Need help choosing a loco.

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shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Need help choosing a loco.

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:08 pm

Could use help on deciding what loco and where to start for a steam build. I know I want it to be highline and I know I want it to be able to burn coal. Starting to think maybe a 3-1/2" gauge Virginia 4-4-0 might be a good one? Can someone tell me about differences between wood, and coal burning boilers? Does one have bigger boiler tubes? I really like what I see in this video of car tires being burned in the firebox! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpTH2h9_WVw does doing this make it harder to clean boiler tubes? I guess I might have a lot of wheel slip problems with just a 3 1/2" 4-4-0. Do cast iron drivers give slightly better traction than steel?

Mike Walsh
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Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by Mike Walsh » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:23 pm

The Raritan, which is sold by Joe Tanski, is a sweet little thing. I have too many projects in the pipeline but this is one of my dream locomotives. I love the looks of it and you can get the whole casting kit for less than $800, I think. Not sure what his updated price is. But the book that it comes with (I think) is very well detailed and you will have fun with it.

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Joe Tanski
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Location: Eden ,New York

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by Joe Tanski » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:26 pm

Raritan casting kit sell for$ 560.00 + shipping US postal flat rate $35.00 in stock
Joe

Harold_V
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Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by Harold_V » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:44 pm

shild wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:08 pm
I really like what I see in this video of car tires being burned in the firebox!
I'd be inclined to think that tires could be troublesome, due to deposits that may not be removed without considerable effort. I can't help but think you'd get tired of the smell pretty quickly, too.
Do cast iron drivers give slightly better traction than steel?
No. Cast iron has free carbon (graphite) in its makeup (that's what makes it gray iron), so it would be a better bearing than would steel, which has no free carbon. Steel would have better traction.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:50 pm

Joe Tanski wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:26 pm
Raritan casting kit sell for$ 560.00 + shipping US postal flat rate $35.00 in stock
Joe
Hmmmm, I'm giving it some thought. Can you tell me what to do about the boiler? The boiler is what scares me the most.

shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by shild » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:59 pm

Harold_V wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:44 pm
shild wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:08 pm
I really like what I see in this video of car tires being burned in the firebox!
I'd be inclined to think that tires could be troublesome, due to deposits that may not be removed without considerable effort. I can't help but think you'd get tired of the smell pretty quickly, too.
Do cast iron drivers give slightly better traction than steel?
No. Cast iron has free carbon (graphite) in its makeup (that's what makes it gray iron), so it would be a better bearing than would steel, which has no free carbon. Steel would have better traction.

H
I see, maybe pieces of those chimney sweeping logs would help clear up the deposits? So steel wheels have more traction? Maybe drivers cut out of plate steel with a cnc machine is the way to go? Oh yeah, does it work the same way it does with car tires where more wheel contact area gives better traction? Or do you only get more traction with more weight and having all your wheels powered like a shay?

Pontiacguy1
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Location: Tennessee, USA

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:35 pm

On any steam locomotive, weight on the drivers is the key to making it grip and pull. Almost all steamers in any of the ride-on scales are going to have more power than they can put to the track because of the limits of traction. You can use the cast iron wheels and then put steel tires on the outside of the wheels, just like the prototype locomotives used, or you can just turn and make your drivers completely from the iron castings like about 90% of people in the hobby do. Using steel tires gives you about a 10% increase in traction, but it's a lot more pain in the rear to do it that way, so most people just concentrate on getting the weight on the drivers and let it go at that.

You don't want to burn anything that's going to leave a lot of sticky deposits like rubber likely would. It would be a terrible thing to clean out, and since your boiler on a small locomotive is going to be made from copper with copper tubes, you can't use really harsh abrasives or steel brushes very many times before your tubes will be ruined.

If you are looking to get into the hobby in 3/4" scale 3 1/2" gauge, I also agree that you can't go wrong choosing the 2-4-0 raritan designed by Bill Morewood. It is a compact powerhouse, easy to build, and has fewer moving parts than larger locomotives. It is ideal for what you are wanting. Another really great locomotive to build would be the Kozo Hiraoka Pennsy 0-4-0 in 3/4" scale 3 1/2" gauge. It is also designed for the beginner and the only castings are the wheels and cylinders, which are available from Friends' models.

