12" working railroad

Discuss park gauge trains and large scale miniature railways having track gauges from 8" to 24" gauge and designed at scales of 2" to the foot or greater - whether modeled for personal use, or purpose built for amusement park operation or private railroading.

Moderators: Glenn Brooks, Harold_V

Forum rules
Topics may include: antique park gauge train restoration, preservation, and history; building new grand scale equipment from scratch; large scale miniature railway construction, maintenance, and safe operation; fallen flags; track, gauge, and equipment standards; grand scale vendor offerings; and, compiling an on-line motive power roster.
rkcarguy
Posts: 866
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by rkcarguy » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:11 am

To address the flywheel part, My prior engine had an aluminum flywheel and would not have worked well for that, although it's 420cc and higher compression, so hard to say. The Honda GX390 does have about 20ft/lbs of torque, and it's going to be left stock with the heavy flywheel on it.
My wheels are also going to weigh about 80#'s, so I'll see how that does, and add rotating weight if I need to.

User avatar
steamin10
Posts: 6700
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Location: NW Indiana. Close to Lake Michigan S. tip

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by steamin10 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:02 pm

The flywheel concept is fast motion storing inertia. It must stay close to the power source of the drive or its benefits are lost. I suggest a barbell disc, but a weight of any dimension slug of steel has 3x the value of aluminum. The weight of the wheels is immaterial as they are unsprung and dead weight for traction, thats about it. My critters have lead batteries or ballast weights just to keep from skating on the rails. The lil Gasser I ran with a centrifugal clutch was a grab, slip, and go thing with the hood ringing like a bell from rattles. I try to improve on this design flaw. The latest incarnation is a tin bodied 4 wheel Whitcolm/Critter type industrial engine. The body metal and parts are from window AC cases of dead units, and various parts hung out to imitate life in an early home shop industry. Ore cars of angle frame are similarly built. Some 8 wheel wooden ore cars are being materialized, as they would appear in early heavy railroading to the 20's era. I like the mental planning, but there are problems with finding the free time to do it. My initial start at laying out a railroad nearly landed me in a lawsuit as nosy county officials wanted to bar a 'riding attraction' or any other commercial pursuit. The final straw was the tax estimate for 'improvements" to the land. All BS and scare tactics, but clear they just did not want to deal with it. I sold all my rail and supplies for track building and have been very dormant since. It is still near the core of my wanna be spirit.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

User avatar
steamin10
Posts: 6700
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Location: NW Indiana. Close to Lake Michigan S. tip

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by steamin10 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:15 pm

I think it should be mentioned, I am not a rivet counter, but a 30 -30 person when it comes to these toys. If it looks good at 30 feet and goes 30 mph its good (scale of course). So the thumb nail approach and material use rules. I love to recycle machine and lawn mower parts back into a running thing. Unfortunately, another person has raided my stock and I am currently without fw/rev geared transmissions from my riding lawn mowers. I have to obtain one to continue. I currently have a selection of 11 lawn tractors in parts, and cannot cut my own grass because of breakdowns. SO, there is no room for toys at the moment, but someday.

I have a few things to put my house in order before playtime commences, and such effort must be made to be smart about situations.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

rkcarguy
Posts: 866
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by rkcarguy » Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:08 am

