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Motorizing the Constitution (79111)

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  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 550

    I don't know about other steam trains, as I only have the Constitution, but I believe the Emerald Night has a similar arrangement.

    While I don't own the Emerald Night, page 59 of Book 1 on the instructions does indeed indicate that both the leading and trailing carrying wheel assemblies are both attached using a Technic pin through two modified 3 x 2 plates with holes and that only the 6 drive wheels are fixed in relation to the body of the engine.

    While a different level of complexity in the build, the Toy Story Western Train Chase, #7597, also uses a Technic pin to allow the leading carrying wheels and cow catcher assembly to pivot, while a bogie plate allows the drive wheels to pivot separately.

  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited January 2014
    So here's the latest version of my kitbashing of the Constitution. Most of the tinkering consisted of a) tweaking what I have already done and b) improving what I considered to be fundamental flaws in the basic design. The interesting thing to me is that power functions aside, I don't think any of the modifications to the engine would have added all that much to the cost, if any, so it's a bit baffling to me why they didn't kick in a bit more to make it a little more realistic. But hey, I'm not a Lego designer, so likely I didn't have to follow constraints that they normally do. Anyway, the modifications were a culmination of steam train knowledge, posts here, elsewhere and other Lego trains, most notably the Emerald Night. The attached pictures reflect the story (and sheesh, up close Lego pictures can get dusty).

    Articulated Front Wheels (not attached to the cowcatcher)
    I never liked this part, mostly because real trains just don't have their cowcatchers sway like this, but also because it had the drive pistons sway as well. This is...impossible, because unless the drive rods were flexible (which is also impossible), this configuration could never actually power a steam train. The good news is that the articulation of the original train allowed for the new pilot truck (front wheels) to be easily rebuilt using a technique similar to the EN, keeping it low to the tracks to minimize interference with the rest of the front as just the wheels sway back and forth. Then, attaching the cowcatcher and piston assemblies directly to the boiler allowed them to be static, allowing for the next improvement...

    Rod-Driven Wheels
    Even more than the wandering cowcatcher, this irked me the most because the way the engine comes out of the box, it simply cannot physically work because it has no drive rods. This is like trying to drive a car without a drive shaft. Now I get Lego cars don't usually have drive shafts, but because it's such a prominent feature on a steam train, you just can't get away with not using them. This was the hardest part to get right because of so many things I wanted to accomplish:

    a) Make the push rods work - I attached them similar to the method used on the EN with a 9x thick liftarm for the coupling rods and a 7x thin lift arm for the main drive rod. The technic axles stroke through a pair of part 4173668 in each piston cylinder.

    b) Make the push rods work all the time when the train is moving - Because the locomotive wheels aren't powered like they are on the EN, they are turned by rolling on the track. There's not a lot of friction there, so what to do. I tried adding the red rubber bands that match the four drive wheels, but that caused some heavy binding on the curves and didn't work no matter what configuration I tried (e.g. all wheels, only front, only back, etc.). What I had was an engine with smooth thrusting rods most of the time, but they slipped a lot, which looked sub par. Interestingly enough, this was solved by me giving up and instead tackling the next challenge...

    c) Quarter the wheels - Not only because this is prototypical, but because it looks much nicer. This actually was as easy as pie by taking a 6x axle and merely connecting the center wheels using a couple bushings underneath. Not only did this work to quarter the wheels (left leading in this case, if you want to read up on that), but because they are now connected, if one side starts slipping, the other side "helps" it along, so there's really never a time that the drive rods aren't moving.

    Cab/Tender Enhancements
    Just to make it a bit more sexy, I extended the cab by 1 stud, raised the height a tad and then put in probably way too many details. Oh well, it feels right, including levers, gauges and a swinging firebox door and glowing firebox (instead of the lighted lantern I used to have - this is much cooler). Plus, it has room for the engineer. Like most of the rest of you in this thread, I also integrated the battery into the tender which has all sorts of advantages, the biggest being that the weight, giving the train the ability to pull more cars.

