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Intro: These articulated 2002-2004 TMCC engines look great, are well proportioned, 031 capable, and sound good. Sadly the OEM smoke funnel is a 2 piece cast zinc affair (PN 6SP-8077-201) with a single very restrictive passage feeding twin stack openings.  The boiler has a cast in “splitter” wedge intended to split the flow to both stacks. The smoke output is anemic at best, even after the Mike Reagan mods. And the splitter wedge pushes smoke forward from the front stack, which looks totally ridiculous. This condition affects all LM Challengers in this era, #6-38021/22/23; WP/WM/UP. It is typical of most mid-2000’s TMCC era articulated locomotives with twin stacks.

About 2 years ago I custom made a brass funnel which vastly improved the smoke production. It was a labor of love, took hours to make, and is not the kind of thing the average hobbyist is likely to want to do. So I decided to see if I could design an inexpensive 3D printed version that would be plug n' play, do the same thing, and be readily available.

So; The Fix: To make this engine smoke realistically it is necessary to radically open up the smoke passages, and manifold the feeds separately to both stack openings, so as to balance the flow to each, just like the real thing. This custom 3D printed funnel provides the perfect solution. First it has an upsized ¼” spigot to flow approx 50% more smoke from the smoke unit. Second it has a generously sized oval shaped main center manifold. Third it has two separate 5/16” vertical smoke pipes, one feeding each stack. The oval main manifold is sloped slightly downwards to the feed spigot, so that smoke fluid naturally runs directly into the smoke unit, regardless of which stack is used to fill it. It has a built in recess notch to clear the OEM splitter wedge, and a support bracket which rests near the middle of the smoke unit PCB. There are two mounting tabs with holes to locate the funnel using the OEM front smoke unit screws.

This picture shows the unit mounted on top of a typical OEM Challenger 8057-200 smoke unit:

Funnel 5

The video clip below shows the creation in operation. Way better than the OEM junk!

So if anyone out there is interested in the same fix, shoot me an email and we will see what we can do. My email is in my profile.

Rod

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Funnel Test 2
Last edited by Rod Stewart
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Vernon

I dont know what resin Rod is using or the temp of your application. The resins that are high heat resistive are

for Grey

resin prop gray

For Rigid 10K

resin prop 10k

the 10K has a heat deflection temp of  230 deg. and 424 deg. F depending on the pressure. I dont think the temp gets that high.

Also. it looks like you could use a new gasket. Send me the dimensions (decimal inch) of the surface and openings and I can laser cut some for you.

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Last edited by AlanRail

Resins seem to be good at elevated temperatures, though the recommended limits are not very clear. One measure is the Glass Transition Temperature, or Tg. This is defined as the temperature at which the resin changes from a glass-like texture to a “rubbery” texture. One source specified this as 128C for UV cured resin; which is well in excess of the boiling point of water. The “smoke” our engines produce is not really smoke from combustion, but rather vaporized hydrocarbon fluid. As such it is somewhat warm to the touch, but nowhere near hot. In my limited bench testing the prototype resin funnel did not change texture from glass-like at all. With the smoke unit running at 11 watts (14VAC into 18 ohms), the highest funnel temp I saw was about 65C. And at no time did its texture become anything like rubbery. So it appears that this 3D resin printed funnel should be good for most anything we might throw at it.

I have been running the guinea pig LM Challenger with the first version of my resin funnel for a few days now, and it seems to be handling the heat just fine. I figure if the funnel breaks down at all I will see smoke coming out of various boiler spots, so it should be pretty obvious. But so far so good.

Dennis, what other LM engines do you run that may be candidates? I have the 2007 LM cabforward #4276 which may well be the next one I tear apart and design a funnel for. It is a lousy smoker too.

Lionelzwl2012; I don't have the LM Bigboy but I recall an earlier forum topic where someone swapped a later revised LM Bigboy funnel into one, which made it much better. It required drilling a new spigot hole in the smoke unit PCB, but otherwise it looked fairly easy to do. The PN for that replacement funnel is 610-1208-201, but I have no idea if they are still available. You could check Lionel's parts site if you are feeling brave and have loads of patience! If there was enough interest I could likely whip up a 3D design for a replacement funnel. The trouble is I don't have the Bigboy engine, and I would need several critical dimensions off the OEM funnel to base the design on.

Rod

@Rod Stewart posted:
Dennis, what other LM engines do you run that may be candidates? I have the 2007 LM cabforward #4276 which may well be the next one I tear apart and design a funnel for. It is a lousy smoker too.