I guess the best way to put it into perspective is that I'll be building my RR parallel to building my home. So when I've got the mini-excavator for the weekend I plan to use some of the machine time to work on my ROW.
The locomotive and riding car are coming along. What I've had to do is improvise quite a bit on what I can get for materials at times, as far as what washes up in the scrap dumpster and un-certified material pile. I had a big dry spell for quite awhile, then was able to grab almost everything I needed for my frame in a week and make a bunch of progress. Whenever a crate or pallet of plate comes in, I can cannibalize the usable lumber for ties. I even ran out of 2x4's and ran a couple of 2x6's through the table saw so I could finish all the ties for my turnout.
The large expenditure is going to be the hydraulics, it's probably going to be upwards of $1,000 to get the motors, pump, hoses, control valve, fittings, filter, fluid, and all that. The thing is though, I have a pretty messed up back, so I was either looking at doing the RR, or buying a farm quad type thing and trailer....then I would still have to figure a way to get the garbage can and recycling up into it. So that helps justify some budget there. I figure with the RR I can simply roll the can and recycling onto the flat car from a simple little platform.
It's funny because in the past I would have called myself a rivet counter, but seeing others work on here I am no where near it and that's ok. I'm running a balance between what I've got, can get for free, and/or can make myself, with a little money to spend when there just isn't any other way. What I can make myself is a lot, thanks to the tools I have at home and what I have access to at work. Saws, mill, lathe, welders, grinders, drill press, punch press, shear, brake, CNC plasma table, and soon a laser.
In fact, I talked to my boss Friday about getting the plasma table guy to cut my wheel blanks and got the green light for that when there is a lull in his work. I was able to secure two 36" diameter burnouts of 1" plate that have been sitting in our "maybe pile" for several years, and they will yield almost all my wheels( I came up two short nesting it the best I could) for my first round of rolling stock....that being the riding car 34' hopper, and two 40' bulkhead flat cars.
The go kart clutch baskets do rattle around a lot on the crank and sound awful. When I first started kart racing I was wondering what the heck was wrong but they all do that. I won't be using one even though I have a couple, one a billet steel piece for the "big block" Honda/Clone engines.
Our craigslist locally is a great buyers market, cost of living is so awful here( we're only 17% behind Seattle cost of living but average pay is just over half theirs). The small engine shops all charge $60/hr, so most people with no skills to DIY just toss and buy new, so there is all kinds of motors broken mowers pressure washers and so on for sale cheap if not for free.

User avatar
steamin10
Posts: 6700
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Location: NW Indiana. Close to Lake Michigan S. tip

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by steamin10 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:11 pm

Ya, good on ya for being creative in the face of the no-doers. Cheep is good, free is better. It also helps to work around people that dont criticize our obsessions.

As far as building, models ' look like'. And an air tank is hung out the endo of an engine is actually a cut Burnz-o-matic end that looks lke an air tank. Louners on an air conditioner case become the louvers on my critter. A second sheet behind the window cut out becomes the frame, and on and on. I try to use the original bends of the case material, so I dont have to fight getting a good bend. It becomes the outside corner. It is all in your minds eye and man thngs can get really close to fooling the eye into the belief of the form you work on.

Teh rattle, was the hood being loose. It was foam stripped, but it wore down, and the darn thing rattled with every stroke of the motor. Teh little gasser, broek things regularly in small derailments, and was eventually repalaced with an all steel running gear topped by the body casitngs. Nothing that could not be creatively made with steel sheet and plumbing bits.

Trucks can be made with simple wood blocks fitted with oilite bushings, and strap iron side frames. Perfect woodsy build for any railroad. If you must, wheels can be cast from aluminum scraps and are a dream to machine for non-riding cars. Trucks and wheels will be the second most expensive thing on the line, next to the track itself.

I have no issue with those that run steam , and take years to build that parfect model. I cannot. I want to have fun, like today. For me, real life gets in the way of my toys. So they sit until the next time I get to move on things.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

rkcarguy
Posts: 866
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by rkcarguy » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:40 pm

That is kind of my plan. I figure when I start laying track I'm going to have a train on it as soon as I can get a shed up to store it in, and I'll use the train to haul more track supplies to the end of the line and also be able to take the trash and recycling to the street pretty quickly as it's my first area of work.
I can get dibbs on some pretty good metals at times. We're a certified shop, so any materials that don't get marked aren't traceable and can't be used in fabrication. Over the years it piles up, in fact we just gave ~10 tons to the welding class at the tech college as a write-off. Also, sometimes the metal just doesn't nest well. We built an aluminum platform for a treatment facility that used angle braces and beams that were 11'-9" and 13' long. The material could not be spliced and was only available in 20' lengths and the job paid for it. I was able to grab the remnants for the price of coffee and doughnuts for the shop/office:) The 6" beams will be the center members for my bulk head flats, and the angle will work great for the frames for the bulkheads.
Right now we have some aging 12" channel that may become my plate girder bridge, I have to see if I can get the engineer that's working for us to do a freebie calculation for a 2500# live load on an 8' span to see if it will fly or not.

User avatar
steamin10
Posts: 6700
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Location: NW Indiana. Close to Lake Michigan S. tip

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by steamin10 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:01 pm

Another word of advice from some one who has been there: build some working trucks and a collection of wheels.. When you get ready to roll out on that first section of track you put down yesterday, you wont be fiddling with waiting for things to roll. The bodies arent as important as a simple wooden box can haul anything, as long as it rolls along. A log rack or disconnects will tow a few sections of prebuilt track panels, and a boxlike gondola will collect tools and supples right to the end of track where needed.

