Couple of Shorties

Where users can chronicle their builds. Start one thread and continue to add on to it.

Moderators: Harold_V, WJH, hwboivin3

Post Reply
User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:04 pm

Well guys, it's not like I haven't been sitting around doing nothing. Thought I'd create another "build log" for other Chaski hobbyists to follow along. Once again, something different from a locomotive build project.

This "build" started long ago. Found a fellow club member (some 25 years ago) that had a ready-to-run set of old time passenger car trucks that I purchased. I knew at that time, the guy had an identical set of truck parts...still in kit form. Took a while, but was eventually able to buy that set of trucks as well. Patterns for these trucks were created by another long gone club member, Oakley Little. Both sets of trucks sat on my shelf for many years as one of those "someday projects.

Oak built a 3 car set of 1890's vintage passenger cars that rode on his trucks. For years, had heard about these cars, but never saw them at the club. Came came across Oak's equipment a few years ago at Paul Anderman's C&NW railroad meet in 2016 (C&NW = Cheap and Nothing Wasted).

Here's a photo of Oak's cars in the train rack at the C& NW and a close up of one truck...

IMG_8139.JPG
IMG_8143.JPG

A truck kit looked something like this...

Oak Little truck castings IMG_5502.jpg

The pedestals and side frame "beam" were a one-piece casting. On the ready to run set of trucks, other truck cross frame members were made of hickory or similar hardwood.

During 2016, my friend, Honest Dave, was in the process of rebuilding a Disney 4-4-0. He was the 5th owner of the loco and tore the loco down to a pile of nuts and bolts and started the process rebuilding the loco from the ground up. Dave too, saw Oak's cars and decided he wanted some old time passenger cars like that to pull behind the Disney.

Informed Dave, Oakley's truck patterns were sold or given to Morris Locomotive in MI. Didn't know at the time, Morris has modified the patterns to make them easier to cast...but at the same time created all kinds of additional work for anyone purchasing the old time trucks. The cast side frame beam was eliminated. Morris now sold a set of pedestals with front and back pieces. Understand, Morris will no longer supply the cast elliptical spring either.

So between the two of us, we had (1) ready-to-run old time passenger car truck set and (3) truck sets in kit form. Getting the (3) sets of trucks machined, assembled and then design/fabricate working straight air brakes for all (4) pairs of trucks took about 2 years.

It was during the truck building phase of this project that I finally decided what kind of passenger cars to set on my (2) pairs of trucks. The idea of having something that was easy to transport was always on my mind. Came across the Sierra Railway #5 combine and #6 coach that were just what was needed without getting into excessively long passenger cars. Hence, the reason for this "Couple of Shorties" build series title.

So, if you're interested in seeing how my version of these cars were built...climb aboard and feel feel to ask questions as we roll along. 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!

madelblue
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:01 pm
Location: Portland, Or

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by madelblue » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:43 pm

It will be fun to watch your build as you go along. I have taken the same trip as you and have built three combines and five coaches - all based on the Sierra Shorties. I have also been working on a baggage car and longer business car also based on the shorty dimensions. The trucks are actual wood beam trucks that utilized Tom Bee's wheel sets which were designed buy a friend of mine with input from me.

Good luck and I look forward to your build.
Attachments
DSC_3844.JPG

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:14 pm

Madelblue...are those 1.5" scale x 7.5"" gauge? Because of the "abbreviated" track, the gauge looks larger. Otherwise, thanks for looking on. Will be interesting to hear back from you as this build project moves along. 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!

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:09 pm

RESEARCH

Like any planned out project, one normally begins by a little bit of research. Or in the case of this project...as much research as possible to acquire dimension, details and other facets of these cars not easily seen from the photos. Original drawings for #5 and #6 no longer exist. However, I was directed to check out the Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette magazine, November 1977 issue, for an article and line drawing artwork. AHA...salvation at last! Would share those drawings here, but don't think those drawing can be legally posted here.

As long as there was one dimension provided on each drawing, either the truck axle centers or truck to truck center distance...that information could be used as a reference to scale out dimensions for either the combine or the coach. An end view of the car had no dimensions, but was able to scale end view items using the wheel gauge.

Luckily, there are several photos that can be found on-line such as these...

srrc-cb00rsa.jpg
SRYC-6coach6.jpg
In time, I was fortunate to find some other resources that provided additional information.

I'll stop here and say...from the start, it was note my intent to build a completely detailed and scaled model of #5 and #6. Why? Well, partially because of life is too short. Then, factor in issues like the trucks were not miniature versions of the real trucks. Also knew going into this project, the combine would be built to carry a 20# horizontal propane cylinder that MIGHT someday be coupled directly behind my Rutland locomotive...and carry other support equipment needed for locomotive operation.

