New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

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Miserlou57
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New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by Miserlou57 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:39 pm

Hello All,

I got involved in this hobby at a young age, and I wanted nothing more than my own affordable locomotive. Fast-forward thirteen years, and I set off to build just that; a great looking and powerful little locomotive with all the bells and whistles (sorry, I had to!) that didn't cost so much.

I designed a small locomotive with intent to sell as a product. I am significantly along in the process now, and the finished prototype will be done in the next month or so. (I work in consumer electronics and manufacturing, and this has been a back-burner project for some time).

My target price has been $1800, ready to run, and I expect to keep it there. It's 24 volt, about 1 horsepower (that's electric, high low-end torque), and is very easily transportable.

I'm gauging interest here. I'm not taking any orders or anything until I have a finished prototype (Silicon Valley isn't big on vaporware) or until everything is in order, but I wanted to see what people thought. I'm attaching a crude, unfinished picture of what a design looked like some time ago. It's further along, but hey, I don't want to reveal too much just yet! :P

Anyway, feedback is very important to me. Tell me what you think, and if you may actually be interested in one down the line, please say so.

Thanks.

Image

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SteveM
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by SteveM » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:15 pm

You can get a kit to build the Generic Electric from Plumb Cove for $1,800. Chassis only is available for $1,400.

Yours is a more intricate body. I think it looks pretty good.

I think you price point is pretty reasonable.

Steve

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cbrew
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by cbrew » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:12 pm

I though about doing the same thing using the 23ton boxcab my father designed back in the early 80s. but i have not. just not sure if the interest is there for it.
I have done the design for 1.5 scale standard and narrow gauge and 2.5 narrow gauge.

I problem should submit the drawings to see what it costs to have all the parts laser cut. I bet it would be less then $500 bucks for all the sheetmetal.
If it is not live steam. its not worth it.

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Fender
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by Fender » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:18 pm

Yours looks pretty close to an EMD Model 40, which would be a big improvement over a "generic" diesel. Was that your intent?

Like this?

Thanks for fixing this link, Harold! Dan
Last edited by Fender on Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dan Watson

Miserlou57
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by Miserlou57 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:34 pm

Sharp eye, Fender. 8)

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Harlock
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by Harlock » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:16 pm

If you can put out that design for the same price as the generic electric full kit you'll be doing well. I was considering purchasing a generic electric chassis for my girlfriend and her daughter to play with, but without the body and I would make my own nicer body for it out of fiberglass composite. Yours is nice enough that I would take it as is and paint it how I want it, and add detail if desired.

The generic electric has two axles and a motor on each. I've seen variants of the same idea with a single motor and a chain between the two axles to keep it AWD. For me that would be fine as all it would ever pull is one or two lightweight 4ft wood riding cars with a couple of kids or an adult and a kid on it.

One of the reasons the generic electric has a boxy cab is that it fits two full size car batteries which gives it a ton of power and traction which I do not need. Yours would presumably have less or smaller batteries unless the overall scale is larger.

Let me know your thoughts on the battery and motor subject. I think there is a market for single motor-smaller batteries type setup for people who don't need to pull a string of heavyweight coaches as demonstrated in a generic electric video. As is, these controllers and motors are so efficient these days that the similarly outfitted RMI speeder, generic electric and other dual battery 24 volt units tend to last for days without recharging. So there is some margin there to scale back if desired for casual users not pulling a lot of weight.

At LALS my Lady's girl ran a tiny 4 3/4" electric that she enjoyed a lot, and it had all the power needed. My girlfriend is fully qualified on my steam locomotive and can run it on her own and her 8 year old daughter has also run it, but they expressed interest in being able to run something simple as well when desired. Your product I think could hit that category really well, like the generic electric.

-M
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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Dick_Morris
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by Dick_Morris » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:15 pm

these controllers and motors are so efficient these days
Batteries have made some giant leaps over the last few years as well. It might be worth considering something other than the traditional lead-acid variety.

Miserlou57
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by Miserlou57 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:47 pm


One of the reasons the generic electric has a boxy cab is that it fits two full size car batteries which gives it a ton of power and traction which I do not need. Yours would presumably have less or smaller batteries unless the overall scale is larger.
The locomotive fits in right at 1.5"/1.6" scale, but it's bigger than the Generic Electric. If you look at the dimensions of the Generic Electric, you'll find it's actually pretty small... really small. This locomotive should be somewhat bigger all around.

I definitely wanted something quite powerful for its size (relative to other locomotives), and that I hope will be a major selling point. My current loco couldn't pull more than 6 people up a grade, and I really wanted to expand what a small, affordable locomotive could do. I may not need that power to pull myself around, but to pull a few family members around for an afternoon barbeque ...Definitely.
Fortunately, the higher power/running-time doesn't significantly increase the cost or detract from the convenience or portability of it.

It will actually accommodate really large deep-cycle batteries, ensuring it will last long hours of hard work. If one wants to use a smaller size battery, then there won't be any issue.

While it may exceed in some ways what people need, I hope that it will cover all the bases for mostly everyone. For the right price, why not?

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Harlock
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by Harlock » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:50 am

If it takes the larger batteries and still fits that nice shell, then yes more power to it. No complaints. :)
It is bigger than was inferenced in the rendering, which does not have a scale.

With the RMI speeder I ran it all day long out to the end of train mountain and back, and it still had plenty of charge on it. I was also towing one small car with it, three people total.
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

765nkp
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by 765nkp » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:19 am

How soon do you plaln to have these ready to sell?
I might be interested as well, looks like a nice set up.

Tim

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PRR5406
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by PRR5406 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:47 am

I could see a great deal of interest for beginners and Grandpa's. Nice design.
My own interest would be something to run as a "high line" locomotive. Lots of shop locomotives look similar to you design.
"Always stopping my train, and risking my ankles, with American made, New Balance sneakers."

prr094
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Re: New Entry-Level Locomotive for less than $2000

Post by prr094 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:37 am

I have a few Plum Cove frames that I was thinking about building larger bodies that the oringinal boxcab design. I had actually printed out photos of the EMD Model 40 a few months ago as a possible design. Would you consider also selling body components from the deck up? I would be interested.

Thanks,
Russ

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