Up one level Neidrauer Live Steam Locomotives Photo Albums » Building a Live Steam Locomotive - the Mikado Project
Building a Live Steam Locomotive - the Mikado Project
With the locomotive functionally complete and running, activities turn to the details -- adding in cosmetic items such as air tanks, cab roof, lighting, with more work to come. August 2014 - With the locomotive not in the shop for the summer, it is very hard to work on it. We have shifted to Summer running and Winter shop work, making updates to this site even more sporadic. October 2013 - The successful fall running season is over with the annual "Boiler Blowdown" last run. Time to put the loco back in the shop for the winter, and to finish the tender for next spring. September 2013 - work shifts from the tender back to the engine & jacketing in preperation for the fall train meets. June 2013 - we continue to work on the Tender and Tender Trucks. September 2012 First fire-up! The engine has made it out of the basement, a fire light and steam was raised! See folder "Operations" for details. Construction photos of a 1.6" scale, 7.5" gage live steam USRA Heavy Mikado locomotive, wheel arrangement 2-8-2. Under construction in my basement under the expert tutelage of Bill W., retired master machinist. I have chosen the home road for this locomotive, it is a Frisco 4100-series engine, number 4166 (a 'ghost' engine, the 4100 series stopped after 4164). Note: Most of the pictures in this album are in reverse order, with the newest developments first.

Operations and Alterations - After years of effort, we run the engine!
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Operations and Alterations - After years of effort, we run the engine!  |  Total images: 41
2016 Several seasons have gone by and the engine is solidly performing great, steaming well, with no major mechanical issues. It's a solid engine design and Bill and I could not be happier with it. September 2014 Engine and new Tender ply the tracks with much success. A couple issues pop up which we address. October 2013 Several more runs at the SLLS track and Big Creek & Southern reveal a fine running engine. Also pictures of the first fire-up of Frisco 4166 September 2012. First throttle pull at the St. Louis Live Steamers track. A three-day break-in run at the Big Creek & Southern and last run for the season. At the time, I used a borrowed tender from a friend (still needed to build one).
Assembly  |  Total images: 85
Although there is no 'Section A' in the prints, I need a place to record the assembling of the locomotive. 2014: Tender, Tender Trucks, Fuel Tank, Air Tanks, Cab Roof, Numbers and Letters. Fall 2013: boiler accessories including jacketing, handrails, domes. Winter 2011: Boiler Fit, Remove, Fit Remove, Ashpan installation, firedoor, front-end work. Winter 2011. Chassis Timing - December 2009. Started July 2009
Painting  |  Total images: 38
Another non-print section, but another milestone event. 2014: Sealing the Tender, Numbering and lettering the engine (and a near disaster on the cab lettering), Tender Trucks. August 2013 - The paint tent is set up again for another round of painting. Parts have been Prepared, Primered and Painted. Now that this big batch is completed, most parts are now painted as they are completed, so you'll find them in their respective sections.
Section 1 - Frame
Section 1 - Frame  |  Total images: 29
Completed! Frame construction pictures Oct 2004 - Aug 2007
Section 2 - Spring Rigging
Section 2 - Spring Rigging  |  Total images: 6
Completed! Very few pictures of the spring rigging
Section 3 - Drive Wheels
Section 3 - Drive Wheels  |  Total images: 74
Completed! Pictures, video and the Saga of the main drive wheels. Started July 2005, finished December 2007 with a break in the middle to find, move and restore a bigger lathe.
Section 4 - Cylinders
Section 4 - Cylinders  |  Total images: 16
Completed! The cylinder saddle as machined by master machinist Bill W. Summer 2003
Section 5 - Cylinder group 2
Section 5 - Cylinder group 2  |  Total images: 100
Completed! The cylinder parts - covers, piping, jacketing and long after we started - Cylinder covers (November 2014). July 2006-Jan 2007, June 2009-August 2009, finished September 2009. OKAY, maybe not quite finished--Metal Spinning the cylinder covers November 2014
Section 6 - Pilot and Pilot Deck
Section 6 - Pilot and Pilot Deck  |  Total images: 99
Completed! The Pilot (front of engine) and Front Truck. Sheetmetal work for the pilot deck started Jan 2012.
Section 7 - Trailing Truck
Section 7 - Trailing Truck  |  Total images: 43
Completed! The Delta Trailing Truck. May 2005 - Aug 2007
Section 8 - Motion Structure
Section 8 - Motion Structure  |  Total images: 63
Completed! Guide Yoke, Link Support, Connecting Rods,Water pump. August 2007-Jan 2008
Section 9 - Locomotive Brakes
Section 9 - Locomotive Brakes  |  Total images: 57
Completed! Locomotive Brakes. Brake cylinder, brake hangers, brake shoes, connecting links and beams. Jan - Feb 2008 The Brake gear was welded in August. I have received three replacement brake hangers and we completed them June 2009.
