I expect that you'll experience rapid cooling of the object you hope to shape, due to the long cycle, but it's certainly worth a try. Just keep in mind, you want to keep the heat in the part, not the related working (shaping) pieces, which will deform if heated beyond a reasonable temperature, so limited contact is in your best interest. That's why hammers are used, as they strike and retract quickly.
That's a good point. I've seen dies made a few ways. The rear wheel set has spokes (though impossible to see even on the prototype) which could be an opportunity to experiment without too much time wasted if it doesn't work. I'm going to start by machining the die as one piece. If it doesn't repeat to a reasonable tolerance, I might try replaceable inserts, which would locate similar to an indexing end mill. That would allow me to make the middle and outside drivers on the same fixture with different sized counter weights.
So.... I'm sifting through the drawings. I saw FLTenwheeler's J-class pictures of his castings for the crossties... wow. Makes me want to invest in 3D printing. I was just gonna mill blocks for crossties and bolt the frames together. Is that too simple to work?
How are crossties labeled? I just write them by what's mounted to them for now, but it'd be nice to know the right lingo.
Above each crosstie, I see a flat sheet which goes up to the boiler. Is this a support for the running boards and the mount is just hidden under the boiler jacket? I can't imagine such a thin sheet doing anything for supporting the boiler itself.
Sorry, lots of questions and not enough action.