Working on the MDC shay
I took a few photos of the MDC shay I'm working on.
What started as a simple tune-up turned into a major rebuild.
This photo shows the MDC/Athearn drive-shaft To complete the re-power.


I regauged this one to standard gauge by replacing the axles and installing these spacers on the side frames.


This shows the relocation of the air tank.


The lowered toolbox and modified pilot.

Ray Marinaccio
Some modifications around the cab area.


This shows the rear sand box.


That's where I am with this project. I need to fabricate wipers for electrical pickup and wire it, then finish detailing and painting.
More later.


The rear sand box is the original MDC box with a few modifications. The center was cut out, then styrene fillers installed.


Notches were filed at the bottoms of the boxes.
Then a sheet of styrene was installed to represent the back of the water tank.
This photo shows the back temporarily in place before the notches were filed.

Ray Marinaccio
The next two photos show the modifications to the top and front of the water tank.


This shows the fillers added to the dack of the cab. It's hard to see in this photo but there is a fabricated boiler and firebox back temperarily installed. I just found a photo of the cab interior of a shay to go by to add a little extra detail to the interior.


These are the wiper assemblies I made from .002" brass strap.


I think a wire wiper would work fine. Be sure the wipers are flexable enough to apply light preasure to the wheels. You could cut the tabs off the original wipers and solder the wire wiper to it, using it as a mount. Then use some light wire to hardwire the trucks to the motor or decoder. (I looped the wire down around the bottom post of the sideframe to give more flexability.)
Hardwiring will isolate the frame and make installing a decoder easier. If you are using the original openframe motor, it is easily isolated by removing the ground wire to the frame and wired to the decoder. Keeping the frame neutral will eliminate the worry of coupling to another loco or car and having a short.
Ray Marinaccio
Coupler lift bars and railings were made from .015' steel wire from garbage bag twisty ties. I stripped off the plastic coating and heated the wire over the gas stove, then quenched them in water to harden them.
Sand hatches and a ladder were added.
The water hatch was thinned and lowered.


The flange for the stack was thinned and a new number board was made


I took some photos of the lights I'm building. The light housings were turned on the lathe . the mid sections were milled from 1/16" brass strap and the lower brackets were fabricated from .010" brass sheet with embossed rivet detail.




The parts

Ray Marinaccio
This is the rivet tool I built to emboss the rivets.


This is what I came up with for the light wires.
I made a contact disc from PC board with enamal coated wire soldered to it and fed the wires through small holes in the housing, then bending and gluing it along the inside of the brackets.


Holes were drilled in the shell and the wires feed through and the assembly glued in place.


The wires were glued to the shell to prevent them from flexing and breaking off.
Ray Marinaccio
For the front, two 1/16" holes were drilled at 45 degree angles till they met.


Then I drilled a 1/8" hole from the bottom to meet them, then milled passages for the wires on the bottom.


I added extra insulation to the wire to prevent accidental grounding on the boiler.


The wires were fed through and the assembly was glued in place.


This shows the wires glued into the passages.

Attached Files Image(s)
Ray Marinaccio
've been adding parts to the boiler and doing a bit of plumbing.
A bracket was fabricated for the compressor I found in a parts lot(not sure who made it). The piping is steel and brass wire.


The other side.


I actually prefer brass wire. It's easier to form.
I used a piece of an Athearn hand rail for the water injector line to replace the original steel MDC part, only because thats what I had on hand that was the right dia. . The line under the compressor exhaust line is a hardened steel twisty tie like I used for the railing on the side of the cab and water tank. (cheep source of thinner wire).
As for attaching the pipes , I drill holes where ever possible and use super glue to attach the part and fill the holes. I have found that cleaning the part to remove any oil that is on it from handling it helps.
On some long runs of pipe, I install a bracket to hold it in position. I bend an eyelet from thin wire and glue it in a predrilled hole.
The compressor had dimples where the lines connect that were drilled out a bit and the ends of the lines inserted and glued.
At some point I'd like to try resistance soldering parts like these.
I think some advantages to using steel over brass would be strength on long runs of pipes that may be subjected to abuse from handling and it isn't marred as easily by tools in the bending process.