Section 10 - Drive Rods
Section 10 - Drive Rods  |  Total images: 55
Completed! Drive Rods. Main, Side and Intermediate rods. Jan-June 2008
Section 11 - Valve Gear
Section 11 - Valve Gear  |  Total images: 133
Completed! Valve Gear. Lots of little levers: Link Trunion, tumbling shaft lever, eccentric crank, eccentric rod, radius rod, combination lever, union link, lifing link. July 2008-January 2009
Section 12 - Smokebox
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Section 12 - Smokebox  |  Total images: 215
Completed! February 2015 - Running Boards and ladders. Finished enough to Run! The 'face' of a locomotive. Front-end work in progress - Throttle, petticoat, blast pipe. Custom smokebox support stays completed (Frisco used 4 stays, not the 2 like the USRA models), throttle modification and installation, a custom flaring tool - Winter 2011. Smokebox front, smokestack, headlight bracket, hinges, bell. February - June 2009. Plumbing May 2011 - finished Nov 2011.
Section 13 - Boiler
Section 13 - Boiler  |  Total images: 36
Completed. The boiler was fabricated by a machine shop in the hobby in 2003 and was part of the castings and prints when I purchased them from an individual.
Section 14 - Boiler Accessories
Section 14 - Boiler Accessories  |  Total images: 146
Close to being Finished! Boiler Accessories. Need to make a turret cover, mount the dynamo, add reach rods for the blowdowns. 2015 We take the jacketing off again to mount the running boards, and lag part of of the boiler. 2014 - Frisco top-mounted air tanks. July 2012 - boiler Jacketing. April 2011 - Fire door completed, installed. Maybe the fire pan is really finished this time! Fire pan modified, completed, for a square burner and damper assembly Feb 2011. Fire pan modified, completed, for a larger atomizer opening in fall 2010. The fire pan was started Jan 2010, completed May 2010. Plumbing the burner in Jan-2012.
Section 15 - Cab
Section 15 - Cab  |  Total images: 52
Completed! The Cab. September 2014 - Cab roof in Frisco Red Oxide, cab lighting. August 2012 - Fitting and modifying the stock USRA cab to be more like a FRISCO. August 2011 - Right now we are focusing on the minumum needed to get the locomotive running, cab finishing and details will come later. May 2011 - Cab Floor Started. June 2008-Check out the beautiful laser cut parts my friend Tim M. hooked me up with!
Section 16 - Cab Accessories
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Section 16 - Cab Accessories  |  Total images: 120
Completed! Cab Accessories. Should be called the plumbing section! 2014 - We make a steam vacuum ejector for the train brakes, lubricator for the brake stand. May 2012 - Minimum required plumbing completed for first fire-up. The manifold, main steam valves, accessories and controls all need to be plumbed in this section. The reverse stand is nearly finished (Aug 2011), Johnson bar. Plumbing completed for: Manifold; Blower; Main Steam Gage; Water Glass, Aux Air Manifold. Injectors are next.
Section 17 - Tender Trucks
Section 17 - Tender Trucks  |  Total images: 136
Usable! Tender Trucks. 2014 - The trucks have been finished, assembled and painted enough to be runable. We did not design and fabricate the dozens of small parts to put operation brakes on them. We will do that later. Happy to report the trucks work great and have not given any issue running over the track. July 2013 Axle box machining in progress. June 2013 Back from being welded into a contiguous piece, Bill finished the machining of the Frames. Construction Started December 2012! I picked up a set of 3-axle commonwealth trucks in November 2008 which I will use instead of the supplied USRA bettendorfs. One problem: the homemade castings do not have an engineering print with them. I had to make prints and Bill had to figure out how to machine them.
Section 18 - Tender
Section 18 - Tender  |  Total images: 160
Completed! Tender. 2015 Added the "doghouse" - the brakemans shack to the tender deck, a unique Frisco detail, and backup light. 2014 - Finished over the winter and in service! Some detail work remains. The July 2013 Assembly continues, riveting and welding are in progress. I have already learned one lesson: Cut the tender frame to length AFTER the tank is made. Maybe you will do better than I did, but my tank is a about 1" shorter than planned-making accurate bends in the sheet sides is hard! After using a borrowed tender for the first fire-up of the locomotive, all attention is turned to fabricating one this winter. November 2012 - raw stock for Tender Frame cut. Steel side sheets for tender tank laser cut. Fiberglass Tender received 2003. June 2009 - I am thinking of making a tender instead of using the fiberglass one since the 3 axle trucks I have will not fit under the frame.
Section 19 - Misc
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Section 19 - Misc  |  Total images: 21
Misc. Stuff that doesn't have a particular home. Like the Lubricator. And hand rails. And a Bell, and whistle, and lettering, and couplers, and....and...and all that other stuff.
 Some assembly required!  The cast iron spoked drive wheels are in front with the pilot (front) and trailing wheels behind it.  Painted red in machinist layout fluid is the engine frame -- 13/16  Some assembly required!  Here are some of the 150+ castings that need to be machined, assembled and painted to complete the locomotive.  Most of the castings are aluminum, the rest are bronze.  On the right is the smokebox cover, tender water hatch. The smokestack and sandbox are in the back. On the left are the axle boxes for the wheels.