First time builder.

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jb bergman
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:41 pm
Location: Slayden Mississippi

First time builder.

Post by jb bergman » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:04 pm

Hello, I am JB Bergman,
I am about to take the plunge! I am a aircraft machinist for FedEx in Memphis Tn. I have a one man machine shop in Slayden Mississippi. Lathes, Monach EE, 15 in Leblond Regal, 24 " Pacemaker. Mills, bridgeport, Hurco Hawk CNC, Brown Sharpe #3 horizontal universal. Surface grinder, OD/ ID grinder ect.
So I am well equiped. I have wanted to build a locomotive for many years. I have the "means" to build most available casting kits. I have had Harris's Shay plans for years. I have looked into both the 90 Mikado and the RRS 2-6-0 Mogul.
I would like some advice on these or any other casting kits that I may not be aware of, for the first time builder. I want to start and finish my first locomotive in 3 years. I do watch discover live steam for particials and casting kits. You see, I have it BAD!
I don't want to begin with a Conny or a Big Boy.
So fine builders, what do you recommend?
I'll be glad to answer and questions about myself as well.
JB Bergman

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Steampipe
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Re: First time builder.

Post by Steampipe » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:14 pm

Go with any Allen product. My ten wheeler is small enough to be managable, big enough to be interesting and plenty of chance for detail. With over something like, I'm told, over 1000 kits sold - consider this.

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FLtenwheeler
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Re: First time builder.

Post by FLtenwheeler » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:20 pm

I will second the Allen. Last time I had my 10-wheeler out I was pulling a 15 car train with no problem. It is a great size locomotive.

Tim
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He who dies with the most unfinished projects: Should of put more time into their hobby.

jessebanning
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Re: First time builder.

Post by jessebanning » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:10 pm

I would also suggest an Allen locomotive. He has a good selection of locos and they can be detailed to look like anything. I personally like the American and Chloe.
www.banninglocomotiveworks.com

www.littleengines.com

jb bergman
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:41 pm
Location: Slayden Mississippi

Re: First time builder.

Post by jb bergman » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:13 pm

Thank you. A quick google search shows no contact info for Allen Models, how do you get a catalog from Gene Allen?
Thanks, JB Bergman

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FLtenwheeler
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Re: First time builder.

Post by FLtenwheeler » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:38 pm

jb bergman wrote:Thank you. A quick google search shows no contact info for Allen Models, how do you get a catalog from Gene Allen?
Thanks, JB Bergman
I sent you a PM.
He who dies with the most unfinished projects: Should of put more time into their hobby.

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rkepler
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Re: First time builder.

Post by rkepler » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:05 am

If you like the Shay you might like Ken Schroeder's castings (web page here: http://www.shaylocomotive.com/ ) . I'm just finishing the details on mine (painting, bell & whistle), I started 3.5 years ago and first operated last September. Nelson Riedel wrote up his work on the web here: http://www.nelsonslocomotive.com/Shay/shay.htm The resulting loco is a good puller and fun to operate, and since the Shay was mostly made from stock materials you can use a lot of stock to build the trucks and frames.

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Harlock
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Re: First time builder.

Post by Harlock » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:14 pm

Since you are an experienced machinist, I'll second Allen Models. Allen's prints in some places are more of a rough guide than precise plans, experience building things will help you fill in the details and make small changes for the better. At least that was our experience with the Chloe drawings.

Gene Allen is one of the best vendors in the hobby in terms of reliability and punctuality. He is 90 years old and still on the ball. I see him frequently at tracks, still running the pants off his American. That being said I'd recommend you buy all the castings you need up front. :)

I would recommend the Allen Mogul or the Allen 10 Wheeler. If you build the Chloe, build the Fitchburg Northern variant or at least put a 6" boiler on it rather than the stock 5" boiler.

In addition to Allen's plans, two reference books that will be of use to you for general practice are Joe Nelson's "So you want to build a live steam locomotive" and Kozo Hiraoka's "The Pennsylvania A3 Switcher". Both are available from Village Press. Joe Nelson's book is a useful general live steam reference for how to make specific parts of an engine, cylinders, crossheads, etc. in a way that is tried and true. Also things like truing up the crosshead guides, valve gear, yada yada.

Kozo Hiraoka's book is aimed at beginners and hand holds the reader through every step of the process in fabricating all the parts needed for a steam engine. If you have a question about a part, you can ask "WWKD?" or "What Would Kozo Do?" and find the relevant section in his book. They are useful references for the novice and the experienced alike. "Building the New Shay" also contains a lot of interesting tips and tricks.

Good luck and happy steaming!
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
Webmaster, Allen Models of Nevada

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cbrew
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Re: First time builder.

Post by cbrew » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:38 pm

as an owner and builder of an Allen American, I would also say Allen s designs are the way to go.
if your "Minds Eye" is sharp and you can build anything you want from Gene's castings.
My American is far from "Stock Allen Design" but it is a hard working engine and often out pulls what people would expect.
My 2.5 cents
Happy building!
If it is not live steam. its not worth it.

jb bergman
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:41 pm
Location: Slayden Mississippi

Re: First time builder.

Post by jb bergman » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:33 pm

Thanks to everyone so far.
Hey Harlock, I have had both those books for quite sometime already. This is something I have planned for years! It would appear I have a lot of research to do. I have lots of PM's coming in, ALL with good advice.
Thanks so far to everyone,
JB Bergman

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Fred_V
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Re: First time builder.

Post by Fred_V » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:56 pm

JB, the real question for you is, do you want to build a simple engine? you should have the skills to build a more complex engine.

an Allen design will teach you a lot but may not be the engine you really want; i don't know. i'm just saying don't be scared off and build something you don't really want. it takes so much time to build anything that, unless you plan to build several engines, start with the one you really like.
Fred V
Pensacola, Fl.

765nkp
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Re: First time builder.

Post by 765nkp » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:53 pm

A Railroad Supply Mikado is a very good design and is easy to build. I built my son's from raw castings to first steam up in about 1 yr and 10 months, and this was only working in the evenings a few hours a night. Also drawings are easy to read! It is a very good pulling engine as well(20 cars no problem).
Make sure you build something that you will be happy with, I have seen people take years to build something and then be disappointed because to the engine was to small and wouldn't pull.

Tim
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