Rotary tippler and wagon
introduction and instructions

This is a motorised 16mm scale 32mm gauge rotary tippler and wagon. The tippler is designed so that a small locomotive like the Motor Rail 12hp or Huddy and wagons can drive straight through it, with the wagons stopping to unload. Since the axis of rotation is in line with the couplings, wagons remain coupled while tipping if using a 3 link chain.

The motor/gearbox is completely hidden in the tippler base and powered by a single AAA Alkaline battery. The operating switch can either be mounted in the base or remotely on a baseboard.

The tippler will only attach to Loco Remote 3D printed track and can either be buried in a baseboard to keep the track at baseboard level, or used with rack track and the Motor Rail 12hp with pinions. The track files can be downloaded free from the 3D prints page of the website.

Black parts are 3D printed in PLA ST (super tough). This means that while it is fine to run it anywhere, do not leave it standing outside in hot sun for any length of time, especially if it is unpainted. Above around 50 degrees C (120 degrees F) PLA can start to soften and so it may deform. Remember this is the temperature of the PLA which may be higher than the air temperature in the sun. PLA ST is more resilient than standard PLA.

The kit has been designed to have some of the parts friction fit together without the need for glue. Polystyrene cement (used for Airfix kits) works well on this PLA. We suggest Revell Contacta Liquid Glue with Professional Needle Applicator. Apply a fine line using the needle applicator and then hold the pieces together until set in a few minutes. Other glues including epoxy can be used but note that cyanoacrylate (super glue) may well leave a white bloom on the surface of the PLA that is hard to remove. This may be okay if you are painting it afterwards but otherwise best avoid it.

For the friction fit parts, a very gentle rub with wet and dry paper may be needed on some edges if they are too tight. Similarly some of the holes may need slight opening with a needle file or finger drill. Please do this slowly and gently. You should not need to open the axle holes on the wheels at all as they have been hand finished already for a tight fit. If there are any fine strings left over from printing, gently remove these with your fingers, a sharp knife and wet and dry paper.


  • 3D printed parts: base with mounted pinion and bearings, rotary top
  • Motor with pinion
  • AAA battery holder
  • On-Off-On DPDT switch
  • Red and black wires for switch
  • Pair of coloured wires for motor
  • Heat shrink tubing
  • 3D printed parts: chassis, 4 wheels, 4 axle boxes, wagon body, coupling pins
  • 2 axles 50mm long
  • 3 link coupling chain

Assembling the wagon

Wheels and axles
  • Use a small hammer to tap the axles into the wheels, then push the wheels along with your fingers
  • Back to back wheel spacing should be 28mm for 32mm gauge
  • Check the axles rotate freely in the axle box holes - open out with a 3mm-3.2mm finger drill if needed
  • Push 2 axle boxes on the same side of the chassis in firmly - these are a deliberately tight fit and should not need gluing so they can be removed for maintenance later if needed
  • Put the axles into the already fitted axle boxes
  • Fit the axles into the remaining axle boxes and push these into the chassis
  • Check the axles rotate freely
  • The axles rotate directly in the axle boxes without bearings
  • Add a very small drop of thin oil to each axle box for lubrication

Body and coupling pins
  • Cut the coupling pins of the sprue
  • Push one in to the hole at each end of the chassis so that they stick up enough to accommodate the chain couplings
  • Push fit or glue the body on the chassis

Assembling the tippler

Choosing where to put the switch

The electrical parts are supplied unsoldered so that you can decide where to put the switch.

You can mount the switch in the hole in the base of the tippler as shown, together with the AAA battery holder if you are putting the tippler on a baseboard and can access the back of it.

Otherwise mount the switch and battery holder elsewhere on your layout in an easily accessible place and just run a pair of wires from the switch to the motor.

  • Cut a pair of wires the length required from the motor to where you have decided to put the switch
  • The wires supplied are 20cm long of various colours, so if you need longer find another pair
  • Strip one of the ends of the wires a SMALL AMOUNT
  • Cut 2 pieces of heat shrink tubing to approx 8mm
  • Solder the wires to the motor tabs - do this carefully and make sure the solder or wire do not touch the metal case of the motor
  • Push each heat shrink tubing so they fully cover the soldered tabs and gently apply a soldering iron to shrink these in place
  • Carefully push the motor fully into the tippler base with the wires protruding through the holes

  • The switch has 3 positions - rotate one way, off, rotate the other way
  • Study the wiring diagram above of the tabs on the back of the switch
  • Cut and solder the small red and black wires supplied so they go diagonally between corner tabs of the switch
  • Cut the battery holder wires to the length required and solder these to 2 adjacent corner tabs
  • Solder the other end of your motor wires to the 2 central tabs (the orientation does not matter) - if you are mounting the switch outside the base make sure the motor wires pass through the holes at the back of the base!
  • Mount the switch either in the base or elsewhere
  • Put in an AAA Alkaline battery and check that the motor rotates in both directions and is off when the switch is in the middle position
  • An AAA NiMH battery will probably not have a high enough voltage to operate the motor
  • If you are putting the switch and battery outside the base then you can use 2 AAA batteries in a suitable holder if you want the tippler to rotate faster

Connecting the track

Print up some track to use with the tippler. If you want to use rack track as shown then print the following pieces which fit a Motor Rail 12hp and 2 wagons.
  • Rack straight single
  • Rack top transition
  • Rack bottom transition
  • Rack support pillar 15 from bottom
  • Rack support pillar 30mm tall
  • 2 x Support pillar 30mm tall
  • Straight single
  • Straight single with short buffer

  • Use the 3 link coupling between the locomotive and wagon(s)
  • Drive on a wagon and practice learning when to flip the motor switch to off so the track is aligned when rotating back