Greetings from the newbie in West TN

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Railroad Rick
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Location: Lexington Tennessee

Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by Railroad Rick » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:27 pm

Hello fellow trainsmen,

This is my first post so I will keep it short, maybe, LOL. I am a member of the Mid South Live Steam Club in Columbia, TN.
I have been laid off 3 times in 2 years so, I am about to start vocational school for machine shop and then onto tool and die.
I have been in love with the narrow gauge Lil Lima originally from WATO of Australia since seeing it on a Train Mountain video years ago. I've recently found drawings only, being offered by Plan - Ahead - Designs out of Seattle. If anyone has had any dealings with Rich Killen of this company I would appreciate any advice before commiting.

If there is anyone running a Lil Lima aka Lil Tasha or is currently building one please contact me.

This will be my first build so any and all information will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks gang!
RxR Rick Barham

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steamin10
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by steamin10 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:38 pm

WOW! You are in love with a BIG girl. I too like the rather large size, but be aware you will have to network well to get all the machine work done, as much of it will be outside of the basement hobby guy work envelope. And then the material expense will be much greater than say 1.5 scale. For WOW factor, it is hard to beat tho. I would love to run that stuff in my bakc yard, but have decided that 2.5 NG is pushing it for my meager budget. I have a hard time gettin anything done, as reapairs and projects just pile up, and get in the way. So that is the third dimension, having time to commit to such a project. Many try, and fail to complete such a process. It is up to you. I cannot measure your aptitiude or prowess. Just ask that you think it through. Much luck.

I dont know of a more powerful statement for a Jr machinist, than to show a future employer such a wonderful toy. It will speak volumes for you.

I bid you peace.
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.

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gwrdriver
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by gwrdriver » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:53 pm

Hi Rick,
Welcome to the board. First I have to say that I haven't seen any Plan Ahead Designs drawings in person, aside from what is shown on the web site, and I don't know Rich Killen although I'm sure he's a fine feller. However to me there is something about these drawing packages that seems a bit too, umm, . . slick, for lack of a better term, but I don't mean to suggest that there is an attempt to misrepresent. On the contrary, P.A.D. seems to be honest about their products. But if I were considering this, before buying P.A.D. drawings and beginning a project, I would want to find a successful running example of the model of your choice, done from P.A.D. drawings, and have a conversation with the builder about how the project went. If I couldn't find a successful running example then I wouldn't consider buying the drawings. It has also just dawned on me that some of the drawings, the Lucky-7, Mich-Cal, Lilly Belle, etc, are already available from the original designers and are proven many times over.

If you read his qualifications in "About Us", he's done just about everything . . . except design a model live steam locomotive, which takes a great deal of highly specialized knowledge which typically can't be obtained by simply being in "manufacturing." So how do I know that he knows what he's doing as a model locomotive designer, and whether his drawings would give me what I need to complete a running project? That he is unable to list among his qualifications that he has designed successful model steam locomotives, or show built examples of any of his designs on the web site, is a Red Flag. Pessimistic? Perhaps, but I would say I was being prudent, by doing a little qualifying research on a large potential investment.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

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Harlock
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by Harlock » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:35 am

Welcome to the group. The 'Lil Lima and 'Lil Mogul are designed to be dead simple. I would not be put off with the size, it's nowhere near as big as even a MEG Wendy. I actually fell in love with it at TM as well. It's a nice size. Plan ahead is interesting, but it does seem to be a copy of other people's drawings, refined into 3D, and yes, does he have any actual building experience? I think if original drawings are available one should patronize the source.
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Curtis_F
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by Curtis_F » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:59 pm

Harlock wrote:I think if original drawings are available one should patronize the source.
I seem to recall that at one point RMI used to have original Lil' Lima drawings, and the rights to sell them. Of course that was back when Paul G. was still running the show, so I don't know if they still have them or not. They were never listed in the catalog as Paul wanted to redraw them in CAD before openly selling the drawings.


Cheers,

Curtis F.
16 Years of SolidWorks experience...now I feel old.
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Curtis_F
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by Curtis_F » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:59 pm

Yeah, I'm following up on an 18 month old post.

I just received a copy of Plan-Ahead-Design's "Mich-Cal #2" drawing package. So I did a search on Chaski for "Rich Killen" who's company it is, to see if anyone else had talked about his work and this was the ONLY thread that came up.

So rather than start a new thread I'm going to revisit this one to address the question:
Railroad Rick wrote:I've recently found drawings only, being offered by Plan - Ahead - Designs out of Seattle. If anyone has had any dealings with Rich Killen of this company I would appreciate any advice before committing.
I found Rick to be an amiable fellow, he answered all my questions, even e-mailed me some same pages, so I had a fair idea of what to expect in the drawing package.

Please keep in mind that my day-job is as a design-draftsman working on models and restorations of steam locomotives and rolling stock. So me looking at these drawings is like Roger Ebert watching a movie.

