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3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:39 pm
by Harlock
(note: I was previously posting car build logs in "Riding scale railroading" but since people seem to be posting builds other than locomotives here I guess this is where they belong.)

Our one-of-a-kind 9" gauge railroad, the Mesa Grande Western, has a pair of passenger trucks sitting around. They were started by the railroad's founder Harry Pulaski decades ago, and recently completed by another gentleman who has been re-creating some of our lost patterns and castings along the way for other equipment.

The original intent for the trucks is unknown. Eber and I decided to put a combine on top of them, as an all-in-one piece of passenger equipment, in case we never get around to building another for that railroad.

My dad and I have worked together as a team on several wood-bodied car projects now, with me doing the research, measuring, drawings and overall design and him executing the design in fine woodwork, making necessary structural changes for real world use as a working model and imbuing the project with his extensive woodworking experience and skills.

Wood passenger equipment is fairly different from freight equipment - it is very lightly built in comparison and much more complicated throughout, with interior, windows, doors, molding etc.

We needed a wood combine in good condition that is local enough that I could go take direct measurements on multiple occasions as needed, for a baseline reference on how they are constructed. For the bobber caboose project I made several trips to Colorado as well as to Richard Farmer's place nearby to measure parts and pieces that he had. The research portion is always the most interesting part as you tend to meet a lot of people and see a lot of things that you would ordinarily not have in the course of your travels.

The Combine project is no different. Thanks to the assistance of Chaski's own Larry Fisher, a wood combine in Los Angles was brought to my attention that would suffice as a construction reference. It is Oahu Railway & Land Combine #36, located at the Travel Town museum in Griffith Park next to Los Angeles Live Steamers. This little combine is 40 feet long, giving a 10ft model in 3" scale, the longest size we can reasonably accommodate and making it a reasonable sized car and not a 'shorty'. It was built by the OR&L shops in Hawaii but the techniques used are largely the same as found in the car builder's dictionary for example.

We are making a Colorado style combine and the window spacing and freight door will be modified to suit, otherwise it is nearly identical to any other narrow gauge wood combine you might find. The door and window arrangement on the #36 is a bit odd - members of the historical society in Oahu think that its interior configuration was modified over the years to become what it is today.

Along the way I am making full scale drawings of the original car as built and will give them to the Hawaiian Railway Society in exchange for the useful information they have been feeding us.

Unlike the 3" scale cars we have made for my 7.5" gauge train, this one has no selective scaling and will be full width, height and length. 3" scale is nice because you just divide by four, so you end up with a lot more even numbers than when working in 2.5" scale.

I built a 10ft long 9" gauge stand to kick off the project. Our 3" scale aluminum rail comes from a custom die at a foundry in Los Angeles.

Re: 3" scale combine

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:01 pm
by Harlock
I spent two full days at Travel Town measuring the combine, with several more to go. Access to the interior was tricky, but did manage to get permission and get some very quick photos holding a ruler, not as fastidious as the outside where we could take our time.

Here is a 3D model of the full size frame, and the beginnings of the model frame.

The first construction picture shows the truck bolsters and the queen post blocks.

Next is the beginnings of the frame assembly. The frame is initially glued together (tight bond III) then has wooden dowels added for strength. Later on, it will receive some metal hardware once we figure out what other metal needs to go in it, to avoid interferences.

Next shows the spacer blocks being glued in, and finally the complete basic frame, which even without the end platform extensions is massive.

The long frames are poplar; the bolsters and quill beams are dark Walnut; the floor boards Hickory and the bottom edges of the sides and ends are Beech. The blocking is Cherry finish composite (Cherry veneer) used in cabinet making.

the frame extensions yet to go on are Alder.

Re: 3" scale combine

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:24 pm
by Harlock
To shore up the frame dowel pins are used. For the lateral blocking, they go in diagonally to reach the side frames.

A jig is used to set the angle then the hole is hand drilled, with a piece of tape on the drill bit to indicate the depth stop.

Then the dowel, with some glue on it is gently hammered in and sawed and sanded flush.

On the real combine, the lateral blocks are a mortis and tenon joint.

Re: 3" scale combine

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:26 pm
by Harlock
Here is the frame sitting on the trucks, as well as turned upside-down in the detail shots to show the bolster and queen post beam details.

The metal rods are pass-throughs for any electrical we might want to add for the car, if needed.

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:25 pm
by Glenn Brooks
Very nice looking design! What will you be doing for your couplers and other cast parts, like classification lights?? I've been looking for 3" scale couplers for a long while, for 12" ga rolling stock build, to no avail...

Glenn P.

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:13 am
by Harlock
Glenn Brooks wrote:Very nice looking design! What will you be doing for your couplers and other cast parts, like classification lights?? I've been looking for 3" scale couplers for a long while, for 12" ga rolling stock build, to no avail...

Glenn P.
We had a coupler pattern that was borrowed and never returned, but someone else recently re-created it and had some new couplers cast. If you want a batch of coupler castings I could make inquiries. PM me. not sure where the older caboose class lamps came from, possibly Winton a long time ago. Fabricating them is the best bet at this point, or use 2 1/2" scale Bryterails lamps.

We have some castings for our locomotives and misc. things like switch harps. Some of the castings have been lost, as most were made in the 1960s and early 1970s.

There are not too many cast items on the Combine aside from the couplers, and the trucks are mostly fabricated. I 3D print my own trussrod washers, handbrake wheels, rachet and pawls, etc. Handrails, bracketry and other wrought items are fabricated with stock.

-M

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:35 am
by FLSTEAM
Are you going to fabricate the roof ends?

JB

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:12 pm
by Harlock
FLSTEAM wrote:Are you going to fabricate the roof ends?

JB
Yes. It's a lot of wood framing work, but it's already been measured.

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:03 am
by ccvstmr
Mike...will be interesting to follow your build. Would like to ask...

1) what kind of wood did you use for the frame? It sure is tight and straight grained lumber stock.
2) see a rod or conduit running thru the floor struts...what's up with that?
3) how are you going to transport that beast around once completed? That's not going to be a small piece of equipment. Will take up the back of a standard pick 'em truck bed and then some...WITH the tail gate down!

Like the trucks...well detailed. Certainly somethings show up better in larger scales than other. It's a shame much of that can't be seen standing next to the model. Will have to stand back to appreciate what's underneath the car body.

Also have to say...particularly liked the shop photo with the washer/dryer combo in easy reach to drop those dirty work clothes in! Now that's convenience! :lol:

Please keep posting progress. This model should make for a nice looking addition to any 3" scale RR! Carl B.

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:50 am
by Pontiacguy1
He's already answered most of your questions in his previous posts:

1) what kind of wood did you use for the frame? It sure is tight and straight grained lumber stock. His Answer from earlier: The long frames are poplar; the bolsters and quill beams are dark Walnut; the floor boards Hickory and the bottom edges of the sides and ends are Beech. The blocking is Cherry finish composite (Cherry veneer) used in cabinet making.
2) see a rod or conduit running thru the floor struts...what's up with that? His answer from earlier: The metal rods are pass-throughs for any electrical we might want to add for the car, if needed.

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:55 pm
by ccvstmr
Thanks Pontiacguy...there are times I skip to the end and miss all the introductory explanation. Carl B.

Re: 3" Scale Narrow Gauge Combine

Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:13 pm
by Greg_Lewis
Glad to see this. I rode in that car back in the late 1950s. It and a coach ran behind an outside frame engine, now returned to Hawaii, on a short bit of track eastward from Travel Town through what is now LALS property. I remember the engineer telling me that the loco was to be sidelined as it needed staybolt replacement which was too expensive to do.