This page is a chronicle of the fabrication and assembly of my Allen Models 1/8" scale, 7 1/2" gauge live steam locomotive.
This locomotive was started in 1987 by my father before he passed away. My goal is to have it completed by the end of 2012.
(Note: If you're looking for my video game level design page, I've taken it down, sorry.)

Prototype Locomotive, CRIP #750

Fixer-Upper - May 2014, Sept 2014
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  • Finally getting rid of the cast aluminum siderods and making brand new steel ones. I'll also be using Delrin AF for my bushings.
  • Back on the new rods. Got them rough machined and now am doing the final work on them.
  • Changed how the rear rods connect to the front rods. The original Allen design was a bit flawed: steel pin threaded into the aluminum rod.
  • Only get a little bit of time in the shop these days, but one set of connecting rods is done!
  • New rods are all finished up and installed - finally!

  • Details - January 2013

    (click to enlarge)

  • Picking and choosing from the mountain of detail work to do. Got a dummy generator finished up (made from 'oops' castings), added an air line to the blower
    so I can fire up using the air compressor rather than the electric blower, added a new tender drain, fabricated the cab arm rests and steps (waiting for rivets),
    and am now working on the cab doors and window frames.
  • Forgot to add two videos of the loco running from the past few months.
  • I'm currently building a water pump for the locomotive. I've got a thread for it over on the Chaski home machinist forums.

  • Tender Brakes - December 2012
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  • Finished fabricating the tender brakes. They turned out great and work fantastic! They even squeal just like prototype brakes.

  • Boiler Jacket - September/October 2012
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  • Back in the shop again, finally getting started on the boiler wrapper.
  • On extended vacation from work. Got the jacket pieces finished and a coat of primer on them. Also fab'd the bands as well. The small rolled piece is for the steam dome; it's the spacer that fits between the lower and upper castings.
  • Steam and sand domes completed and everything is painted. I still have one band to modify and finish. Hopefully all these parts will be on the loco by Monday.
  • Jacket finished and installed. Got the bell mounted as well (I forgot I even had the damn thing lying around!).
  • Handrails along the boiler are done. Made a Pyle National style electrical junction box for the headlight.
  • Wiring for headlight and cab lights all finished up.

  • Brakes - July 2012
  • It's been a busy summer for me; not much shop time so far. When I have gotten in the shop I've been working on brakes for the tender and trainline.
  • Put brakes on my boxcar and a compressor and resevoir inside it.
  • Fabricating prototypical brakes for the tender.
  • Added a second brake stand in the loco cab for train brakes and plumbed it up.

  • Headlight & Improvements - May 2012
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  • Putting together a Pyle National headlight kit from The Machinery Works.
  • Fabricating new foot pegs for the tender. The original Allen design isn't easily removed and is pretty high up. These new pegs can be slid in and locked into place quickly and easily. They are also about four inches lower.

  • Misc Parts - April 2012
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  • Lots of misc pieces and parts lately. Cab roof, steam chest covers, cylinder covers, decals. This week I hope to get started on the boiler jacket. Ran the loco again this past weekend and it's running absolutely perfect. I'm extremely happy now!

  • Cab & Other Bits - March 2012
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  • Cab fabrication continues. Lots cleaned up and painted.
  • Test fit the new apron. A bit more work and then cleanup and paint and it'll be done. Also machining a four chime Cole's whistle that will be mounted under the fireman side running board.
  • Decided to go back and finish up the cylinders tonight by machining the head and steam chest covers.

  • Cab - February 2012
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  • More work on the cab and a few shots of the current state of the locomotive -- rather dirty and nasty from a long run day on February 4th at the railroad.

  • Cab & Test Run - January 2012
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  • Started fabricating the cab today. Pieces are cut so next up is to machine out the windows and doors.
  • Loaded her up in the truck to take the the railroad tomorrow for another test run. Hoping this one goes better than the first.
  • Had a very successful test run yesterday. Made it around the railroad several times and nothing fell off! Some valve timing to tweak and some pony truck adjustment and it'll be about as good as I can make it.

  • Plumbing, fixes, improvements - January 2012
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  • After the first fire-up I brought the loco home and tore it back down to make some changes, improvements, etc. The always-faulty upper rocker arms in the valve gear are now silver soldered onto the rocker shafts, fixed front-end plumbing to the cylinders, steam breaks on the loco are done, a new Superscale injector installed, new quick disconnects to the tender, a firebox arch to prevent the bottom two flues from getting stuffed with coal ... lots of stuff! Almost ready to fire up again.

  • First fire - January 7, 2012
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  • Today I lit a fire in the loco for the first time. Not a complete success, nor a complete failure. Had drafting troubles because of a horrible blower nozzle design (mine) as well as the grates being too high in the firbox. These two factors, combined with some really bad coal meant the bottom row of flues was getting plugged almost immediately with half-burnt, tar-like coal residue. After making a new blower nozzle and getting some good blacksmith coal, no problem getting it to 120psi with both safeties going!

  • There is some serious work to be done, however. I need to pull the boiler off and change the grates so they sit lower as well as try and locate some binding in the valve gear. The latter wasn't evident until everything was hot.

    Of course, by the time we got the major kinks worked out, a line of thunderstorms came through so the best I could do was run it back and forth on the steaming bay!

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