Rod

I have at least 4 Challengers one TMCC and 3 Legacy,  the PRR T1 #5511, Big Boy #4011 and the #cabforward  #4276.  If it were not for LM I wouldn't have any articulated steamers... GO LM!!!

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

A timely topic, I'm just installing Bruk's 3D printed stack for the Lionel scale T1 Duplex.  It has a mount that replaces the stock mount on the left, the second picture is with the new smoke unit mounted.



That's a good looking set of stacks, should work great grj. Looks like they are considerably higher than the OEM funnel, is that intentional?

Bruk and I had some discussions about these stacks regarding useable temperatures. I think he is using high temp filament, but I am not sure what temperature it is good for.

Rod

@Rod Stewart posted:

That's a good looking set of stacks, should work great grj. Looks like they are considerably higher than the OEM funnel, is that intentional?

Bruk and I had some discussions about these stacks regarding useable temperatures. I think he is using high temp filament, but I am not sure what temperature it is good for.

Rod

They're actually printed by ShapeWays, and they are considerably higher than the OEM funnel, that's what makes the smoke flow work.  The mount is shorter than the OEM mount, which makes it all work out.  I did have to ream out the stacks a bit on the shell for the new stacks to slide in.

As far as the temperature, they really shouldn't get super hot, at least as long as the fan runs.

Here's a good read on heat resistant filaments... and, they have samples.

https://www.filamentive.com/he...r-3d-printing-guide/

Should you wish to experiment with different materials, please note Filamentive offers 3D printer filament samples of all materials sold, as well as Tester Packs containing 50g samples of all materials currently offered.

Last edited by Dennis-LaRock

They're actually printed by ShapeWays, and they are considerably higher than the OEM funnel, that's what makes the smoke flow work.  The mount is shorter than the OEM mount, which makes it all work out.  I did have to ream out the stacks a bit on the shell for the new stacks to slide in.

As far as the temperature, they really shouldn't get super hot, at least as long as the fan runs.

OK I get it now; did not realize the whole smoke unit sits lower in the engine. Cool. That video shows it all off nicely; looks like a huge improvement! Hope you had your train room exhaust fan running!!

Lowering the smoke unit might not be an option in some engines where the fan motor is already really close to the frame plate. The LM Challenger is a good example.

Rod

@AlanRail posted:

John

if you give me some dimensions I can design and 3D print one that you don't need to do any reaming

unless you like doing that??

Thanks, I got this one installed.  In truth, the larger stack holes are very beneficial for smoke flow, I try to enlarge the stack output s on upgrades if I can, it really helps with the volume and appearance of the smoke flow.

@Rod Stewart posted:

OK I get it now; did not realize the whole smoke unit sits lower in the engine. Cool. That video shows it all off nicely; looks like a huge improvement! Hope you had your train room exhaust fan running!!

It was putting out some good smoke, I can still smell a whiff of it today down here.

@Rod Stewart posted:

Lowering the smoke unit might not be an option in some engines where the fan motor is already really close to the frame plate. The LM Challenger is a good example.

Possibly true, the LM stuff is quite different inside than the scale locomotives.  I'm going to be upgrading a scale Challenger soon, I'll have to see what a stack improvement looks like for that one.

@AlanRail posted:

John

if you give me some dimensions I can design and 3D print one that you don't need to do any reaming

unless you like doing that??

Thanks, I got this one installed.  In truth, the larger stack holes are very beneficial for smoke flow, I try to enlarge the stack output s on upgrades if I can, it really helps with the volume and appearance of the smoke flow.

The reason I chose that size was exactly what John mentioned. Also that OD of the funnel matches the hole size on the PCB of the DSMK units. A lot of new PCBs need to reamed up to size. So, I keep it consistent with the exhaust stack through the shell.

Every conversion I do that requires a custom made funnel I play with the smoke flow. Adding expansion chambers even making Venturi inside of the exhaust “tube”. I get great results. Such as my latest design for this 3rd Rail Allegheny. Dual stack loco, and it smokes like crazy better than any dual stack stock Lionel engine Ive seen or repaired…toot toot.

https://youtu.be/2uO6MLL5msI

Last edited by Bruk

I have a legacy lionmaster big boy that desperately needs one of these rod.

Roger; can you tell me the product number of your Bigboy, and what year it was issued please?

