Toy Train from 2 x 4

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Project by RandyMorter posted 11-18-2012 10:08 PM 1767 views 6 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve just finally been able to comfortably get back out into my shop and decided to try this idea that I’ve had for a while.

This is a simple project made out of a 2×4 and some store-bought parts. I saw an article in Wood magazine (I think that’s where it was) about a couple that make toy cars (like, 5,000 of them) to give away to charities around the world. It gave me an inspiration to make something similar and this is what I came up with.

I wanted something simple that I could perhaps make some quantities of and give away. We’ll see if I follow through. But with that in mind, I wanted something with few cuts or holes yet still fun for a small child.

The hardest part was coming up with a way to make the hitch. I came up with a “tongue” on both parts, offset so they’d overlap, and then just use a pin to hold them together with one of the store bought pins. The only extra work was rounding both parts to give them clearance for a turn. I just did that on my Ridgid oscillating belt sander. I felt that was quicker and easier than with the band saw.

The engine requires 7 holes (the axle holes can go straight through if you have the bit and throw on the drill press; with a thickness of only 1.5 inches that shouldn’t be too out of line). There are 2 axle holes, two 3/4 inch holes for windows, a hole for the hitch, and two holes on top for the smoke stacks. The coal car takes 3 holes – 2 for the axles and one for the hitch.

Construction was pretty quick. The design took longer but will be amortized out over a few copies of this at least. I took the time to make a template for the engine. I may do one for the coal car too, but haven’t yet.

Thanks for looking!


UPDATE 11/29/2012

I made a batch of 5 of these – gave two to my friend and co-worker Tim for his two sons, two to another co-worker Cari for her 2 sons, and one for one of my 11 grand children.

The last picture is of my friend Tim’s oldest son playing with the trains. Looks like they work so far!

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

4 comments so far

View flintbone's profile


202 posts in 3354 days

#1 posted 11-19-2012 11:02 AM

Good job Randy. I’m an old railroader and I have been thinking
about doing a project like this. Your idea has me thinking.
Keep up the good work.

-- If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. - Albert Einstein

View RandyMorter's profile


228 posts in 2888 days

#2 posted 11-19-2012 02:23 PM

Thanks Flint.

I’d like to see your project. I wouldn’t mind adding a bit more detail if you have some ideas.

-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3265 days

#3 posted 11-19-2012 03:00 PM

Nice work!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2373 days

#4 posted 11-19-2012 05:18 PM

Looks likes they are now ready to race! Very nice.

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