When I was a kid, and later as a grown up I wanted a train set. Not one of those little ones (which are very nice I am sure) but a really big one with finely detailed engines and carriages. They cost thousands and I don't see any way that I could justify spending that much money (even if I had it) on a toy like that. However, instead I decided to make a train set out of Junk. Here is the locomotive. The key to the success of this model is the brainwave I had of making the wheels like a real train's wheels... with FIXED axles. the rotation (because these wheels actually do roll) is provided by the way they are simply fixed to the chassis. This method of making the wheels is good for all sorts of train carriages from Circus Box Cars, to Tenders and should give hours of making fun and subsequently heaps of playability. This project appears in my book, dadcando: Build make do... the best way to spend quality time with your kids, which can be bought on amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dadcando-Build-Make-Spend-Quality/dp/0852652011/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277445745&sr=8-1 or soon (after 5th July) on Amazon.com.

Once you have the idea of the wheels in mind, you will quickly see that you can make any type of train loco from diesel through electric to good old fashioned steam, using drinks cartons or cut down cereal boxes as the bodies.

As this is a model made from junk the exact components are open to what you have at hand, or can easily get, but ideally you will need:
  • Bottle caps
  • thick and thin cardboard
  • coat hanger wire
  • hot melt glue (ideally)
  • set of compasses
  • single serving
  • drinks bottle
  • black and one bright colour paint (ideally spray paint)
For all the rivet counters out there... this is only a model built for fun using junk and is NOT meant to be a replica of any particular engine ;-)

Step 1: Make the Wheels

For this Steam Engine you will need 4 large wheels and 4 small ones. For the large wheels use poly-bottle milk lids with diameter 40mm (or similar), for the small wheels, use soda bottle lids, diameter 30mm. Draw 4 circles at 50mm diameter and 4 at 38mm diameter, on some thick card (foam board is perfect) cut out and then glue  the lids centrally, one to each disc
(glue gun / hot melt is the best glue for this).

If you don't have any bottle caps, you can cut the middle disc of each wheel out of the same cardboard.

If you want to make a diesel or electric loco with a rectangular body, then you will probably only need four sets of large wheels, or 6 sets if you wand to make a mahoosive Union Pacific Locomotive (check out Google images for some reference). ON the other hand if you want to make a little siding shunter, maybe only small soda bottle top wheels are all you will need... scratch building - so many choices.
awesome !! but how did you make such an instructable ??
See his instructable about how he illustrates his instructables:
oh my God! I really loved it!!! great, great and great!!!!
Awesome !! My son will love that. He's crazy about train Thanks
When I noticed the pictures weren't photos, I thought "This has to be by KaptinScarlet" :D
Not just the fact that they weren't photos, but they were so well done is what tipped me off!
Thx, yes been a very busy year, but shortly to be attempting to do more instructables... but nice to be back.
Good to have you back :D
brilliant and very nice presented far more than 5/5!!!
thanks, you're too kind, glad to you it
excellent im thinking about makeing a track for it and puting a motor in it would you like to see the pictures? ps. the instructions were the clearist and easyist ive ever seen! :) D
Good idea, I'd love to see the pictures. I suggest also that you weigh the body down with some screws and some glue gun glue in the boiler area if the motor isn't heavy enough, because as mine was just a push-along model made of lightweight plastic and foam board it is very light. But the track turned out great and of course the train ran on it really well, all you have to do is make a jig as a track spacer and then lay the track gluing it with hot melt to the sleepers as you go. ps. thanks, that's the way I like to do them :-)
Nice to see you back with another excellent 'ible. You must've been spending all that time away, busy with your book. Congrats!!! I hope it does well! Will it be available in the US?
Yes, that and the Kymera Wand. Thanks for the congrats, the book will be available form Amazon.com on the 5th.
Very good job, I can imagine this as an perfect cristmas toy, now we just need some one to cast the rails and another one to build an Arduino Controller. Jeje I love Instructables.com
Actually you can easily make realistic looking railroad track from cardboard strips on edge and thin card sleepers. But motors and controllers, now that would be cool.

About This Instructable


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Bio: Eldest of five, son of two doctors, 10 years in Graphic Design and marketing, then retrained as a Biomedical Materials Engineer, don't ask me ... More »
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