Sticking with a proven design and with something smaller and simpler to build is a definite plus when it comes to a first-time builder. Everyone has a dream locomotive that they'd like to build, but I do not recommend anything bigger than an 0-6-0 or Mogul when building your first locomotive. Some will say "go build whatever you want", but to me, a running 0-4-0 is a lot more fun than a half-finished pacific chassis sitting on your bench!

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gwrdriver
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Location: Nashville Tennessee

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by gwrdriver » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:42 am

Pontiacguy1 wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:35 pm
. . . like about 90% of people in the hobby do.
We (the hobby) have been at this for about 135 years now so things are pretty well defined as to what works well and what doesn't. If no one is doing it (like burning tires) it wasn't found to be a good idea. If almost everyone is doing it, it was found to be a good-enough idea. I've been around for a while and I never heard of someone considering burning old tires. Aside from the many obvious drawbacks, which IMHO wouldn't come close to being balanced by it being free fuel, your small firebox is going to need a fuel of relatively high BTU content. My guess is burning rubber wouldn't come close to what is needed to sustain steam.

Staying small for the first project is the best of advice. If you've never built a steam model before I always advise first-time builders to build a small stationary steam engine first, something like a Stuart #10 or one of its equivalents. Such a project will require the use of all the basic machining operations you'll need to build a locomotive and it will give a better idea of how much time a larger steam project is going to take.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

Steve Bratina
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:39 pm
Location: Cambridge Ontario

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by Steve Bratina » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:35 am

If you are not a member of the local club yet, join them as an associate for now. Electronic chatter is nice but face to face gets better results. Joining also can get you a chance to run a loco and see what it is like. It may get you some help along the way with the use of members shops for parts of the project you can't handle. You can also get involved with the maintenance of the club which is required for you to have a place to run the engine. It will also unfortunately let you see the politics which is sometimes involved in a club and may make you decide to go to boats instead.
If you are building the engine as an eventual display engine and have no intentions of joining a club, disregard the previous paragraph. There are a few nice locomotives which have never turned a wheel on a club or private track.

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JohnHudak
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Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by JohnHudak » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:47 am

Shild, No matter which locomotive you choose, if this is your first project I'd recommend buying Kozo's book on the A-3.. There are very detailed sketches and photos of machining parts that will be very useful no matter what locomotive you choose.. He designed that locomotive for the first time builder, and takes you through every detail step by step..
John

WJH
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Location: Florida

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by WJH » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:22 pm

gwrdriver wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:42 am
Pontiacguy1 wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:35 pm
. . . like about 90% of people in the hobby do.
We (the hobby) have been at this for about 135 years now so things are pretty well defined as to what works well and what doesn't. If no one is doing it (like burning tires) it wasn't found to be a good idea. If almost everyone is doing it, it was found to be a good-enough idea. I've been around for a while and I never heard of someone considering burning old tires. Aside from the many obvious drawbacks, which IMHO wouldn't come close to being balanced by it being free fuel, your small firebox is going to need a fuel of relatively high BTU content. My guess is burning rubber wouldn't come close to what is needed to sustain steam.

Staying small for the first project is the best of advice. If you've never built a steam model before I always advise first-time builders to build a small stationary steam engine first, something like a Stuart #10 or one of its equivalents. Such a project will require the use of all the basic machining operations you'll need to build a locomotive and it will give a better idea of how much time a larger steam project is going to take.
Actually, rubber is one of the main ingredients in "hybrid rocket motors". Once a good rubber fire gets going, I believe fire departments resort to containment only. I would be concerned about health issues more than anything

WJH
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Location: Florida

Re: Need help choosing a loco.

Post by WJH » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:30 pm

As for clubs... When I lived in San Francisco, I was a very active member at the GGLS. When I moved to Florida and bought a house, belonging to a live steam club wasn't even on my radar. Just by crap luck, the house I bought is two miles away from the Pasco and Gulf railroad. I joined but my work schedule was not compatible. Today it is compatible, but I want something to run. I did the whole club member with no equipment thing at the GGLS, and volunteered every chance I got on a work day. Different club, different atmosphere, different movers and shakers. Just didn't feel the same. Will give them another try.

As for choosing a locomotive... If you are going to build it, choose one that calls to you. Don't settle on one simply because it's convenient. You will lose interest and end up starting all over. Don't ask how I know...

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