Monorail Modeling -
Puppy Mover Monorail goes on the road
Photos and commentary by Kim Pedersen, May 2007
Make Magazine held its second "Maker Faire" in San Mateo, California, in May of 2007. The fair is made up of creative types who take ideas and turn them into real hardware. Being such an amazing home-designed and home-built project, the Puppy Mover Monorail (PMM) was considered to be a perfect addition to the event. Creator and TMS member James Horecka spent countless hours preparing a wonderful display for the Maker Faire.
While the idea of a monorail for puppies was great for giggles and amusement, the Maker Faire audience was quite often intrigued with the workings of a monorail. James has done a fantastic job of engineering to make his "J" scale (2X4 track) operate just like the big Alweg boys. In what was once merely a static display, the Mark IV PMM now runs back and forth on track as a result of some extremely clever engineering by its maker. Because of the high-quality of the PMM and great representation for monorails Horecka brings to his audience, The Monorail Society gave him permission to feature the TMS logo on the train.
As we have pointed out, the Puppy Mover Monorail started out as a weekend "joke" project. Horecka received such amazing responses to his online photos of the original PMM Mark I static monorail display that he decided to take the big step of making it operate. Using a Razor Scooter for motor, drive wheel and batteries, he was able to cram all the works into the lead car. With additional gearing to slow the train down to scale-appropriate speeds, the PMM can start and stop rolling very smoothly. The sound of the electric motor and gears are very quiet, just like full-scale monorails.
This has to be the best scale-modeled Alweg bogie I've ever seen. James cleverly engineered the bogies to be strong and fully functional, yet remaining simple in design. Skateboard wheels serve as the load-bearing tires, while bearings make up the six guide wheels held in place with common nuts, bolts and washers. Fantastic!
Surprisingly, one of the most popular features with children visiting the PMM was the end-track bumper system. Kids especially got a kick out of monorail operations when James would over-run the stops and hit the bumpers on purpose. They worked perfectly. (Note: not recommended for full-scale monorails!)
The fair took place over a weekend and many cameras were pointed towards the PMM. Here James answers some questions about the monorail. Irreverent TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel dropped by with cameras rolling at one point and in typical Kimmel fashion made fun of the PMM.
Thousands of fair attendees enjoyed the PMM, as this young fellow did. A good time was had by all (except for a couple of goofball animal activists). The highly-loved and pampered puppies for the original photo sessions (first page of this article) were provided by James's girlfriend, Shirley Allen. Shirley is the owner of a Native American Indian dog-breeding business, Night Eyes Farms. Shirley is also the creator of the "puppy mover" name and assisted in the creation and setup of the PMM. Bottom line: 40,000 fair attendees loved the Puppy Mover Monorail!
James and Shirley pose for one final photo at the end of a long weekend of monorail demonstrations. Congratulations on a job well done and thanks for all the great plugs for The Monorail Society!
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