6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

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Harlock
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6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:03 am

Been a while since I had any time to post project updates....they are a-comin'...

Here's one that evolved over about a year's time.

I set out to build a longer Gondola that two adults could sit in facing each other, with room in the middle for small kids to hang out on blankets. (Kids and grandkids...) Or for kids to entirely take over once they get a little older. I was inspired by a friend's daughter who turned a large RMI riding gon into a 'stuffy train' full of stuffed animals for night runs.

It also addresses the need for some real seats, as the bench car, while very comfortable for a bench car is not for everyone...

I was initially inspired by a gondola I saw at LALS where the entire side hinged downwards at the middle. It also had a nice locking mechanism that pushed rods into the rigid ends of the car. The hinges were nearly invisible, just the middle sticks out and the rest is hidden, bent up on the inside. Very clever idea.

The images here show the inspirational car in question.

However, as we will find out, I decided to move away from that design, but I present it here for those who do wish to follow it. It allows for a very high sided gondola that you can get in and out of easily.
Attachments
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Photos of inspiration gondola with hinge-down sides.
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:20 am

Anyway, on with my own build.

This story will make sense in a moment...

my wife's father sadly passed away unexpectedly about 5 years ago. He was an amazing individual and his job was a general contractor who built and renovated houses. At some point a friend of his who ran a cabinet shop went out of business, and he bought the entire contents of the shop and re-created it exactly in a garage type building on his property. Since his passing it has sat largely unused.

Combining a family trip with a desire to build a new wood gon body, I make a BOM and bought all the lumber I would need at home depot beforehand, my usual selection of poplar, oak decking and a 3/4 sheet of plywood for the base. I also fabricated and had the spine welded together in advance.

At the cabinet shop I set out to build a new gon body similar to my "Gondola in a Day" 5ft gon, but a foot longer. See http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/vie ... 9&p=300765 for that project. The major difference is this time I am using poplar instead of pine for all the lumber, which is far better in every respect.

See photo captions for descriptions.
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The cabinet shop
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Bits and pieces of poplar and 3/4" plywood base
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The base with the steel frame set in it.
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The sides are screwed in to the plywood with really nice wood screws featuring serrated head bottoms that do not tear the wood. These will be hidden by the stakes.
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Flipped right side up, here is the base of the car sans decking.
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:25 am

This shows body drilling and mounting of stake pockets. I printed out a paper template to set up the drill press. Once I set up for one hole, I drilled that hole in all the stakes, then moved on to the next hole up.

After that I clamped the stakes to the car side and drilled the two sheet metal screws in. Since this is a 'what's at the hardware store' type simple riding car, I did not make or use square bolts.

Using oak decking pieces inserted at the top of the main car body, I was able to simulate the correct height for the fence sides. Sicne I was still making a fence that would fold down at this point, I only made the fence to half height - two poplar sticks high.

Then I built up the ends, leaving the gap for the fold down portion of the fence.
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:32 am

The first picture shows what it looks like complete with the fence-door sitting in its hole. That's what I accomplished at the cabinet shop, the basic body. I then took it home and continued work.

The second photo in on my mill at home, milling out a slot in a fence stake as a test for hiding the hinge in the thickness of the fencing. This dovetails right in with the discussion we just had about milling wood on your milling machine. I am again using a 'sandwich' in this photo to avoid the poplar tearing at the start and finish of the tool pass. Poplar sandwiched with leftover oak decking in this case.

Here is some pictures of separately painting some hardware. Screws that have to go in after the majority of the car is painted, and grab irons, my dad's one contribution to this car. He makes them by silver brazing eye bolt heads to bent up 1/8" steel rod.

Last image is of various bits of the car painted. The red came out a little too 'reyad' (don't use colonial red - too much violet!) but that was fixed later when the car was rebuilt.
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:38 am

in the mean time, back in the milling machine I was making up the end buffers. There are two poplar pieces doubled up, plus the little pocket fascia, all milled throguh all at once to create the pocket.

To make the oak decking, 1/4" X 2" hobby oak board was purchased at Home Depot in 4 to 6ft strips. This stuff is perfect and needs only to be cut to length and pilot drilled. The beautiful vice stop shown was made for me by Eber West as a present.

there is a little more work to do to cut the insets where the stakes go. I like having the decking sticking out a little from the fencing per prototype, gives it a real nice look. It's worth the trouble to do the fencing cutouts.

little bass Escucheon pins are tapped in, two on each end of each plank, about 128 pins. It's also a good idea to glue the planks to the plywood and poplar sides as you go.

