WhisperJet - updated June 2016

The quietest gears are the ones that are left out!


"My monorail is too slow... it is noisy... it does not run smoothly... "

Gearless drive systems (for Disney's "HO" model)!

WhisperJet - CAD model shown on a simplified lower shell

Update January 2017: over 12 WhisperJets delivered, all customers seem to be pleased. My original test chassis has logged quite a few hours with no problems. A 36 mm wide version (the standard ones are 46 mm wide) was designed and tested to provide a chassis for a model closer to true HO scale. The Disneyland Mark VII WJ chassis is finally ready. A modified WJ is running with Bluetooth. I need a vacation!

Update July 2016: there are now six WhisperJet monorails running around and reports have been good. As expected it is fast; smooth; and quiet. The 3D chassis design has been tweaked to accept the PN motor (shown) or the original motor (upside down for clearance).The two second stage belts ultimately slip before the motor stalls, preventing damage. The lower shell requires some modification but could be returned to the original gearbox if desired.

WJ also accepts cylindrical beam rollers allowing the monorail to run on scale-appearance beam.

Update Mar 2016: the Lawton pulleys and belts are too small to handle the power of a monorail motor. The new system uses an original Parma WhisperJet motor pulley, the rest is custom made by 3D printing. The test monorail is smooth, quiet, and fast! Getting the belt length right was a lot more trouble than I expected.

Update Jan 2016: the Single Pulley version requires offset motors and other difficult designs, I may work on it one day but for now the two reduction pulley system is my main focus.

Update October 2015: Direct Drive will take too much effort to get it to work, the drive wheels must be large and I would have to cut into the sides of the shell too much. For now it is a cancelled project.

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"Slow, noisy, rough running..."

Yep, I hear ya', and I did something about it.  Whisperjet!  The name is not new, previously used by Boeing and closer to our modeling world Parma, for their belt drive slot cars.  Nigel Lawton makes belt drive parts for tiny model trains and it looked like they should be adaptable to our monorails (but they ended up being too small).  Two stages of speed reduction (with the original motor) doubles the original speed to about 80 mph, just about what the real thing is supposed to be capable of.  Change the mild motor for a faster one and the monorail cranks it up to 240 mph, TTC to Magic Kingdom in 30 seconds!

My original high speed monorail was more of a design exercise to see just how fast I could get the monorail to go. It was fast but also noisy and rough. This one is refined, quiet, and still fast! As an option it can use proper rectangular beam which is also much less $$$ than buying Disney beam and comes in up to 12' lengths.

1914 Genoa Monorail

WhisperJet concept with three reduction stages of Nigel Lawton's pulleys and belts.

Belts are quiet and the monorail is now much quieter than original, most of the noise now comes from the beam joints.  The new drive system is greatly improved over the original too, both for smoothness and speed.  Getting three sets of gears to line up precisely is difficult but belts allow a greater tolerance without causing any extra noise or poor operation.

The rest of the family (that may be built one day): Dual Belt Drive

The Parma Whisperjet pulleys and belts are still available, why not use them? This requires special motors that run at low rpm with a lot of torque, pancake motors. As usual, it is still quite a trick to fit them in the monorail shell. This concept may work but it still uses the conical drive wheel and may not be worth the effort.


Dual Direct Drive

The 24 mm diameter motors require large diameter drive wheels to engage the beam. This requires significant rework to the lower shell, it may work but it is not a priority for now.


Will they be expensive?  Of course!  Will anyone buy one?  Not likely.  Will I make them anyway?  Absolutely! 

Because it has to be done (the wilderness must be explored).