I have been working on a prelim design for this funnel using dimensions taken off a Bigboy funnel that I have which is for the Legacy #4011. But I need a couple more key dimensions and a close up picture of the insides of a sample engine, since I don't have an LM Bigboy. Do you feel like tearing yours apart and providing that sort of information? When I get a design finalized and get a funnel printed I can shoot it to you for testing and evaluation. No cost.

Rod

I can tell you the Lionmaster BB will have a totally different design than the VL-BB or even the scale Legacy BB.

Yes I think that's a given grj. The scale and VL versions seem to smoke really well (I have the VL); but typically the LM versions are tight for interior space and use that pitiful cast 2 piece funnel, which is what my improvement efforts are aimed at. So far I have workable 3D printed versions for the LM Challenger (as per above) and the LM Cabforward #4276 just done recently.

I recall several folks have complained in the past about lousy smoke with the LM-BB, so that's why I am interested in seeing what can be done to help it, while I'm on a roll. Trouble is I don't have one on my roster, so I am floundering in the dark a bit. It looks like Lionelzwl2012 may have some very helpful info though. All good!

Rod

Roger those are great pics thanks! That funnel looks just like the one that was OEM in my LM Challenger. So it's just possible that the same 3D printed funnel will work in both engines.

If you have the time, can you confirm a couple of dimensions for me? 1. Outside funnel bowl dimension, front to back (Eg. 31mm) 2. Center of bowl smoke opening to outside front of smoke unit body casting (Eg. 17mm) That would help to confirm things.

Can you also provide the product number for your Bigboy please. Then I can maybe check out the part number on Lionels parts site and see if the OEM funnels are indeed the same part.

Many thanks!

Rod

Rod let me find the box for the item number and get something to measure with. I may have to get a ruler or calipers that will give you what you need. I dont have that in my arsenal of tools. Never really needed those until now. I will try to get the dimensions this next weekend. I work two jobs so bare with me,but I will get them for you.

Roger, just wondered if you had any luck with this yet?

Rod

rod,sorry I have been busy at work. I also have a lionmaster challenger with legacy. I think the funnel you made for yours here will fit as most models are the same tooling. just different electronics.

I had it out this last weekend and it was also smoking poorly. so apart it went and seems the smoke batting was really chard. so new batting went in.

I also got curious and took a look at the funnel. when I held it in my hand over my workbench and put drops of smoke fluid in it. the fluid was comming out the bottom hole so poorly it was pathetic. put about 10 drops in and only a small bubble of fluid ran out the bottom. it looked like about one eye dropper drop actually came out the bottom.

I use a needed point applicator so at that rate with adding additional drops of fluid when the wick was getting dry/low on smoke volume. its know wonder my batting was very chard. what I thought I was putting in to refill it( about 15 to 20 drops) was just barley wetting the wick wet.

you think you are adding smoke fluid to refill the unit,but what you put in is deceiving. once new batting is soaked in fluid and resitor is cleaned. it smokes great. so its the poorly designed funnel thats keeping the smoke unit functioning poorly here.

sorry I am long winded here. maybe I just retold you something you already know here,but now I want one of your printed ones.

my bigboy has sat on my bench for over a year waiting for me to get the new motor driver board installed. so as you can tell I dont give it as much love as my other engines.

I have over 100 locos between steam and diesel. seems I am always getting a new engine for my layout and collection.

I say that not to bragg,but only to say this. if you give me your mailing address I could mail it to you so you could hold it in your hand in person and make a new 3d printed one. this way it gets done right the first time.

also if I could buy 2 of each from you. 2 challenger ones and 2 bigboy ones when you get them printed. what ever the cost is just let me know. this way I have a spare and these engines are fixed for good. this way mailing this part back and forth is worth while for you. I can cover the shipping cost if there is any on somthing this small. this way your not out anything.

my email is glasgoreg@mail.com you can send your address there and if you wish we can talk offline about this. I want to help you out. these funnels you are printing not only helps you and me,but everyone with these engines. so thanks for being patient with me in getting back to you. thanks

Roger thanks for all this input. It sounds like your Challenger funnel may have an internal bockage of some sort, maybe a defective casting?

From what I can see both the LM Bigboys and the LM Challengers quite possibly use the same OEM funnel, so the printed replacement I made for the Challenger may work in both. I can surely send you a couple to try out. Then for the greater good of the forum you can post your results when you get time to try them.

I'll shoot you an email offline and we'll figure out the details.

Rod

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