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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So first off, sorry if this is the wrong spot for this kind of post.

As I've falling in love with trains all over again, I want to try and challenge myself. For many years during my break from model trains, I was still working with other models and miniatures and have decided I would like to make my own custom narrow gauge model, something akin to a backwoods logging town homebuilt engine. I'm curious what are some of the tools I would need and what skills I would need to work on and hone to complete this project. I currently have my goal set on a 0-6-0 saddle tank with a large funnel. I was also thinking of trying to mimic those videos of the "dragon trains" via a red and yellow LEDs inside the funnel and then either find a beefy smoke unit, or cobble something together from an old Vaporizer.

Again, sorry if this is the wrong spot for this type of question.
 

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Ok then. The first question to ask is : what is the scale of your model and what is the gauge of your track? Here in the UK the common system is called SM32. This is a scale of 16mm to the foot running on 32mm track, the other is called SM45. In the US of A a common scale and gauge is 7/8 of an inch and 45mm track.

My narrow gauge railway was SM32.

The next question is : do you model in Imperial or Metric? I have always used Metric (I am now 65) and this allows for a simple scale reduction.

You will need a source of wheels for your loco and being 0-6-0 you will need to purchase or make a set of conrods that are "split" and have a flexible connection just after the central axle. The G1MRA profile wheel is used for 45 mm track. These are commercial otems - you will not need a lathe or a mill.

Normal hand tools were what I used to build ten of the twelve locos.

Regards

Ralph
 

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For a 0-6-0 be sure to get a chassis that has 2 axles motor driven. Bachmann has single rear axle driven and LGB mogul does have 2 axles driven. Both can be purchased separately from a complete engine. LGB and Piko do have 3 axle European engines with just the 3 axles.
 

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Ralph brought up an interesting point. Which side of 'the pond' are you located? Scales and availability will be affected by that. From an American point of view, i am not sure of availability of 32mm track in the US.

Almost all 'garden scale' trains run on 45mm gauge track in the US, Scales vary as a matter of which gauge you are trying to represent. Standard gauge (54.5") would scale at 1:32. What is commonly known as 'Cape Gauge (42") would scale at 1:24, European 'Mete Gauge' (1 meter) would scale 1:22.5. American 3 foot gauge would scale at 1:20.3, and the American and UK 2 foot gauge would scale at 1:13.7.

American Standard Gauge and 3 foot narrow gauge are by fart the most popular in print. There are many who model Cape Gauge as well. The 2 foot narrow gauge crows is represented by some excellent modelers, but is by and large a scratch builders scale.

You have made a great start looking to the internet forums as a start. Today, they are the best source of information as most of the print publications have ceased publication. Another good forum to look into is Large Scale Central (www.largescalecentral.com). Both forums have some fantastic modelers and all the help one could ask for.

Happy Railroading.

Bob C
 

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32mm track is normally used for "0" gauge locos. You are probably right about USofA sources of 32mm narrow gauge track.

Here we have: PECO, TENMILLE, CLIFF BARKER...

Regards

Ralph
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello you all!
Yes, I should have mentioned I am from the US, Michigan if that helps with anything. My original idea was to buy an old model, try to get it running and build from there, or if cheaper, buy a chassis/frame/wheelset and then build off that. I mostly just want a rustic little steam box that looks like its erupting, haha.
 

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Is this going a project to ever run outdoors? Makes a difference on what 45mm track that can be used as there are different metals (brass, nickel plated, strainless) plus hollow steel (Bachmann and Lionel) and plastic. Plus there is code 215, 250 and 332 for rail size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My goal is solid brass track for outdoor use, and I would like to make this a outdoor loco, I've been trying to find information on water protection as it seems completely water proofing is rare. I would also like to join the R/C bandwagon with this project and I just started to wonder if an 0-6-0 would be big enough to house everything needed to function as desired, maybe a tender would be in order.
 

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You should hvae no problems fitting something like a 7.2V Tamiya race pack in the saddle of your loco.

Before you start out it might be helpful to draft your loco onto graph pap thus you will be able to if things fit.

Some narrow gauge railways had a unique feature. The Welsh Dinowig slate quarry had double flanged wheels and the Snail Beach had drainage holes for pebbles scraped off it.

Regards

Ralph
 

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If you’d rather focus on the “cosmetic” parts of an electric model train and not fool with the electronics, driver wheels, valve gear, motors, etc, Bachmann sells a lot of fully assembled chassis of locomotives on their parts pages. Attaching your boiler to it might be a challenge but if you line up the holes for the mounting screws I would guess it could be done.
 

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I'm curious what are some of the tools I would need and what skills I would need to work on and hone to complete this projec
First, this is the right place to ask. Second, your train is just a model like other projects you may have built.

