A center bench riding car

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Greg_Lewis
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Location: Fresno, CA

A center bench riding car

Post by Greg_Lewis » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:29 pm

Needing another riding car for the Triennial, I pulled out the article in the Nov/Dec 2001 Live Steam about the center bench cars used at the British Columbia Society of Model Engineers. These all-wood, drop-center cars looked to be well designed and easy to make.

Putting the bottom line first, if the ones offered by SPSteam2491 here: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/vie ... 0&t=106731 had been available when I started, I would have bought one. If your time is worth something, seriously consider these. Making accurate cuts on full-size sheets of plywood is time consuming and not fun. And the fact that error is cumulative makes that even harder. A sixteenth of an inch off at one end of the sheet will come back to bite you when it’s all put together.

I made a couple of modifications to the design. The BCSME design uses an all-wood frame but I prefer a steel center beam, and I increased the ground clearance to 1 ¾ inch. I also raised the seat board a little higher, and my car is only seven feet long while theirs is eight feet. I added two hand holes in each end to make it easy to re-rail.

The finished car weighs about 150 lbs. including trucks.

I didn’t get photos of every phase but here are some snaps of the progress.

Here’s the 1x2 rectangular tube frame set up on the shop-made trucks.
IMG_8208.JPG

The side and bottom pieces cut from birch plywood. I got my plywood from a specialty yard that supplies cabinet makers and got better wood at a lower price than what’s available at the big box stores. Always ask for a discount. This yard gives its best price to the local woodworkers’ club. And I’ve found that Home Depot and Lowes will give a veteran’s discount.
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The two side pieces are reinforced with 2x2 and glued and screwed together.
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Here’s the steel backbone in place with the two end floor pieces.
IMG_8401.JPG
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Greg_Lewis
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Location: Fresno, CA

Re: A center bench riding car

Post by Greg_Lewis » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:34 pm

The bottom in place with the angle iron edge frame. I made a tactical error: the bolts through the steel frame for the couplers are right under the vertical ends. Thus there is no way to replace a coupler without pulling off the bottom of the car and removing the entire steel frame. If I’d set this up so the end pieces were an inch further inboard on each end they would have cleared that bolt for access from the top side.
IMG_8438.JPG

Here we are after a visit to the paint shop. I sprayed one coat of Zinsser primer but I should have applied two. I didn’t get all the pores in the wood filled which caused me to have to apply three coats of color, and even then it would have been better with more primer. The top coats are Rustoleum smoke grey thinned with a little thinner and some acetone for the spray gun. I had to use the air brush to get into the inside corners as the big gun just blew the paint right back out of those spaces. (Reducing the pressure didn’t help.)
IMG_8445.JPG

I didn’t get photos of the seatboard in progress but the story is that I took the naked board to an upholstery shop and got a bit of a runaround. No need to tell it all here but the initial quote was $200 and three weeks lead time. I got a bad vibe and ended up buying the foam and vinyl at the upholstery supply place, and after my veteran’s discount it was only about $75. Fortunately, it didn’t take any brains to wrap the vinyl around the board and fasten it in place.

The rubber matting was applied with two-sided exterior carpet tape. I originally bought a can of contact cement but realized that the tape would be much easier. The exterior variety is the stickiest stuff I’ve ever seen.

I made up the lettering in Adobe Illustrator and took the files to a sign shop to have the self-adhesive lettering cut. Applying it was easier than drinking a beer.


IMG_8456.JPG
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

rkcarguy
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Re: A center bench riding car

Post by rkcarguy » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:47 pm

Looks great!
Southern pathetic?

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cbrew
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Re: A center bench riding car

Post by cbrew » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:15 am

haha, love the name, i also built four of these cars for the club a number of years back and I also didn't care for the all wood structure and used a steel center sill.
looks good.
If it is not live steam. its not worth it.

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chiloquinruss
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Location: Chiloquin, Oregon

Re: A center bench riding car

Post by chiloquinruss » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:44 am

Nice looking car. I have always liked any riding car that does NOT trap the riders feet inside the car IE a gon. Looks like a nice height so getting on and off should be easier for us old folks! LOL Russ

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SPSteam2491
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Re: A center bench riding car

Post by SPSteam2491 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:44 am

That is a fantastic railroad name Greg! I would love to see your car out at the Triennial, hopefully I can find you. I will be out there with my completed car and a couple kits too. Getting down to crunch time to get all the projects done!

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cbrew
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Location: Vancouver Wa

Re: A center bench riding car

Post by cbrew » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:47 am

SPSteam2491 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:44 am
Getting down to crunch time to get all the projects done!
i am glad i am not the only one :( 8) :? :shock:
If it is not live steam. its not worth it.

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ccvstmr
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Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: A center bench riding car

Post by ccvstmr » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:14 am

...if you guys didn't have this kind of goal on the horizon...nothing would get accomplished!

Just make sure the paint is dry by the time you unload at TM! :lol: Safe Travels!

...and don't forget to have fun! Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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ccvstmr
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Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: A center bench riding car

Post by ccvstmr » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:17 am

Greg...can't tell what kind of coupler you're using: straight shank or sprung shank. If the later, can always choke up on the coupler pin location. maybe drill thru NEAR the end of the square tube and locate the coupler pin between your two vertical end braces.

Another option...depending on the size of the hole in the coupler...drill/tap a hole from the bottom side. Use an all thread bolt and lock washer to secure the bolt from the underside. In other words...you do have choices! Good luck. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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Greg_Lewis
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Location: Fresno, CA

Re: A center bench riding car

Post by Greg_Lewis » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:29 am

Russ: Standard kitchen chair height is between 16 and 18 inches so I made the seat 17 inches above the footboard. The kids can handle it and us geezers don't want any more weight on our tailbones than necessary.

Carl: Thanks for the great idea! But it's over now. Next time I'll call you first!

The car passed the munchkin test:

IMG_8460.JPG
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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