Building a Live Steam Locomotive - the Mikado Project

Working just four hours a week starting in 2003, master machinist Bill W. came over to my home workshop and together we built this locomotive finishing major construction in 2012. This site started as a build log, now with the locomotive functionally complete and running, is more photo gallery of activities. After major construction, activities turn to the details -- adding in cosmetic items such as air tanks, cab roof, lighting,. 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 preparation 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).
Operations and Alterations - After years of effort, we run the engine! Operations and Alterations - After years of effort, we run the engine! Several seasons have gone by and the engine is...

Operations and Alterations - After years of effort, we run the engine!

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…
HeavyMikeWheelsFrame17_Jul_02
2002 Some machining required! The cast iron spoked drive wheels are in front with the pilot (front) and trailing wheels behind it. Painted red in machinist…
HeavyMikeCastings_17_Jul_02
2002 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…
Assembly Assembly 'Section A' -- Assembling of the locomotive started July 2009, roughly finished 2014 with more details added...

Assembly

'Section A' -- Assembling of the locomotive started July 2009, roughly finished 2014 with more details added each year.
Painting Painting Painting, it's a milestone event for any part. Parts have been Prepared, Primered and Painted.

Painting

Painting, it's a milestone event for any part. Parts have been Prepared, Primered and Painted.

Section 1 - Frame

Frame construction Oct 2004 - Aug 2007

Section 2 - Spring Rigging

Spring rigging construction

Section 3 - Drive Wheels

The saga of the main drive wheels. Started July 2005, finished December 2007 with a break in the middle to find, move and then restore a bigger lathe to machine…

Section 4 - Cylinders

The cylinder saddle as machined by master machinist Bill W. Summer 2003

Section 5 - Cylinder group 2

The cylinder parts - covers, piping, jacketing. July 2006-Jan 2007, June 2009-August 2009, finished September 2009

Section 6 - Pilot and Pilot Deck

The Pilot (front of engine) and Front Truck. Sheetmetal work on the pilot deck and ladder fabrication.

Section 7 - Trailing Truck

The Delta Trailing Truck. May 2005 - Aug 2007

Section 8 - Motion Structure

Guide Yoke, Link Support, Connecting Rods,Water pump. August 2007-Jan 2008

Section 9 - Locomotive Brakes

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…

Section 10 - Drive Rods

Drive Rods. Main, Side and Intermediate rods. Jan-June 2008

Section 11 - Valve Gear

Valve Gear. Lots of little levers: Link Trunion, tumbling shaft lever, eccentric crank, eccentric rod, radius rod, combination lever, union link, lifting link.…

Section 12 - Smokebox

The 'face' of a locomotive. Smokebox front, smokestack, headlight bracket, hinges, bell. February - June 2009.

Section 13 - Boiler

The boiler was fabricated by Godshall's Machine shop in 2003 and was part of the castings and prints when I purchased them. Started Jan 2010

Section 14 - Boiler Accessories

Boiler Accessories. Steam dome cover, sand dome.

Section 15 - Cab

The Cab. Check out the beautiful laser cut parts my friend Tim M. hooked me up with! June 2008

Section 16 - Cab Accessories

Cab Accessories. Should be called the plumbing section! 2018 - Lighting and electrical finalized. 2014 - We make a steam vacuum ejector for the train brakes,…

Section 17 - Tender Trucks

Shop made three axle tender trucks. I picked up a set of 3-axle commonwealth trucks in November 2008 which I will use instead of the supplied USRA Bettendorfs.…

Section 18 - Tender

Lessons in steel tank coatings. 2015 Added the "doghouse" - the brakeman's shack to the tender deck, a unique Frisco detail, and backup light. 2014 - Finished…

Section 19 - Misc

Miscellaneous stuff that doesn't have a particular home. Like the Lubricator. And hand rails. And a Bell, and whistle, and lettering, and couplers,…
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The Frisco 4166 Heavy Mikado and her trainset September 2018. This oil-fired engine has proven to be strong puller and is enjoyable to run. The engine is a…