A. We outsource much of our work. Our wheels are cut for us on a CNC machine. The inner flange is 1/8" hardboard, the rim is medium density fiber board completely covered in fiberglass. The trucks, or undercarriage, is a sandwich of hardboard – Styrofoam – hardboard, again completely covered in fiberglass. We offer either roller bearing or arched bar trucks.
A. No, not for the framing. The frame bolts together and lumber is standard sized. Lay the lumber in place and nail or screw it in. You may need a contractor for electrical, plumbing, interior wall surfaces, cabinets, etc. if you can't do that yourself.
A. Not really. We design the kits to use standard size materials as much as possible, or at least materials than can be cut to size by your building materials dealer. Anything requiring special cuts, we provide in the kits.
A. There are several options. Probably a light gage steel over plywood. Also consider Hardie Panel, polymer paint (we
have a good source), DIY rubber roofing. I prefer fiberglass, it's strong, durable, easy and less costly but most people are afraid to tackle that.
A. Our goal is to get you a caboose as inexpensively as possible. A completed caboose requires a dedicated truck to deliver, whereas we can ship many kits on a single truck, or ship a kit as part of a loaded truck. Also, it would mean we'd need a crane to load the caboose here, and you'd need one at your site to unload it. But even more, you'd be paying for our labor as opposed to using your own. And, we'd rather do only what we do best, which is manufacturing the kit.
A. Well, we've put a lot of work designing the kit, but if you feel you could do it yourself, perhaps we could help by supplying some of the items you might find hard to get. We'd be happy to sell you our undercarriages and wheels, and of course assist you in any way with suggestions at no charge.
A. You don't want to read the entire instructions here, but we can tell you that the steel parts bolt together, so no welding at your site is required. The floor joists fit into standard joist hangers, and wall studs are easy. You lay the floor, bolt in the end posts, nail up the siding, etc. You may want to bring in a helper, as the steel tubing can be pretty heavy, up to 60 pounds, and the plywood is also heavy and awkward to lift. We have step by step illustrated instructions. Ask for a set.
A. That's one option, but possibly not the best. A ladder going up is pretty tacky, but a normal staircase doesn't have to take up much space, is less expensive, easy to build, and more practical. But we would be happy to recommend spiral staircase suppliers if you choose. They should run from $600 to $1,200. Don't pay more than that, though.
A. That's directly related to how long and how wide you want the cupola to be. A longer cupola obviously gives you more useable space with adequate headroom. That's the beauty of our concept. We'll build our kits to fit your needs, and really, that's how the railroads built their cabooses, to fit their needs.
A. No, the caboose is raised off the ground for the wheels and trucks to go underneath. We raise the caboose with a number of structural steel legs that sit in holes in the ground, which are then filled with concrete. The legs are bolted into the framework.
A. Ask us for our caboose information letter. The basic kit costs for several common sizes of our models are spelled out there, as well as the approximate cost of materials required to finish the framing.
A. Pretty close to the real thing, but remember we'd rather tailor your kits to your comfort. If you want a 12 foot wide caboose for the extra space, you'll have to sacrifice some authenticity. But it will still plainly be a caboose.
A. The first thing is we'll need to talk to you to determine your needs and decide whether we can meet them. Then, depending on your options and the size of your caboose, we'll have to price out the kit. Then, when you're ready to order, we'll request a 50% advance to buy materials. We use PayPal for credit card purchases because it offers the best buyer protection, and our customers prefer PayPal. We'll accept checks or money orders, but we have to allow for clearing before we start work.
A. That depends on your city's or county's requirements, and is different from state to state, county to county, city to city. In any case it's a good idea. If you're going to get a building permit we'll supply the structural engineering included in our kit price.