Instructables
Picture of Building a Train Bed

After looking all over the internet, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't happy with any of the train beds available. The only one I did like was super expensive. So I decided to make my own (I used a picture of the one I found on the internet to get approximate dimensions).

The bed is made out of 1/2 inch MDF, railing and trim is made with pine. All edges of bed are routered (except exterior edge of round part). I painted in latex paint and covered with acrylic satin gloss. Bed comes apart in several pieces...as all together it would weigh about 350 lbs and be unmoveable.

Major Tools needed:

Air Compressor
Brad Nailer
Staple Gun
Scroll saw
Miter Saw
Table Saw
Table Router
Sander

Materials (approx):

3 - 4x8 1/2" MDF
4 - 1x4 Pine Boards
4 - 1.3 Pine Boards
6 Lag bolts
Cap Nuts
Bolts/Nuts
Glue
Paint

 

 
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Step 1: Making Mattress Base:

Picture of Making Mattress Base:

Go buy a mattress and measure the dimensions. Then make the top part of the bed where the mattress will rest in. This is pretty simple to do. I used some L brackets for support on the inside corners of the bed. Used a brad nailer and glue to hold it together.

Step 2: Making the Round Part:

Picture of Making the Round Part:
This is a tricky part...not easy at all. If you don't measure this thing perfectly, you'll be doing it again. So measure 6 times, cut once on this part. See pic for details.

The diameter of the round part needs to be as wide as the top bed you made in step 1. Make sure you cut the circles out of the middle of the MDF (you will need the "scrap" piece to build the bumper of the train). I screwed together two pieces of MDF and then cut one cirlce to get exactly two cirlces the same size. You will then need to router out the inside edge of the circles to countersink the mason board you will use to wrap the round part. See See picture for how I put it together.

Ok. This is amazing. One quick question... How on earth did you cut a perfect circle from the MDF? The only way I know how is to draw the circle from a center point then use a jigsaw, but it never comes out perfect... Is there a trick you used?

kevconard (author)  brian.graham.7392 months ago
I cut a full 4x8 board of MDF in half. Then I screwed the boards together on the four corners. I found the center point on the board put a screw in there and then tied a string to it, hooked a marker on the end and then used it to draw a circle on top of the board. (I measured out the radius and cut the string to length. I used a hand held jigsaw (not easy) and cut on the line...cutting out two circles at once. This was the hardest part of the bed. So take your time. The cut itself doesn't have to be perfect as you can sand it, but you need to be shooting for a nearly perfect circle. Following the line you drew should do the trick. Good luck.
Thank you so much for the reply... I think the key here is TAKE YOUR TIME... something that I start to lose site of in a project. Ok... I am going to get a nice new jigsaw blade and try it...slowly :).

Again, thank you.
ptaylor228 months ago
You are such an awesome Dad for making this for your son. Love it. This could be a great side business for you if you have the time. I would buy one from you in a heart beat!
raptor231 year ago
Thanks for your amazing work. As a casual DIY'er with limited tools/space, I modified your design into a much simpler version below. It may not look anything like your bed, but much of the design ideas were inspired by yours. So, thank you!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Thomas-Train-Bed/?ALLSTEPS

J
rtrulove1 year ago
Sorry if I missed this, but do you have just the mattress on a platform? Or the box spring as well? This bed is seriously awesome!
kevconard (author)  rtrulove1 year ago
No box spring. Just the mattress. Let me know if you have any other questions.
mattshack2 years ago
That bed is awesome. I would like to build one and was wondering if you could give me the dimensions of each piece.
kevconard (author)  mattshack2 years ago
Sorry, but the bed is fully assembled right now and I don't have time to take it apart and measure it. All measurements are a derivative of the size of the mattress you are working with. So, if you go buy a mattress and just build a box for it to sit in (see step 1), the rest of the bed will come together for you.
Thanks for the reply. I understand about not wanting to take the bed apart. I was really just wondering if you could tell me the height of the base (the part with the wheels), the height and width of the window panels, and dimensions of the bumper. If you do not want to take the measurements I understand. I think I can get close by using the pictures as a guide. Your bed is great and I just hope to be able to reproduce it.

Thanks, Matt
kfishburn3 years ago
WOW! This is amazing!!!! I'm hoping between my husband and myself we can follow your instructions and make this for my 2 year old! He's been really into "choo-choos" recently and would NEVER get out of bed! ;D
kevconard (author)  kfishburn2 years ago
So...did you make one?
How long did this take you from start to finish?
kevconard (author)  kfishburn3 years ago
Good luck. Send me pics on your progess. I'd love to see someone else make one!
Will do! My husband just got home from work and he is also super impressed with this. We just have to figure out how we can make it in the basement and get it upstairs. We might have to modify it so it can get up the tight staircase.
kevconard (author)  kfishburn3 years ago
After you paint it, it is designed to be taken apart into its separate pieces so you can move it....ie it is modular. Total weight of the thing assembled is probably 300 lbs...so you'll have to disassemble it to move it. Good luck. Feel free to email me questions.
kevconard (author)  kfishburn3 years ago
Took a couple of weeks. Since you have plans and pictures...it'll shave off some time. But since there are no real dimensions, it'll be somewhat labor intensive. You just need to start with buying the mattress and measuring size of bed. All other parts of the bed will be a derivative of that. Not sure if I put in the directions, but you'll want to router all exposed edges of the bed.
gdhenson3 years ago
awesome
skiedra4 years ago
So cool! Cheers for the idea and the building advice!
Ditto!
kevconard (author)  skiedra4 years ago
So, are you going to make one?
I'm very, very tempted to ;)
I think waht you have done is marvellous, not only in terms of the skills in making the train bed, but even more importantly - as a loving dad. These are memories that your sons will have forever. I take my hat off to you.
kevconard (author)  steve_tupper20104 years ago
Thanks Steve, very nice of you to say. I actually got choked-up when he saw it. The look on his face was worth every minute it took to make.
Know what you mean. Made something for my nephew that he had always wanted. When he saw the result, he looked like a rabbit in headlights, frozen still, mouth open. These are great moment (for us too!)
Yep, Dad of the Year!! You get my vote! Awesome job to boot!
kevconard (author)  burnerjack014 years ago
Thanks burnerjack01!
farzadbayan4 years ago
Great !
acarback4 years ago
You're a candidate for dad of the year with this project. Good job!
kevconard (author)  acarback4 years ago
Thanks acarback!
Beatle44 years ago
My grandson is a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine and he would love this bed. If I only had the room to try and build one.
You did a great job.
Does anyone know of Thomas the Tank plans ? My nephew is 4 and Craaaazy bout Thomas the tank and friends
kevconard (author)  niceribs4 years ago
I combed the web looking for plans and didn't find any (not that they don't exist...I just couldn't locate)
kevconard (author)  Beatle44 years ago
Thanks! And you are right...it took a lot of room!
pwns every car bed. look up car vs train on YT.
Really impressive.
gdhenson4 years ago
well done
Wow those are danged Awesome!!! Keep it up :D
Rob O4 years ago
This is so cool. Your level of detail is excellent. I can tell your son loves it. I think it'd be easy to tweak your basic idea to make other types of beds like fire engine or something.