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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Posted this on another forum, and wanted to put it up here as well.

While digging through a junk bin at my local hobby shop, I found a battered Lionel #36 Observation car buried under a pile of postwar equipment. It had been dented, painted a horrible drippy shade of greenish-gold, and every uncoated piece of metal was fuzzy with rust. It also had a power pickup crudely hacked into the center of the floor, and the holes appeared to have been punched with a nail. Obviously, I couldn't leave it there, but $25 was way too high, so I haggled down to $15 and took my prize home.

I don't like modifying anything in decent condition, so this pile was the perfect candidate for an interurban project.



 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The first step was to work out a way of powering it. I had used Tamiya gearboxes in a few robotics project, so I pulled a spare out of storage and discovered that it was a perfect fit inside the passenger truck.



The gearbox is held in place by inserting the shaft in the truck journal, and then bolting a piece of Erector Set over the center, using the holes that were already drilled in the truck. It just happened to be a perfect fit!

Next, I machined a pair of aluminum wheels that could be attached with set screws to the output shaft.





 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I test fitted the motor to the shell, and added a pair of repro brass pantographs to the roof.



Once I finished the rough build, I dipped all the painted parts in a can full of acetone to strip them to the metal.



I painted the car and roof bright red, the trucks flat black, and copper on the trim.





The car is battery powered and runs on a pair of "C" batteries. It goes at a pretty good clip, and so far the motor/gearbox has been able to take the strain.
 

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Cool idea, it came out nice! It really should be moved to the o gauge section. Have fun with your new , powered car. Thaksin for sharing. A mod will move this!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not a problem! Compared to other standard gauge equipment, the early passenger cars are really small. It wouldn't look out of place behind a #256 if you added o-gauge trucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I moved it around to figure out the balance, and found it gets the best traction when the battery is directly over the motor.

As for the original wheels, they are basically hollow stamped steel sheet, so there isn't really any way to fasten them to a shaft except for glue or braze/solder, which would make it impossible to service the motor.
 

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The only thing I might do , and its only an opinion, we know what there like! Is to paint the erector set piece black to make it blend? And looking at te wheel maybe a bit of antiqueing, some gun blue on the wheel to dull it out. Match the others, BTW you should off your wheel skills, I could not do that! Greta job, how does it pull! Can you post a pic of the set screw, I don't do metal! Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I actually like that the erector set piece stands out. I'm a fan of highlighting the structural elements of a machine. I think I will just let the aluminum wheel weather naturally to match tho. And here is a detail shot of tapping the set screw hole:



The copper detailing was a steady(ish) hand and a fine brush.
 

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You've got a plan , better then mine! Thanks for the pictures, I learned a lot from them, I still don't have the tools or the skills but at least I know how. I wondered how the set screw was drilled in, great job and im in awe of your all purpose adjustable wheel. They could come in handy! Once again, great job!
 

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That's pretty awesome. Great job! Do you have any video of it running? Have you considered adding some speed control (if it's needed)?
 

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that is really sharp. i would love to see it in action!
 
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