Oct. 15-19, 2010
Our first "Critter" locomotive has been working so well that we wanted to make another one.  We have found that visitors absolutely love to operate the trains, so with another "critter" we could have three engines (and three engineers) running at once.  By building it in the same general style as the first "critter," construction is easier and it will make a matched pair.
CHASSIS - It starts with a Ride Trains "Mini Motor Car" chassis which includes the frame, 350 watt motor, axles, wheels, and drive mechanism.  I ordered a customized version with larger wheels (5.25"), longer frame (36"), and shorter wheelbase (18"). SPRING MECHANISM - The drive wheel bearings are held to the frame with two springs.  I found on the previous "Critter" that it leans to one side on curves unless one axle is unsprung.  So I will insert a piece of 3/8 plywood to keep it rigid.
SPRING SHIMS INSTALLED - The smaller bolts hold the shims in place.  The shims are notched to clear the large bolts and springs. DECK INSTALLED - Here's an upside down view.  The deck is 18x36 inches and is 3/4 inch above the frame rails.  There are notched 1.5x1.5 boards on the ends.
CUTTING OUT THE WINDOWS - The cuts are straight and vertical when you use a table saw.  Next I'll finish it the corners with a jigsaw.
INSTALLING THE HOOD - It's 14 inches high and 10 inches wide.  You can also see the cutout in the deck for the motor and access to the chains.
CAB SIDES AND SPACERS - Once the hood is installed, then it's the rear panel and then the sides.  Here we're doing the next step, the panels between the cab and hood. INSIDE VIEW - Here's a view showing how the hood is built all the way across and the cab walls are built around it.
SIDE VIEW - Here you can see the relationship between the wheels and the body.  The pilots will extend the ends another 3/4 inch.
BASIC BODY DONE - After I fit a top on the hood and cab, the basic body structure is now complete.  Next I will add pilots and a cab roof.