  • Plan-Ahead-Design's drawings, at least for the "Mich-Cal #2", require extensive knowledge of steam locomotive construction and fabrication techniques to be useful.
  • No materials are noted, so one has to look at the drawings and determine what the best material is each part to be made of.
  • There are no tolerances called out, thus requiring the builder to already know what fits and clearances are critical.
  • There are no recommended practice or order of operation notes.
  • There are numerous instances where knowledge of and access to welding equipment would save hours, if not days, of machining parts out of solid blocks.
  • There are some parts that if machined as shown will require good/advanced knowledge of milling machine set-ups.
  • There are some features to be machined into parts that, to the best of my knowledge, will require uncommon milling cutters to make them.
  • Mr. Killen notes on his website that the drawings are not 100% free from errors and that the builder will need to be prepared to compensate for problems found along-the-way. That is a true statement as close assessment of a few of his assembly drawings do show design errors where parts, if machined-to-print, will prevent assembly.
Those are just facts, my personal opinion (i.e. take this with a grain of salt) is that Mr. Killen doesn't have intimate knowledge of the original locomotive, nor the original locomotive builders' standards and practices. He's trying to simplify the design and construction of the locomotive but doesn't know why the prototype builder did certain things in the design, and thus his "simplification" of the design has other inherent problems which won't show up till the locomotive is operating. I can see several points where proper bearing surfaces are not called out for and will reduce the running hours between re-builds.

One example is that the design calls for needle bearings on the axles which are going to see a thrust (side) load from the gears on the wheels that is not compensated for anywhere else in the design, so the load will be 100% on bearings not designed for it. The bearings will fail sooner rather than later, possibly damaging the axle if the operator doesn't notice when it occurs, and the gears will move out of alignment reducing their service life.
  • Pet Peeve: He uses the term "Brazed Assembly" generically for Silver Soldering, Welding and Brazing.

That all said; I do believe that an experienced builder could make, with knowledgeable deviation from the design, a fine running locomotive from these prints.


$0.02

Curtis F.
16 Years of SolidWorks experience...now I feel old.
"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
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gwrdriver
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by gwrdriver » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:10 pm

Just as I suspected.
GWRdriver
Nashville TN

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Pipescs
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by Pipescs » Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:49 pm

Rick.

I see you are in my neighborhood as I am in Lester Alabama just south of you.

Are you going to the Meet at Mid South this month?
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

RICHK
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by RICHK » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:13 pm

The Tasha is no longer offered by the current owners of RMI, why I do not know.

The drawings I made just for fun using the documents that two builders in my steam club used to build two separate locomotives. These are both still running at the club.
Do you believe everything these guys write?

A quick phone call would have made things much easier and more pleasant.
I do not make plan sets to be un-friended. It is supposed to be fun, and besides the cost of a plan set is paltry compared to the build cost.

I can assure you that the plan-set will be complete with complete drawings for each and every detail, and with great assembly drawings and bills of materials. All this because of the Inventor 3d software.

BTW Engineering education and experience is applicable to many types of machinery, large and small.

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Highiron
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by Highiron » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:57 pm

Rick

send me a PM if you are interested I have a set of castings on the shelf for the Lil Lima and the Lil Mogul as well as drawings

Mike
Little Engines

JKreider
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by JKreider » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:52 pm

I can relate my experience in regard to Rich Killen and Plan-Ahead Designs when it comes to Rich doing work from an existing model design.
For years I have provided drawings and parts for building the 1-1/2” scale Nickel Plate Berkshire. Rich had offered to do both 2D and 3D assembly drawings using my pattern and 2D machining drawings as the basis.
From my experience;
- Rich's drawings supplement the machining drawings provided by me. They do not replace or duplicate the drawings provided by me.
- I consider these drawings an enhancement to what I provide and if anything, they make my product look better. I consider this a service that Rich has provided to people like me, a service that would cost me dearly in time, and money if I were to hire someone to do it. In addition, Rich provides these drawings at such a low cost to my builders making it all the more attractive. Rich is certainly not doing this for any monetary gain. He is a retired mechanical engineer who enjoys the study of the iron horse, like a lot of us I guess.
- Have there been errors or changes that I wanted to see? Sure, but I have found Rich to be very cooperative and easy to work with, and I feel that any issues with drawing change control can be handled simply by communicating with Rich.
- Of course Rich's drawings are available to anyone who wants to purchase them whether or not they have purchased any parts or drawings from me. But my feeling is "so what". If someone wants to purchase Berkshire drawings from Rich who have not bought anything from me, it might make them more enthused about building the engine.
One of my builders had Rich make large size copies of some 3D views. My builder had them laminated and put on the wall.
I cannot provide comment on Rich’s drawings done from scratch from prototype drawings but Curtis has provided insight into that.
My overall objective here is to say that my dealing with Rich Killen Plan-Ahead-Designs have always been quite pleasant.
Jim Kreider

RICHK
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Re: Greetings from the newbie in West TN

Post by RICHK » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:03 pm

WELL HELLO THERE
I fail to see where these comments are in the least helpful.
First of all an e-mail would clear up your questions
Second all the parts fit as can be seen by an inspection of the numerous assembly drawings.
I am not impressed by your statement "So me looking at these drawings is like Roger Ebert watching a movie."
This is the same old animosity between drafters and degreed mechanical engineers which I dealt with for 45 years.

In any case in the interest of furthering the hobby please send me specific comments; innuendos are of no use.

Barring that just go ahead and build from the Harris book,
Keep in touch on that effort.

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