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3 1/2" Gauge Discussion Group

In the absence of a society..

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Neil Wyatt06/03/2015 10:41:37
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Over the years there has been repeated lamentation of the lack of a society for people interested in 3 1/2" gauge locomotives.

A few abortive attempts have been made to set up a group, or even a forum but none have succeeded.

This thread is an attempt to encourage discussion on a gauge which combines affordability and transportability while still being large enough to haul passengers. This is aimed at electric, steam and other forms of propulsion, which is why it's under the general topic. Also, I hope it could be of interest to those (like me) with wider interests who could find electric 3 1/2" gauge a relatively quick way into this side of the hobby.

If there is sufficient interest participants' could perhaps meet up at rallies or other events, and who knows, eventually a club or society could emerge.

But this is all up to you. perhaps we could start by folks with 3 1/2" gauge models telling us who they are and what locos they have?

Steamcoalnz06/03/2015 11:35:24
32 forum posts

Neil.

Good on you for encouraging the 3.5" and hope it works out. See no reason as the other gauges have their specific groups and associations.

Their are some nice examples for sale in various places at the present, I have one but would live another or two. We are trying do do similar things in the Southern Island of New Zealand and have a bit of a collection so it does work here too.

Stuart Rogers06/03/2015 11:39:19
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Excellent suggestion, and hopefully there will be sufficient interest, especially for L plate wearers like myself.

Perhaps I may be allowed to get the ball rolling.

Invicta, two of them, part finished,  a recent purchase on this forum.

Now all I have to do is purchase a suitable lathe , mill and drill and have a go, that is when I can work out what to buy.

Edited By Stuart Rogers on 06/03/2015 11:40:41 to say part finished.

Edited By Stuart Rogers on 06/03/2015 11:43:30

Eddy Ryan06/03/2015 12:12:02
1 forum posts

Neil, I started model engineering about two years ago and building Bantam Cock as serialised in ME amongst other projects so would welcome a discussion group on 3.5 locomotives. This is my first post. Eddy.

Another JohnS06/03/2015 12:51:59
832 forum posts
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Neil - as the kiddies say "3 and a half RAWKS!"

(at least they'd use words like that over here)

1) I've got two 3-1/2" gaugers running, a European prototype 2-8-2, and my little Tich. This last one in particular is the most fun to drive; has a boiler certificate from the NL (where I was living when I finished it) and has steamed in 3 countries, so far.

2) I've got two on the go, both almost finished. (don't ask why I have two locomotives on the workbench)

3) If one cares, on my CNC blog one can see parts for my 3-1/2" gauge locomotives once in a while - the goal is to make locomotives, not CNC machines! **LINK**

4) Opinion - if one wants to drive large locomotives, go join a preserved railway. I'm (still) licensed as a "Steam Traction Operator" in my province of Canada - full size is certainly more realistic than 7-1/4" locomotives, and the societies can always do with the help.

I liked seeing your little locomotive (plus your other exhibits) at Sandown last December - too bad I got the room mixed up for your "meet and greet". C'est la vie.

Bob Brown 106/03/2015 14:58:30
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There are some advantages to 3-1/2" locomotives the biggest being you can pick them up, smaller 5" are just about manageable but I doubt the 2-8-0 I'm in the process of building is going to fall into that category. I have a 5" shunter that I can pick up but I would not like to go very far with it, that's with out the batteries.

As far as 3-1/2" gauge electric goes the problem may be getting motors and batteries big enough to pull something more than the driver for a reasonable amount of time, my 5" shunter will pull two carriages of people with 450 watts of motors (3) for the afternoon, suppose you could always have the batteries on a carriage behind.

Bob

Bob Youldon06/03/2015 16:18:01
183 forum posts
20 photos

Good afternoon everyone,

Well done Neil for kicking the idea into play. As you mentioned the idea of a group, association, forum etc fell by the wayside but I suspect if the idea of a 31/2" discussion group starts to move forward there may be a bit more enthusiasm for the formation of a formal association. I for one would wholeheartedly support. Looking at the two major model engineering federations there are a couple of 31/2" gauge rallys planned for this year, 13th June at the Sale area Model engineers Walton Park track and on 1st August at Southampton Society of Model engineers at the Riverside park track.

