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DalaGStanator's Customs, Mods and Experiments
[Image: 9-ADF566-B-D671-46-F3-AB1-E-C703318-B0478.jpg][Image: 6-E2-BCFA1-A196-4-D2-E-9018-7-EC2-A4-B9-BC9-D.jpg][Image: 417-E3-DFE-7-B27-44-B6-87-E3-1-C5-DE73-A5700.jpg][Image: D7-A22-BD6-244-D-454-B-9-F96-015-B18-E61-CBF.jpg]

Got round to start making some sort of chassis for the NG engines, naturally starting with Rusty. It was made in much the same way as the ones on the car bodies, with paper bearings on the very bottom. The wheels are four (very) old plastic beads from an unknown source that I repainted black, which I most likely won't have enough of for making good numbers of rolling stock. He rolls better than he did with wick tabs and clay and is light enough to be pushed by the Junior Train loco on various surfaces, but not on the track system. The chassis is currently held using Blu Tack to make it removable, in case I'll have to adjust it before it becomes permanent (such as trimming the axles to lower the main body). Couplings will not be added until all the others will have their own chassis. For the steam engines, I'll have to find a similar wheel material in a somewhat bigger diameter, with the rear drivers being flatter to allow inserting coupling rods. The (fake) trailing wheels on Skarloey and Peter Sam could be replaced with the type used for Rusty. If I had wheels from Thomas Minis, they would've been the exact type I need for the steam drivers.

[Image: EE46-C703-6-F24-4864-B8-AB-7-EFF955-A8047.jpg][Image: F166999-B-167-F-453-C-99-C3-5-DC581-E76099.jpg]

The first engines to get printed nameplates and numbers were Rheneas and Duncan. However, that was only because theirs were printed correctly while those of the other four were "wiped out" on paper. Once I'll get new colour ink, I'll print them out and apply them the same way. I'm a bit surprised they turned out perfectly readable in such a small scale, but they're (unsurprisingly) much clearer than their handwritten predecessors. Those were painted on with a pen and were always prone to smearing off, which gave me another good reason to do it besides the inverted colours.
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[Image: 7-E51-AAA5-3267-441-F-B319-0-A840-EA83479.jpg][Image: 357041-DB-DF24-4-EC7-A6-C4-95-FA3-E15-BB6-D.jpg][Image: 97132-ECE-F514-4861-A58-C-3-AC40464-C7-A5.jpg][Image: 5-A6-A482-A-8-AD4-41-B1-AE8-C-0-DEC063-DBF29.jpg][Image: 62296-E73-D5-D6-4-C99-B24-D-DC5-EAC9562-B0.jpg]
Thanks to the new ink cartridges, I was able to print out the remaining nameplates and numbers. One of Sir Handel's handwritten nameplates peeled off some of his paint when I removed it, but Peter Sam didn't have the same issue (he was painted with a unique mixture, so I almost glued the printed ones over the handwriting). The only new detail I'm not satisfied with is Rusty's #5, because the handwritten ones looked bigger and clearer. All printed details are glued on with the same glue used for building the models themselves.

[Image: 0-D5-D41-B2-FBC0-4-EFD-9-A0-B-02217-C7-E150-A.jpg][Image: E7-AEABAE-E735-4-B6-E-8-CF3-1-DD45-A63-E3-A5.jpg]

The shade of blue used for the cap on my custom Noddy was too dark and looked near purple (even for the '92 version), so it's been painted over with the one I used for Sir Handel. While it didn't exactly blend in with the old shade as intended, it still looks a lot closer to the actual versions of him.
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  • Super, Therealblack64YT
I love that Noddy figure LaG :)
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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  • DalaGStanator, Therealblack64YT
[Image: 4-DD3846-C-D848-4-AE2-9801-BB798051-D287.jpg][Image: C1159-DDD-E99-A-4-E47-8-C65-24-BB911-BE3-BC.jpg][Image: 28-BDC677-284-F-45-E1-8-E94-3-D0934-DE18-B7.png]

Now that I've started to get the hang of wiring the electronic components I spoke of on Page 3 (currently without soldering), I should soon be able to incorporate various features in scratchbuilds to add some more "life" to them. There's only so much aluminium foil can be used for. It should also allow me to (finally) replicate certain mods that've been known and loved since BPT was founded, and perform some repair tasks I recall wishing I could do. The first component I've managed to get working was one of my DC motors, which even responds to an on/off switch correctly. My custom Rocket struggles to keep its inertia when the tender is coupled, so I plan to upgrade it from friction to battery power as one of my first uses. Before that, I'll most likely build a new test chassis and see how it would perform. Here's the motor reacting to a single AA battery.

