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The LocoBox

The LocoBox is a transportation box for locomotives and other rolling stock in O gauge. I set out to design a tough box without any hinges or locks. Why? Because modern techniques like laser cutting allow for smarter designs than a plain box with metal bits to hold it together. Everybody can now have his own version cut and put it together. A sort of open source project in wood.

The LocoBox consists of laser cut 12 mm plywood parts that fit together. You can lift the box by the toplid, even with a heavy locomotive inside. A bit of wood glue, a piece of foam rubber and some double-sided tape are all you need to provide yourself.

The LocoBox is 900 mm (about 35 inches) long, more than enough for most O gauge models. You can add a piece of Peco or Lenz flex track to the base. The endplates are designed to fit over the track, so you can extend the track right up to the edge of the base. Trains can simply run onto the LocoBox base.

Creating your LocoBox

You have the parts for the LocoBox cut yourself. For example at Snijlab in Rotterdam or at a laser cutting service near you. The LocoBox can be made from a single sheet of 1200 x 600 x 12 mm plywood. Download the file and create your order.

If you need a different size or want to use the design for a different scale, please feel free to change the file accordingly. I created the original in Adobe Illustrator CC, so you should be fine if you use that. You can do whatever you like for non-commercial purposes, providing you keep LOCOBOX and my name on the box. I would appreciate it if you mail me your version so I can share it on this page.

Follow these steps to prepare your LocoBox for use:
1. Glue the small strips along the edge and on top of the base. Make sure they fit between the endplates.
2. Glue the lower sides to the sides of the base.
3. Glue the U-straps together in pairs.
4. Add the foam rubber to the inside of the tall sides with glue or tape. Keep the top 25 mm (1 inch) clear.

Good to know: plywood is a natural material. Thickness might vary a bit from sheet to sheet. A sheet can also be slightly bent. You might want to screw or tack the parts together to aid the glue to settle. Round off corners with sanding paper or a file when it is a tight fit.

Packing a loco

Run or put the loco onto the baseplate. Slide the endplates into their holes. Attach the toplid over the endplates. This may be a bit fiddly in the beginning, but it will get easier after a few assemblies. You can always widen tight holes with a file.

Press the first side into place. The easiest way is to start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Attach the other side in the same way.

Finally, press the U-straps over the sides top-down. Make sure they slide into the holes. You might want to start with the middle one and finish with the outer two. Use your empty hand to squeeze the sides together. That's all. Unpack in the reverse order.

Do more

The LocoBox is not only a great way to store your rolling stock. Add a few together to create a staging track for your modular layout. Or use them as a test or programming track. It is up to you!





LocoBox 90 cm long - O gauge.

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