As such, the car interior had to be at least 12.5" wide to fit a fuel tank down inside. Add another inch for framing and wall structure...and that pushed the car width out to 14.5". The real problem was the height. Where as the signboard on the real #5 is split on either side of the baggage compartment door...my roof had to be higher for the fuel tank. Therefore decided to run my sign board across the top of the entire car side. That ended up raising the roof and gave me approx. 2" more to work with. Will that look out of place? Won't know until I get the loco coupled up to the combine.

From this point, the dimensions for the 1/2" thick plywood baseboard could be determined along with the cut outs for the corner steps. On the combine...part of the floor was removed where the propane tank would set. That gave me another 1/2" of height to work with for the tank. The floor opening would be covered over with perforated steel screen from the underside of the floor. That, to provide ventilation in the event of fuel leaks. Would also replace some of the plexiglass windows with the same perforated steel screen for air flow.

Using a CAD program, #5 and #6 started to take shape. Here's a basic view of the car body. Most of the dimensions have been removed for clarity...

combine CAD drwg.JPG
coach CAD drwg.JPG

You'll notice the clerestory roofs aren't shown. The roof was one of those "works in progress" until I got to that point in the construction.

Next time, will get started with the floor construction. 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!

madelblue
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:01 pm
Location: Portland, Or

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by madelblue » Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:22 am

ccvstmr wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:14 pm
Madelblue...are those 1.5" scale x 7.5"" gauge? Because of the "abbreviated" track, the gauge looks larger. Otherwise, thanks for looking on. Will be interesting to hear back from you as this build project moves along. Carl B.
They are scaled to about 1.6, 7.5 gauge. I started planning these about 10 years ago. I was not able to find any drawings so I looked for as many pictures as I could find on the internet. I knew the overall length of the cars so I scaled off of those to the scale length. I knew I wanted them to be of a width and height that would somewhat match my current equipment and worked them to match. So, some artistic license was used. I was well on my way with building the first four cars and someone sent me the drawings from the Narrow Gauge Gazette that you mention. I ended up being less than two scale inches off from those drawings - so I felt pretty good about that!

That photo is from a couple of years ago when a friend of mine invite me to go to the Sierra Modelers conference in Sonora to display. He grew up in that area, so we had several days of touring and I finally got to see the prototypes in person - my cars looked like something from "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids". I was surprised and very happy with my build.

User avatar
FLSTEAM
Posts: 1544
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2003 10:55 am
Location: Central Florida
Contact:

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by FLSTEAM » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:54 pm

Interesting that this thread would come up at this time. I am in the design stage of building the combine in 2.5 in. Scale narrow gauge. I am planning on 3D printing windows and cnc routing the roof parts. Here is a 3d window ready to print.
Attachments
window.pdf
(55.86 KiB) Downloaded 156 times
http://www.ngshay.com/
Shay drawings and castings

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:48 pm

madelblue wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:22 am

They are scaled to about 1.6, 7.5 gauge. I started planning these about 10 years ago. I was not able to find any drawings so I looked for as many pictures as I could find on the internet. I knew the overall length of the cars so I scaled off of those to the scale length. So, some artistic license was used. I was well on my way with building the first four cars and someone sent me the drawings from the Narrow Gauge Gazette that you mention. I ended up being less than two scale inches off from those drawings - so I felt pretty good about that!

I was surprised and very happy with my build.
Madelblue...for being off only 2", I'd say you did a great job scaling. Nothing wrong with a little artistic license. After all, we do with what we know...and make up the rest and hope nobody notices. And yes, you should be happy with the end result! It's not like these are kits where you shake the box and a finish car falls out. These aren't the kinds of models you see often in the hobby...in any of the scales.

Whether working in wood or metal, some degree of advance planning needs to take place. Stay tuned...and you'll see how I accomplished some of the things I wanted to highlight as part of my models. 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!

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:54 pm

FLSTEAM wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:54 pm
Interesting that this thread would come up at this time. I am in the design stage of building the combine in 2.5 in. Scale narrow gauge. I am planning on 3D printing windows and cnc routing the roof parts. Here is a 3d window ready to print.
When Honest Dave and I got into this, didn't take long to find out the windows, exact or near, were NOT available. Looked at several ways to create windows including low temp metal casting. Between my two shorties and Dave's two CPRR cars...we needed some 100 windows in (4) different styles. Would have cost a small fortune to machine those out of aluminum. Don't want to think about the time needed to do that...even with CNC. So, we came up with a way to mass produce. Ended up machining aluminum window patterns, making molds and then resin casting. Will show you our solution when I get that to that. Hope you find other aspects of this write up that will help you in your build project. 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!