    I'm pretty happy with the results so far because it kept the general integrity and look of the Constitution, which I thought kicked ass from the get go :)

    Plus, here's a little video of it in operation...

    Paperballparkbluedragon
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Btw @Paperballpark totally gets props for the robot-claw-through-the-2x2-round-plate technique for turning the battery on and off. That's brilliant for a clandestine switch.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited January 2014
    Never content to leave a train modification left untried, I decided to make use of eight extra One Rings to give the cab interior a bit more of a showroom shine with some polished brass accents.
    bluedragonlegomattMods79
  • jumalichijumalichi Member Posts: 56
    That's really great i'm very impressed by the interior design ! I'm very impatient to build it. I bought 3 trains (i'm in France) at the start of january when it was sale for 50 euros... A good price i think :-)
  • dojcubicdojcubic Member Posts: 2
    I have chosen to motorize the prisoner car. It only required a little extra room to fit battery box and IR receiver and it gives it a caboose style look. It doesn't have the prison door inside any more and in place of the "dynamite wall" there's now the IR receiver. See my website http://cubic.org/~doj/lego/79111/ for more pictures.

    image
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,240
    ^ how well does the train run with it being pushed from the back like that? It might jump the track if it goes too fast.
  • dojcubicdojcubic Member Posts: 2
    didn't have any problem with pushing. But I also don't use the max speed, since then the cars just fly off in turns.
  • r303bluer303blue Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2014
    Hi all,
    I'm new to Brickset, and have been referencing this post since deciding to get this set and motorize it. I've been a Lego fan since I was 5 and a Lionel train fan since about then as well, which kept me away from getting into the Lego trains.

    In recent years, I've been building Christmas layouts using Lego and Lionel together, which started up while still living in Brooklyn. It was perfect since I could build a bunch of houses and a station, etc. and then tear down after the new year. I continue this tradition despite moving to suburbia upstate, and have been building my Lego empire as well.

    Fast forward to this year when my sis gave me a Hogwarts train set that a friend gave her kids, along with several other sets... for free! It was the impetus for me to get into Lego trains.

    I decided that I would use the parts in that set to add to the Lone Ranger set, which I bought on eBay. I got this set in the spring, and just recently bought the motor parts on eBay. All told, I prob save maybe $40-50.

    I liked several of the options discussed here, and decide to use some of them and modify how I wanted.

    Some steps:
    1. I separated the the cow catcher from the wheels as suggested I believe by @TheLoneTensor‌, which is more accurate, though either option given the tight radius are viable. The articulated wheel assembly is very similar to how Lionel does it for older small engines, and I liked seeing that. A suggestion here, if you ever get stumped on these ideas, and you haven't already, look to O scale train forum for points of references.
    2. I wanted the engine to drive the train, so I dropped 2 wheels, and made it a 4-4-0. I just like engines doing what they're intended to do, but enjoyed seeing all the various ideas in this forum.
    3. I placed the IR receiver in front of the cab, hiding it in the black section behind the whistle addition. I tried it inside the cab, but it didn't have a clear signal. Then I raised it so it protruded through the cab roof, which worked great and didn't look terrible, but I realized I could hide it better this way. Works like a charm!
    4. The tender holds the battery box. This was heavily modified like many of yours, but since I wasn't using it for the motor, it kept it on the smaller side still. Wire runs in from the cab.
    5. I moved the lantern forward as well, which is more accurate, though maybe not to the Lone Ranger movie train.
    6. I love the cab details @Paperballpark added, but decided to pick function over form with mine. I may change my mind at some point!
    7. Some things I may still explore:
      • The front wheels could have more accurate spacing
      • The cow catcher's a bit high
      • I'd like to buy some driver shafts and update the front pistons at some point
    That's it! Hope you enjoy my version. Oh, and the passenger car is just using the boxcar pieces mainly, and the caboose is using a good chunk of Hogwarts tender pieces. Cheers!
    thenosPeteMThanos75snowhitiekhmellymel
  • RevBluesRevBlues Member Posts: 117
    dojcubic said:

    I have chosen to motorize the prisoner car. It only required a little extra room to fit battery box and IR receiver and it gives it a caboose style look. It doesn't have the prison door inside any more and in place of the "dynamite wall" there's now the IR receiver. See my website http://cubic.org/~doj/lego/79111/ for more pictures.

    image


    So glad to see this works. I've just bought the set* and have been looking at ways to add power functions. I don't want to have to muck around with the engine or tender, so I'll be following your lead and modifying the closed car. I've no plans to use the higher speed settings either, since I think they're a little bit too fast and unrealistic unless you have a huge track layout with long straights (having watched about a hundred YouTube videos as research).

    My only problem is that I really, really want to add lights to the engine. I guess I'll have to buy a simpLite kit and hide the 2xAAA battery box in the tender - so maybe a small redesign of that will be required.

    Incidentally, I'm glad to see elsewhere on Johnny Interwebs that others, like me, think the chimney (funnel? - sorry, I'm new to trains) is too big/imposing. I'll be replacing it with two or three black round 2x2 bricks topped with a flat round 2x2 tile, and setting it one stud back from its original position.

    * one of the few left, it seems, but I'm happy I only paid a 25% premium on the original retail price when I see what Emerald Night is going for...
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited December 2014
    Assuming realism is your goal here, I would suggest not utilizing the motorization method of packing everything into the prison car. This is doubly so if you're looking to add lights. There's been a number of decent suggestions in this thread alone, so check them out.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    RevBlues said:

    Incidentally, I'm glad to see elsewhere on Johnny Interwebs that others, like me, think the chimney (funnel? - sorry, I'm new to trains) is too big/imposing. I'll be replacing it with two or three black round 2x2 bricks topped with a flat round 2x2 tile, and setting it one stud back from its original position.

    This is a ridiculous argument, look...
    Paperballpark
  • RevBluesRevBlues Member Posts: 117

    Assuming realism is your goal here, I would suggest not utilizing the motorization method of packing everything into the prison car. This is doubly so if you're looking to add lights. There's been a number of decent suggestions in this thread alone, so check them out.

    I don't like the way those solutions change the looks of the engine and/or the tender.

    This is a ridiculous argument, look...

    If you'll excuse me for pointing it out, I don't think my preference is worthy of ridicule. I did not say or even suggest that the design was not realistic; what I suggested was that it doesn't suit my personal aesthetic taste. And being LEGO, I'll take some bricks off and add some of my own choosing.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Sure, but I will point out that your post alluded to some kind of unidentified "Johnny Interwebs" collective design. Such collective thoughts are usually from some fanbase that tends to work toward, not away from a prototypical design.

    At the end of the day it's Lego. You can plant flowers on the smokestack and SNOT chocolate chip cookie tiles on the side if that's what floats your boat.
  • RevBluesRevBlues Member Posts: 117
    edited December 2014
    You're reading an utterly absurd amount into a few simple words and assigning to me views I don't hold. That's called projection. I only pointed out that I found evidence that others agree with me (no suggestion of a collective design) so was pleased that I was not the only one who doesn't like it - not that it would have mattered if I was the only one.

    At the end of the day it's Lego. You can plant flowers on the smokestack and SNOT chocolate chip cookie tiles on the side if that's what floats your boat.

    My point exactly. So I'll do it and expect other LEGO fans not to call my opinion ridiculous. Keep it civil.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    I apologize for you assuming that this was a personal attack. Thank you for capitulating with my final point, I appreciate that.
    RevBlues
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,418
    Personally I'm of the opinion that the smoke stack looks exactly as it should do! ;)
    RevBlues
  • SMBSMB Member Posts: 3
    Hi All,

    I am new to the brickset forum and this is my first post. I just wanted to share how I finally motorized my Constitution train set after seeing all the great ideas here and in other forums. I really admire all the details that e.g. @TheLoneTensor‌ put in his engine, mine is still very close to stock.