The final pic shows the stained (miniwax golden oak) planking.
Attachments
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:43 am

And here we are a day before Bitter Creek president's day meet 2017 with a car that is finished enough to road test.

With no seats and no sides, the 'bulkhead gon' was still a success, and now back into the shop to finish it off, or so I thought.
Attachments
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:53 am

And then, I got busy. really, really busy. I got bit by the travel bug more so than usual and went everywhere.

So the gon sat. and sat, and sat, for almost a year.

Part of it was that I was unhappy with the side setup. I realized that with the thickness of my stakes, the folded down side would present too much of an obstacle for people to step over. If you look at the black gon in my inspiration photos, the stakes are very thin.

Finally, after getting back from the New Zealand live steam convention in January, I had a month before the NEXT Bitter Creek president's day - and I decided to devote some actual time to finishing the car.

I finally decided that swing open doors in the middle like the huge RMI gondolas was going to be the way to go. It would end up looking like a gondola that's been converted to an excursion car, which is exactly what it is, so that's great. I would not try to hide the doors very much, the hinges would be on the outside and obvious.

So the following photos were taken nearly a year after the last set.

I partially stripped the car down and re-used any pieces I could. I only had to buy a few new sticks of poplar. I was in a terrible rush to finish the car, so I did not take as many photos, but I made sure to take a nominal amount.

The first photo is of the recycled pieces, and one of the ends re-made.

The second photo is of the doors being framed up and glued. The doors retain a fake fence post on them that is not actually attached to the car, to give a continuous look.

The third photo is the car sides sans doors all framed up with some additional interior stiffeners being glued and fastened on.

Fourth photo is same but you can see the pieces being glued on the inside of the opposite side - they are leftover flooring pieces.

5th photo is one of the ends being painted up, with the same paint again to make it an even base coat for a slightly different color later.
Attachments
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:02 am

It's now two days before bitter creek, once again. (We call it the "Bitter Creek Rush")...nothing gets done without it!

Here are the two ends painted up with a new brick red, and the doors with their two fake screws at the bottom.

I masked the flooring off to re-paint the chassis.

Hanging the doors was the trickiest part. I used thin parallels to set the correct gapping and spacing, then clamped everything and pilot drilled and screwed in the hinges.

In the end they came out very nice. There were lots of little things - for example the hinges do not sit flat from side to side. One side is higher than the other. (Cheap hinges...but they were powder coated black so that made them attractive to me) I actually planed the thickness of the fencing for the doors by .05 to get everything to sit parallel when closed. The two sets of doors for either side are not the same - the doorway gap was a little different, off by maybe 1/8" due to how the sides sit on the car, using the old holes from the previous fencing. So the door sets are keyed to each side with one set of doors being a tiny bit wider than the other side.
Attachments
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:05 am

Photo 1 is a good view of the interior of the doors, with the extra framing. The punch set visible was used to center punch the holes for the hinges while they were clamped on.

And finally, the car is ready to load the day before departure. At least the paint is dry this time!
Attachments
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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Harlock
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by Harlock » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:10 am

I made a very quick and dirty latching mechanism for the doors, and I did not have time to build the seats once again, but the car was still a hit. With the tall sides Ellie, now two years old could safely sit in the middle of the car and our newest grandbaby could ride with grandma.

The last three things to do are to letter the car, build the seats and finish the door latching mechanism (one door on each side needs a rod that goes into the floor of the car, or you can easily bend the existing latch.) I have a prototype seat that I borrowed that I like very much and will make something similar. It is basically a mount for one of those inexpensive grey boat seats.

Will that take another year? Hopefully not. I'd like to run the train again this spring or this summer.

as a last note, this and the other gon are loosely based on the D&RG trash hauling gon now located at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. I liked it because it didn't have stake pockets - good for inexpensive car. My bench car has Artzburger's nice pockets.

Thanks for looking and hopefully there's some inspiration somewhere for anyone looking to build a riding gon.
Attachments
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San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Product Development and E-Commerce, Allen Models of Nevada

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NP317
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by NP317 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:11 am

Mike:
Really classy work, and a pleasure to see.
Thanks for sharing.
~RN

DRS_RR
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Re: 6ft 3" scale Gondola with side doors

Post by DRS_RR » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:37 pm

Mike,
I always enjoy your build articles...very inspirational, and always great ideas.

I hope this is the year I get to build a car or two.

Thanks again for sharing your work with the rest of us.

Dave

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