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    • July 3, 2020 9:14 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Mueller Mini-Mik

      As spring break has rolled into summer break, we are running out of ideas to keep people sane, even with our beaches re-opened!  I make no secret of it, I have tried to use the Triple O as a classroom (and not just for me!), so I thought I'd share the latest attempt at home-schooling, large scale style.  Basically, the boys and I started with the "kits" for chassis of our just completed string of cane cars (your parts box is still paying dividends, Rooster!):

      Each of our four contestants has to start with this, and, similar to Mik rules, must submit a sketch. has a limited amount of time (4 August), and has a limited budget (what Mom and Dad say).  Adult help is to be proportional to need.  OD is more or less on here own, while Kid-zilla will have more active help.  There is a PLAYMOBIL set on the line for the younger participants, and an equivalent prize for the older ones.

      OD is knee deep in trying to breed Siamese fighting fish, and her participation is up in the air, but the others submit the following:

      Kid-zilla's coach / tuck / yes:

      Oldest Son's  Self-Powered  Roman Supply Wagon:

      Youngest Daughter's Birthday Coach:

       

      This is an experiment to see if they can come up with a plan, modify the plan to meet time and budget, and see the whole thing through.  I am "exploiting" this site to goad them into progress, so thanks for your forbearance!  I am also hoping it can be serve as a mechanism to get others involved in the hobby, so, if this experiment works, please feel free to share!

       

      Updates as required....

       

      Eric

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at July 25, 2020 8:27 AM EDT
    • July 4, 2020 6:20 AM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Another great idea on a multi level teaching aid and foray into the hobby Eric. Well done

    • July 4, 2020 3:35 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Thanks, David.  We'll see how this goes.  It is also a lesson in "letting go" for yours truly!  I have encouraged OD to see this as a leadership opportunity.  She submitted the following:

       

      Garden on Wheels:

      I am starting to lose my primary train buddy to teenage-dom!  She is a good sport, though.

       

      Her siblings, who are at work right now, have forged ahead a  bit.  The boys had the chassis finished Thursday, I believe.  The are attaching the couplers below after drilling tap holes for the screws (lesson learned from our can car project!):

       

       

      Interestingly, both boys handled my "Creative" saw cuts differently.  Kid-zilla handed the parts to me to sand to shape.  Oldest Son, however, engineered his own solution using scrap wood:

      He desperately wants to power this thing.  We have a motor left over from the Little Thomas restoration project, and we have discussed ideas.  This is going to be a heavy lift, and I am curious to see if he'll come up with an answer or abandon that portion of the project to complete the Caesar's supply wagon!  Nothing a few strong legionnaires cannot pull!  I have encouraged him to have fun along the way, staging his PLAYMOBIL legionnaires for photos.

       

      Youngest Daughter, meanwhile is catching up.  Her chassis went together Thursday afternoon. 

      Again, it is neat to see how she approaches the project.  Oldest Son wants a military coach, and he left the timbers rough.  Her "Birthday Coach," however is for formal occasions, and she decided to sand things smooth.

       

      Decking is in progress at this time.  OD is going to have to play catch-up! I am still trying to learn to guide and encourage and not "do."  Maybe I should work on my mill.

       

      Happy Fourth!

       

      Eric

       

    • July 4, 2020 4:40 PM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Maybe OD's should be an aquarium car with her new hobby

       

    • July 6, 2020 12:33 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      David,

      OD knows box cars are on my "to buy list."  This may tempt her!

       

      We had a good bit of progress this weekend.  Again, I am trying really, really hard to be a sounding board but not the source of solution.  I have had to intervene with Oldest Son when he proposed making a wall by gluing popsicle sticks together on their thin, long sides.  Progress went very well after that, and he had fun documenting the Decurion putting Rome's finest through the paces, converting popsicle sticks to decking:

      Oldest Son raided the scrap strips his Grandpa periodically drops off for these imperial engineering endeavors:

      Our decurion seems to have gotten into the sauce...The good news, here, is his 1:1 counterpart selected the material, tested the material, and commenced to cut, fit, sand, and test.  Along the way, Roman authorities converted purpose from rail borne supply to  rail borne  assault based upon the size of the provided timbers.  This necessitated a test through what else but an assault!

