1:35,200 Scale Train is World’s Smallest

nanotrain

This train layout is so small it nearly defies photography as much as it defies expectations. Built by model railroad enthusiast [David Smith], this is a model of a model: an N scale (1:160) layout inside a Z scale (1:220) world! For size reference, the entire layout is shown under a ballpoint pen tip in the photo above. And it actually runs!

Of course with this being Hack a Day you know there’s going to be some shenanigans involved. Pause the hi-def YouTube video at the 0:50 mark and see if you can puzzle it out first. The remainder of the video and [David’s] project page reveal how this all works, and it’s no less amazing even with the trick exposed. Check out his other ludicrously small mechanical wonders as well!

[via RetroThing]

Comments

  1. googfan says:

    damn. i thought it was some kind of nanomechanichal train. BLAST foiled again…

    nevertheless, its still clever

  2. Teh_lulz says:

    1st

  3. googfan says:

    @teh_luz

    owned

  4. The_Evil_Machinist says:

    @Teh_lulz
    lol
    some people have too much time on there hands. But this isnt a hack. This is a model. I vote for new writers! All in favor say Aye!

  5. Ryan says:

    A masterpiece.

  6. Hirudinea says:

    Neat, now I can finally have a railway in my urethra!

  7. babble says:

    @Hirudinea: That’s one fetish that I will never understand.

    @article:

    Brilliant, I was also expecting some feat of technology.. To be so simple was a surprise but still a valid post I think, nice work.

  8. Wow. That’s an incredibly small train.

  9. napalm says:

    This does boggle the mind, but it is no hack. The new guys need to find actual hacks to write about, preferably stuff we can build too.

  10. Wolf says:

    I have to agree with the others about this not being much of a hack, that being said though it’s still a neat project. All things taken into account it’s definitely worth a post.

  11. localroger says:

    Seriously brilliant. If the train was running in a circle it would be obvious, but using flexible tubing to get the oval and the mountain to mount the interior of the oval track run … I would never have thought of it.

  12. nope says:

    really cool project. i like that he bothered to paint the classic corner landscape. it was quite ingenious how it works. a nice little trick that may come in handy at some point.

  13. Edward says:

    @ all you who nay say the hacks here, you totally miss the point.

    Hacks are not always some mystical freaky teardown of something that started as some preformed glitchy product then made better by the hacker, hacking is a way of life, it is a mind set, it is mearly a different way of looking at things, sometimes it involves solder, sometimes it involves duct-tape. so quit bitching and go do a better hack.

  14. daler says:

    Well that’s neat.
    Also, I vote for moderated comments.

  15. Zymastorik says:

    this is a cool model, and an interesting way of using the materiaqls, but not a hack. Sorry to those of you who think it is, you obviously have been confused at some point.

    @ Edward, dood no one said it had to be archaic in nature or obscure and hard to comprehend to be a hack, but this isn’t one. As far as the way of life and mindset stuff, your post screams of someone who has never had a clue of what Hacking is all about.

    Just because all of you children out there are trying to own the word, doesn’t change what the original meaning was. Being back the hacks, bring back the intelligence, and let’s up the quality of some of these posts can we?

    I mean with all of the shit floating around today, I find it hard to believe that Lego stands, matchbox switches and model trains are all there is to post.

  16. Kyle says:

    Funny, I just watched this video, like, a week ago while looking for videos of Z scale.

  17. walt says:

    very cool but not at all a hack

  18. Doug says:

    Someone takes something that doesn’t remotely look like a model train, and turns it into a model train, and it’s not a hack?

  19. Zymastorik says:

    @ doug… 1st, it’s not an actual model train, and second, we’ve already explained it’s not a hack. So….. catch up? I sell clues for $1.69 on my site I’ll get you a link.

  20. PKM says:

    Hey, who let the “this isn’t a hack” crowd back in? There is stuff on the site that isn’t hacks, it’s usually news (writeups of DEFCON, etc). This involves repurposing technology to make something cool, ergo hack.

