Wolfman122

Starting Trains without a set?

29 posts in this topic

Hiya,

 

I've got a lot of technic, including PF motors & an S-Brick, plus a bit of basic lego. I was looking at getting some train stuff for a bit of fun & to play around with the little one. I was wondering as I have PF & S-Brick whether it was worth me buying parts instead of a set? A couple of track packs, plus bits for a loco & cars. I don't really need the PF IR stuff. Is it going to be cheaper to do this? If so what specialized parts do I need to construct a train (wheels etc?)? 

 

Or should I just bite the bullet and get a cheap train set like 60051 and ignore the fact that I won't be using the PF IR controller?

 

Cheers!

 

-wolfman

 

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I would say that tracks and wheels are the most needed/essential parts. Most of the other stuff can be readily constructed from other basic pieces (stuff like wagon bases).

In another way to put it, buying a set is like playing easy mode, building it up yourself is hard mode.

Also, the more specialized the part, the more expensive it tends to be, especially over time. (i.e. monorail track)

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Since you have already have PF and Sbrick, the simple thing would be a non-motorized train set to get tracks and wheels and couplers.  Unfortunately, the last useful non-PF parts pack train set was the Lone Ranger Constitution Chase train set.  As it is out of production, it might cost more than buying parts separately.  I think 60052 on sale might be more useful than 60051 because it also has switch tracks. I guess to price things out for your situation and see what's cheaper.

 

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Thanks, those L motor frames look like a great base to work on. 

Will price up parts Vs a set, see what I can afford.

 

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I started with no train set, in fact I still don't have one. My first (and only) train 'set' was 7936 Level Crossing. I then bought the PF parts, including the train motor which includes train wheels helpfully. All my other train related parts were purchased through bricklink orders over time.
So no, one does not require a train set such as 60052 to start a train collection. However, it may be helpful, as one can get a 'proper' layout set up sooner with a set.

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I only had some blue rails from my parents as a start, well quite a lot for a child and later got a freight train (set 7898) for christmas which was my real start into building trains. It helps because you already have enough rails to have a rolling train and some bases to build some cars. However, I never bought a train from LEGO, only bricks to build my own and additional rails. So if you can get the 60052 on discount I would buy it to start, so you have a decent stock in rails and axles to start. It also comes with a train motor which might help to start (I guess when you build technic stuff it's on a bigger scale).

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Posted (edited)

I've decided to see if I can build those L motor frames, see if I find it fun. I've ordered some wheels from Bricklink as that is all I am missing afaik. Well that and track. Whats the min track I can buy to make a circuit with standard RC lego rail pieces?

 

Once I've have tried that I can see if I enjoy it enough to put some more cash in to get more than just a basic loop / simple engine. My ultimate plan would be to build a little "mining play set" for my daughter (honest its for my daughter! Not for me at all ;)) with train with carts which can be loaded via conveyor (she loves the 42055 set) and perhaps also via dump truck, with some way of unloading the train and starting the loop again.

 

Thanks for the help so far!

Edited by Wolfman122

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You will need 16 curve tracks to make a circle. To make it more interesting, you could add straight tracks or points for passing loops and sidings.

The mining layout sounds fun; I've tried something similar with 4204 The Mine.

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I don't think I ever had any tracks until just last year. I started out when my parents bought the new Hogwarts Express set, then on Ebay I acquired the Constitution's engine which I then cannibalized to make the Orient Express. So I would say the wheels, the bases, and some of the more essential train pieces are the best to go for first. 

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Ok so this is probably a really stupid question, so apologies if it is. I did try to find the answer using google and peering at pictures of other peoples trains but nothing jumped out at me.

I obviously don't have a train set to base my engine off or refer to. So I had a question about the wheels. I notice that the sets have a set of axles connected together (is this called a bogie?) Those connected sets of axles can rotate to allow the train to take corners if the train has a long wheel base. Do those sets also rotate the train motor too in a similar manner? I notice that the L motor frame suggested above does not have axles rotating for curves.

Obviously I am planning on using a PF motor instead of the train motor -  I could make the driven axles rotate like the free axles. Is this necessary for the long wheel base? Or an over complication?

 

Thanks!

 

-wolfman

 

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Lots of info there. Here are some basics:

Large train drivers like what you see on the L motor frames and on other steam engines are typically placed in Flanged/Blind/Flanged configuration. The radii of TLG curves are too small for all the wheels to be flanged. The other smaller wheels you see on steam engines are called the bogies and they come in many different forms. 

 

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It's not a dumb question, but rather a matter of different words used to describe (roughly) the same thing.  I usually consider "bogies" as the swiveling wheelsets that coaches & freight cars use, and "trucks"/"pony trucks" as the support wheels that engines use. But it really differs depending on your geographical region.

One thing you can do with the wheels is to have the traction bands only on one side. The plus side is that they'll negotiate curves better, the downside is that you'll lose traction.

The idea to make the individual drive axles be able to swivel is  not impossible, but not very practical for long term operation or hauling heavy loads (imho).

