March 15, 2016

All Aboard!! The Steam(punk) Locomotive

I've had the idea of a locomotive project in the back of my mind for quite some time, and finally decided to actually do it.

I based the design for this project on several early steam locomotives. It's been interesting learning about them and how they work.  I've taken some artistic license, of course, and for all you train enthusiasts out there, please forgive me if I get my terminology a little confused.

The project is entirely made out of chipboard, both medium weight and light weight.

It has several sizes of wood dowels for structural support and design elements.  And of course, it has decorative paper.

Like many of my fellow paper crafters out there, I have a lovely stash of paper collections to choose from when I work on a project.  I decided on Graphic 45's Steampunk Debutante because it's one of my favorites and with a name containing "Steam" it's perfect for a steam locomotive, don't you think?  I think this is my fifth project with this paper collection!

The locomotive is about 14" long, 9" high at the smokestack, and a little over 6" wide at the widest part.
Hidden inside is a 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 7" compartment which contains a small mini album – more on the album later.

The cab is about 4" x 5" and is 4 1/2" tall.  The windows have panes made from Tim Holtz frosted sheets and trimmed with a border from one of the decorative papers.  I usually use a plain dark cardstock behind the window panes but in this project I decided to use a decorative paper since there weren't going to be any mullions.

The cab, as well as most of the other parts of the locomotive are trimmed with strips of paper from the paper collection to which I added 4mm half pearls.  All in all there is about 20 feet of trim on the project – it adds up fast!

The main feature of any steam locomotive is of course the boiler.  This one is just about 3" in diameter and 8" long.

 I used light weight chipboard scored every eighth of an inch so it could be easily curved around some circular support pieces.


There is a railing on either side made from 1/8" dowel and attached with little brackets made from chipboard.  Platforms run along the sides as well.

On the top of the boiler there are four elements:

First we have a Steam Dome.

This element has three sections: first a cylinder made from scored light weight chipboard.  The bottom edge was shaped to fit around the curve of the boiler.  Next we have a slanted section also made from light chipboard. 

Time out for math: Any time you see shapes on the locomotive that are cylindrical and slanted (the tops on the steam dome and the sand dome, and several parts to the smokestack) they are based on geometric shapes called frustums of a cone.  There is a mathematical formula for drawing the shapes necessary to make these parts, based on the width at the base and the top, and the height of the piece. 

Back to the steam dome…the top is just a circle made out of medium weight chipboard.

Next we have the Sand Dome.

If this was an actual locomotive, there would be pipes running from the sand dome to deliver sand in front of the wheels, but on this locomotive it must magically get down there.

The sand dome has a cylindrical part and then a little frustum top.  At the very top is a little 1/2" wooden plug painted black.

Next we have a little bell – it is 1" in diameter at the base.

The support is made from medium weight chipboard.

It jingles every time the project is moved.


And finally we have the smokestack.  It has several sections – a cylinder at the bottom, a conical frustum for the main part, a flat section with trim, and finally another conical frustum to bring the shape smaller at the top, all made from lightweight chipboard.

Hidden inside the smokestack is a dowel that goes all the way down inside the boiler.  It helps provide stability and keeps the smokestack plumb.

The top of the smokestack is recessed somewhat.

Here's the front of the locomotive.

On the top is the light.  It's a little house shape made out of medium weight chipboard.  There's a piece of that Tim Holtz Frosted material in the front, and if you look very closely, you just might be able to make out a little lightbulb inside.  No it doesn't light up.  I thought about doing that and hiding the battery in the smokestack, but frankly the project was already complicated enough.

On the very front I used a Cheery Lynn die to create the spoked element.  The die is actually a vintage bicycle and I just trimmed off the large wheel to use for the project.  A small Tim Holtz gear adorns the center.

Underneath we have an image fussy cut from the paper collection and backed with black cardstock.
On the left and right the little boxes with the button tops are the steam chests.  Below them you can see the round ends of the two piston cylinders.

Here's the view of the front undercarriage, or "bogie" from the side.  Here you can see how the piston rods come out of the cylinders.  Those rods are attached to rods joining the main wheels to drive the train. 

And here are those large back wheels.  They are made from four layers of medium weight chipboard.  Hidden dowels run from the center of the wheels into the wheel base to give the project additional structural support.  The wheels also have rims made from light weight chipboard.

Here is the back of the locomotive.

Several decorative elements were fussy cut from the paper line to decorate the back panel.

There is also a hitch fastener which provides a way to remove this panel, which is held on with four low profile magnets.

Let's remove that back panel and we can take a look at the mini album inside.

This is a very simple mini.  It has four pocket pages that hold tags.  Each of the pages has a little pocket on each side that holds a quote. 

I used Tim Holtz' Steampunk On the Edge die to make a pocket on the front.    The metal gear is a magnetized closure on a ribbon.

The little tag charms, as well as all the decorative elements on the pages are from a cut apart page from the paper line.  I still had a page of them left from the original Graphic 45 release of Steampunk Debutante.

Here are some of the interior pages.

Each page has a small tag with a quote printed on it.

The pages are actually pockets and each has a 3" x 6" tag inside.

I think that's about it. There is also a YouTube video of the completed project, and I have linked to that below.

Also, I made a series of videos as I built the project and am in the process of editing them now.  I will have those videos as well as a materials list, cutting guide and templates available in the near future, and I will share information here about them when the editing process is complete.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this project.  It was a lot of fun to design and make.

Thanks for visiting!



Roxanne said...

Wow! what a great project...and so much detail! You clearly have a lot of patience and a very creative mind! Love it! TFS! :)

Judi Markel said...

Your project is awesome, I love it.

LindaFS said...

Fantastic project. So many features in such a small footprint. My particularly favorite parts are the riveting and the roof. These two features add so much to the project - they make it so distinctive and tie it all together in a unit. Of course, the paper elements and colors are so well chosen -steam(punk) locomotive indeed. The windows are SO cool. Their backround - how ever did you think of making them dusty -just like the windows on a real steam locomotive. The proportions are so well balanced. That must have been a real challenge. Very fun project!

Artfully Musing said...

Love this!

Susan said...

This blows my mind! The detail is outstanding. Thank you so much for sharing this creation with us.

Unknown said...

Love it,April! So,inventive, really cool.

Donna Carmack said...

April, I love this project and the Steampunk paper tied in so nicely. I still find it amazing you do the design work and build each component. The video was great and I had no idea where the hidden book was stored until I watched. Thanks for including the dimensions, it was larger than I thought. You are amazing and talented! Thanks for sharing.

Ina Good said...

this is fantastic can hardly wait for templates! You are extremely talented!

Alexandra♥ said...

An absolute mind blower, April!!! Why can't I see your Graphic 45 DT Audition post? Your projects are amazing!

Unknown said...

beautyfull!!! Are there patterns availeble?

Unknown said...

Thanks, John! Yes there is a construction guide and a video series- check out the March 19, 2016 post for more info...