Thursday, May 29, 2014

My first Train

Here is the prototype of the train that I have been discussing in the design process.  The good news about the prototype is that it can be stained and used.  If I was going to make an actual one it would be out of maple and walnut.  However this would be very cost prohibitive for a prototype.  This train is made out of poplar and oak dowels.  There are other woods used  because they are purchased parts.
It was a fun little design project. From start to finish it took about 8 weeks.  This includes drawing and building times.
This is the complete train.  Six cars and each car is about 9 inches long.  In my humble opinion it looks great.  In designing this train, I wanted something durable and age appropriate for the 3-8 year old range.  I also wanted to use only basic tools that a toy maker should have (scroll say, table saw, small router, drill press, and belt sander). The only tools I used in addition to the list was a miter saw and band saw.  Both I could have used other tools but for ease I used the others.  It passes the durability test.  My kids used some of the cars as a riding toy. It is big enough for the kids to put things in it and push it a long. 
The Locomotive 
The great thing about this engine is that I did not need to buy a lathe for this project.  The bad thing is that I was not able to buy a lathe for this project.  The boiler is a turned part that was provided to me from Lowe's at a reasonable price.  My second option was to buy a wood rolling pin and cut it to size.  It just would not have looked as good.  Hardest part of the locomotive was proportions.  I wanted to make it the biggest car.  but it did not look right until it was reduced in length.  The cabin was made slightly larger.  I tried putting bigger wheels on it and that didn't work.  So this is the final design.  The roof and the cow catcher are the only parts that I used the band saw on.
Sorry for the green in the picture.  It is not that green in the person.  It is the light and poplar.

The Tinder Car
This was a relatively easy car.  There is not anything fancy about it
The Box Car
This was a fun little car to build.  There really isn't anything fancy about it.  The door is big enough to fit things through and the top has a roof to put things on top.  This car is where I realized I should have offset the sides.  If I made the middle section and top different sizes, the middle would not have looked so crooked.
Cage Car
I thought this was going to be an easy car to assemble.  I drilled everything together so the holes would line up and all the dowels were cut to the same size.  The problem was the dowels are a tight fit and not perfectly straight.  It took a little bit of work but it came together.  Next I will round over the ends of the dowels so the go in easier. It is an easy process of chucking the dowel in a drill and running the end at an angle on sandpaper.
Flat Bed Car
Another pretty basic car.  It takes the roof from the box car and puts it on a chassis. 
No matter how hard I tried to make this the smallest car it wanted to be the same size as the others.  The main feature I wanted on this car was the balcony.  It also proved to be the most troublesome.  I ended up changing  the balcony in the final drawings so the two corner posts do not go to the roof.  When trying to assemble the balcony I broke it twice.  I ended up drilling the thru holes larger then the dowel so that I was not pushing it through. That solved the problem but it was still a pain to remake parts.
Here are a couple of pictures of some of the details on the train.
Top roof detail of the cage car and caboose
Decoration around the wheels
I drilled through the floor to set the dowels.  It made it easier to assemble.
Fun little design.  It is a little bigger than I thought. Each car is about 9" in length.  Pretty much all the joints are re-enforced with dowels.  I was surprised of how much dowel I used.  It makes for a very strong toy.

1 comment:

  1. When I was at your house with the boys playing with it, I did not know you designed it!. It is amazing. The boys had so much fun, and it was so very sturdy!. The pictures do not do it justice. It looked like a work of art to me.