Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Update on DIY Wooden Train Sets
I've been informed that the link to the instructions for building your own wooden train set is no longer active. See my original post on building a train table and your own wooden train set here. They were great instructions posted by Mr. Donnely. Unfortunately, he's apparently decided to stop keeping that site up, and I never got the chance to put his great ideas to the test. But, I will do my best to fill you in on what I remember from his methods, and share some sites that might help you make your own wooden toy train set.
First a useful site kept by a wooden train enthusiast with instructions and ideas for making wooden train sets. Hoogerland National Railways. Hoogerland also offers some good sources for parts to make your trains.
Wikipedia listing on Wooden Trains. Some great info as well.
Making the track: Dimensions for the track can be found at Hoogerland National Railways. The best method Mr. Donnely used was a router bit set designed for this specific purpose. I found a source at Rockler.com. A quick Google search will get you a few other sources as well. Bosch-rotozip-skil 12 Piece Router Bit Set & Accessories 91012 (Google Affiliate Ad)
He also used a second method to make the "male" part of the tracks. It involved gluing in a wooden dowel and putting a ball end cap on the end. There were a couple of problems with that method in my opinion, the ball had to be sanded slightly to get it to fit, and, I thought if the ball came loose from the dowel, it could be a choking hazard.
The trains: Another quick Google search will get you all kinds of wooden wheel and axle sources. Here are a couple: Cherry Tree Toys Lara's Crafts or Casey's Wood Products.
Here is a message board that addresses some other stuff regarding the wheels and magnets you need. A couple of notes regaring the magnets... basically, it seems, you can find them at pretty much any hobby store, on the net, or even Radio Shack. The important thing to remember is that you make sure you get the magnets installed so they oppose each other, so the cars hook up to one another. You also need to use a domed nail of some kind to make sure the magnet doesn't stick together too firmly, and so you can turn corners.
One thing I was disappointed to come up empty on was the domed axles like they use on the commercially available train sets out there. If you come up with a source, I'd love to hear where you find them.
I'll close by mentioning Hoogerland National Railways again. This gentleman, Todd, has done a great job of filling us in on some of his sources and methods. I urge you to check out his site.
Good luck with your build. If you feel like it, I'd love to see examples of what you come up with for your own homemade, DIY wooden toy train sets.