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478 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
Getting close to winding up my latest project and thought someone might be interested.
Rick Marty

For several years I have been keeping my eye out for some early Caterpillar tractors for my South Fork Timber Co. logging railroad. What has been available is either in 1:24 scale (very limited) or custom made pieces in the several hundred dollar range. I was undecided on what to do so just let it ride.

In August last year, Aaron Loyet (trainbuffjr) of My Large Scale posted a series on how he converted a die cast crawler into a Cat 60.
See here;
This tipped me over the edge of indecision; I started researching and collecting information, pictures, and parts.

In September last year we attended the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Portland, OR. And there in the modeling contest room, sat a 1:20 scale Caterpillar 60. This really got me going and I ordered 2 die cast John Deere 430 crawlers by Ertle, the same type Aaron started his bash with

Model credit: Richard Schmitt. National narrow Gauge Convention, Portland,OR Sept. 2008

In 1925 C. L. Best Tractor Company and Holt Tractor Company joined forces and formed Caterpillar Tractor Company. Each of these brought some of their existing lines to the new effort. Best, who had built it’s first tracklayers in 1913, contributed the model 30 and model 60. Holt, who had been building track layers since 1904, brought their 2 Ton, 5 Ton, and 10 Ton to the new company.

The Best 60 had been introduced in 1919 and was rated at 60 belt and 35 drawbar horsepower. The Best 4 cylinder gas engine had a 6.5 X 8.5 bore and stroke and operated at 650 rpm. A two speed transmission offerd operating speeds of 1.875 and 2.625 mph. The maximum drawbar pull was rated at 11,000 pounds. In 1921 improvements to the carburator and ignition as well as a 3 speed transmission greatly improved the performance, by 1924 they had the 60 developing 72.51 brake horsepower with a 12,360 lb drawbar pull.

The 60’s greatest asset was its ability to function effectively in soil conditions that wheel tractors could not handle. The track laying 60 was widely used in agriculture, logging, mining, earthmoving, road building, and other construction.

The model 60 changed little after the Caterpillar merger and stayed in production until 1931. It was built at both the San Leandro, California and the Peoria, Illinois factories. Including the earlier Best models a total of 18, 929 Model 60’s were produced between 1919 and 1931.

In 1931 Caterpillar introduced its first Diesel engine in a tracklayer. This was a 4 cylinder 6.125 X 9.25 bore and stroke. These were introduced on the 60 chassis and were known as the Diesel 60. The performance of these were very impressive, 77.08 brake horsepower and 11, 991 lbs drawbar pull with a fuel efficiency ratio of 13.87 horsepower hours per gallon of fuel.
The new diesel tracklayer was a huge success, outselling all the competitors even though it was introduced at the start of the great depression.

In the course of my research I found that Caterpillars were not always yellow. From June 1925 until December 1931 Caterpillar Tractor Company painted all their tractors gray. The gray color for the base machine was Federal Standard # 595B-26134, the red color for trim was Federal Standard 595B-11120, and the Trademark decals were red letters with silver boarders. In January of 1932 they changed to “HI-Way Yellow” for the base machine and that lasted until June 1979. The decals during this era were black. The yellow paint was produced by Lilly Company and had various part numbers.
(Paint information was obtained from the ANTIQUE CATERPILLAR MACHINERY OWNERS CLUB web site)

Believe it or not I was able to trace the Federal Standard numbers and find a paint swatch. Even more unbelievable I was able to find a cross reference table on the Testors/ModelMasters model paint web site that listed that color (actually a gray-green color) with their stock number.
What put the whole experience in the Twilight Zone was being able to go to the local hobby shop and pick the paint right off the shelf. The Model Masters paint is a flat and the necessary color is a semi-gloss but with a Model Masters overcoat of semi-gloss transparent it should work fine.

Here are a couple of pictures of the Caterpillar 60 of that era. The first is a “Logging Cruiser” edition with the wrap around bumper and the radiator brush guard. This style will be one of my build attempts. The second picture is a builder’s view of the Diesel Sixty, about the only changers from the gas version are the engine itself and fuel tank location.

I want to Credit Iconografix Photo Archive Series for their book “CATERPILLAR SIXTY Photo Archive” edited by P. A. Letourneau, where these two pictures came from. I have several of the Iconografix “Photo Archive” books on different trucks and machinery and find them invaluable in a project like this not to mention very interesting to just thumb through.

The “humpy” Caterpillar logo was beautifully reproduced for me by Stan Cedarleaf, though not yet installed, I expect them to work perfectly like always. Notice the raised, cast in place, SIXTY lettering on the side of the radiator shell. I had these letters made in vinyl stick on by a local sign shop. They doubled the thickness so they will stand out well once I have them applied.

