A very productive weekend...

On Friday, June 14th, I loaded the car full of railstuff - my unfinished loco, over 100 kilograms of hot rolled iron, and all kinds of other things, and drove 140 km to spend a weekend in Hango.

After two intensive days in the workshop of my neigbour (my own workshop is in Helsinki, but I'm allowed to use his when I'm there - and I've stocked it with quite a few of my own tools...), I have produced about 40 meters of track, enough to test my 3003 loco in function.

But how, since I don't yet have a functioning boiler? Well, I do have an air compressor, deposited in my neighbour's workshop. So, since I had a flatcar finished (apart from some detail work), why not take the compressor (actually, the tank is crucial here, not the rest) with me on a train ride, in lieu of a boiler?

That I did. Here's a picture of the stup I used:

I learned quite a few things (everything in metric units, so if you really need to know your feet, convert them ;-) :

1 -
A curve radius of 6 meters is enough for a 4-4-0 in 1:8 scale, provided the gauge is spread 9 mm in the curves. The 6mm I had calculated with caused if not slight binding, at least a lot of friction, so I decided to go 3 mm wider. This still leaves a few mm of tread of every wheel on the track in the curves. And it works nicely - some slight squeaking noises, though...

2 -
The simple, welded track design works well. The rail is 10 x 10 mm, the sleepers are 5 x 25 mm. Laid on a gravel driveway or a well-cut lawn, there were no problems in running.

3 -
The rather rougly made turnout (shown on my website, same materials as above) functioned without a hitch.

4 -
The loco has power enough - I didn't even dare to try to maximize the speed - with the throttle (i.e. the compressor's valve) barely cracked, the loco took off like a dart. Of course, as the pressure in the tank dropped, the power diminished. I still will have to adjust the valve timing a bit - the rhythm of the exhaust beats is a little syncopated...

5 -
The filled tank of the compressor, (25 litres) at 8 bars pressure, sufficed for a run of a little under 100 meters - the whole track back and forth, and a little more. The tank manometer was at 2 bars after the run, at which pressure there was no torque left. So, I needed 6x25=150 litres of air for the trip. Is this equivalent to 150 litres of steam? And if boiling water expands 1500 times when it becomes steam, does this mean I have to evaporate 100 ml of water for a 100 meter trip? Endless questions...

6 -
The planned track design will have to be altered. The "proposed" 5 % grade will be impossible for the loco to negotiate. The 2% of the driveway was OK, but needed a steady hand on the throttle to prevent slipping. Note that I have the experimental flash boiler as a dead weight, to increase adhesion. So, the conclusion of this experiment is: I've redrawn the track to avoid that one bump on the lot...

Note that I have included a crossing in this design - without it, I could not get a very interesting layout in this cramped space. The four turnouts will enable me to vary the route and direction in many different ways.

Oh, and I might as well show you the first step in the construction of the tender tank:

I soft-soldered the pieces together, and have tested the tank - no leaks!

Close this window when you are ready...

Any information presented on this website (especially any do-it-yourself instructions) is given without any acceptance of liability for damage or injury - so, always remember: SAFETY FIRST!

The material on this page and its related pages is Copyright © 2001-2007 by J-E Nystrom. You may NOT copy, transmit and/or publish any of my images or texts in print, electronically, on your own website or in any other way. The author retains all rights to this work, with this sole exception: Storing the pages on your own computer or printing out a paper copy, for your own, strictly personal use is allowed.

You may, however, freely link to the "Building Live Steam Locomotives" page at: http://www.saunalahti.fi/animato/steam, or to my Animation Home Page at: http://www.saunalahti.fi/animato.

You should NOT link directly to THIS page, since it's address may change in the future. Also, you may not put any of these pages or pictures into "frames" on your own website.

Thank you.