I am planning to use white LEDs machined on the lathe to a tight press fit into the housing . I am going to try to cut a taper in the front of the LED to resemble a reflector and glue a thin lens over it. The leads of the LED will be shortened and KD coupler springs attached to act as contacts. (sounds good in theory)
I installed a disconnect plug for the front light in the boiler today. (more VCR parts)


This is the jumper wire to the motor. The leads from the front truck will attach to these wires inside the boiler, where power will be tapped for the headlight. The leads from the rear truck will run to the motor.


A better shot of the left side.
If you look closely you can see the strap holding the water injector line.

Ray Marinaccio
Q #1:Wow !! Great work, Ray. It looks absolutely terrific. I usually notice things like hangers and how sraight the piping is right off; it's the giveaway that one is looking at careful, meticulous work.

Are you soldering or gluing your piping and major parts?

Q#2: I'm curious as to your trick to modifying the pilots. They look like wooden beams. Would you care to share this with us? That babe REALLY looks great.
A#1--The piping and parts are glued on this one. I like to drill mounting holes and add pins for strength when gluing the larger parts like the compressor and air tank.
On the steel and brass locos I've built I usually solder as much as possible.

A#2--After I glued in some extra plastic to the original pilot, filled it with putty and got the general shape, I used a dull razor saw to scribe the individual beams.
Then to get the grain look, I took the same saw and dragged it sideways across the surfaces. Sort of like shaving with a VERY dull razor. In the hard to reach spots I used an exacto knife to scribe the grain. A small brass wire brush was then used to clean out the groves and round any sharp edges.

I have the frame almost ready for paint now. I added the other 3 sides of the firebox, the steps and some bracing.
I'll have to take a few more photos to post.

I'm now looking at the motor (steam engine), trying to decide what details to add. Piping? Valve gear?
Ray Marinaccio
This shows the firebox sides. I embossed rivets on them, the glare in the photo makes them hard to see.


I made filler peices to simulate the backs of the cylinder supports and filed them to shepe after gluing them in place.


This is the second attempt at some of the valve gear parts. The arms were fabricated on a jig, soldered then thined by rubbing them on a file.


Here's the third attempt at the valve gear.
I formed the parts with .010" copper wire then pressed them between two steel plates. The ecentric rods and reverse link were soldered together and the rest of the parts were glued in place.

I'm having a hard time getting a good photo, here's what I've got so far.



Ray Marinaccio
Original post by 60103

Ray: is this any help?

Nice photo David,
I had a hard time finding a good closeup photo of a Shay motor of the same style as the MDC motor. The photo you posted has the same style valve gear. Some had a different guide for the valve and the cylinder supports were different. I didn't realize there were so many different 3 cylinder shay motors until now. Thanks for posting it.
Ray Marinaccio
ROriginaly posted by 60106

I found that shay stuffed and mounted in Cadillac, Michigan. I've been there quite a few years in a row, but this year I had the chance to take a pile of detail photos. Any other bits you need? The trucks turned out well, but the loco is in a structure -- no sides but the roof is kinda low.
The interesting side was in bright sun, but the offside...

A photo of the trucks might help. I might put some brake rigging on. If you have larger photos you could Email them. Thanks

Railings were made by gluing leads from LEDs into holes drilled in the shell. Then 1/32" strips of aluminum can were glued on.


Another view of the railing.


A back was added the firebox, some wire and misc. detail parts so the cab wouldn't look empty.


To make the brakes I formed the shoes from copper wire and hangers from steel wire.
After the shoe was formed as shown in the photo it was soldered, filed to shape then formed to the contour of the wheel.
The shoe was installed on the hanger, then the end of the hanger was soldered.

Ray Marinaccio
Holes were drilled in the side frames and gearbox,then the hangers were glued in place. The wire extending from the shoe was glued onto the gearbox then a piece of H-beam glued to them.


A side view


I sprayed the basecoat on today.


The motor looks a little better with paint.


Ray Marinaccio

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)