Let's Make Robots!

3 1/2" Steam Locomotive

Hopefully pulls me round the track :)

Lumi requested that I post about this ongoing project of mine.  I am currently about half way through builing a working 3 1/2" gauge live steam locomotive.  This is built from plans, castings for the wheels and cylinders and various metals (steel, bronze, brass etc).  This project is why I have not been building robots lately.

I originally bought my lathe as a way of adapting wheels and axles for robots, but somehow have never used it for that purpose! I had no previous Model Engineering at the time.  I initially built a simple oscillator engine and since that worked first time have now started the Northumbrian as my next project.  Luckily I am a draftsman by trade (though in Town Planning) so can at least read plans.  I am totally self taught in regards all of the machining.

Rather than duplicate too much here it is probably best to follow my build log on MECH via the link.  This shows all stages of my adventure in building this locomotive, including the mistakes.  I will update here on major milestones - the next of which is the running on air, hopefully around Christmas.

Just to give an idea of size, the locomotive is around a foot long (300mm), excluding tender,  yet should be powerful enough to haul my substantial corpus around the club track. I have been working on this locomotive since November 2011.



MAJOR UPDATE - yep I'm shouting.  Chassis now running on air - see link http://youtu.be/7vVmGzOczFM




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After this one I plan to build a 5" gauge locomotive.   That will be able to haul around 10 adults

Thanks Pete, that's awesome. If available then please also post a video or some more pictures here that the people get some food :-) I am following this project with interest, even I am not going to build one...but i love these steam locomotives very much. 

Basile got a point, steam engine and robots, that's a nice fusion....

No videos as yet - but I can put a few pictures up once I get home tonight (just doing a quick check-in at lunch )

Completed Frames

Completed Frames


Frame, axle pump, valve eccentrics and footplate

Wheels after machining and painting

Up on wheels

Plan View

Current Situation - Cylinders and pistons machined and guide bars and support also finished.  Next stage is drilling and tapping cylinder to bolt onto the frames - very close to running on air


Cylinders, guide bars and supports

Test track already built in the back yard, 3 1/2" and 5" gauge ready for the next locomotive.  Only 5m long though :(  Wife would kill me if I used it indoors - all that oil on the carpets would NOT go down well :)

Thanks Duane.


Yep progress has slowed due to life :(  I am currently part way through making the boiler - all plates flanged and all bushes turned.  Started silver soldering together but progress slow as each stage has to be inspected by the club boiler inspecter - 10 mins brazing then wait a month for the next club meeting ...