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Steam & Excursion > First new handcar design in over 100 years


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Date: 06/08/19 20:17
First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

A few weeks my son Mason graduated from Cal Poly Pomona's Mechanical Engineering program.  All students are required to complete a senior project which is usually a research project.  Mason took it a step further and designed and built a recreational touring handcar.   The end product was pretty amazing and the project was not of the magnitude before seen.   With the exception of the bearings, and hydraulic brake, everything else was built from scratch.  That includes wheels, bearing housings, and gears.  The car is designed as a touring velocipede where participants board with three of their friends and join a guided tour led by a guide.   The handcar is unique in that it does not have a dead spot as found on other railroad handcars. 
Mason's final semester was brutal with some tough courses and completing this machine.  He made it through and graduated near the top of his class.

Image 1, a pair of visiting Timken engineers give the mechanism a spin.  
Image 2, Mason and his car featured on the CPP social media feed.

If anyone is interested in viewing a video of the engineering presentation drop me a note at tclark@trainorders.net and I will send you a link to it.

 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com






Date: 06/08/19 20:25
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

The car was untested when it was displayed, but a week after graduation we took it to the Nevada Northern Railway in Ely where we gave it a thorough test.  We put together several videos showing off the car.  This first video really shows off the car and desert landscape. We started each day at 6:30am before the rain storms moved in by noon. My daughter composed the sound track.  As an added bonus, the clouds worked for free.



 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com

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Date: 06/08/19 20:31
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

Our first goal was to see how the car handled mountain grades.  Those that have visited Nevada Northern know the Keystone Line has some brutal 2% grades.  We regularly take our convential handcar up the Keystone as a challenge.  Much like the reason one climbs a mountain.  Typically, the trek takes a little over 2 hours to accomplish the task. On the new touring car we made the trip in a little over an hour.  Our track warrant had a meeting a locomotive rental, but we ended up sitting around for almost an hour waiting for the locomotive to arrive.  Import observation one, the touring velocipede can climb most railroad grades thrown at it.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com

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Date: 06/08/19 20:36
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

The next task is what do people think of the vehicle  We gave lots of rides to visitors waiting to board the steam powered excursions to Keystone.  Overwelmingly people loved the velocipede, with many of them telling us they enjoyed it more than riding the train.  

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com

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Date: 06/08/19 21:12
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

Here is a closer video showing the mechanism in operation.  The handcar likes to travel at 6-7 mph without much effort.  It does not seem to matter if there is a grade,  we went up the 1.5% grades of the Keystone without difficulty.  This opens a lot of door for us as the rail bicycle tour operations are pretty much limited to level track.  Our vehicle can go pretty much anywhere.   Our handcar can work most rail lines and it is bi-directional. 

Last week we moved into an industrial space and are setting up a manufacturing line to build a dozen of these for a to be determined future tour operation. Mason starts a full time career in September with an aerospace defense contractor, so then it will become a weekend endeavor as we work to build our fleet.  We are shooting to have our fleet ready to roll summer 2021.  Our shop as two Bridgeport mills, two Leblond lathes, small foundry furnace, 3d printer, drill presses, metal cutting saws, and full wood shop.  My responsibility is to fabricate the wood centers for the wheels, while Mason handles the car fabrication.

While we have a good compliment of machinery, most of the parts are being farmed out.  The gears are being cast at Lodi Foundry in Central California with hobbing by Gearhart Gears in Burbank. The wheel rims will be spun by Helander Metal Spinning in Illinois, the lever arms machined by an aircraft machine shop with a huge mill around the corner from our shop. Welding will be done by a nearby welding shop.  We have an upholstery shop down the street as well to make the seat cushions.  The wood boxes will be farmed out to members of a local woodworking club. Part plating, annodizing and frame painting will be handled by my Uncle that owns a Los Angeles area plating company.  Most of the smaller machined and laser cut metal parts will be farmed out to vendors on the Alibaba platform.  



 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com

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Date: 06/08/19 21:25
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: shortlineboss

It looks like a new style physical agility rowing machine which is good.

Mike Root
Chandler, AZ



Date: 06/08/19 22:55
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: AndyBrown

Very nice!  I wouldn't mind taking a spin myself.

Good videos too.

Andy



Date: 06/09/19 00:09
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: justalurker66

Interesting. I'm not sure I like the open beam (don't drop anything or have a foot fall off the footrest). Is there a passenger weight limit? Or is the market intended for people who can comfortably ride a bike?

Would it be possible to stretch the length and give each passenger their own handles? If so, I'd suggest a "six seat" design. One set of seats in the middle of the car could turn and lock in to place to use either handle on that side of the car, the other set of seats would be installed at the back of the car facing the same way as the center seats. The cargo boxes could be moved to the front of the car. I could also see having a bench seat in the front for children too young to peddle. It would add effort to changing directions (swapping seats for cargo boxes) and double the gearing, but it would allow each passenger to work at their own rate and face forward and not have to sit with overlapping legs. (Of course, all facing the center does help with conversation.)

That being said, the design is good and I wish you the best in making it a commercial success.