My long lost friend built PUG, a 4 wheel box cab, to power his work train. It had the drives from one of those kiddie car jeeps, and on O-ring drive to the axle disc. It used a lawn tractor battery but was autonomous in that it had a whisker that hung out the side. With the aid of a pipe, or a brick set along the track he would start pug and its load on its journey to the barn or the end of track, and the whisker would shut it off, if he was there or not. A simple reverse switch, and the path was retraced. Much like a second set of hands, it was a a help in getting motion on any given day. Pug was just a plywood box with some cheezy spray paint for windows and a few lines to suggest doors and some fittings to emulate a light and grill. Very basic and ugly really, also very slow, but it did go, go , go. and towed one flat or gondola very handy. He also put wheels on a garden seat, so he could sit hunched over the track and drive the countless screws that set the second rail without killing his knees. Building track is an excercise in stamina in more ways than one.

if you like any of these ideas, there are more about what can be done in details that make the work more fun or easier.. Is it work, or fun?

There is a proverb that says the man that loves what he does will never work a day in his life.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

rkcarguy
Posts: 866
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:36 pm

If it's anything like HO scale, I enjoyed operating but always wanted to lay more track.
If I'm allowed to bridge the stream, I'd have access to another long strip of my property about an acre in size.
I am planning to have my bulkheads be removable on my flat cars for hauling longer things and being able to lay on one and work on the track that way. Most of all I'm trying to assemble my track in sections on the bench, and then drop them in place and bolt them together. Trying to keep the ground work to a bare minimum due to my back.

rkcarguy
Posts: 866
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:29 pm

As far as wheels, I'm going to try to come up with a "light duty" wheel set I can fabricate from plate and slices of pipe. This would be for work train cars, maybe a caboose with a generator in it, some light duty flat cars, or something along those lines. The locomotive and heavy duty rolling stock are going to have solid steel wheels though.

User avatar
steamin10
Posts: 6700
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Location: NW Indiana. Close to Lake Michigan S. tip

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by steamin10 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:17 am

A genset is nice, and they are cheap from places like HF. I cant speak to their reliability or ease of use having had Honda and others. I blew up a Wenco working my barns. At any rate, a used battery drill from a pawn with a couple of clips wired to the handle can be run to an auto battery for long lasting power without all the noise and fuel and bother of chasing batteries that die. I have 3 Black and Decker 14.4 with a battery converted to just plug into the drill base. It works very handy for things around the cars and away from normal corded power. Battery based drills without the packs are super cheap, so you may consider such for your workings.

When laying out your rail, there is a problem in getting an offset for the joints, so you dont get the hobby horse effect, when joints align across the track. About 2 feet minimum is about right, but it will change on you as your track wiggles around corners and curves, the inside rail getting longer compared to the outside. So one method is to put all the rails on one side of the ties like a fence, lay it out, and then lay the second rail out and screw it to the running tie bed. Otherwise the running panels may have a diferent offset, requiring the rail to move in or out to match the last panel down. If loosely screwed then you still have to go back and hit them again. All the answers require precise thinking. It is why track laying can get so tedious and dreadful. Any errors in fill, level or thinking, will haunt you until you get it right. ( got the hat and shirt).
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

rkcarguy
Posts: 866
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by rkcarguy » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:31 am

I'm using the groovy track method, so it just presses together. I figure I'll come up with some kind of weld on tab to secure the rail to the ties every so often, but it's not needed as it presses in very tight. I've been using a large rubber mallet to seat the rail in the ties.
I fit and welded out the frame for my 34' Hopper riding car last night, still need to do a little grinding on the pockets for the rectangle coupler tubes, weld them in, and add a few more cross braces.

User avatar
steamin10
Posts: 6700
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Location: NW Indiana. Close to Lake Michigan S. tip

Re: 12" working railroad

Post by steamin10 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:15 pm

I personally dont like the look or the feel of groovy track, but that is MY choice.. It is not without its problems for splits and getting things seated, or splice bars on the 'rails' needing to be drilled. Flat bar is very cheap from the suppliers here, so it is a redeeming factor and we have weight breaks starting at 500 lbs, so that is a mass of rail for you. Depending on the mill length, 16 or 21 feet can get hard to transport. Angle being cheep and usefull for moat things, can add a bit to make weight and get discounts, so be smart and do a little planning before you order. Building a jaw press, like offset plyers may be helpful with setting stubborn rails. Some plate and pipe handles are not that hard.

Lets see some photos of progress. New dirt is almost as fun as new paint.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

Post Reply