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- Scratch Building Steam Locomotives -
 Moderated by: W C Greene Page:    1  2  3  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Sun Oct 1st, 2017 10:16 pm
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Buck
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Hey gang I had a question.
My modeling interests lie in obscure prototypes and odd gauges and scales that are not well supported commercially, and I spend more time looking for things that can be modified to work than I do building stuff which I find awful. I'm pretty happy to be faithful but not exact to the prototype and where I find myself dead ending is coming up with running gear for steam locomotives I'd like to build. To keep things easy for myself I can use a number of different materials to build the 'tops' and tenders and what not, but I see there are a lot of parts (gears, motors, wheels and drivers etc.) to be had at a cheaper rate than buying a commercially produced models to throw most of it away. An example is I'm looking to build a TTn3.5 model of a New Zealand Railways J class 2-6-0. My only known reference is a for a chassis would be a N scale Bachmann 4-6-0. The drivers and driver spacing look close but I'd need to buy a model that will cost me $120 and I'll end up not using the tender boiler or pilot and hacking away a lot of the superstructure to make it work. I'm also looking at building some Vulcan Double Fairlies. And mebbe that doesn't sound awful to you but I'm also considering HOn3 and HOn3.5 models and the thought of hacking up a $500+ dollar model into something unrecognizable make me want to barf. That's not say if I wont use model that has been produced already but if that were the case I wouldn't be asking this question. The other considerations I have to make is I'm limited in shop space and can't quite outfit myself with thousands of dollars of machining equipment (just yet, one day....)
So the question is can you recommend print resources for information on building locomotives from scratch and what are the essential tools I MUST invest in to be successful and reasonably efficient (There was a man in New Zealand who built models from scratch and he had to make his own tools, one being a hacksaw made from a butter knife.... I'm not that dedicated (https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/topic/631 )) I have a dremmel tool and tools to build structure and cars but that's about it. Or maybe what could I expect pay for a RC ready HOn3.5 4-6-2 chassis?
My main issue is not time but money and I'd rather have spent it on radio control gear, tools, faster horses, older whisky, younger women, and make chassis that are smooth running with good motors than buy a piece of junk and fight it for the rest of my life.
NZR J Classhttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NZR_J_class_(1874)



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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 01:52 am
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W C Greene
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Howdy Buck, wow...where would I begin? Building TTn3.5 using available N scale mechanisms may require looking at the older N scale market-stuff that runs OK but ain't up to the "purist detail" standards that most want these days. Older Bachmann N and Rapido, etc. come to mind but these may be "victims" of the "collectors" by now. Hell, some folks collect dinosaur poop so the collectors are an odd lot for sure! Maybe you can get a deal on some N scale loco which has been mangled by an inept modeler or something that is being sold by some poor old widow for next to nothing...look around, it may happen. TTn3.5? Nobody wants to answer the question but perhaps me...why do you want to build in that scale? Of course, how many have asked me the same question???
How much would an "r/c ready HOn3.5 4-6-2 chassis"cost? Goodness knows.
OK, I would settle for HOn3 or HOn3.5, TT scale is an extreme minority scale which offers little (somebody will howl about that statement) in the way of figures, structures, etc.
And if I was to settle on one or another, I would opt for HOn3. So much is available and you can actually modify many N scale mechanisms to HOn3 with careful work. You just might get that 4-6-2 with regauging an old Rapido N scale Pacific. All it would take is spreading the drivers out .75MM on each side and a drop of CA on the axle ends and you have it.
But remember that this "advice" comes from somebody who whacks up On30 locos, etc. to work in what is scoffed at by most model railroaders as "military" stuff.
Different strokes for different folks!

Woodie



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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 01:48 pm
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Si.
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" So the question is can you recommend print resources for information on building locomotives from scratch
and what are the essential tools I MUST invest in to be successful and reasonably efficient "



Hi Buck :wave:



This vintage book is an old-school 'classic' on both tools & construction techniques.





' Miniature Locomotive Construction '

by John H. Ahern

Percival Marshall & Co. Ltd. London

First published in 1948



This compact at 165 pages, yet totally comprehensive volume, is a MUST have.



Simple tools are shown used in every conceivable way to construct all the various loco parts.

The book describes the new 'miniature' motors of the day & how to use them.

Any of the current generation of motors are easily smaller, so the info is still relevant.



There are 17 Chapters on every possible aspect of loco construction.

These are short & to the point ... Important !

Illustrated mainly by very helpful B&W drawings of techniques in practice.



This book sold ZILLIONS of copies & was reprinted many times.

It should be easy & cheap to find & buy a 2nd hand copy.



HIGHLY recommended ... Check out what people say about it on the net ...

... Yep, people are STILL talking about John H. Aherns excellent books today !



:)



Si.