    I can’t wait to see pictures of the model model shop with its model model :)

  21. Agent420 says:

    ^ Those clues are over-priced.

    What’s with all the ‘not a hack’ hate? It’s cool, it’s clever and it’s repurposing hardware… That should be close enough.

    I’d rather check out entries like this than stare at a empty blogspace waiting the ‘not a hack’ folks to make something themselves or send a suggestion in, neither of which will happen.

  22. Ragnar says:

    If he said he used a flexible tube to make a circular movement into an oval shape for what reason ever, it would have been a hack.

    Silly him, he skilfully crafted a microscopic landscape and a model train on the tube. Unforgivable, and obviously renders a hack down to a simple model.

    I like to seem more of this here and less of “them”.

  23. DarwinSurvivor says:

    This guy SERIOUSLY needs a still camera with a proper macro lense. I’ve seen photos taken of the end of a hypodermic needle using nothing but 2 camera lenses spaced about a foot apart. I actually know the guy that did it.

  24. strider_mt2k says:

    This is nothing less than incredible, and most certainly a hack , even if it’s model train related.

    It’s 1000x better than iPod docks made of building blocks or matchbox cars wired to trigger a flash on impact for the Teeny-Tiny Insurance Institute.

  25. memals says:

    usb microscopes are very cheap now a days.
    just for the record, I class this a hack

  26. Zymastorik says:

    Ok I’ll grant that it beats the hell out of the fucking Lego crap. And news about hacks, and hacking conventions, all of that stuff is related. Model Railroading has it’s place, on a site about Model Railroading.

    This is(was) a hack site, about technology (now legos and matchbox cars), and how it can be warped and/or bent to the will of the few who have the balls to go out there and press the limits, inventing new ways to do things and inpsiring more people to do the same.

    Lego iPhone stands, Matchbox car switches and model trains have no place here. It’s gone to complete shit, joining the ranks of the thousands of other sites who post nothing but garbage.

    Those of us that have been here since before most of you even knew what hacking was, are disappointed with the degradation in the overall quality of the stuff posted. If you don’t like that, then you are too stupid to get it. If the majority of the people that visit this site have also adopted that mental perspective, than this is totally lost and not worth trying to save.

    Cry all you want, piss and moan about how Matchbox car switches is L33T and how Twitter mixed with an Arduino makes for awesomesauce but it doesn’t change the lame factor. I doubt I’ll be around here much longer, and that’s a shame because I’ve been visiting this site since it’s inception.

    for the people who get what I’m saying, good luck trying to save the place, to the others, you’re not worth bothering with since you just don’t get it, and you probably never will.

  27. Groar says:

    I loved this hack. Yes, hack.

    It was an intuitive re-use of something that was never made for this purpose. A hack.

  28. David says:

    “This is (was) a hack site, about technology … and how it can be warped and/or bent to the will of the few who have the balls to go out there and press the limits, inventing new ways to do things and inpsiring more people to do the same.”

    Gee, seems quite a few people concur that this is exactly what the builder did. If you want to be productive, instead of just a narrow-minded whiny purist, then please start your own blog and show the world what’s supposed to be a proper hack.

  29. anon says:

    hack

  30. Stefan_z says:
  31. So very cool. What an ingenious way to make a macro train set. props for such a nice setup.

  32. FlyMysticalDJ says:

    I have an idea. It seems like there are two schools of thought here. The people who want pure electronic technology hacking and those that are interested in inovation of all forms. Neither of which is wrong. What IS wrong is telling the makers of this site that they’re wrong. I understand you have wants and needs, but if this site isn’t fulfilling them you have three options:
    1) Request (not complain) the changes you want
    2) Find a different website that DOES fulfil your needs, and barring all that
    3) Make your own website that is a direct representation of what you want it to be.

    I’m not even trying to lay blame here, but in honesty, yelling about what you think is right and wrong is bound to piss people off and not get good results. Why not take a more proactive approach.

  33. Robo says:

    Well done, I had no idea it would be so simple under the hood. Very clever hack

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