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Assembly Notes


Aster locomotives are designed to assembled and operated by the average person.  All the parts are machined, manufactured, painted, coated and pre-finished completely.  All bolts and nuts are included in extra quantity. Most all of the necessary tools for assembly are included. 


All Aster locomotives come with well detailed instructions and illustrations for correct assembly and operation.   Remember, Aster locomotives are working live steam models and should not be considered toys.  Therefore upon completing the assembly of a kit, you will understand the operating principles of a real steam locomotive. 


Within the assembly instructions and extensive illustrations, all parts and assembly sequences are numbered.  Before beginning assembly, the instructions and illustrations should be carefully reviewed. Assembly should be accomplished section by section, step by step, following the instructions in order to avoid difficulties.  When assembling a section, remove only the parts need for that particular operation.  


Small hardware items can be handled more easily by using tweezers.  Practice picking up small items, such as screws and nuts with tweezers and setting them in place.  You will soon before proficient in handling them and gain confidence in your assembly skills.  If you have difficulty in seeing small parts, it may be necessary to wear magnifying glasses. 


Check each part and de-bur as necessary.  Straighten any parts which have been accidentally bent.  


Packing compound is required to seal certain assemblies.  Use an acrylic silicon compound such as WHITE CAULK (Red Devil Inc.,) which is available in most hardware stores.  Loctite Gasket Eliminator #510 is also an acceptable packing compound.  Be careful not to let any packing compound get into a bearing or steam/water passage or line.  Keep a small wet cloth nearby when using a packing compound to remove excess material and to clean your fingers so as to avoid spreading the compound.  The packing compound should also be used as the adhesive for installing the ceramic insulation blankets.   


Loctite 222 is made for small diameter fasteners and provides sufficient “break away” torque to retain the fastener under normal operating conditions.  However, the fastener can easily be removed with hand tools and without the application of heat.  Many experienced builders advise that Loctite 222 should only be put on moving assemblies, like crank pins, main rods, pilot and tender truck etc.


When installing small screws, nuts and bolts, you may use a drop of thread locker, such as Loctite 222 on the threads and tighten until the fastener is seated; then tighten no more than 3 to 4 additional degrees.  After the thread locker cures, the fasteners will be firmly held in place. Be careful not to over-tighten small screws and twist off their heads.  Some thread lockers secure so tightly that heat must be applied before the fasteners can be removed. 


Small slotted screws can be “stuck” to the blade of a screw driver with a small dab of glue or grease to aid in their installation in tight locations.   Occasionally “tolerance build-ups” will cause misalignments which may require minor filing or fitting.  Never force or “spring” a part into position.  A big hammer is seldom the correct solution for an interference problem.  Remove the interference by adjusting or filing. 


Lay the locomotive on a soft pillow when it is necessary to position it on its side during assembly or maintenance.  This will protect the finish and avoid damage to the running gear.  


The following tools and supplies are needed:


·        Needle nose pliers

·        Tweezers

·        Fine files (flat and round)

·        Scale ruler (1 mm = 0.0394. in)

·        Scissors

·        Small blade screw drivers

·        Wooden Dowel

·        Small metric wrenches

·        Thread locker such as Loctite 222

·        Masking Tape

·        Magnifying glass

·        Packing Compound (such as Red Devil White Caulk)

·        Soft Pillow

·        #1000 emery paper

·        A small hammer

·        Air Compressor source

·        Light Machine Oil

·        Steam cylinder oil

·        Test Rollers


Be care not to damage or lose any of the parts.  If you have never assembled an Aster KIT before, allow yourself adequate time to complete each section and do not push yourself beyond a comfortable limit.  Patience and care are the most precious tools for the skilled model engineer.  A well assembled and maintained locomotive will serve you faithfully for many years.  If you find any defective or missing part, contact your Aster dealer listing the part number and indicate if it was missing, defective or damaged during assembly.


Assembling an Aster locomotive is not difficult, but it does represent a challenge.  If you should encounter an obstacle during assembly, it is usually best to stop work and continue at a later time.  Never become discouraged if problems arise.  Your Aster dealer will gladly work with you so that you will have the pleasure of seeing your locomotive come to life when it is first steamed. 


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