Finding plans and drawings for a specific tractor proved to be beyond my ability and/or patience. What I have ended up building is sort of a hybrid of the many generations of the gas powered Caterpillar 60. I did locate a restored gas Cat 60, circa 1927, as well as a restored Diesel 60 circa 1931, along with many other Cat models at the Heidrick Ag History Center in Woodland, California.
You can check their web site here. http://www.aghistory.org/cgi-bin/default.asp
If you like old trucks and tractors this place is a must see.

I took lots of pictures of their Gas 60 for reference, even though it was the agriculture model with canopy, there is very little base difference between it and the Logging Cruiser. I did however learn that whoever restored this one did not use the correct color of gray, much to light.

My best resource for this build was/is the Phillips Steam Sawmill who has a 1925 Caterpillar model 60 that they have owned and used in logging service since 1938. I took many photos of the old girl with a yard stick in the pictures to give me the size and proportion to build the models from. Here is a rear shot of her in the tractor shed; you can see the yard stick standing on the hitch tray.

The winches that I needed on the back of the tractors to run the blade and log arches were a problem because all I could find pictures of, mounted on the 60’s, were the big Willamette drum type which I didn’t like the looks of. After much searching I located a picture showing a winch on the back of a 60 that was perfect. This was a small two drum winch that was very mechanical looking and besides they had one exactly like it mounted on the back of an old RD 40 Cat at the Phillips Mill.
The internet file photo showing the Cat 60 with a 2 drum winch and double Fairlead, just exactly what I was looking for.

Best of all, here is the old RD 40 at Phillips Mill with the exact same winch mounted on the back so getting pictures and measurements was an easy task. Note that one drum, on the far side, runs a cable up to the pulley in the top Fairlead and then down to the pulley on the bottom Fairlead, you can see the hook dangling. The other drum runs up to the pulley in the “cable dozer” carriage.
This brings me to the next step.

The home made “Cable Dozer” carriage, again on Phillips Mill’s old RD 40, was just too good to pass up. It just begged to be modeled so that is the prototype for the cable dozer on one of my Cat 60’s.

One last piece of background information, I finally found a picture on the internet that showed the true Gray-green color that was used on these machines. Is this a beautiful machine or what?

So that’s it for background information. Hopefully the preceding lets you know what I was/am trying to accomplish with this project. My goal was not to achieve exact scale models but reasonable facsimiles of the prototype based on availability of information, materials at hand and my skill level to combine them.
So if you have the need for some crawler tractors on your logging line and this style appeals to you maybe you will follow along and see how I come out. That way you can avoid the same mistakes that I make.

Now on to the actual build.

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1,010 Posts

That is absolutely wonderful research! Just that alone is worth the "price of admission". I'd never seen a photo of the authentic grey-green color before either. Thanks so much. I'll be waiting anxiously for the photos of your modeling.

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478 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi all thanks for the interest.

More stuff on the way, hopefully tonight or tomorrow. Anticipate

Yes I am aware of the other Cats out there. They are great models
and have most of them.
Your right, they are not 60's.

The research is sometimes half the fun. There was a ton more but I tried to
keep it to a minimum. If this build thread runs its course there will be about
another 50 pictures plus text. I'm tired already, hopefully there will not be
much interest and I can drop it before doing the work required to post it all

Rick Marty

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70 Posts
Hi Rick,
Thanks for posting the photo of my CAT 60 from the Narrow Gauge Convention. It won second place in the contest. Hope you had great time at the convention and that you enjoyed seeing the Sundance Central Modular Railroad.
I'm looking forward to seeing your model of the CAT.
Richard Schmitt

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187 Posts
This thread made me remember my trip to the Sierra Logging Museum in Arnold, CA, where they have along with a three truck Shay (Yosemite Lumber Co #4), an awesome Willamette steam donkey, two Cats. The smaller is a Thirty (half as good as a 60?)

and the larger one I'm not sure of - any guesses?

These pix help get my creative jiuces flowing - may have to add some Cats to my lumber operation!

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478 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·

As I said I started with the John Deere model 430 Crawler as produced by Ertle Company. Once they arrived I started looking and measuring to determine which parts I could actually use.

Upon disassembly, it was obvious there really wasn’t much that was going to work in the 60 models. Chassis and tracks looked usable, and the chassis would need some alteration. The wheelbase was spot on for length and the front sprockets were correct enough. The rear sprockets were incorrect for a 60 model as is the whole back half of the side rails but I decided to go ahead and use them as they were.