    Like @dojcubic I decided to motorize the prison car, but not via the PF train motor #88002. Instead I used an L-Motor #88003 and the concept/idea from Selander that he posted on the eurobricks forum: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=73529

    The IR receiver and L-Motor are in the prison car and drive the wheels via 20:12 bevel gears. I had to remove the internal prison door and lever and modify small sections in the roof to make it fit. The battery sits in the (slightly) modified tender. Top speed is decent, but not nearly as fast as with the PF train motor. At least it does not fly of the tracks. Torque is plenty and traction is sufficient, despite the fact that the battery is not inside the driving car.

    I have attached a few pictures showing the locomotive, tender and prison car. Unfortunately the black bricks did not come out so well. For the motorization concept with the L-Motor itself it is probably best to look at the pictures Selander has posted in the link above, as he used mainly greyish bricks.
    snowhitieRevBluesSirBenTheLoneTensor
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 819
    I have no interest in motorizing this particular train, but I will be building a holiday train for my wife (she wants one to go around the tree) and then another Hogwarts express to go around my mini Hogwarts build...so I will definitely look into a lot of these tips as I rebuild those trains to motorize them.

    Thanks for the information everyone.
  • klatu003klatu003 Hobbiton, Shire, Middle EarthMember Posts: 719
    Used this video to motorize my train. I am very happy with the results looks good and runs well. The guy who did the video only used sign language. He did an excellent job. It was relaxing to watch without all the talking. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C04UlIMCmag
    SMB
  • SMBSMB Member Posts: 3
    I really like the layout of your modulars, @klatu003‌, especially how you placed the town hall separately.
  • Kurtis570Kurtis570 New JerseyMember Posts: 1
    Let me first say that you guys are amazing in your ingenuity.  The method of completely improving the original design is worthy of lego offering a few of your consulting positions on improving their designs. I stumbled on the site while trying to accomplish the same thing that you guys have already done.  My first and primary question however is how do you initially integrate the power functions into the coal tender?  I bought the standard power functions kit from the lego store- which I assume is more geared for the technic line and not the trains.  What do I need to get the power functions and do any of you guys have a more detailed instruction to follow?  I haven't assembled a lego train since the 1980's and they were far different then. 
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 3,418
    edited November 2015
    Welcome @Kurtis570 ! :) From the sounds of it, you've bought #8293 Motor Set, which includes #8881 AA battery box. Whilst you can use that battery box for trains, it is, as you say, more geared towards technic models, and won't really fit in most trains very well. What you ideally need is the following:

    - #8879 Speed Controller - this is a 7-speed controller specifically designed to control trains. It uses 3 AAA batteries.
    - #8884 IR Receiver - this receives the Infra-red signal from the controller.
    - #88002 Train Motor - this provides the drive for most trains that you'll build, unless you later decide to use gears with one of the other motors. This is by far the easiest option to power your trains.
    - Either #88000 AAA Battery Box or #8878 Rechargeable Battery Box. The former uses 6 AAA batteries for power, the latter is rechargeable (using #8887 10V Transformer). If you're just going to run the trains at home every so often, go with the former. I mostly run my trains at shows, so I go with the latter. The AAA box is cheap, the rechargeable box is expensive.

    Connect the Motor lead to the IR Receiver, and connect the IR Receiver lead to the Battery Box. Turn the Battery Box on, make sure your Controller is set to the same frequency (1 to 4) as the IR Receiver, and you're up and running! :)

    Of course, how you then build everything into your train is up to you, but once you have it all connected, you should start to see the possibilities.
    Sethro377ncaachamps
  • Sethro3Sethro3 United StatesMember Posts: 819
    ^Good information. I finally started piecing together a Christmas train for the Mrs and I ended up ordering all of that same stuff that you mentioned. But I like the info given. I think most train newbies wouldn't know what to get and this is a good layout. If I hadn't worked it out on my own, I would have found your description to be very helpful.
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