Inch sizes,

Email: info@bocabearings.com

Web: www.bocabearings.com

Real nice people and the best prices I could find.

Barry
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There are no dumb questions.
armorsmith


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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2013, 09:23:19 PM »

Barry - They might be great people to deal with, but after perusing 22 pages of 1/8 inch ID bearings the cheapest they had to offer was at $3.25 each.  Fastenal is at $1.56 each, less than half.  I have dealt with Fastenal for many years in my career and they are good to deal with as well.  Depending on the quantities ordered the price listed might be negotiable as well.

Jay - Good luck in your search.  The best pricing I could come up with was the Fastenal pricing.

Bob C.
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Barry BBT

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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 04:37:05 AM »

Bob,

It may be that I am getting a better break as a dealer/manufacturer but my statement does stand.

Barry
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armorsmith


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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 11:52:45 PM »

Barry,

Your statements may be quite valid including an OEM discount that the rest of us can not match.  The Fastenal price is the online price that anyone can obtain.  My comments were based on an 'Apples to Apples' comparison based on a simple web search.

Bob C.
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Barry BBT

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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 02:29:38 PM »

Bob C,

My response was a bit terse and not intended, I will checkout Fastenal.

Barry
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veetwelve


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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 10:52:56 PM »

Thank you gentlemen for the invaluable responses!  Based on what you have offered in the way of guidance, I began my due diligence and I will now share what I have found out so far.  All references are to ball bearings with an ID of one-eighth inch.  The most striking observation is that once you move down to the quarter-inch OD size, the prices jump up dramatically!

At first blush, Fastenall does indeed have the low-cost option at $1.51, but that bearing has an OD of three-eights inch, and I’m not sure if the Bachmann trucks have enough “meat” in them to support being bored to that diameter.  The quarter-inch OD bearings from Fastenall priced out at $15.65, which was the sort of pricing I was trying to avoid.  Fastenall did have the most user-friendly search features on their website, however, and the breadth of products they offer makes them a welcome addition to Grainger and McMaster-Carr as far as full-service suppliers go.

Boca Bearings’ search feature seemed more sophisticated, but I had a hard time getting it to narrow down its results without it starting all over again.  That’s why I had to scroll through all 22 pages of products to find the R2-5ZZ bearing at $3.25 a copy, but with an OD of five-sixteenths.  The quarter-inch OD version, R144-ZZ, came it at $3.50 each.  If I had been as impatient as I typically am, I would have just stopped there, but with nothing better to do at the moment, I continued to search the Boca website.  I discovered that when you click on a description of the individual bearing, you find available “kits” that include that bearing!  For instance, the R144-ZZ comes in four-packs for 12 bucks, dropping the price per bearing to only $3 each.  But the R2-5ZZ comes in a ten-pack for 10 bucks, making that the low-buck champion at only a dollar each!  If the trucks’ side plates can withstand a five-sixteenths bore, then certainly the price is agreeable.  The R2-5ZZ bearings in the ten-packs may be floor-sweepings, but it’s not like they’re going in the space shuttle.

I’m still carrying on my research, but results so far are encouraging, and again, I sincerely appreciate your input!

Jay
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veetwelve


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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 10:42:29 PM »

I followed up on the lead given me by Old John, and thought it would be very useful to share the results.  The company that used to advertise in Finescale Railroader is still around, HPD Inc. out of Florida.  Their core business is repairing dental drills, and one of the repair parts they use is a quarter-inch OD, eighth-inch ID stainless steel ball bearing, made in the USA.  Apparently not all of the bearings they source will pass their criterion of spinning at 300,000 rpm (!) so they sell these to the hobby market… current price is 35 cents each, and that includes shipping.

Needless to say, I ordered a hundred of these; at that price I figured I’d get me a lifetime supply.  You can order these by calling the HPD shop at 386-719-7113.  I spoke with a gentleman named Bill Butler, and he was very conversant with the process of installing their bearings in G gauge railroad trucks.  If you’re in the market for this size bearing, it looks like this deal would be tough to beat!

All the best,
Jay
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smcgill


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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2013, 01:31:12 PM »

Tell us how it worked out!
How easy and how good is the product!
Sean

P.S. PICS!!!!!!!! Wink
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veetwelve


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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2014, 12:07:58 AM »

Following up on the ball bearing issue, better late than never!  After my Big Haulers had done their annual Christmas duty, I embarked on the task of fitting ball bearings to the trucks of my many Bachmann Jackson & Sharpe passenger cars.  I took photos along the way; some came out okay but it's obvious that I haven't mastered the macro capabilities of my point-and-shoot camera.  What I don't have, nor do I want, is an account with a photo-sharing website such as PhotoBucket or Flickr.  That said, I would be happy to share the photos with anyone who is interested (Sean?) and they may disseminate them at their pleasure.

I also wrote up a step-by-step treatise on the process of machining the trucks and installing the ball bearings, which I can post here, or send as a PM to anyone who might be interested.  This forum was invaluable in providing the direction I needed to source the bearings at a reasonable cost, and the results of the ball bearing conversion were very impressive.  It's a fun project requiring only a modest amount of DIY skill, and something to do when it's too hot to run trains outdoors!

Jay
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Joe Zullo

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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2014, 05:56:13 PM »

Following up on the ball bearing issue, better late than never!  After my Big Haulers had done their annual Christmas duty, I embarked on the task of fitting ball bearings to the trucks of my many Bachmann Jackson & Sharpe passenger cars.  I took photos along the way; some came out okay but it's obvious that I haven't mastered the macro capabilities of my point-and-shoot camera.  What I don't have, nor do I want, is an account with a photo-sharing website such as PhotoBucket or Flickr.  That said, I would be happy to share the photos with anyone who is interested (Sean?) and they may disseminate them at their pleasure.

I also wrote up a step-by-step treatise on the process of machining the trucks and installing the ball bearings, which I can post here, or send as a PM to anyone who might be interested.  This forum was invaluable in providing the direction I needed to source the bearings at a reasonable cost, and the results of the ball bearing conversion were very impressive.  It's a fun project requiring only a modest amount of DIY skill, and something to do when it's too hot to run trains outdoors!

Jay

Jay,
I would be interested in your photos and write-up and it would be my pleasure to host the pictures on my web server and post them on this forum for you. Please send them to joe at zullo dot net and I will get them posted.
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veetwelve


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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2014, 10:46:43 PM »

Hi Joe,

Thank you for your kind offer.  I'll probably post just the how-to here under a new thread so that at least that part of it will be easy to find in the archives, but I'll PM you with the whole piece, photos and all.

Thanks again!
Jay
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Mike

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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2014, 07:50:54 PM »

Jay. I'd be interested in seeing the info, too. I'm planning on calling to order a few hundred bearings tomorrow.
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