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How to Make Electric Remote Train From a Cardboard

How to Make Electric Remote Train From a Cardboard?

Introduction: How to Make Electric Remote Train From a Cardboard?

In this article, we will show how to make a railroad from cardboard and lids, as well as a remote control with which we will manage the train.

We will need:

— old USB cable with socket

— a piece of elastic tin

— caps from plastic bottles

— a piece of plastic (you can take the old CD-ROM)

— Soldering iron, wire cutters and other tools.

Step 1: 1 We Make the Train.

First of all we cut out the base of the train as in the picture.

Then we mark the place for the engine and make a seat for it.

We also make holes for the axis of the gearbox where we install the wheels.

Step 2: ​Making Wheels

We prepare the caps, cut off the excess part and smooth the edge; we make small covers with the same size as the large ones.

Cut a circle from a CD or similar plastic a few millimeters more than the prepared caps.

Step 3: ​Making Еlectro Wheels

We wrap copper wire on large wheels, after sanding it from varnish, these wheels will be electrically conductive.

Fix the wire with super glue on the cap.

Step 4: Sliding Contacts

We select a pair of capacitors of approximately the same diameter as the axis of the gearbox shaft and disassemble them. We need only the external aluminum part of the capacitors.

We put the «P» shaped wire on the axis of the gearbox and fasten it by installing a 3 cm wire.

We dress the sleeve from the condenser onto the axle and fill it with super glue so that our construction holds well.

Step 5: Sliding Brushes

Install the prepared gear on the train frame and glue with thermal glue.

We make two sliding contacts from the wire, which will slide along the aluminum sleeves on the gearbox axis.

At the ends of the wire we make hooks and we hook on the gum, so that there is good contact.

To the other end we solder the wires and connect to the motor.

Step 6: We Collect Wheels

We solder the wires from the electric wheels onto the axle, the plastic circle with glue also onto the axle, and the lid on it, the rest of the wheels are done in a similar way only without electrical contacts.

Step 7: ​We Collect the Train Body

Step 8: We Assemble the Body and Wheels of Cars

Step 9: The Manufacture of the Railway.

We cut the cardboard into long strips; these will be rails and short for sleepers. Also we cut out the connecting places as in the picture.

We tear off a strip of usual kitchen foil and we wind it with rails.

Step 10: Strengthening Compounds

Glue the rails wrapped with foil to the cross ties and connect. When gluing in the joints, we make a gap of about 3 mm so that when collecting the road there is a better contact.

It should look like in the photo. We try to make a road with a large diameter, so the train keeps better on the tracks.

Glue the auxiliary segments on the sides of the connecting sections so that the rails in these places do not go right and left.

Step 11: Electrical Contacts on Rails

One section is glued to a solid cardboard, there will be a station. In the corner of the station near the rail, we conduct two wires and fasten them to the rails, we wrap the top with foil to hide the wires and better contact.

Step 12: Remote Controller

In the lid make two holes for toothpicks. We put one toothpick in the center, and the second with the edge on the lid. We set the side toothpick so that it protrudes a little to 5 mm, and the rest of it is bitten off.

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On the inside of the lid, glue the paper plugs and leave the toothpick sticking out on both sides.

We make rounded contacts with a metal contact lug. And glue with hot glue to the lid.

Step 13: Contacts

We also make a “P” — shaped contact and fasten the wire in the middle.

Putting them together so that one side is parallel, and the second is crosswise. The intersecting contact is insulated by shrinking.

Glue the contacts and the cover to the base of the console so that the rotating contacts of the cover are inside the fixed.

Fix the swivel cover with a cardboard washer.

Step 14: Battery Compartment

Cut and glue the compartment for three AA batteries

We also cut out contacts for batteries from elastic tin and put them in place.

We solder the wires to the compartment with batteries and glue them to their place in the console.

Step 15: Management Stick

Fix the wire on the remote and solder to the cover with the contacts.

With a rubber band, we make a loop and glue it on the side ledge of the lid, and fix the other two ends with thermo-glue on the console case. This is necessary so that when the gas is released, the train automatically stops.

Step 16: Management Stick

From the ice cream sticks we make a lever to move back and forth and collect the remaining parts of the body from the console.

Step 17: Place for Batteries

Cover the battery cover with one side glued to the body, and with the other fasten velcro.

For convenience, we attach the thread to the battery compartment so that by pulling on it you can easily reach the batteries.

Step 18: Improved Train Contact

When operating the train, there may be a loss of contact between the wheels and the rails and the toy will stop.

