It's long been a dream of mine to won an electric train. Every Grampa should have one to share with his grand children. Only I wanted a very large train with the tracks circling the entire yard. I started the train project back before our first grand child Phoebe was born, almost eleven years ago. I made great progress on the engine and two rail cars - all built out of steel using nothing more than a hand held plasma cutter and a welder. We even managed to lay about four hundred feet of track down the driveway when we put that in but things slowed down as we did all kinds of big projects for customers, built the new house, landscaped the yard and a thousand other things.
With the grand kids and other important young kids in my life growing up so very quickly it is time to get in high gear on the electric train. This past winter we gathered enough rail to get the rest of the way around the yard which will make the track about 1,100 feet long. That will go in as soon as the Viking ships are sent on their way. But the little engine was still without power. Through the years I had considered many power options and decided electric was the way to go. An old electric golf cart that didn't work donated the electronic controls. A friend brought us the thirty-six volt DC motor. Our good neighbour Gord sourced an old, variable speed hydrostatic drive. The necessary cables, gears, chains, batteries and other bits I could buy fairly inexpensively. With our CNC plasma cutter and welders I would easily make the needed brackets and custom controls.
The only thing I needed was to make the time and get in gear. With the shop finally empty of Viking ship pieces and me all rested up I decided today was the day. I used the forklift to lift the engine off the tracks and take it to the shop. I then crawled underneath the train and undid a few bolts and lifted the body off the chassis so I could take some measurements. Then it was off to the parts store to get some gears, chain and pulleys. Time flew as I worked on the train but by dark I had bolted on all of the new parts and created the cut files to create some exciting new pieces. These pieces would mount the controls, motor and the drive mechanisms. I also created the cut files for a custom scaled throttle bar and brake lever. It won't be long until we head down the track at long last!
I'll be posting the progress on the plasma cutting and fabrication in coming days. Stay tuned...
It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated with what I saw and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.
Through extensive research and LOTS of hands-on practice I quickly found out that my MultiCam router was capable of just about anything imaginable.This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as I continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful tool... -dan