The center chassis member had to be narrowed in the front and reinforced. The side frame rails were cut loose and widened as were the rear axle gear boxes. The 60 had a very wide stance almost as wide as it was long. The front axle has been extended to carry the sprockets
In their new location, the rear sprockets are not yet installed. The hitch tray has also been cut and filed to open it up.

The rear deck has been built up and enclosed, more work on that later. The back side of the axle boxes have been enclosed and bolt detail added also an exposed through rear axle installed to make the rear view more 60’ish.

More detail has been added to the back deck as well as to the axle boxes. The hitch tray has been built up using brass and styrene attached to the stubs of the original tray. The tow hook is made from a model airplane turnbuckle and a brass bolt “Black Smithed” into a hook. It has a three position drop pin.

Trying to make the side rails look more Cat 60 and less John Deere is a challenge. I decided on using the typical closure plate (brass piece) and mounted two fake rollers to them. For the tensioning springs I mounted a rectangular tube across the chassis and used it to carry the vertical springs. The tube also acts as a frame cross member, more on that later. You can see the brass bolt sticking out of the lower center of the side rail this is for the dozer blade pivot, more on that later also. Remember I am building two of these at the same time and only one gets a dozer blade.

For clarity on the pieces I’m adding, you can go back to the prototype pictures and compare.

The main beams of the new frame are 20 Ga. Galvanized iron, brass, and wood. Glued, screwed, and soldered, not necessarily in that order. Maybe you noticed from the pictures that the 60 has a very pronounced front overhang. The measurement from the front of the track to the front of the radiator is almost 30 inches. To me this is what gives the 60 its distinctive look and is really worth capturing in the model.

The frame has been incased with styrene angle and strip to give it the correct profile and size. Rivet detail has been added, on the outside of the frame only, as the inside will be very hard to see in the finished model. The engine block was cut from pine and the removable side inspection plates (styrene) added before it is fit to the frame cross members.

The flywheel on the 60 model was also known as the starter. An iron bar was inserted in one of the holes in the flywheel, the spark and throttle were set, the compression release opened and the flywheel turned slowly until TDC was found then a vigorous tug on the bar would hopefully get it to fire. Take a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeEKR7UHECc

The flywheels for the models were made from a piece of ¾ PVC pipe and some flat styrene sheet. A brass rod was used as a centering pin and a means to mount them to the block.

Here the rear engine mounts have been built up from styrene and installed to the frame. The operators deck has been added and some bolt detail put along the sides (behind the tracks).
The operators deck has to be pretty heavy/thick material as quite a number of pieces are drilled into, tapped into, or glued onto it before we’re done.

That’s it for chapter 2, more pictures and information to come in chapter 3.
Thanks for your time.
Rick marty

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525 Posts
Wow! What a fantastic project, Marty! I apologize, but I don't think there is much chance of people losing interest in this...
Can you imagine trying to start one of these on a cold winter morning?

Looks great so far! We'll be watching...


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105 Posts
Reading this just made me go take a second look at the model I have of the Cat 60. This one put out by Caterpillar in 1991 as a 60th year anniversary of the 1931 Cat 60. It was built in Germany by a company called Conrad in 1:25 scale. If I remember correctly I bought this at an auction for the kingly sum of $35.00 along with the original box which I still have. Was going to paint it yellow,glad I never did.

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478 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Chapter 3[/b]
Let’s break away from the chassis and engine for a little bit and concentrate on the fuel tank and brackets. The tank that I measured on the Phillips 60 was 20” dia. and 57” long. If my math is correct that would be a capacity of roughly 77.5 gallons. I’m not sure what the per-hour consumption was on the early gas models but I have been told it was high.

To make the fuel tanks I started with a piece of ½ inch schedule 40 cut to length, then glued and slid a piece of 7/16 wood dowel into the center. The dowel was a little shorter than the pipe. When the glue was dry I was able to smoothly concave the ends by tapering the pipe and using a couple coats of Squadron Green putty. The wrappers were made of thin styrene, just longer than the pipe; the rivets were embossed before wrapping around the pipe and gluing.

The tank support brackets were built up from flat styrene and mounted on the chassis. It was very difficult to get them in line and of an even height while working to two different surfaces.

Here the tanks have had the scale pipe fittings added and set in place to check fit. This gives a good view of the concave end and the lip of the wrapper sticking beyond just like the prototype. The hold down straps and fuel lines will be added later. It scales out at 19” in dia. Not perfect but will just have to do.