I have in the past built a number of 31/2" gauge locomotives including my first attempt, a Juliet, a GWR County, three LMS 4Fs (don't ask) all of which have been successful passenger haulers. I've had at least a couple of Maisies both of which went like the wind. I still hanker after building another 31/2" gauge locomotive, I think they are easily suited to my workshop and whilst I'm getting a bit older, they are that much easier to man handle and transport etc.

There are numerous designs in the market place, so much choice available and with todays budget constraints they allow entry into the model engineering world for a reasonable outlay and bringing a bit of fun to running.

Regards,

Bob Youldon

Bob Youldon06/03/2015 16:28:41
183 forum posts
20 photos

Hello all,

I forgot to mention, have a look in my photos, there are a number of photographs of the last pair of LMS 4Fs I built several years ago; also have a look on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfPSkjXUufY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0IF7eF6xWg both show a LMS 4F in operation.

Regards,

Bob Youldon

J W Barr06/03/2015 16:46:42
2 forum posts

Hi Gents, I am an avid 3½” enthusiast with several locomotives, but not much of a forum person. I would support any efforts to form a Society. For reference the club of which I am a member is holding a 3½" gauge rally on Sunday 26th April, see website www.leylandsme.co.uk for details,

Best regards,

John Barr

Neil Wyatt06/03/2015 21:12:50
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Hi John,

This thread was a reaction to someone telling me about the Leyland Rally.

I couldn't find anything but the date on the website. Is there a page with more info, and can anyone bring a loco along?

Neil

fizzy06/03/2015 21:32:36
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Im a member and im pretty sure all exhibits will be welcome - you need your paperwork and a spark arrestor if you want to run. its a good turn out with a big track. Im sure one of the club officials will comment?

Bob Brown 106/03/2015 23:02:17
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Leyland is a little too far away as it makes for a 600mile round trip, Southampton is possible BUT there is a stretch of water in the way and it is expensive for a car on a Saturday. b u double g rrrrrrrrrrrr.

Bob

Neil Wyatt08/03/2015 16:22:33
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OK, here's a question to start some discussion - what are the best 3 1/2" designs for beginners?

Neil

Mike Clarke08/03/2015 17:13:24
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Hi,

A few years ago when I was looking for a first loco to build I was repeatedly told that first and foremost you should choose a design that you really admire - which I did........which happened to also be the first model in N gauge I got many years ago for a birthday present.

I was also told - and I think it's true - that a "complex" design isn't any harder to build - just takes longer. The cost of a boiler was also important to me, although I want to build my own in future.

Anyway, here's my almost complete (getting distracted with other builds!) Don Young Derby 2P which I'm happy I chose as my first build. Don's "words and music" are great, so would recommend his builds.

leonard.jpg

Regards,

Mike

Another JohnS08/03/2015 18:06:03
832 forum posts
56 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 08/03/2015 16:22:33:

OK, here's a question to start some discussion - what are the best 3 1/2" designs for beginners?

Ok:

1) Nick Feast's Q1. Easy fabrication, good instructions, metric dimensioned. Fairly inexpensive castings, easy valve gear. Not a lot of "jewelry" to make. Good runner, strong enough for club passenger hauling. Boiler can be farmed out, should one wish.

2) Tich. Yes, it's my first locomotive I built, but still by far my favourite. Inexpensive castings. I started mine as a very young teenager - I could afford to purchase it.

3) Some electric "diesel", created by a guy called Neil....

(as a counter-point, on another board, someone had a pilot for a USA Challenger 3D printed, something like around $4,000.00 US just for that one bit.... you can purchase a lot of bits for 3-1/2" gauge for that amount of money - I'd hate to have made a machining error on that $4,000.00 part...)