Date: 06/09/19 01:01
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: mundo

Todd, time sure goes by fast.......it was only yesterday-he was in diapers.

Ed



Date: 06/09/19 01:07
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: amtrak251

Fantastic job Mason and Todd! Can't wait to take one for a spin!



Date: 06/09/19 05:34
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: Bob3985

Way to go Mason. Congrats from this old hogger. The railroads discovered centuries ago when the Tom Thumb had similar issues with the drive rods in the same location on the drivers. A top dead center, as it was called, became the issue and they had to give it a shove to start whenever that occured. Thus the concept of having the drive rods one quarter off from the opposite side and the problem was solved for the ages.
Gees Todd, I remember many years ago meeting you and Mason ( the youngster then) and now time has flown to this point.
If you two are ever in the Cheyenne area, let me offer to show you around some of the history here.
 

Bob Krieger
Cheyenne, WY



Date: 06/09/19 06:24
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: engineerinvirginia

When you come with something like this for your college project.....what do you have left for your career? That said, I like that hand car!



Date: 06/09/19 07:13
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: nathansixchime

Pretty badass.



Date: 06/09/19 07:13
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: SW1200

I agree about the open bottom and the potential for a wayward foot getting caught or snagged by something on the ground.  Also the open gears as potential pinch points.  We experienced a near disaster several years ago in our MT-19 motorcar when a blanket on a passenger's lap got caught in a wheel and almost pulled her out of the car.  Need to consider what "could" go wrong.  Just a suggestion.  All that said, it is an excellent effort, very impressive.  Well done.



Date: 06/09/19 07:22
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Would it be possible to stretch the length and
> give each passenger their own handles? If so, I'd
> suggest a "six seat" design. One set of seats in
> the middle of the car could turn and lock in to
> place to use either handle on that side of the
> car, the other set of seats would be installed at
> the back of the car facing the same way as the
> center seats. The cargo boxes could be moved to
> the front of the car. I could also see having a
> bench seat in the front for children too young to
> peddle. It would add effort to changing directions
> (swapping seats for cargo boxes) and double the
> gearing, but it would allow each passenger to work
> at their own rate and face forward and not have to
> sit with overlapping legs. (Of course, all facing
> the center does help with conversation.)

What you would be describing would be a huge and heavy car and be difficult to propell.  The car weighs in at under 400 pounds as it is and was designed for efficiency in mind.  The facing each other seating allows the vehicle to operate bidirectional without turning. We tested small children on the car and we are going to set an age limit because children will be unpredictable on an 1.5 hour trip. 

You can't make a perfectly safe car. We can lower risk by closing up pinch points and limiting weight of participation.  We found an interesting case law decision during recent years from California (where we plan to operate) where someone got hurt on a bumper car because of its inherent design where cars crash into each other.  The state supreme court ruled there is inheritent risk that is accepted when a participant chooses to participate in a thrill like activity.  This decision has lessened the risk to operators for all sorts of recreational enterprises including rafting, zip lining, bungee jumping, and many others. The court acknowledged that you can't make everything completely safe and the participants needs to accept risk when they choose to participate in an activity.  We'll do our part to make the car a little more safer, but it cannot ever be completely without risk.

 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 06/09/19 07:25
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When you come with something like this for your
> college project.....what do you have left for your
> career? That said, I like that hand car!

I think he is already considering that.  He has a good job lined up, but he'll spend his day running stress analysis calculations on various parts.  Not very exciting compared to this.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 06/09/19 07:37
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: gregscholl

Nicely done for Mason, and your daughter shows talent with the music!  Reminds me of some of the music we used in the 4 America By Rail series videos, where we paid to have music composed!
Greg Scholl



Date: 06/09/19 08:43
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: webmaster

gregscholl Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nicely done for Mason, and your daughter shows
> talent with the music!  Reminds me of some of the
> music we used in the 4 America By Rail series
> videos, where we paid to have music composed!
> Greg Scholl

I will pass it along to her.  She has composed a number of music pieces for my videos over the past few years.  She is only 16 but plays a number of instruments including guitar, flute, violin, keyboard, and marimba.  Here is one she did two years ago for me:  https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,4382340,4382340#4382340

 While she has a knack for soundtracks, there isn't enough money in it to sustain a career.  Music is pretty much a losing proposition these days.  She is going the other way towards deaf studies.  Though I wonder if technology will take over that task.

 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 06/09/19 09:04
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: px320

Well done Mason.



Date: 06/09/19 09:27
Re: First new handcar design in over 100 years
Author: BCutter

First -- congratulations to Mason for (1) graduating from college and getting a job in his field and (2) designing and constructing this neat piece of equipment.

Second -- congratulations and kudos to you and the rest of the family for encouraging and abetting the endeavours of your offspring!

Now the question!  If up to four folks can ride this critter at one time, I can easily see where the power folks (BTW -- is this renewble energy?) put their feet but am not clear where the other two can safely rest their feet. Are there more footpegs?

In any event -- like the others -- Great Work!

Bruce
Columbia MO



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/19 11:46 by BCutter.



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