AussieJimbo

WIP: Narrow gauge with power functions

27 posts in this topic

Prompted by SONIC883's work on a narrow gauge steamer...

http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=60288

... I've been trying to work out a power functions solution that will run trains on the narrow gauge track you get in the current Alien Conquest and earlier Indiana Jones sets.

No pics yet as I have to head out shortly but after a couple of failed attempts I've got a working M-motor powered prototype cruising slowly around a circle of track. Completely rough with a great big AA battery box sitting on top at the moment but it works. I'll put some pics up later.

In the mean time are there any old threads or links from people who've tried this previously?

Stay tuned.

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Wow, the design of his powered trucks is fiendishly clever:

bogie

Looks like it works really well and his model is awesome.

I've taken a different approach using worm gears to drive the axles with a flexible power coupling (universal joint) linking to the M-motor trailing behind. [ed. which I've just worked out can't go through twisty track. -doh- More thought required.]

(Sorry still no pics, just get home)

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Yes, it is very clever technique. Whenn I plan in my mind, i will use the 1 stud wide pieces.

For my loco I can place the Motor in the coaldepot on the back of the Cabine and can use a center axis to power the bogies...

OT:

But the model looks great, too. I am a modelrailroad enthusiast who build by japanese prototype (see Photo link)

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OK, here are a few quick shots of what I've built so far.

(Go easy on me, it's just a rough mechanism so far, very much WIP).

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Here's the current problem:

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Would be fine exiting the curve onto a straight but can't cope with going into an opposite curve. I need to try double articulating the link.

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Silly looking top heavy setup for testing with AA battery box. The weight is great for traction though.

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It trundles around a plain circular track quite happily in this config but the direct drive means it's really slow. It will be geared up once I sort out the linkage.

Then it will get a AAA battery box to be pulled behind the motor and an IR receiver either above the drive wheels or in it's own little wagon.

Suggestions and criticisms welcome.

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Well I progressed this a little and could get the test bed to sort of travel around a kidney shaped track but it protested a lot at the change of direction.

A triple A battery box and receiver were placed on top of the drive unit for testing (not shown).

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Giving up on the worm drive I wanted to see if the motor on a trailer concept could be made to work with Space 2310's truck ( slightly modified for current available parts, his side plates were last available in 2003).

As mentioned his design is excellent so I tried to apply it to the design I'd been working on. I was really happy with the nice midi scale loco 4-4-2 loco that was emerging but sadly the linked motor arrangement just doesn't work well enough.

This is what I had in mind, shame it isn't practical.

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I did try some silicon lubricant on the mini-wheels but it didn't help, in fact I think I ended up getting some on the track which made it worse. And it doesn't smell very nice either.

I'm going to try a M-Motor mounted horizontally in a slightly longer loco at this scale but I have my doubts about it working.

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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What is the aim for your adventure? To have a narrow gauge railway where the locomotives can be almost the same size as 6 wide? Or to have a small 'N' vs 'O' gauge rail system?

If you are going for the powered Locomotive, I would suggest putting the M motor vertical, attached to one bogey, and placing this into the tender, rather than trying to power the locomotive directly...

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> What is the aim for your adventure?

Just playing around with ideas. :-)

Initially I was looking at a low profile narrow gauge platform I could build on and it just evolved into the smaller scale model.

It would be fairly straight forward to go with a standard scale narrow gauge loco being pushed by the tender as you suggested, given Space2310's cool truck design, but I want to play a with the smaller scale idea a bit more.

I should be able to mount an M-motor emerald night style in the cab of a slightly bigger loco but it probably won't have enough traction to pull the battery box. PF power at this scale may be a bridge too far realistically but it's fun to try out ideas.

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Well I progressed this a little and could get the test bed to sort of travel around a kidney shaped track but it protested a lot at the change of direction.

A triple A battery box and receiver were placed on top of the drive unit for testing (not shown).

IMGP3690 (Mobile).JPG

Larger

Giving up on the worm drive I wanted to see if the motor on a trailer concept could be made to work with Space 2310's truck ( slightly modified for current available parts, his side plates were last available in 2003).

As mentioned his design is excellent so I tried to apply it to the design I'd been working on. I was really happy with the nice midi scale loco 4-4-2 loco that was emerging but sadly the linked motor arrangement just doesn't work well enough.

This is what I had in mind, shame it isn't practical.

IMGP3688 (Mobile).JPG

Larger

IMGP3689 (Mobile).JPG

Larger

I did try some silicon lubricant on the mini-wheels but it didn't help, in fact I think I ended up getting some on the track which made it worse. And it doesn't smell very nice either.

I'm going to try a M-Motor mounted horizontally in a slightly longer loco at this scale but I have my doubts about it working.

:classic: :classic:

Putting the motor in the boiler is definitely worth a try. You want as much weight as possible on the driving wheels, I would think.

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Thanks for the encouragement, Shupp. Getting enough weight into the loco is going to be key.

:-)

A quick update. The 4-4-2 has grown into a Pacific class.

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The rear two pairs of wheels are just mocked up for the moment to get the heights right but the M-motor is in there with drive to the top of the powered truck.

I need to pull the bevel gears out of my rescue chopper again before I can test it.

The micro-fig scale railway adventure continues (though serious doubts remain over it's feasibility).

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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I like the idea you're going for here. Even if the first attempt was a little lacking in performance I think there is potential here. Narrow gauge steam is something I'd love to see attempted more in LEGO. I hope to some day get back to my own narrow gauge engine and and build a full running train.

Cale

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Cheers Cale.

Thanks to the suggestions and encouragement, and despite my doubts and initial failures, I am happy to report a successful outcome.