Neil Wyatt08/03/2015 19:55:36
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If/when I get a 3D printer, one of the things on the list is a driver for my loco (and crew for boats and pilots for aircraft...)

I also want to try lost-plastic casting wagon wheels as an experiment, alloy should be fine for the light duty they will get.

Neil

Another JohnS08/03/2015 20:23:48
832 forum posts
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Posted by Neil Wyatt on 08/03/2015 19:55:36:

If/when I get a 3D printer, one of the things on the list is a driver for my loco

Makerbot contracted someone to make a 1:16 "Big Boy" set of drawings and created a set of STL files.

So, if your locomotive is a "Big Boy" - just download it and print it! (sorry, no URL but google it. I did download a few of the parts and tried printing the wheels for fun...)

Bob Youldon08/03/2015 22:01:00
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Hello Neil,

Best design for the beginner? I'm of the opinion that you pick on something you really fancy and don't pick on something that'll turn out too small however tempting, also have a chat with members of your local club for various ideas; what is easier, is to list those I wouldn't suggest! Try to pick on a design that's been described in the model press, it'll give the beginner a fair description of the build process. My best advice would be Maisie by LBSC for the eastern fans, always a good performer; St Christopher by Don Young for those of a western disposition; Nick Feast's Q1 for the southern chaps and Martin Evans LMS Ivatt mogul or his 2-6-4t "Jubilee" design, all of which have been described or available in book form, each are reasonably straight forward and give a fair representation of the full size locomotive. Castings for all those designs are also readily available. Obtain the "words and music" read it thoroughly and keep reading it, it'll make construction so much simpler and join your local club. I'm loath to advise on designs such as Tich, or even Rob Roy as there is almost as much work in one of those as there is in any of the foregoing, also at best their performance is not wonderful except those in the hands of an exceptionally skilled driver.

Food for thought,

Regards,

Bob Youldon

6196208/03/2015 22:53:33
65 forum posts
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I agree with Bob and Mike, your first loco should be one you really want to have. Forty odd years ago I said I was going to build an A4 for my first loco. The club said don't try it, you should start on Tich or Juliet. I said it might be the only loco I will ever build so it's the A4, three cylinders - conjugated motion, streamlined casing, all of which were considered to be impossible for someone with O level metalwork. I never looked back and the A4 is still running 38 years later, albeit with several new shafts and several new heads, although the main frames are OEM.

Tich, Juliet and the like are fine and I know of more than one that gave the builder a lot of fun, but these are people with good engineering skills and who are dedicated model engineers and railway enthusiasts. I also know there's a lot that stayed the course and were disappointed with the end result, (It takes a magician to keep a Tich going) and went off and did something else, lost to this hobby. And how many made the start and realised how little they were going to get for their efforts and just gave up?

Although I've moved on to 5" gauge now, I still keep two 3 1/2s running and use them regularly on raised and ground level railways. The big difference with the smaller gauge is that on the right railway you can open them up with confidence and enjoy the excitement of a loco that needs lots of skill to keep the fire and water right at speed. If I want the quiet life I bring out the 5" gauge.

Eddie

Another JohnS08/03/2015 23:53:08
832 forum posts
56 photos

Posted by Bob Youldon on 08/03/2015 22:01:00:

... and Martin Evans LMS Ivatt mogul ...

Food for thought,

Bob - having one of these almost completed, I'll pipe in and say that it's a lot more work than my little Tich was - boiler is much more difficult, piston valves, and valve gear (my Tich is slip eccentric)

I'd agree with the general consensus of "build what you want to" - people gave me good advice in that one should build a simple "Stuart" engine, to gain skills, but I dove straight in with my Tich, and did learn and complete it.

There was also in "ours" an article where a Tich was made to run on oil, and would haul two grown men (grown boys??) around the track all day, so firing it might not be the issue one might think.

See you! (I'm in a happy mood because today was the first day that it was above freezing for -ahem- quite a while so spring is coming and hopefully our track will appear out of a snowbank by May!)

John.

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