I have been brain storming future project ideas to accurately portray specific steam locomotives that aren't currently offered by the major manufactures by kitbashing. I haven't kit bashed a locomotive before so the donor locomotive would need to be on the inexpensive side. I was looking at MTH Railking starter set 2-8-0 locomotives but improving the side rods would be a challenge, they look flimsy and don't include a complete valve gear. Has anyone ever upgraded a locomotive like this to more detailed side rods and valve gear?

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Its possible but the big sticking point is finding side rods with the exact axle spacing as the engine you want to upgrade. Might be easier to find a rolling chassis and adapting a shell to fit it.

Pete

You could also scratch build your own out of  K &S brass stock.
  I you are handy with a various assortment of tools and don’t mind soldering, drilling and hand filing etc.

Al

I 've used the MTH 2-8-0 locos for drivers.  The locos are cheep to buy either used or not running.  The drivers don't have see through spokes but if you turn them on a lathe and cut them from the back they can be easily opened up.  I've made new rods from 0.01" aluminum sheet.  As Norton above states you have to have the hole spacing in the rods match the axel spacing.  Measure the axel spacing with a dial caliber.  Getting spacing right is much easier with a mill or a drill press with an xy table.  Make sure you use a centering bit to start the hole.

I am familiar with soldiering wires but don't have experience soldiering brass, I suppose I don't know how hard it would be until I get into it. I might want to give that a shot. Additionally adding electronics to a scratch built 3-rail locomotive adds another layer of complexity.

Brass parts are all new to me, so I am trying to find a way of getting my feet wet without biting off too much. What common sources are there for brass parts?

Bob Stevenson has many sizes of nickel silver cast side rods.  They are full clevis, and fluted one side.  Probably way too much for a “Rail King” model.

I have done credible side rods out of .064 brass, but .010 aluminum is paper thin and very difficult to drill.

No.  If there were, it would be very expensive, because the market is almost zero.  Recommend buying an entire model and re-selling the superstructure.  Much less expensive.  For 3-rail that will run around $300 for a good Williams Mike, which is easily converted to a 2-8-0 with a hacksaw in a minute or less.  Motor would be in the cab, though.

SGP posted:

Is there a source that sells steam locomotive "rolling chassis" for scratch builders?

Check the auction sites. Both Lionel and MTH have been off loading their older engines that were used for parts replacement. A number of dealers are reselling them including rolling chassis. Among them Grzyboskis and Trainworld.

Pete

OPPS that was 0.1" aluminum

Soldering.  If you haven't soldered brass together before then buy some pieces of K&E brass strips at the hobby store,  cut some pieces and try soldering them together.  If you try to learn on your project you'll just get frustrated.  Try to pull the pieces apart.  If the solder joint comes apart try again.  You have to use solder for soldering brass together not your electrical solder.  I've had good success with Tix Solder and Tix flux,  Stay Bright is also good.  I started about 20 years ago with 3 irons.  A 25 watt, 40 W and an 80 W.  The thicker the metal the bigger the iron I use.  I also found Ian Rice's book "Etched Brass Locomotive Construction" helpful.  Ken Foran's book "Building Models with Brass" is also helpful. 

 

Does anybody else have a favorite book on learning to solder?

Nope.  The Weller 80 Watt is a good starter, and I use 60-40 rosin core, but I clean the brass 'till it is shiny and use a good flux.  Nokorode is good - the best ever was Oatey's H2O, but I haven't seen that for over two decades.

Failure modes - bad flux, bad soldering iron,  iron tip not shiny, brass not shiny.  

Too simple for a book.  If you want to research Stay Brite or 4% silver, The Google is your friend.  I rarely use the exotics, although my GS-2 boiler was done with 1100 degree honest-to-God silver solder.  Base metal is copper.  Heavy!

I have a MTH PRR 2-8-0 listed elsewhere.  All the components appear to be new including the motor, chassis, and smoke unit. Give me a call or an email if you wish more details. It might give you a start without breaking your bank. (I am a moderator on another national forum for reference. )

Here they are with the loco painted.  These are the MTH drivers from the 2-8-0.  The tread can easily be chucked in a lathe and turned to open up the spokes.  I didn't use the screws the screws that MTH uses to hold the rods to the drivers.  I drilled out the treads for the screw and inserted a piece of 1/8" brass rod with the center drilled and taped for an 0-80 screw.  A small aluminum washer made from aluminum stock hold the rod to the driver.

DSC_0144DSC_0144 [2)

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A lot of great ideas here. I will keep a look out on ebay for scale locomotive that is broken or cheap enough for me to risk destroying in a failed kit bash. Once my local hobby shop opens back up I will see if they have any suggestions for a kit that is good for beginners without brass experience.

The tread can easily be chucked in a lathe and turned to open up the spokes.

Dave, by that do you mean you simply removed material from the backside of each driver? Did you dish them out so as not to remove the flange??

How did you remove them from the axles?

I have 2 RailKing 2-8-0 that I may do this to.

To turn the drivers you must remove them from the axles.  I used a punch and hammer to tap them off.

The tread is then chucked into the lathe.  You only turn the area behind the spokes.  You leave the flange alone and the center alone.   You will have to change the orientation of the lathe bit to cut out to the end of the spokes then in toward the bottom of the spokes.  I found a photo of the drivers after being turned and put back on the axle

Here's a close up of the back of the driver

This really does require a lathe.  I have a Sherline  lathe, its small but did this job easily.

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@Dave AGHR posted:

OPPS that was 0.1" aluminum

Soldering.  If you haven't soldered brass together before then buy some pieces of K&E brass strips at the hobby store,  cut some pieces and try soldering them together.  If you try to learn on your project you'll just get frustrated.  Try to pull the pieces apart.  If the solder joint comes apart try again.  You have to use solder for soldering brass together not your electrical solder.  I've had good success with Tix Solder and Tix flux,  Stay Bright is also good.  I started about 20 years ago with 3 irons.  A 25 watt, 40 W and an 80 W.  The thicker the metal the bigger the iron I use.  I also found Ian Rice's book "Etched Brass Locomotive Construction" helpful.  Ken Foran's book "Building Models with Brass" is also helpful. 

 

Does anybody else have a favorite book on learning to solder?

Peter Built Loco Works, PBL, has an excellent DVD on soldering brass engines. While focused on resistence soldering he does demonstrate soldering with irons.

https://www.p-b-l.com

click on the link for "hot tip / soldering"

TIX solder is good but has a much lower melting point than 60-40. I save it for adding small parts to a larger structure thats been joined with 60-40 to lessen the chance of the previous joints coming apart.

TIX flux is zinc chloride same as Stay Clean which being available in larger sizes is much more economical. 

Pete

Last edited by Norton

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