"One Perfect Part at a Time"

The A3 Live Steam

I was taken away from the Pennsy A3 locomotive build for a number of reasons. 9/23/07 is the date of the last update. That’s almost three years ago. Time goes too fast.

No, I wasn’t doing a Rip Van Winkle. I got the HB2 CHC router completely built and operational. I put a DRO on the X3 mill. I made a lot of router projects.  A lot of personal and family events occurred in these last three years as exciting as a first grandchild and as serious as a major cancer cure for wife Gloria.

The A3 is not an inexpensive build, either in cash or time. I only have a limited amount of both. I am still fully employed for 60 hours a week (Hooray!), so spare time is the most limited and cost is spread over time. The other projects did take away time resources from the A3. I already have most of the tender materials.

I admit I have spent time mentally exploring alternatives to the A3 build. That’s because a friend of mine, Ed Hume built a smaller size loco after he finished his A3. Mainly because #1 gauge tracks are much more available and ½ inch scale (more or less) is more popular. For my thinking the construction is smaller so there is less material cost and probably a bit faster build. Gauge #1 has a larger customer base if I want to sell what I make.

Ed did acquire a Tormach CNC mill for his shop. <oooh!> It may have shortened build time, but he could be just building more locos.

So I too have been tempted toward the ½ inch scale size. However, I have come to the realization that I will probably never build a high maintenance track layout in my yard no matter what size (scale) of the engine. My neuropathy would NOT make the outdoor scenic construction and upkeep enjoyable. I can still walk but every year it slowly gets more difficult. Maybe at most, I will build a test loop in gauge #1. I’d rather be in the shop. I can visit steam-ups.

So now I have come around the circle and am thinking, “keep working on the A3!” The size of the parts is wonderful for my PN weakened hand grip and loss of touch sensitivity. That’s the reason I started the A3 in the first place. I will be trying to use CAM to make as many parts as practical but I won’t be a slave to doing it all on computer.

Let’s see, how many custom loco wheels to pay for a Tormach  PCNC 770? (Ha! Keep dreaming , Dan’l)

Like I said, I have the material for the A3 tender work. I just needed the mental adjustment to get re-committed. Live steam in any size is a blast! Um… maybe a poor choice of words…

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