      Yes, those are French marines.  His Rome, His rules!

      Today, Oldest Son and a Centurion (such is the importance of this project to Rome!), continued sawing and gluing:

       

        

      I am told that access is via a hatch in the floor.  Not show is the roof, which is popsicle sticks covered with drink cans converted into corrugated metal.  His idea, though I did suggest the glue and that he make a frame from popsicle sticks.  Rome has had a bumper harvest of those!

       

      Kid-zilla, meanwhile, decked his chassis:

      He seems to be unsure of how to proceed  next.  Maybe the M&K will inherit a nice flat car...

       

      Youngest daughter has also cracked along.  She converted left over craft sticks from the cane car project into decking:

      Then used the Dremel to tap some holes in the frame to accept vertical posts for a canopy:

      There was some minor splitting, but I think it will be OK.  As of late this afternoon, all looked ready for the next step:

      It was really fun to  watch Oldest Son commit to this project, even if it is because I've told him that once you prove it runs on the railroad (part of the "rules"), it need never run there again, and it may revert to fulltime use as an all terrain siege weapon in service to Rome.  It has also been fun to see how everyone has applied techniques and materials we've learned together over the last five years and apply them as they see fit or in their own way.

       

      Thanks for following along!

       

      Eric

       

      P.S.  David, OD just saw the aquarium car... Her mind is already working through the project...Thanks...Just when I thought I could get someone to refurbish an old caboose! 

       

       

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at July 7, 2020 3:07 PM EDT
    • July 7, 2020 9:38 AM EDT
      • Ormond Beach, Fl. 32174
         
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      Eric you might check out Kalamazoo or H-L-W as there cars a little smaller and fit better with small railroads and are a quality product, Bill

    • July 24, 2020 3:19 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

      Progress continues!

       

      But first, yes, Bill, HLW minis are quite a deal.  We have a few, in fact, and they are as indestructible as LGB at a third of the price.  They are slated for projects later when their utility as "toy" is spent and they are ready to serve as the bases for models.  I do hope HLW makes a go at it again...In the meantime, I had the donated parts on hand, and I wanted an excuse to use "Saw" in the vain hope of acquiring skill with "Saw."

       

      Oldest Son declared his assault wagon complete after drilling firing loupes into the sides and making its armored roof / entrance.  Below you can see that Caesar and George Washington have pressed it into service:

       

      The rooftop is topped with crimped cans left over the Mik 2020 layered over a matrix of craftsticks.  Romans and colonists alike were satisfied, however, both expressed a desire for it to be less obviously a military vehicle.  Oldest Son, after seeing his sister's progress, has discussed disguising it a a mess wagon.

       

      Younger Daughter, meanwhile has begun converting her flat car into the birthday wagon.   This involved a bit of Dremel work to drill holes into the vertical supports:

      ...followed by hanging chains from cotter pins like we did for the cane cars:

       

      She made sure it met the exacting standards of 1:24-ish PLAYMOBIL scale along the way!  Next came the beadwork:

      ...which is where the project currently stands.   She did learn you have to properly order your steps, and I had to help her pull the cotter pins so she could place the beads.  She plans to sew curtains for the ends, which she topped with shiskabob skewer bits left over from the cane cars, a well as a canopy.  Along the way, she also plans to paint the car.  

       

           OD has backed out of the contest as she tries to spawn her fighting fish.  Kid-zilla, seeing his siblings' efforts, announced tonight he wants to make a combine.  I am leaning towards cutting foam blocks for him to glue together to realize this plan.  Oldest Son, however, has offered to help.  We will see what happens.

       

      Updates as required!

