|BUILDING A SMALL LOCOMOTIVE
MAY 21 TO 31, 2009
HOW IT ALL STARTED - This is the piece of machinery I got from Ride
Trains. It consists of a frame, wheels, bearings, sprockets, chains and motor. I
also got a controller and throttle. Their website is www.RideTrains.net .
DECK, FIRST VERSION - I built a plywood deck, sills, and pilots, 18 by
30 inches, and attached to the frame. This is as low a deck as possible, with
the idea being to make it comfortable for an adult to ride on the locomotive
HOOD, FIRST VERSION - Yes, it's tall enough and wide enough to hold a
full size adult. But it looked too wide, too low, and too tall.
BODY, MODIFIED VERSION - I replaced the pilots with higher ones,
modified and recessed the sills, lowered the body, pushed it forward, and
built a cab.
THE GUTS - Two 300 CCA lawn tractor batteries wired in series, 350 watt
motor, and control module (upper left). The plug-in throttle is stored at the
TAKING IT FOR A WALK - I wasn't sure of how well it would work, so I
walked it around the track first.
TAKING IT FOR A RIDE - I couldn't resist the temptation, so I climbed
aboard and carefully started off. This is fun! Great acceleration and speed
control! And fast!
CHARLOTTE'S TURN - I talked Charlotte into taking it for a spin. She fits
a little better actually. The locomotive leans a bit toward the lower rail.
PORTABLE - It's heavy but not too heavy to pick up and put on the golf
cart. Then back to the workshop to finish up details, a roof, and a paint job.
IN THE PAINT SHOP - What should the railroad's colors be? That was easy,
the Blue and Gold of the University of Delaware! The headlight is made from a
RED LETTERS - The best letters I could find locally were 2 inch vinyl letters
at the Staples store, sold only in red. I transferred them to a plastic jug to paint
LETTERING THE OLD FASHIONED WAY - The large Number 2's are
drawn by hand on the masking tape, cut, and painted.
FINISHED PRODUCT - The Critter is painted and lettered, ready to run.