Hope this helps!

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I think the main difference here is that the L-motor frames are designed for use in steam locomotives, as they have large wheels. The train motor does indeed swivel as a bogie, and is typically used for diesel or electric locomotives.

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7 hours ago, ColletArrow said:

I think the main difference here is that the L-motor frames are designed for use in steam locomotives, as they have large wheels. The train motor does indeed swivel as a bogie, and is typically used for diesel or electric locomotives.

Said wonderfully.  I was thinking the same thing but could not put it in words.

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Thanks @pirzyk!

I was also going to add that in the case of steam locomotives, the larger driving wheels (the powered ones) are not all flanged as that would cause derailments on our tight LEGO curves. A typical configuration (as @M_slug357 mentioned above) for a 6-wheel (3-axle) loco is flanged-blind-flanged on each side, so that the front and rear flanged pair follow the rails whilst the blind pair in the middle overhangs or underhangs the curve (Is that even a word? :grin:).
However, the smaller leading and trailing wheels (unpowered) are all flanged, as they are mounted on bars so that they can swing from side to side and follow the tracks. I hope that makes sense. 
I'm not sure @Wolfman122 is building steam locos, though. If you are, the L-motor frames are an excellent starting point. If you want to build a modern diesel or electric loco, just use the train motor with the decorative side pieces, and a similar built-up one for the other end (there are plenty of examples of fake-motor-bogies in official sets, just look at a few instruction booklets for inspiration). It's much easier. :classic:

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Thanks for all the help, its great! :thumbup:

 

I've not actually got a train motor, I wanted to try the cheap route first using the PF motors I already had plus bricklinking wheels & track. I was planning on doing some more modern diesel/electric style so that I can combine it with the rest of my technic as a little industrial playset (conveyor belts + RC transport loading on to RC train wagons). I am pretty rubbish at making anything look good so the fact that it will be an L-motor powered modern train won't really make a difference to me! Its all about how well it performs & interests my daughter which is why I was asking about making the powered axles rotate with the track as a requirement for longer wheelbases.

 

I'll keep you updated on my noobie progress towards making my first ever train if anyone is interested in helping. It won't look good though ... probably end up looking something like this (but with an L-motor) ;)

 

IMG_4932.JPG

Cheers!

-wolfman

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Posted (edited)

Since you don't have any train related sets and want to use a PF motor, I would suggest to build the bogies yourself with train wheels (note that you use the ones where you can fit a cross axle in)

I don't want to seem egoistic but you might want to take a look at my LKAB IORE and it's motor:

18423189859_06d04e357c_c.jpgIORE Motor by StefanEris,auf Flickr

 

EDIT: I see you already did a frame with technic bricks, I used plates with holes so that I could use "normal" bricks to build the loc on it.

Edited by Stefaneris
Adding more information

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What parts are involved in connecting two train cars together? I'm looking to buy some train parts and build a crude replica of the local rail transit cars.

For a push train, can you use cross axle shafts and bricks with a round hole instead of the metal axle? I'm worried about future rusting and noticed for cars, they use plastic axles instead of metal like before.

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For coupling railway cars together, there are two types of buffer beam, each has a magnet in it. 91992 (or here) has a plough moulded onto it, and is typically used on modern diesel or electric locomotives. 91994 (or here) doesn't, and is used for most wagons, coaches or anything else. They are mounted at a standard height, just look at the instructions for any LEGO train.

About the wheels; I take it you mean instead of using part 2878c02, which consists of a frame, wheels and metal axle, you want to use a frame built out of 1x2 technic bricks, a 6m cross-axle and these (55423c01) wheels? If so, I would recommend using the complete assembly; they have far less friction, so longer trains are easier to move, and they come with detailing in the frame. If you're not worried about either of these two factors, feel free to use the cross axle method.

(Sorry about all the links, it's the easiest way I know of to specify exactly what I'm talking about)

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I've got a lot of those older frames with the metal axle, mostly from early 90ies sets. No rust so far, so that shouldn't be an issue.

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LEGO metal axles are chrome plated.  They usually won't rust.   The metal axles have less rolling resistance than the plastic Technic axles.  It can be a factor if you plan to run long trains or rolling stock with lots of wheels.

27173937032_bce575f64f_n.jpgBaldwin DR-12-8-1500/2 Centipede by dr_spock_888, on Flickr

 

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Thanks for the info. I was hoping to dip my toes into the Lego Train world, but they don't sell track pieces on B&P. I might need to buy a track pack or a starter train. I didn't know there were magnets in those bumper pieces. They are over $3 each! Even a particular cross wheel was maybe over $1 each!

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Posted (edited)

I guess those cross wheels you were looking at were the 85489b flanged driver, typically used on larger steam locomotives. Yes, they are relatively expensive, but you probably won't need a lot of them. For modern locomotives and any wagons, use the smaller 55423c01 wheels, or the complete assembles as mentioned earlier. As for where to start; I didn't get a set, just bought an oval of track off bricklink and a load of power functions parts from LEGO.

Edited by ColletArrow

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