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

       

    • July 24, 2020 6:40 AM EDT
      • Not one of the WannaBe's,
         
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      Great Report Eric. Your kids have put in a few delightful ideas on specialty cars for the railroad and as keepsakes for the family. Quite a few of the members here have added the whimsy your kids are showing which personalizes their contributions for this great hobby. Give them all A MIK award for following Rule #!.

    • July 24, 2020 3:23 PM EDT
      • Smoggy L.A., Left Coast
         
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      Fun stuff there Eric

      ____________________________________
      Have fun with your trains
    • July 26, 2020 6:50 AM EDT
      • Fort Worth, Texas
         
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      Don't forget to find a place for the iPhone, or that little device that kids all seem to get in today's world. My grand-kids where great with trains, till that electronic device showed up one day. 

       

      trainman

    • July 27, 2020 3:48 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Trainman John,

       

      I hear you about e-things!  CINCHOUSE and I stand back to back with fixed bayonet holding the silicon succubus at bay!  We share very strong feelings about the subject of electronics and kids, which are better left for another thread if not another forum!  Neither of us care what hobby they pursue as long as the computer is a tool and not and end!  CINCHOUSE's support is implicit in her mandate to me when I considered entering this hobby: "It cannot be just your hobby!" The kids' interest in the railroad comes and goes, but the spin-off projects inspired or at least informed from our efforts to bring the Triple O to life continue unabated.  Bottom line on that subject, whatever hobbies or interests they pursue, the approach if not the skills began on the Triple O, and they can look to their handprints on the retaining wall to show they helped to build something enduring and tangible long after the e-doodad or game of the moment has drifted into history.  The girls get it; Oldest Son will in time; Kid-zilla is hell-bent for leather to run trains for now.

       

      Did I mention I have strong feelings on this subject?

       

      Sorry for preaching.  I'll leave the pulpit now!

       

      Eric

       

    • July 29, 2020 3:37 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Meanwhile, back in Kailua, it was a railroading kind of day.  As mentioned elsewhere, OD and I made some progress on the M&K Sugar Co. mill.  We did some cleaning and maintenance on the rails and began to repair our first MIK build, which took a hit from a falling coconut frond.  We were both shocked at how soft the basswood had gotten over the last three years!  She cut out the damaged portion...

       

      ...and I applied some wood hardener.  This came after a brief discussion about removing the observation deck entirely.  Neither of us is ready for that!

       

          She also decided to enter our "Mini-Mik" (Triple O Rule - "All may participate, none must participate.") and, after some troubles, got the chassis assembled:

          There may have been some sibling see / sibling do, as her sister added canopy and end curtains to the "Birthday Coach" the day before:

      She explained that she used the sewing machine to stitch the curtains to the cross-pieces (I am still puzzling out how she ran this through the sewing machine).  She couldn't work that magic on the canopy and resorted to glue.  I suggested she reinforce that with some hand-stitching later.

       

         In a definite case of sibling see / sibling do. Kid-zilla reentered the arena for competition today, happily making big pieces of scrap foam into little pieces:

      He decided he wanted walls and an easy chair for the crew.  I helped make some of the scraps reasonably square, he applied the glue, and...

      ...the Triple O gets a flatbed lounge chair!  I am wondering if Kid-zilla adds the natural extensions of the sight gag like a TV and a small refrigerator.

       

         Everyone is plugging along and interested again, so I am going to let the "contest" roll a bit longer.  School got delayed another two weeks ( COVID!!!), so we'll see what happens.  It remains fun for me, too,  seeing how they all interpret the "kit" and apply their talents, tastes, and interests to it.

       

      Eric

       

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at July 30, 2020 8:53 PM EDT
    • July 29, 2020 10:21 AM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      Eric, as CINCHOUSE has mandated the railroad cannot be just you, why have you not had CINCHOUSE build something along with the kids? Is she pulling rank? Or did she add the none MUST participate rule? Just kidding about this!! 

