Lionel Coal Car Replacement Part

I used my 3D printer to replicate a part of an old, hard to find, model train car.

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This is a replacement part for a Lionel Operating Coal Dump Car. This part holds the hopper, interfaces with the release mechanism, and forms half of the hinge that the hopper is dumped on. One of the pins for the hinge was broken off which hopper to eject itself from the chassis when the release mechanism was pulled. This project made a replacement part by modelling the existing broken part in Fusion360 and iterating until the hopper dumped smoothly.

My father purchased an Lionel coal dump car off of eBay and the car was broken on arrival. Rather than buying another or returning it to the seller he decided to ask me to fix the car with my 3D-Printer. The coal car is spring loaded and dumps the contents of the car when triggered by the engineer. A plunger holds the hopper in place and is pulled out of the way by an electromagnet in the track. Once the plunger is pulled down, the spring pushes the hopper up which pivots on a hinge. One of the pins that for that hinge was broken off. This caused the hopper to be pushed off at a weird angle when released. I apologize for not having a before picture of the broken coal car.

Using my trusty calipers I replicated the broken piece using Fusion360.  After a couple iterations to get the pin sizes, hole sizes, and distance from the plunger right I had it working. The old piece is on the right and the new one is on the left.

See the videos linked showing the dumper working and the Fusion360 timeline showing the design process!


A version that is scaled to 100% real life and rotated to the best printing direction I found.

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 99.89 kB - 01/20/2018 at 18:20



Fusion 360 Archive for anyone who wants to modify the part

fusion - 441.95 kB - 01/20/2018 at 18:37



Step file for anyone who wants to modify the part

stp - 169.17 kB - 01/20/2018 at 18:37



The raw output STL from Fusion 360

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 99.89 kB - 01/20/2018 at 18:20



A test of the coal car dumping on my workbench

MPEG-4 Video - 873.25 kB - 01/20/2018 at 18:20


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  • Uploaded Files to Thingiverse

    Phil Diefenderfer01/20/2018 at 18:24 0 comments

    I uploaded the files and some information to my Thingiverse page which is linked on the project page and can be found here. Since the project is complete the only changes will likely be to add more information to the project page.

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