It's long been a dream of mine to won an electric train. Every Grampa should have one to share with his grand children. Only I wanted a very large train with the tracks circling the entire yard. I started the train project back before our first grand child Phoebe was born, almost eleven years ago. I made great progress on the engine and two rail cars - all built out of steel using nothing more than a hand held plasma cutter and a welder. The name and number plates were routed from Precision Board. We even managed to lay about four hundred feet of track down the driveway when we put that in but things slowed down as we did all kinds of big projects for customers, built the new house, landscaped the yard and a thousand other things.
With the grand kids and other important young kids in my life growing up so very quickly it is time to get in high gear on the electric train. This past winter we gathered enough rail to get the rest of the way around the yard which will make the track about 1,100 feet long. That will go in as soon as the Viking ships are sent on their way. But the little engine was still without power. Through the years I had considered many power options and decided electric was the way to go. An old electric golf cart that didn't work donated the electronic controls. A friend brought us the thirty-six volt DC motor. Our good neighbour Gord sourced an old, variable speed hydrostatic drive. The necessary cables, gears, chains, batteries and other bits I could buy fairly inexpensively. With our CNC plasma cutter and welders I would easily make the needed brackets and custom controls.
The only thing I needed was to make the time and get in gear. With the shop finally empty of Viking ship pieces and me all rested up I decided today was the day. I used the forklift to lift the engine off the tracks and take it to the shop. I then crawled underneath the train and undid a few bolts and lifted the body off the chassis so I could take some measurements. Then it was off to the parts store to get some gears, chain and pulleys. Time flew as I worked on the train but by dark I had bolted on all of the new parts and created the cut files to create some exciting new pieces. These pieces would mount the controls, motor and the drive mechanisms. I also created the cut files for a custom scaled throttle bar and brake lever. It won't be long until we head down the track at long last!
I'll be posting the progress on the plasma cutting and fabrication in coming days. Stay tuned...
It is hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one of these machines - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.
Along with the CNC router I discovered the wonderful material called Precision Board and the glues, primers and other companion products they offer. Since then we have gone through many tons of the material using it in most signs and projects we tackle. This journal will chronicle our many adventures both past, present and future. I'll talk from the perspective of someone who pushes these products to the creative limit on a daily basis. I'll be adding to the stories two or three times each week. -dan