*woohoo*

I now have a micro-fig scale 4-4-4 loco smoothly hauling AAA battery box and receiver cars around my kidney shaped coffee table test track. The key was to build in my only available train weight (from the City Tower Crane set) which gives it sufficient traction to tackle the challenging weight of the AAA battery box.

Look out for a dedicated thread with pics and video (if I can work out how to do it) later in the day. (I'll do a bit more work on the model first)

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Things got a bit busy today so I haven't got around to doing any detailed photos but here is a quick shot of the working proof of concept.

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It's been test run for an hour or so with no issues at all, equally happy running fast or slow. Now that I've got a working platform, it's time to do a bit of concealment work on the PF bits and some detailing of the loco.

Might do a bit more work on that and then do some photos and work out how to put a video together.

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Where do you get the track and howmuch of it is there?

The track comes from the Alien Mothership set:

http://www.bricklink.com/catalogItem.asp?S=7065-1

I've got 2 so that's 16 curved pieces or two circles of track. I'm currently using 12 pieces to make a kidney shaped layout covering about 2 square feet of my coffee table. You can also get them (in grey instead of black) from the earlier Indiana Jones mine chase set.

Straights are unavailable in this size (Lego please release some) but can be cobbled together with those separate rail pieces you get from the Red Cargo Train (as seen in one of the shots above) or a by putting a couple of standard straights right next to each other. (actually side to side straights doesn't work, the gauge is a couple of mm to tight and it pinches the wheel flanges creating far too much friction)

The passenger service has been inaugurated with 9 micro-figs and a cat taking a ride on a simple flatbed car. More pics tomorrow.

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Straights are unavailable in this size (Lego please release some) but can be cobbled together with those separate rail pieces you get from the Red Cargo Train (as seen in one of the shots above) or a by putting a couple of standard straights right next to each other.

Or by buying ME Models straight rails - review here.

IJ-ME-ScaleComparison.jpg

Edited by roamingstudio

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I do not understand the narrow gauge with using the indy track? is not the track really hard to find?

why not just use standard track and make a bigger scale engine to make standard narrow gauge? that is what everybody else does in the modeling train world... :)

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I do not understand the narrow gauge with using the indy track? is not the track really hard to find?

why not just use standard track and make a bigger scale engine to make standard narrow gauge? that is what everybody else does in the modeling train world... :)

the black ng track is really cheap on bricklink, but there's only curves

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the black ng track is really cheap on bricklink, but there's only curves

i still dont get it... black track and only curves... :)

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I do not understand the narrow gauge with using the indy track? is not the track really hard to find?

why not just use standard track and make a bigger scale engine to make standard narrow gauge? that is what everybody else does in the modeling train world... :)

No it wasn't hard to find. I had 16 pieces of track sitting in front of me from a couple Alien Mothership sets.

As it turns out I've ended up building a smaller scale, standard gauge train instead of a narrow gauge loco. It's ended up about half way between mini-fig and micro-fig scale, perhaps it's kid-fig scale.

It would be great to see a nice big oversized loco on standard Lego track like you suggest but that was never where this project was going. You'd need a lot of bricks and probably at least two XL motors to get it moving with the oversized rolling stock you'd also be building.

In the non-Lego railway modelling world that would be the similar to running HO/OO scale trains on N-scale track which is a common way of approaching a narrow gauge layout. The size of loco you are talking about would be approaching G-scale.

i still dont get it... black track and only curves... :)

These are the only Lego narrow gauge track parts currently available. You don't get that with some train track available, somebody might actually consider running a train on it?

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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I do not understand the narrow gauge with using the indy track? is not the track really hard to find?

why not just use standard track and make a bigger scale engine to make standard narrow gauge? that is what everybody else does in the modeling train world... :)

Well, you might want standard gauge and narrow gauge in the same layout, in which case you'd want two different sizes of track rather than two different sizes of locomotive.

Or by buying ME Models straight rails - review here.

Because I build exclusively Power Functions at this point, I wasn't hugely excited for ME Models' straight track (wider curves will be awesome though) but it really is perfect for narrow gauge. Gives me ideas.

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I do not understand the narrow gauge with using the indy track? is not the track really hard to find?

why not just use standard track and make a bigger scale engine to make standard narrow gauge? that is what everybody else does in the modeling train world... :)

Not really... I have a Heisler style Narrow-gauge locomotive I made, in minifig scale, like my other trains, but for the Indiana Jones tracks:

6173446173_d8076b4779.jpg

NGTrain2 by Hikaro Takayama, on Flickr

One of the reason I'm partial towards Narrow Gauge railroads is the fact that one of the few remaining Narrow Gauge railroads in the US is about an hour from where I live, namely the East Broad Top, and I have plans to model their 1960's GE 55-ton diesel in LEGO in the fairly near future...

Even though I generally don't bother with motorizing any of my trains (I'm a cheapskate that way), I do like where AussieJimbo is going with this... Looks like I'm going to have to place an order for straight tracks from ME Models in the near future (well, once I get some more rolling stock put together, that is)....

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Thanks for your comments, Hikaro.

Great little engine. I like your tipper car too.

I've made a rough tender to hold the IR receiver but it could do with some tweaking. The battery box car is coming along too.

Mechanically the train is working nicely but there is still a bit of work to do on the detailing. I'll get an update together sooner or later.

:classic: :classic:

Edited by AussieJimbo

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Thanks for the compliment... BTW, have you found any decent solution for NG switches?

Space2310 did make a custom switch for narrow gauge - and presented it here on the train tech forum nearly a year ago

5107206669_79b5084b77_z.jpg

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