Thomas Minis HO Power Conversion

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About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human...

I ran across a video from leokimvideo on YouTube that made a Thomas Pez combined with a Gandy Dancer engine to make a powered HO Scale Thomas. I had a HO scale train set that the engine worked but the body of it was damaged. I did not have a Pez Thomas, but my son had a bunch of the Thomas Minis. He had a duplicate Thomas and agreed to let me use one, with the promise of something cool as an outcome. I know you can buy a HO scale Thomas train https://amzn.to/2RGhxA9, but I had the parts already and I thought it would be a fun project.

Step 1: Warning

Most of my Instructables have some element of danger. The main one here is hot glue. Other glues could be used, but I like the quickness and not so permanent aspect of hot glue. That being said, hot glue is hot and can burn. Also holding small parts while using a grinding Dremel rotating tool, can also be dangerous.

You have been warned.

Step 2: Tools

For this Instructable, I used a Dremel rotating tool with a small grinding bit. The Thomas Minis have a triangle socket screw holding them together, but I found a small slotted screwdriver fit tight enough to get the screw out. And I used a hot glue gun with clear hot glue to stick it all together.

Step 3: Materials

You will need a donor HO scale model train engine. The original video that I got the idea from used this gandy dancer: https://amzn.to/2SMnLvF

I had a HO scale engine from this set: https://amzn.to/2M0QPgm that was the perfect size for a donor.

My son already had lots of Thomas Minis like these: https://amzn.to/2H5a3T8

Step 4: Take Apart the Thomas Minis

The Thomas Minis is held together with one of those tamper resistant triangle socket screw. I found that one of my slotted mini screwdrivers fit tight enough to take out the screw. You will need to keep the red "buffer" piece, Thomas' body, and Thomas' face. The base, wheels, steel weight, and screw will not be needed.

Step 5: Take Apart the Donor Engine

It took a bit of exploratory prying to find out that the HO scale engine top was held to the bottom with some very tiny screws. After you take apart the engine, you may want to test it, on the track, and make sure it still works.

Step 6: Grind Away

The Thomas minis is the perfect size, but it has some plastic bits that need to be ground away to be able to slip down on the donor engine. I used a Dremel rotary tool with a precision grinding bit. The plastic of the Thomas Minis is nice and soft and ground away easily. Just don't have the Dremel going at the maximum speed, because this tends to melt the plastic instead of grinding it. Take your time and keep test fitting as you go. I was originally thinking that I would not be using the red "buffer" piece, but it worked out that I was able to grind it to fit as well.

Step 7: Glue It

After patiently grinding and test fitting pieces, it is time to glue them all together. I used clear hot glue very sparingly to glue Thomas' face to his body, then the "buffer" piece to the engine, and then Thomas' body to the "buffer" piece. If you use too much hot glue, it may get inside the engine and keep it from functioning. The good thing about hot glue is that you can pull it off and try over, if you have any problems.

Step 8: Have Fun

My son had played with the model train set before, but now that it was Thomas, he thought it was lots of fun.

Step 9: Video

As usual, I made a video.

Thank you for watching.

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