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Laurens
Sep 9, 2017

What tools are needed to build a locomotive

18 comments

Hi

I am wondering what tools are needed to build a 3 1/2 inch guage locomotive. I am young so have a limited access to tools but could possibly borrow a lathe from a friend if needed. I know this sounds like a long shot but I have found castings at a cheap price so if anybody could advise me I would be most thankful.

Pugsy
Sep 9, 2017

As a relative novice to machining myself, I'm in pretty much the same position as you, eventually it will be advisable to get a milling machine and lathe, but you can do milling operations using the lathe, machines like linishers and band saws can be replaced by hand tools in the early days, from interest, what loco are you thinking of? One would need a nice sized blowtorch for boilermaking etc also

Laurens
Sep 9, 2017

possibly a moutaineer as i have found castings for one and thanks for responding.

Laurens
Sep 9, 2017

That is a good point but luckly I do know some one that does have that sort of type of blow torch. As he was the one that got me in to live steam

Laurens
Sep 9, 2017

just for interest what locomotive were you thing of ? if you are going to make one.

Pugsy
Sep 9, 2017

Originally I was thinking of a Don Young George, but I found it was not designed with a lot of time and effort so is fairly innacurate (probably why I for one have never seen a complete example), so at the moment I'm mulling over the idea of scaling up an lbsc Jenny lind to 5" gauge, you'll do well with mountaineer I feel, in terms of 3.5" gauge n.g prototypes are the way to go

Laurens
Sep 10, 2017

That would be a nice locomotive in 5 inch. Do you know anything about the price of making a boiler?

Pugsy
Sep 10, 2017

The price of a boiler kit for mountaineer is £741, and thats not including the price of silver solder http://www.ajreeves.com/11151.html

To use the technical term cor blimey! But best not to skimp where safety is concerned, a boiler kit would have pre formed flanges and holes drilled but with reasonable competence and patience one could get away with forming and drilling the boiler plates ones self at the bare cost of the materials

Laurens
Sep 10, 2017

your right that it is expensive. Thanks for finding this site I also needed drawings but found them on this site as well which helps me alot. Thank you for looking for me it has been a real help.

charliepipes
Sep 15, 2017

Advice for all young people on the cost of tools and building what is known as a shop.

 

Keith has a great shop in England and I have a nice shop in the United States. We are about the same age. While I have never met Keith I would imagine his story is a lot like mine. As hard as it is to believe, I am sure he, like me, was young once. His tools came with time and need. If you look past the project he is working on you will notice he does not have a new shinny tool room. His equipment is dated but well cared for. I am pretty sure his shop grew with his experience. Like most of us, he is a working man who has raised a family and I am sure he did not always have excess funds for new tools. His talent is not that he has a pristine shop but has learned to use what he has.

 

So you are young and living in a small apartment with very little money. Do not let the cost of this hobby discourage you. Join your local clubs. You will most likely learn very quickly that the majority of the members are from 50 to 90 years old and that these older members will take a lot of their time to help you along with experience and help with the machine work involved. They will invariably also have abandoned projects that they will off up at a very reasonable price to someone that shows enough interest to finish it. Along the way you will also learn what is needed and what is fluff.

 

There is one other good reason to be a young member of your local club. Us old guys do not live forever. So when we kick the can, our wives, sell off our shops for what we told them we paid for it. In my case, when I cross over the Jordan, my wife has told me she will have a yard sale shortly there after to clear out my room in the basement for storage and quilting. This is where some youngster will be able to pick up a couple of 14 inch lathes and a Bridgeport for a couple of hundred dollars and of course there is that really nice 7.5 inch gauge American I picked up for $20.00 at a yard sale myself.

 

 

I do wonder if his Barko Spanner was bought new though.

 

charliepipes
Sep 15, 2017

Having Said all above, I realize your question was what do you need to build a small locomotive on a budget.

 

Mostly you need time as no locomotive project will be built in a short period. It will take on a life of its own and give you many hours of enjoyment. It will never stick to a schedule. Be patient, the tools will come as you need them.

 

The book by Building the A-3 Switcher by Mr Kozo Hiaroko would be a great place for you to start. Money well spent for a beginner.

Otherwise start with this list.

 

1. A place to work and keep your tools, My first was a one car garage that no car ever saw.

2. Hand tools/wrenches/Screwdrivers/scales/saws and such (look for estate sales and yard sales, buy the old well stored and cared for tools.

3. Drill Press- Bench or Floor model. LOOK FOR OLD DRILL BITS. THEY CAN BE SHARPENED

4. Tools to Silver Solder/Torch

5. Metal Cutting Band Saw will be more fun than using a hacksaw, but I did not buy one till I was 50 years old.

6. A 6 to 9 inch lathe. Do not just buy a lathe (Speaking from experience here). A lathe without tooling is a glorified paperweight. Look for that used one that comes with chucks, tool post, live centers, drill chucks, collets, dial indicators and such. Hold out for one that has a quick change gearbox for threading. Stack gears are a pain. On the other hand. If an old member gives you one, take it and make do. Many small locomotives can be built with a lathe that has a milling attachment mounted on the carriage.

 

Bottom line is to buy the tools you need when you understand the need for it. When you get much older you will have tools in the corner that you cannot remember why or when you bought them.

 

This is me on a Little Engines "American" in 1986. It was built by a very good friend between 1969 and 1978 in a cabin located on a mountain in Colorado. His only big tools were a floor Drill Press and a 9 inch Logan lathe with a milling attachment. He did not own a Mill at the time.

 

Like Keith, I believe the only thing Mr. Kombrink could no do, was to put wheels on a miscarriage and patch the crack of dawn. This casting set is still available from Little Engines in Pennsylvania USA by the way and you can buy it piece at a time.

 

 

 

I would end up buying the 9 inch Logan when Larry went to a 12 inch South Bend. I ended up buying the engine from Larry's Estate in 2015 to restore and still have it today. If the wife sees this and asks, "I paid $20.00 for it".

 

 

Pugsy
Sep 17, 2017

I think it might be worth building a 16mm scale loco to hone the skills, say a Peter Jones Dacre, I'll probably do a 16mm loco before building anything large myself

Laurens
Sep 17, 2017

ok but i found that a small 16mm cost about the same as a 31/2 inch and you only built the boiler from scratch as the rest was pre machined . I would suggest roundhouse models as they have a good selection of kits for 16mm

Pugsy
Sep 17, 2017

Robin Gosling used to make one of these in 16mm, he only built 8 or so, I reckon I could give it a jolly good try

 

Laurens
Sep 17, 2017

cool good luck

Pugsy
Sep 17, 2017

Good luck with your mountaineer 👍

Laurens
Sep 18, 2017

oh sorry i originally found a rusted shassey of a mountaineer but i can't find it any more so i have settled with a tich

Pugsy
Sep 24, 2017

by coincidence I was going to go for the George because I also came across a rusted but otherwise fine chassis, I then considered a Tich, but was warned off it because some parts are fiddly (here http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/122951-don-young-george/ ), I am now working on a restoration project before building anything from new

Laurens
Nov 18, 2017Edited: Nov 18, 2017

I am now thinking about building a metre maid from blackgates as I can get the boiler pre made by blackgates and a starter kit that gives me all the materials needed to build a rolling shassey. althought does anyone know what size the cylinder castings are and what size the driving wheels are as i know they are the same size as a sweet pea but i don’t know what dimentions they are.

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