Pennsylvania A3 Switcher

Introduction: Pennsylvania A3 Switcher

About: My full time job is being a husband and a father to my three children. My paying job is a mechanical engineer. Every once in a while I get a little time to work on a project. As long as I live to be 1,000...

This was a project I completed in grad school as part of a computer modeling course.  The assignment was to model something, do an animation using the model and explore some other capability of the software (FEA analysis, motion study etc).

I have always been a fan of live steam models so I decided to model a steam locomotive.  The absolute best plans available out can be found in the books by Kozo Hiraoka.  He details every single part and walks you through every step necessary to build a working steam locomotive.  I highly recommend all of his books.  Even I you never plan to build one of the projects the books contain a wealth of information on machining.

With a copy of The Pennsylvania A3 Switcher in hand I started to model the entire engine.  Some of the parts were simplified do to time constraints but all of the major mechanical assemblies were modeled accurately.  The animation  shows the valve linkage and an animation of assembly.  I apologize if the spinning makes you motion sick.  I was going to redo it but ran out of time.

Programs used:
TPC Pro/Engineer (Modeling)
Autodesk 3DS Max (Animation)
Adobe Premiere Pro (video editing)

For an actual steam engine metal parts would be needed for obvious reasons but a 3D would allow me to build an air powered version of the engine to explore the mechanics of the valve gear.  There are also many parts whose manufacture would be greatly simplified with the use of castings.  A 3D printer would allow patterns to be created very quickly and accurately.

I have not gotten around to making any 2D drawings of the parts.  The original drawings are of such high quality that I probably will work from them if I ever get the time to build the project.  Anyone interested in a copy of the step files is welcome to contact me.  This is not my design so I am hesitant to post them for all to download.

The original video used Crazy Train for the sound track.  Youtube would not let it be viewed in the US due to copyright reasons.  I changed it to one that they had available.  Please let me know if you have problems viewing the video.

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