[Image: 1834-D22-A-B70-B-4-F80-A920-884-AA3-B24-E98.jpg][Image: 0-CDA3782-6065-46-CF-A01-C-75608-FBA2-F48.jpg]

It turns out I currently have more than eight (!) incandescent lightbulbs. They're a bit like Grain of Wheat/Rice bulbs but have pointed casings. Just about any Chinese toy with lights made from the '80s/'90s to the early 2000s seems to have them instead of LEDs. One of them was surprisingly bright when tested on 1.5V, though a 2x or 3x AAA pack obviously makes them brighter. Just like Ucwepn showed in his tutorial, I found they stay on if wired to a positive battery terminal even in a device that's turned off. If wired to a contact on another component (such as a motor), they only light up when said component is running. I also have three LEDs (one orange, two yellow) that only work for me using the AAA packs. I'll be on the lookout for regular white LEDs in addition to more incandescent bulbs. Until then, there are still a bunch of old toys with lightbulbs waiting to serve as donors. Hoping to test fit one of them on the 2009 Thomas without actually "installing" it (making a hole in the lamp) so it could be removed without "traces". I don't see why it shouldn't work the same way.
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[Image: 942-FF0-E3-04-D8-4-FB0-88-E5-15-D4-D8-D40-C85.jpg][Image: 1192-E44-A-E649-42-F1-BDF9-C1-FC6048-EBEC.jpg][Image: 2115-B53-C-ADCA-471-C-8-BD4-55-F0-C6-F0-ACAE.jpg]

My non permanent light up Thomas attempt worked exactly how I thought it would, with little to no issues. Even both wires are thin enough to run under the splasher and allow the shell to fit normally. In a very convenient manner, the switch contact on the drive unit is big and exposed and I didn't have to dismantle the unit (which I can't anyway because of triangle screws), making it almost laughably easy. All I had to do was make sure the wires were touching the negative terminal and switch contact (no need to wrap them either), and it turned on. I did have some trouble getting the shell back on without one/both wires moving away, but they stayed put after a few tries. Pardon the blue (positive) wire sticking out.

Under the headlamp happens to be a small casting hole, which I don't recall seeing on the TOMY/HiT chassis. If I had the guts to make this permanent (and had multiples of certain engines for modding), I could've made that hole big and deep enough so the bulb could fit under the lamp. Unlike most owners, I'd prefer to use my electronics in scratchbuilds rather than mods for commercial items. Either way, the mere fact that it worked with "zero" effort was enough to get me excited. Demonstration videos: 1, 2, 3, 4.
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[Image: 0-BCDAE6-E-2-E5-F-4-EFE-92-DC-27-B5-C29-F1-D28.jpg][Image: 5055-B113-B41-C-4-E67-A33-D-F645-A958-A830.jpg]
[Image: 2-E5-C489-A-38-E7-4-B7-E-ABA7-629-EC63154-A5.jpg][Image: D4-E42-A11-D1-E8-4-DB0-BF20-A742-D484-B91-F.jpg]

The first practical use for my motor and switch circuit was a rudimentary chassis that went through three different revisions, all powered using a 2x AAA pack. It doesn't have any gearing beyond the motor's worm gear on the driven axle, but can still manage to drive onto some carpets with enough power. I'll have to find how to arrange a decent compound gear train with the few non LEGO gears I have. If that won't work, I could always try using rubber bands. It ran more smoothly than I thought it would, save for the rear wheels being a bit on the wobbly side. The right traction tyre was from a scroll wheel of an old mouse, while the left was just (poorly) wrapped with electrical tape.

[Image: 6-B39-D5-C6-6-F43-4-F66-9-D28-1-A5995938-C3-C.jpg]

The second design used a battery tender with the motor still in the main unit, à la the C battery Edward/Henry/Gordon/James or the Talking/RC/Flip Face engines. Rather than a flexible coupling, the wires were fastened with (the end of) a zip tie. The plastic front wheels (from the back of a frame) were moved to the tender and swapped with cardboard "train" ones, and the tender's wheelbase was too short to fit another such wheelset. In addition, a simple "running board" and "bufferbeam" were added. It pulled the tender just fine, so I will be able to upgrade the Rocket this way.