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:48 pm

CONSTRUCTION STARTS

Sometimes you reach a point where you "just gotta start making chips or sawdust". During the design stage, had to work from the inside out based on fitting a propane tank inside the car. The car floors had to be wide enough for the tank, some clearance and the 1/2" thick wall frames. The plywood skin and planking would overlap the edges of the 1/2" plywood floor. Knew how long the car bodies would be. Had to allow the 1/4" plywood and planks to run down over the plywood cut outs for the corner steps. Didn't take long to create (2) each of the (2) different sizes of car floors...

IMG_1148.JPG

The floor boards were set aside so the center sills could be fabricate. Have always built wood cars with a steel frame that runs from end-to-end of the car including the coupler pocket. These center sills are made with 3/8 thick x 1" wide steel. Use 2" shallow channel to make the coupler pockets. Came across a supply of shallow channel years ago. For these cars would use 6" of shallow channel for the coupler pocket for 2 reasons: 1) cut down on the weight and 2) didn't want the coupler pocket to run under the screened opening for the propane tanks.

Two pieces of 1" steel angle are welded to the sides of the shallow channel. A 3/16" thick piece of steel is used to make the coupler plate. The plate is clamped to the angle irons and holes are match drilled. These holes are drilled/tapped for 1/4-20 bolts. Before the clamps are removed, a 5/16" couple pin hole is drilled on the center line thru the plate and the shallow channel. The 5/16" coupler pin just barely penetrates the shallow channel. The coupler plate is then held in place with a couple Nylok nuts. Gravity does not like Nylok nuts...haven't lost one of those nuts yet in 30+ years! Personally, dislike visible bolt heads seen from the top to hold a couple in place, but different strokes for different folks. My way...don't see any signs of coupler hardware from the topside. Here's how the center sill assemblies turned out...

IMG_1175.JPG

1/4" holes are drilled in the center sill for the carriage bolts used to attach the car body to the center sill and the truck center locations. The center sill is clamped to the underside of the car floor along the centerline and the 1/4" hole locations transferred to the plywood floor. 1/4" carriage bolts are used to attach the floor to the center sill.

A hole saw was used to open the hole for the king pin nuts (prefer to have access to things that MIGHT someday need to be serviceable). A few years back, started upgrading to 1/2" bolt king pins. After the truck centers are determined, drilled/tapped the center sill for a 1/2-13 thread. Cut the head off the bolt and taper the end on a belt sander. Run the bolt up into the center sill. Use a lock washer and jam nut to secure. In fact, the one king pin on my shorty combine came up right where the perforated screen was located. Okay...had to punch a hole in the screen for the king pin nut.

But wait...we're not done yet. Body bolsters are made with 2" wide steel in various thicknesses as needed to get the couplers at the proper height. It's easier to get this worked out now...long before there's a car body on top to deal with. Side sway plates or shims are welded to the body bolster during this time as well.

On my trucks...the the top of the bolster center and the side sways are all designed/machined to be the same height. Use a 1/32" thick Teflon "fender washer" on the king pin between the car body bolster and the truck bolster. The washer provides the needed clearance for the side sways and provides minimal friction for truck swiveling...without the use of grease or other lubricants.

Here's the (4) car floors. The opening for the propane tanks have been cut out. The hole covered over from the bottom with perforated steel screen material...and a layer of black aluminum screen material. The perimeter of the screening is held in place with 1/8 x 1" aluminum bar stock.

IMG_1192.JPG

With the floor and center sill together, it was time for test fit. Here's an empty horizontal propane tank sitting on the screen. Would eventually put thin steel plates on the of the screen to keep the tank feet from rubbing the screen.

IMG_1193.JPG

Now before anybody says something...YES...this is still a legal propane cylinder! It was manufactured before the OPD valves were required on all new tanks. And yes, I have come across tank refilling services that ask about the tri-lobular handle. If I remember, I carry a copy of the NFPA regulations that state tanks made before a particular date (escapes me at the moment) are exempt from the OPD regulations.

Here's a close up of the floor cut out for the fuel tank...

IMG_1249.JPG

Now, while floor and center sill work was going on at my shop, work on the corner steps was in progress at Honest Dave's shop. And that's where I'll start the next time. 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!

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:41 pm

STEP IN TIME

Have some glue drying in the shop, thought I'd sit down and crank out another post.

For years, I've seen many a modeler build nicely crafted wooden corner steps ...only to be damaged (accidentally) by someone grabbing the wrong part during loading or unloading equipment. Or worse, a caboose derails and the step takes a nose dive into the ballast. Usually the ballast wins and converts the corner step to kindling.

