Christmas Train!

If you didn't know...back in 2013, my family won the ABC Great Christmas Light Fight reality show.   That should give you a good idea as to how much my family enjoys putting up Christmas lights.



So for 2016 they want to add a train that runs on tracks around the yard.  They asked me to build one for them and I got started right away.  So I searched the net for plans for a garden train.  I found a train in the August 1965 issue of Popular Mechanics. It's designed for little kids to ride on but I had a good idea that I could scale it and use it for the Christmas display. 




I wanted to build a train that met the following requirements:

1. Battery powered
2. Controlled via a WEMO MAKER
3. Have a safety sensor to shut off the train if something jumps in front of it
4. Play sounds like a train

I started by gathering the components for the build.  

  1. 12 volt battery
  2. 12 volt relay
  3. wemo maker
  4. 18ga wire
  5. 12 volt geared motor
  6.  Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board
  7. 12 volt amp with speakers
  8. miscellaneous on/off switches
  9. IR switch (used for the safety switch)
  10. Magnetic Switch
  11. multiple axles, pulleys,  chains and sprockets.

I took the plans and scaled them using Matthias Wandel's Big Print program

From this point, it was pretty easy. I just pasted the templates on some 1/2" plywood and cut out with the band saw and jigsaw. I also used the laser printer to cut the the train name and number.

Here's where it stands:

After the I partially completed the woodworking part, I started on the electronics.  Here's a short video of the train's electronics in action:

After I got the electronics working, I shipped it to Georgia.  I will finish the build when I go out to visit this spring.

So that's it for now. I will post more pics once I start working on it again.   

Thanks for reading!