"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Hold on… What’s going on here? Oh my Goodness…

Pennsy_A3Something has snapped. I am actually thinking about dusting off the Penn A3 project. Wow! Is it a dream or am I retired? Oh yeah, I am retired now.

I have the Kozo Shay, Climax and Heisler live steam locomotive how-to project books on my shelf as well as the Pennsylvania A3 Switcher. Are they ALL possible now?

Ha! They are possible but probably not all probable. But I never say never.

I have decided to stop chasing the buck, even with my on-line e-store “Ramblin” Dan’s Store” (RDS). I want to spend my time making things in my shop. RDS will hang together for a while but I decided not to try and increase or even maintain the e-business. It has always been a very low profit and I ran it more for the experience of operating a business.

Any for profit “Business” I do will probably be with my silver work (Lost Wax Casting) as I really enjoy working with very hot liquid metal. Of course the skill can be used for making small brass locomotive castings.

I started the ¾” scale project because Kozo provides excellent guidance in his books and the size of the parts are reasonable. The drawback is where to go to run the locomotive. I think there are club tracks in the Houston, TX area, but nothing in the Dallas area that I know about.

That has made me consider Gauge1 which has many various scales involved with that track size. Generally, it is used with any scale between 1:13.7 (7/8N2 or M scale) to 1:32 (Number 1 Scale)

The 7/8N2 grabbed my attention because it is only slightly bigger than ¾ scale (6/8) but runs on a very common gauge track although this is 2-foot narrow gauge in prototype. Most engines modeled in this size are therefore “critter,” very small industrial engines but with tons of detail. “Forney” style engines are also built to 7/8n2 scale.

I will probably never run a ¾ scale engine, but it is the construction that is the hobby. The fact it can run can make it a collectable, worth more than the metal from which it was built. (scrap value)

I feel I can stay with ¾ scale. I actually designed my machine tool acquisition so I could work in this size with little to no problem. Of course smaller is always an option with the same equipment. I will never say never to working in any particular size. It’s nice to have a free choice.

What do you think? Time to get back on track?

2 Responses to Hold on… What’s going on here? Oh my Goodness…

  • Dan,

    Glad to hear you are going to set aside the “making money” and focus on the real deal…making things.

    I too have just retired this last year and it has taken me awhile to get my head wrapped around the whole retirement issue. I do a lot of volunteer work at the local museum and Gig Harbor Boat Shop to keep me active with other people. The rest of my time is spent in my hobby shop that I have been spending years and money to develop…it’s time to PLAY.

    I too have thought about building the Kozo Shay and would like to hear about your progress. I do have a steam club (Kitsap Live Steamer near Port Orchard, WA.) just 14 miles from my home…may start doing some volunteer work there as well.

    By the way, I now use my nick name Bill since my retirement…George was my business name.


    • Hello Bill,

      I started the A3 years ago. I just cut out the brass parts yesterday to re-make the coupler pocket for the rear of the tender. It seemed easier this time. I will silver solder it yet this week.

      As far as making money I am still doing a bit of that. I have gotten good at lost wax design carving and casting Sterling silver and my wife is selling everything I can make. Mostly pendant necklaces, rings and jewelry ornaments. It is paying for the materials. The best detailed carving work is done with my Taig CNC mill, but i’m not bad with free hand carving too.

      The A3 will continue as my “real” fun machining project, but not for profit. I hope you check on my progress once and awhile. 🙂


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