Knew from the start, metal steps were the only way to go. So, scaled the steps from the Sierra Ry. #5 and #6 line drawings and drew something up on CAD. Explained the principle of the design and the method of mounting to Honest Dave. Used this technique when mounting the corner steps for my cupola caboose (caboose rebuild article posted on Chaski several years ago). Those steps have remained intact for over 30 years. If there were any points to take off...used Railroad Supply Corp. cast alum steps...which I believe were really modern passenger car steps. They were really wider than they should have been.

The corner step design for #5, #6 and Dave's (2) passenger cars would be the same for consistency. Would use steel angle iron for the steps. A piece of flat stock at the top and sides and another angle to cover over the plywood floor edge.

The 1.5" angles were heavier than normal...but that's what Dave had laying around. Those were shaved to 1/8" thickness using a shaper and milled to get the proper leg dimensions. The step sides...were TIG welded in groups of four. Used a template to scribe the perimeter shape and then to the band saw to cut away the unwanted material. The last parts to be removed were the TIG welds. A belt sander was used to remove the burrs and saw blade marks. Since the roller on top of the belt sander was exposed, that was a great location to sand the inside curve for the side steps.

Dave made up a fixture to clamp the parts together prior to TIG welding. While I don't have photos from the set up...I can show how this welding fixture was positioned before clamping parts together.

IMG_3059.JPG

There were (2) other parts for this assembly. The first was the top angle that provided a solid surface for flat head mounting screws. The second was another piece of angle with a flat welded into one end. When sandwiched with the rest of the step hardware...this add-on would provide the attachment point for the end beam assembly using the safe chain hooks for the fasteners.

IMG_3055.JPG

Dave made sure there were plenty of TIG welds to join the parts and provide the needed strength. Okay, go ahead...TRY to break this!

IMG_1188.JPG

When clamped to the base board, the plywood was sandwiched between the upper angle (to hide the plywood edge) and the step assembly.

IMG_1227.JPG

Went thru several mounting and dismounting steps as the screw mounting holes were located, transferred down thru the plywood to the step assembly where the holes were drilled/tapped for 10-32 screws and then on down thru to the safety chain mounting bracket where clearance holes were finally drilled. When the flat head screws were inserted, they clamp the (2) major pieces for the step. The safety chain bracket had clearance holes and would be held in place with Nylok nuts on the underside.

In the next photo, you can see how the top angle hides the raw edge of the plywood. Later on in this article, I'll show how the end platform planks hide the top of the upper angle.

IMG_1228.JPG

And when it all came together...it was a beautiful thing to behold. If there is a weak link in this design...the plywood would have to be ripped apart before the corner step was hanging loose. But this is all in keeping with my motto..."Built strong to last long".

Next, with the car floor upside down...you can see how the coupler pocket and corner steps come together. When propane fittings and air brake lines are added...it's gonna get ugly under here...but it's all needed. Eventually, all the metal parts will make a short trip thru the sand blast cabinet before painting.

IMG_1233.JPG

Next entry, will show how the end beam assembly came together. 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!

User avatar
Benjamin Maggi
Posts: 1289
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: Albany, NY

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by Benjamin Maggi » Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:25 am

Those steps look great. It is too bad that a commercial manufacturer doesn't offer them. I guess that would take the fun out of it though.
"One cannot learn to swim without getting his feet wet." - Benjamin Maggi
- Building: 7.25" gauge "Sweet Pea" named "Catherine"

User avatar
ccvstmr
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:37 am
Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Couple of Shorties

Post by ccvstmr » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:48 pm

Thanks for the comment Ben. As mentioned, the corner steps on my cupola caboose were Railroad Supply Corp aluminum castings. Don't know if those are still available. However, not sure how feasible a commercially available caboose step would be. There are MANY different types of corner steps used by the different railroads. Passenger car steps (I believe) are not as "steep", but wider than caboose steps. So which step should a supplier select for his catalog (rhetorical question)? Have even seen caboose steps that were basically a vertical ladder (like a transfer caboose).

When it came to the passenger car steps for these cars, decided to come up with something on our own. As you will see throughout this thread... building (1) car or (1) caboose or (1) passenger car isn't so bad. In this case, we were making parts for (4) passenger cars. Therefore...needed (16) corner steps. OUCH! At times, this was bordering on a production/assembly line job. Have to say though...the end result was worth the effort...no matter how many times parts were replicated. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do.

IMG_1234.JPG

There were other times throughout the project where LOTS of parts had to be prepared in advance. You'll see. Stay tuned. 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!

Post Reply