As Ralph said, regular hand tools work, though my workbench has small versions of pliers, cutters, etc. Micromax in NJ sell lots of them, and I mark up the catalog for my family every Xmas.
I use pin vices with small drills to start the holes I may need. After that a Dremel with a cutting disk and drills is helpful- a full size cordless drill is a low-speed option. I also use a small drill press to drill accurate holes,, and small table saw for cutting thin materials. Again, I got most of them from Micromark.

Finally, some soldering skills will be useful 8f you plan to add LEDs, etc. A small soldering iron and lots of practice is called for!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
First, this is the right place to ask. Second, your train is just a model like other projects you may have built.

As Ralph said, regular hand tools work, though my workbench has small versions of pliers, cutters, etc. Micromax in NJ sell lots of them, and I mark up the catalog for my family every Xmas.
I use pin vices with small drills to start the holes I may need. After that a Dremel with a cutting disk and drills is helpful- a full size cordless drill is a low-speed option. I also use a small drill press to drill accurate holes,, and small table saw for cutting thin materials. Again, I got most of them from Micromark.

Finally, some soldering skills will be useful 8f you plan to add LEDs, etc. A small soldering iron and lots of practice is called for!
Thank you so much! I have most of these tools on hand already. with the exception of vices or clamps, which in hindsight, explains why my more boxy models were always maddening to put together. as for the solderng, I have my grandfather and several friends who can show me some in person and some hands on practice.
 

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Thank you so much! I have most of these tools on hand already. with the exception of vices or clamps, which in hindsight, explains why my more boxy models were always maddening to put together. as for the solderng, I have my grandfather and several friends who can show me some in person and some hands on practice.
You can solder, a few helpful hints: Everything needs to be clean. Copper wire strands exposed to air corrode. Fine sandpaper gently pulled across the wire cleans to new shiney copper. Next tin the soldering tip. This means when the tip gets hot, touch the solder to the tip of the iron. The solder on the tip of the iron says liquid and acts as a good conductor for the heat of the iron. The last step, most important, the solder flows to the heat. Heat the connection, add the solder from the other side. When the connection is hot enough, the solder will flow in. Stop, and remove the heat and stop feeding the solder.

As you stated, practice on non critical test pieces. Use rosin core solder.
 

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Ah! When you mentioned an ignorance of soldering I immediately assumed the soldering you were referring to was hard / Silver Soldering...

Here in the UK there are three basic types of low temperature "soft" solder. Pure Tin is used for model making, 60/40 Tin/Lead is the main electrical solder, whilst Antimony with Lead and Tin is used for "severe" external electrical connections.

Where I live the winter cold can cause the Tin to change allotrope and your electrical connection to crumble to bits... I do not know the climate where you are - but there is a " -15°C WARNING" statement on external elertrical equipment here. There was a problem with large chest freezers kept in the garage - their motors exploded and caused fires.

Although I do use flux cored electrical solder for models, constructional solder for a model is always pure Tin with an externally applied flux. Structural soldering is always "hard" Silver Soldering.

I would actually say that it is easier than soft soldering

Regards

Ralph
 

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Use rosin core solder.
I use electrical rosin core solder. Plumbers solder seems to be (a) thicker and more tricky to use and (b) more acidic.
I have some old flux (fluxite) from 50 years ago that is still going strong. All the comments here are valid, though I find it easier to make sure the soldering iron tip is coated, then touch tip to work and add the solder so the solder flows onto the wires. Tinning, where the piece is coated with solder before you bring it to meet the next piece, is also a good technique. Flux helps the solder flow on a tricky joint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Where I live the winter cold can cause the Tin to change allotrope and your electrical connection to crumble to bits... I do not know the climate where you are - but there is a " -15°C WARNING" statement on external elertrical equipment here. There was a problem with large chest freezers kept in the garage - their motors exploded and caused fires.
Regards

Ralph
I did not know about this, I live in the southern Michigan area of the USA so we can get some cold winters when Mother Nature wants to remind us whose boss. I'll keep a mental note of this when I'm looking for wire, is there a good brand to look at for possible extreme colds?
 

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I cannot tell you what might be available in the USofA... But here we have "Artic" grade cable for external installations, Blue for 250V and Yellow for 115V. Both are rated at 40A between -40°C and +70°C.

Here in the UK the most common alloy mix for low temperature -5°C usage contains 10% Bismuth, there is another alloy that uses Antimony at 25% but also Gold at 3%.

Some alloys might be illegal in the USofA(?)

On a personal note the Bismuth alloy leaves a harmless taste of Bismuth in your mouth😝

Regards

Ralph
 

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In any case, lgb motor blocks are famous for their reliability if you use the German designed ones 2010 or 2080.
From that you can build a superstructure of your liking.
They do have smaller wheel diameter frames such as 24141 that were developed decades later too but I have never run them outside.

Do you want to work in metal or plastic? 3D printing an interest?
 
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