Getting back to the engine, the parts making is becoming more challenging. It took a while to figure out how to represent the oval shaped cylinders with their water jackets. I finally decided on 7/16ths styrene tube and adding extra layers to one side and filing to shape, what the heck there are only 8 of them to do.

One set of cylinders filed to shape and ready to install on the base plates. On the engine block the other set is mounted on the base plates with the top plates in place and the push rod tubes installed

This close-up view of the cylinder assemblies, less the valve covers and oil cups, are sitting in position on engine block. You can see a spacer has been added between the flywheel and the engine block to bring it to the correct spacing as shown in my detail photos.

In this picture you can see that the valve covers and oil cups have been added to the cylinder top plates. The assembly that you are looking at on the front of the engine block is what I call the front gear box. This box contains the drive gear off the crank shaft that turns the water pump gear (upper left of gear box) and the radiator fan, brass rod in center top. That small tube in the center sticking up with a nail in the end is the oil dip stick.

This side view shows some of the detail a little better even with the distraction of the other tractor in the background. A temporary brass shaft is sticking out the back of the water pump gear drive to build the water pump to. The oil cups (the black gizmos on top) are made from brass rod and wire insulation. These cups held the oil supply for the drip and wick oiling for the rocker arms.

I apologize for the poor picture but this shows some important parts. The water pump is built of styrene parts and installed between the cylinder sets on the drive shaft from the front gear box. The shaft then continues back to the magneto which is the lunch box looking piece on the left. The gray wire coming out the top of the magneto represents the thin wall pipe that carries the spark plug wires to each cylinder. It is almost impossible to see in this picture but the spark plugs are represented by small pieces of styrene rod inserted in holes drilled in the cylinder walls. The other end of the spark plug is attached to small copper wire stuck into the gray wire (pipe). The white styrene pipe coming from the bottom of the water pump will eventually connect to the bottom of the radiator for the inlet water feed to the pump.

This shows the water lines attached to the cylinder water jackets. The bottom line connects to the water pump on the other side and the one on top is the return line that will go to the radiator. This is a good clear view of the brass tube cross member mounting the vertical tension spring on the sprocket rails and also the fake track rollers.

Well that’s enough for now, in chapter 4 we will get to the manifolds and some of the controls.
Thanks for your time.
Rick Marty

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478 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well here we go with chapter 4.  This is sure getting long and drug out and we still have quite a ways to go, hope you can bear with me.  Here is a much clearer picture showing the water pump and the magneto.  Note the mag. is just sitting loose and the spark plugs are dangling loose from their wires and the holes are open.   The gas filter and mount has been added above the water pump between the cylinder sets.  Also the throttle rod has been added above the water pump shaft, through a bracket on the water pump and to a gear drive on the top of the front gear box.  This linkage will eventually connect to the control tower at the operator’s seat and to the carburetor.
In this view a brass rod and some styrene nubs have been added to represent the compression release of the cylinders.  If you go back and watch that U-Tube clip on starting a Cat60 you will see the operator reach down and close the compression release just after the cat begins to fire.
Also in this picture the sleeves have been added to the cylinders to receive the exhaust and intake manifold pipes
Here the exhaust manifold and riser pipe have been fabricated from 14Ga. Electric wire and styrene shapes.

Here the air cleaner and the intake manifold heater have been added.  The butterfly adjustment on the intake heater is a woman’s dress snap.

The intake manifold has been installed with a bracket to hold the intake air pipe to the air cleaner.  The carburetor (two washers and an earring back) have been installed and the throttle rod extended across and back to the carb. 

The engine block is basically complete now so we move on to the operator controls.  The first and most important part is a comfortable place to sit.  The seat is built up of styrene shapes with brass strap as strength for the back support.  The legs are mounted into the deck with brass rod, removable for future painting.  Maybe I should mention at this time that I have tried to build this project in modules so that it will be easy to disassemble to paint then reassemble.
The seat cushions were made from SCULPY clay and pressed in for a good fit then baked.  They will be painted and glued in at a later date.

The steering clutch handles have been soldered up from brass shapes and added to the “control tower”.  The hand throttle lever has been added, this is where the throttle rod to the carburetor attaches.  The gear selection lever is in the background.

The fuel tank has been set in place to get a feel for the size of the operator’s area.  The foot pedals have been added and the clutch lever is in place.  Notice the throttle rod is now connected.

In this “operators view” you can see the clutch throw out linkage as well as the full array of the other operating controls.
Well that’s it for chapter four.  Chapter five will be coming with the radiators and a few other goodies.
Thanks for your time.
Rick Marty

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