D&RGW K-27 Project

My current project is scratchbuilding a D&RGW K-27 locomotive in On3.

On3 means:

O - "O" Scale
n - Narrow Gauge
3 - Three feet between the rails

The Denver & Rio Grande Western ordered fifteen K-27s from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1902. The locomotives were built in March and April of 1903 and were assigned numbers 450 - 464. Each locomotive became unique as they were rebuilt and repaired over the years. The most visible differences were the length of the smoke box and the type of steam cylinders and valve gear each locomotive had.

I am building locomotive #460 primarily because it had Stephenson type valve gear with most of the valve linkages attached to an axle inside the frame. These linkages are mostly hidden from the outside and I will probably leave them off the model. Most of the other K-27s had Walshaerts valve gear installed during rebuilds. Walshaerts valve linkages are fascinating to watch because they are located outside the frame, but they look very complex to build. K-27 #460 does not look any more complicated to build than a D&RGW C-16, but still has the distinctive look of the K-27 mudhens.

I started thinking about building a K-27 when I saw Allan J. Brewster's plans in the June, 1973 Model Railroader magazine. He drew several views of various K-27s and included a short history and several good photographs. Unfortunately I did not have the skills required to even come close to scratchbuilding a loco. Over the years I ran across that article several times, and each time I thought I would start work on one. In 1999 I finally started!

Locomotive Research - (almost) Everything I found on K-27s

I am redrawing parts of the Brewster plans using IntelliCad 2000 as I make the various locomotive parts.

Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) Programs - Intellicad 2000 is ***FREE***

From my experiences building several brass locomotive kits I knew the driving wheels would be very difficult to build from scratch. I tried to find a driver set, but discovered that there are no commercially available driver sets for this (or apparently any other) On3 locomotive. Through the help of many individuals on the EGroups On3 mailing list I determined that I would have to build the drivers from scratch too.

I did find Grandt Line driver tires (rims) that would help, but I would still have to make the driver centers.

Early Machining Attempts - How to turn stuff without a lathe

I started out making the driver centers on my Dremel drill press, but eventually ended up purchasing a Taig Micro Lathe.

Taig Micro Lathe

After I bought a Taig lathe I continued making driver centers almost the same way as I had with the Dremel drill press. I took a piece of flat rectangular brass bar stock and turned it into a round wheel center.

Eventually I tired of that particular method and bought a six foot long piece of ROUND bar stock.
Gee, I wonder why the round bar worked so much better . . .

Circles out of Squares - Turning driver centers from flat bar stock (or how to almost do it)

Circles out of Rounds - Turning driver centers from ROUND bar stock (or how to really do it)

Spokes - Two ways of sawing 'em out

Bearings - Round bearings first, then square ones

Frame - Main locomotive frame and extensions (not on the web yet)

Commercial Parts

Raw Materials

Scraps - Anyone want a pile of brass scrap? I had to make every part at least twice, and several parts (like the driver centers) took a lot of trys before I was satisfied with the results. Every scrap part was a learning experience!


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