Hi John, I like to use nickel silver to simulate metals that have a silvery appearance, such as steel, stainless steel, chrome, etc. This could be for chassis parts, body features - any component outwardly visible on the car that might have been made of steel. Unlike yellowish brass, I don't need to paint it to simulate the steel color.
I like to use stainless steel when I can, but nickel silver is generally easier to work. Especially drilling. Drilling very small holes in stainless steel is a difficult operation, at least it is for me.
Nickel silver isn't quite as easy to work as brass but it's close. It is harder than brass and doesn't have that as much of that slippery, self-lubricating feel of brass. Cutting fluid isn't needed when drilling brass but I've found that it does help a bit when drilling nickel silver, reducing the torque required to twist the drill. Not necessary, but helpful.
Nickel silver solders easily, on par with brass, and easier than stainless steel.
Here is an example of a part, rough cut from nickel silver, showing its approximate configuration in the rear axle assembly. It still requires more work. I am not sure what this part is called, but would guess that it is a torque arm of some sort. On the ERA, it appears to be made of a tapered rectangular steel tube. A small portion of it is outwardly visible between the rear wheel and the outer body work, where it then disappears into the interior.
The geometry and shape of this part isn't an exact match for the real car. I couldn't get it to match perfectly due to compromises imposed by the gears, wheels, motor, etc. Or maybe I just couldn't design it correctly.
And of course I didn't need to drill all the holes in the part, as only a couple of the larger holes will be visible. But what the heck, might as well drill them all for the fun of it. I did screw up when drilling a couple of the smaller holes. I knew they wouldn't be visible, so I took a chance and tried to drill a few holes with a hand-held electric rotary tool, instead of drilling them by hand with the pin vise. Of course, the holes ended up being distorted. Curses!
Amazing Peter, where did you find that drawing? I never seem to be able to track down such excellent reference materials. Thank you for sharing it.
That drawing does expose some details of the torque arms and illustrates how the car was constructed. I have prepared my own drawings. Not accurate details of the real car of course, but dimensional drawings of the parts I'm fabricating. I need the drawings to determine the required size, location, and clearance between each component.
My torque arms will not share the same plane, nor a pivot point with the plane of the rear axle. This is because I cannot get the body shell to sit down low enough on the chassis. Several reasons for that: the shape of my body shell is inaccurate, the shell is thicker than the aluminum of the real car, and the crown gear and motor are both too big. The gear diameter is too large and the motor is too tall and wide, the same old problem that affects every car. If I were to simply raise the torque arm to pivot off the rear axle, it wouldn't align with the small cowling on the bodywork where the torque arm inserts into the body. The arm would end up being very high up on the side of the body.
This wordy explanation probably makes no sense at all without a drawing for reference, but I'm sure you understand the principal of compromising when designing model car parts to simulate the real car.
The torque arms will be anchored to the motor mounting plate. Of course there is no guarantee that any of this will actually work. There is the constant threat that a design flaw will be a show stopper. I suppose it is similar in a way to designing the real cars - many of them were not successful.