[Image: F72-A0596-A856-4-D3-B-843-C-5-C4-FB795-E532.jpg]

For the third design, I shortened the wires and Blu Tacked the battery pack onto the chassis again. To test it on Union Express track, I replaced the powered wheels with two other "train" ones (a bit thicker with some more glue for traction), adjusted the gauge and used O-rings for traction tyres. When it doesn't stall, it manages to run quite well save for a little jerkiness (either due to imperfect wheels or lack of some weight at the front. Demonstration videos: 1, 2, 3


[Image: B23-C3-DF2-A2-E9-4-DCD-A023-63-A7-EE3-CE4-D0.jpg]

Disney+ launched in my country today (not like I'll ever subscribe to it), so I took a crossover photo with the No. 1 engine and my No. 1 favourite princess queen.
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  • Therealblack64YT, Super
[Image: 7426-A69-A-F5-D7-4431-B719-EA7295-F5-DDF1.jpg]

Since I don't have any of those pre geared motor units that I often see being used in scratchbuilding videos (commonly in a yellow casing), I looked for multiple custom gearboxes that might work as alternatives. After making and testing two different gear trains, one of the designs I found was this one by Black RoboBrain. I thought it looked similar in construction to the first chassis I built (and one of my failed handcar designs before the LEGO one), and it doesn't even need two identical +perfectly aligned side walls. I built it in much the same way complete with a crown gear next to the motor, but made it longer so the driven axle could be smaller and lower. I also didn't have many good options for bearings, so I ended up using top (paper) layers of cardboard glued over the shafts.

The three gears mesh and work how they're supposed to (for the most part; including resistance), though the last two occasionally slip away. I'll have to find out how to attach two smaller gears at the end for the chassis to move in the right direction. I don't want it to be front wheel drive, so I might replace the gear on the axle with a belt and pulleys. The motor eventually started making a horrible screech that initially wasn't there, so I had to replace it and rebuild the chassis to make it safer. Nonetheless, very happy the gear train worked properly.
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Excellent engineering 👍
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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[Image: BF65-A850-0167-44-F6-9-E2-C-40482-E939-DAF.jpg][Image: 5-F75-CF0-D-22-E3-4-D25-8896-A28-E91-C785-E6.jpg][Image: BBDFF620-C6-FC-41-E0-A169-18-EDD7-EB5-CD8.jpg]
[Image: B9369-E14-7-D25-4-F7-E-93-B5-F411-B3-E91445.jpg][Image: D2-F48-E4-B-AF21-40-A3-A6-ED-6-C8156153-EDF.jpg][Image: 6-E45-B058-8-EE2-4429-9704-2-E281-B3-E4383.jpg]

Sometime after I found Black RoboBrain's gearbox design, I noticed multiple versions of propeller driven "cars" and recalled having spare propellers for my quadcopters. Until I could build another gearbox I could actually call "fail safe", I wanted to try building an S gauge Schienenzeppelin that would use its propeller for power. Due to the long wheelbase, I made sure the axles would be able to "rock" side to side without bogies. It manages to follow the track well, save for occasional derailments. The yellow LED for the headlight(s) was only a temporary test fit, and white ones are planned to be added.

The current prop is a spare one from an FX-6Ci, which should definitely be able to move it because it's bigger than the original's. Thinking it would "keep the weight down", I tried to use paper alone to shape the streamlined parts and paint it with a silver marker, explaining the crude finish. If I hadn't focused on trying to use the prop for power, I would've used clay or moulding paste to actually smoothen it. With a 2x AAA pack (3V), all it can do at the moment is drift sideways and turn like a Vibrobot. Hoping to use a 9V battery (like almost all the propeller cars), but I'll need a connector for it since it can't just be wired to the motor. The original also had two blades before it had four, so I'm not sure what I did wrong. If it still won't move on 9V, I'll either replace the axles with (even more) loose ones or make a custom four blade prop. Or, it could just be like the TrackMaster Hugo and get its real power from the wheels. Alternatively, I could move the motor to the floor and increase the ratio using my largest gears. If it becomes fully push along, I would rebuild the whole thing to better resemble the real one. Powered or not, I'm fairly excited to build new models for that system again.


[Image: DCA8-BE43-EA32-486-F-A6-D8-EB56-F0-DC1-C64.jpg]

I found the cause of the problem. All I had to do was replace the A (white) prop with a B (red) one, because the A props are for yaw and pitch (hence why it "drifted and turned" or didn't move at all). Not only does it work right, but I don't even need more than 3V or any gearing to reach the right speeds for it.
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