      Everything looks great and looks like they will be enjoying the hobby for a long time. I'm actually jealous you have the kids to help and join in the hobby, my 2 grandkids that would be about same age as you kids live way too far to join the fun

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • July 30, 2020 3:27 AM EDT
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      Pete,

      CINCHOUSE authorizes the expenditures.  Beyond that, kids not inside pestering her is all she wants from this endeavor!   In all seriousness, I know we are blessed that they choose to participate in the hobby.  There will come a day when I am doing this by myself.

       

      More progress today, as all hands followed each other out to the lanai.  OD has her chassis done, but it needs some work to make it run smoothly.  The others are crafting away.  I'll post an update later this week.

       

      Eric

    • July 31, 2020 8:13 PM EDT
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      Update:

       

      Typing with one hand today.  Bear with me!

       

      OD has her cassis done.  She had to pry off and shim a journal to make it roll smoothly.  She should move on to the deck soon.  School got pushed 2 weeks, so she should start procrastinating again, as she reminded me.

       

      Younger Daughter took her project to the paint shop:

       

      She was converting plastic bottle caps into furniture, but I am not sure if they were Barbie's new footstool or the coach's seating or both.

       

           Oldest Son completed the wrap around dining table to hide his project's sinister intent.

       

        

      This is his take on the Trojan Horse concept.  He has moved on to trying to motorize this thing with a robotics motor left over from the m2075 Little Thomas rebuild.

       

      The plan is to make a travois that will connect to a coupler.  The motor connects to the axle.  The battery will sit on the travois.  

       

          Meanwhile, Kid-zilla's flatbed lounge chair continues to evolve.  It got some roofing, a little cargo area, and some additional planking...

        

      ...and today got some 0-5-0 testing...

       

      ...before the Triple O track gang and some guests from the local police department took it for a test behind Diesel Dan:

       

      Video: Flatbed Lounge Chair Test Run

       

      I am curious where he plans to go next.  

       

      My own modeling is limited through the weekend to things I can do with one hand, but I am enjoying my role as advisor as our Mini-Mik continues.

      Have  a great weekend!

       

      Eric

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at August 2, 2020 9:52 AM EDT
    • August 1, 2020 10:06 AM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

      Update:

       

      Typing with one hand today.  Bear with me!

       

       

      My own modeling is limited through the weekend to things I can do with one hand, but I am enjoying my role as advisor as our Mini-Mik continues.

      Have  a great weekend!

       

      Eric

      Well these two sentences need some esplaining!!! I hope you and JIGSAW didn't do some blade to hand combat?

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • August 1, 2020 2:08 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      ...before the Triple O track gang and some guests from the local police department took it for a test behind Diesel Dan:

      I love watching your videos. 

       

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • August 1, 2020 3:04 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Pete Lassen said:
       

      Well these two sentences need some esplaining!!! I hope you and JIGSAW didn't do some blade to hand combat?

       

      I was sharpening a machete while opening coconuts and managed to defeat the finger guard.  The ER doc used surgical glue to hold down the skin flaps on the middle and pointer fingers of my left hand.  Both fingers are bound together to let the wound heal.  Could've been worse; could've slliped while husking the coconut, making this permanent!  I had no idea JIGSAW had an ally in our garden shed...

       

       Pete Thornton said:

      ...before the Triple O track gang and some guests from the local police department took it for a test behind Diesel Dan:

      I love watching your videos.  

       

      Thanks!  The crew gets a kick out of seeing their work appear on the forum.  As they are getting older, I am giving them more editorial control.  

       

      Eric

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at August 1, 2020 3:06 PM EDT
    • August 1, 2020 10:29 PM EDT
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      Eric, This is really cool!! Looks like the kids are having a great time.... Travis

    • August 2, 2020 9:13 PM EDT
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      Travis,

       

      Thanks.  Finding the balance between giving them an opportunity and making them do something is always tricky.  The other trick is to balance letting them explore techniques while discouraging project directions that will be dead ends.  This little "kit" seems to help straddle all those needs.  The goal is to have an imitative project, where someone sees a need, comes up with a plan, roots through our bits and parts, and executes the plan.  I'm not quite there yet!

       

      Eric

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