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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 02:00 pm
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Si.
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A recent book to be published is this one.





I don't have a copy of this book, but am VERY tempted to get it.



I believe it won the Ian Allen railway book of the year award, a couple of years ago.

The author has written another loco building book as well, similar in presentation to this one.



Although focusing on particular locos, the techniques are obviously fairly universal.

Tools are covered as well, simple & to the point I think.

The books have many colour photo illustrations.

You can probably view some pages on Amazon to check it out.



I think the author has a website also, with photos of his work not covered in the books.



Well worth checking out I recon.



:)



Si.



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' Mysterious Moose Mountain ' - 1:35n2 - pt.II
http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=7318&forum_id=17&page=1

' M:R:W Motor Speedway !!! ' - 1:32 Slotcar Racing Layout
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=59295&st=0&a
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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 03:54 pm
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bobquincy
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There are some inexpensive (<$40) N scale locomotives on the bay, check out "thefavoritespot".  As noted, you may be able to get away with spacing the wheels out a bit.

boB



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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 07:44 pm
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Buck
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Hey guys thanks for the replies,


Si I will look into the Ahearn book! I'm exited to see that they can be had at a pretty reasonable cost!




Woodie, thanks for some feedback and advice and it keeps things in perspective, and your work has shown that one does not have to settle on building a 'proper' model railway and has changed the way I think about a challenging problem and coming up with a creative solution.


I have a tendency to get a little windy when I am posting things (I should really type these things up then sleep on it then rewrite it the next day). Mebbe the question I should have asked was 'I am interested in expanding my skill set to scratch building steam engines. What are print scources and simple tools I should invest in to achieve this goal without selling my firstborn child to MicroMark for a completely outfitted machine shop?'

For the most part N scale chassis will work and I thank boB for the lead on some cheap donor equipment.


I have considered building NZR prototypes to 10.5mm gauge so I could have 1 layout and 2 railways but TTn3.5 achieves the same goal and the 10' to an inch scale is great to scratch build in.



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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 08:15 pm
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Si.
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Hi Buck :wave:



While the microchip revolution rolls on, some things NEVER change.



Basic materials & tools are as good today, as they have always been.



:)



Si.



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' Mysterious Moose Mountain ' - 1:35n2 - pt.II
http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=7318&forum_id=17&page=1

' M:R:W Motor Speedway !!! ' - 1:32 Slotcar Racing Layout
http://www.slotforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=59295&st=0&a
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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 08:32 pm
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Buck
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That's what I'm hoping for!



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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 09:56 pm
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Salada
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Si. wrote:
Basic materials & tools are as good today, as they have always been.




Hello Buck,

Some sound advice there from Signor Si.

Ahern's book is very dated in some respects but is packed full of home made 'how to' ideas that don't require a mountain of $£s worth of CAD tooling. Still an excellent book. Also books by Mike Sharman.

I suggest you first spend time around/studying the 'real thing'. Visit every RR museum and Heritage Line you can. Get a feel for the size, weight, mechanical details of 1:1 scale locos & rolling stock. Draw a few simple looking bits of real mech detail. Even better, sign on as a volunteer fitter's mate/painter/gofer - but get too involved, you are there to learn, not become an unpaid slave. Then go home, find some scrap metal and try to copy parts of what you've seen using good basic hand tools.

A small vice, hammer, anvil, scriber, tin snips,  pliers is all you need to start. Always spend a few bucks more on GOOD quality basic tools, the results & your satisfaction are always better. Start with a few 45 & 90 deg bends, make 'em sharp & neat etc etc. Fabricate a set of cab steps or a truck spring.

THEN look at the big buck equipment if you are still interested & have some basic manual skill. Non CAD mills, lathes don't drive themselves - they need an experienced good man on the levers.

Regards,   Michael ...... remember, it's supposed to be a fun hobby !

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 Posted: Mon Oct 2nd, 2017 10:25 pm
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bobquincy
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Some recent developments in tools and materials have opened up a world of new modeling possibilities.  While not cheap or easy the benefits and results are amazing.
Of course one of these is 3D printing, where we can have parts made (inexpensively) that could not be machined.  Speaking of machining, the current low-end lathes and mills are capable of sufficient accuracy for our modeling use, great for adding precision axle holes to the 3D printed chassis we just got.  Yes, $500 for a mill is not cheap but a lot less than we would have to pay years ago.
Back to 3D printing, we (or someone) has to design the part so we have to learn the solid modeling software or pay someone to draw our part.  Still, this allows us to have a part that would not exist otherwise if volumes are too low to interest a model corporation. 

I have written this before: my N scale monorails and HO Disney monorail modifications would not exist if it were not for 3D printing.  Modeling TTn3.5 I expect you will be building many of your own parts too.  It's fun (usually).


boB



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