So that the contact was reliable, under the train you need to make two contacts that will remove electricity from the rail.

Step 19: Makes Heavy

Also, so that the train does not slip on the rails, it is necessary to put gum on the wheels, and attach a load to the train itself.

Step 20: Wagon Connection

With the wire we make hooks between the cars and glue them into place.

Step 21: Теst

We collect the railway, at the junction we join and put on rubber bands.

Connect the remote to the road, everything is ready.

We press on the gas and the engine begins to move along the rails.


You will have a funny paper railway with your own hands. All the kids will be happy to do hand-made articles. The manufacturing process requires a lot of perseverance and develops fine motor skills. And it is necessary to play a hand-made article neatly, nevertheless, it is paper and fragile. Thanks for attention.

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Very, very nice how you made this (partly) out of recycled materials, the weel caps are a nice touch.

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing images and a few details about your cardboard electronics enclosures that you made, they are super inspiring!

How to Make Electric Remote Train From a Cardboard

Kids love playing in cardboard boxes! It ignites their creativity and gives them a place to call their own. When my son turned three he was really into trains, so that coupled with his love for playing in cardboard boxes gave me the idea to make a cardboard train!

How To Make the Cardboard Train

Get 4 used refrigerator boxes from a distribution warehouse. Usually the delivery people unpack the refrigerators and take the boxes with them to recycle, so the boxes are in pretty good shape. I used 2 boxes for the engine and 2 for the passenger car. You can also use this tutorial to make a scaled down version with smaller boxes.

Join the pieces with paper tape. You can find paper tape at Blick Art Materials, your local art store, or click here to buy paper tape on Amazon. Paper tape is normally used to stretch watercolor paper, but is the best for this project because it’s thin and you can paint it. If you’ve never used it before all you have to do is cut it to the length you need, wet it (the back of the tape is like old fashioned stamps) and stick. Then you let it dry for a little bit. It’s really strong and does not come apart unless you don’t let it dry all the way.

To make the passenger car, stand both boxes upright and cut each one along one of the folds. This created two big flaps which can be opened and taped to the box next to it to join them together.

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To make the engine, stand one box upright for the back half and one box on it’s side for the rounded part. To round out cardboard you slice the top side with shallow cuts along the grooves the entire length of the box with a utility or mat knife. When you make these cuts, the top layer of the corrugated cardboard is cut but the bottom layer stays intact to keep the shape. You don’t have to cut along every single groove; skip a few in between.

The more cuts you make along the radius, the more smooth the curve will be, but you don’t have to overdo it. After making the cuts you will find that you can bend the box to make the curve. You could use paper tape to cover the slits after you are done putting it together, but it’s not necessary. Then cut a hole in the tall box for the door and use that piece for the front of the engine to form the box.

Finally, make the wheels using leftover boxes or cardboard. Again, use a utility knife to cut them out. To make the wheels perfect circles use this little trick to make a big, homemade compass!

  • Make a long cardboard strip
  • Put a push pin on one side and make a hole on the opposite end big enough to poke a marker through
  • Stick the push pin in the center of the cardboard and move the marker around to make the circle

Paint the train with latex house paint. I thought about spray paint but that gets really expensive because of the size. It seems like regular paint is going to be too wet and make the cardboard wrinkle and get all wavy, but it didn’t. I used the cheapest stuff I could find at our local home improvement store. I ended up getting red, yellow and black and mixed the colors to save money. If you aren’t too particular about colors, sometimes paint stores will give away the paint they mixed incorrectly (or at least sell it a lot cheaper).

You can of course paint the train however you would like… Design it to look like Thomas the Train made from cardboard boxes or a cardboard box Polar Express.

Have fun!

Have you and your kids created something out of cardboard boxes? Inspire all of us by posting your pictures on the Kidlist Facebook page. Or tag us on Instagram!

You also might be interested in how to make a cardboard robot…

I made a cardboard robot to hold balloons at our front door for a robot-themed birthday party! Click here for tips on how to make a cardboard robot or click on the image below.

53 Comments . Leave new

Thank you so much for this, I needed a train for VBS for my church and had no idea where to start and this is perfect, thanks for sharing.

Correna, How did this train go for VBS. I’m in the same boat right now for July and thought of making this train with 3-4 of the yellow cars.

After using the train for my son’s birthday party I donated it to a preschool, who played with it outside for a few days, so it held up pretty well!

This is awesome!! I’m going to make for my son’s choo choo party. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful project 🙂

Thank you so much for this fun idea! I have been searching all over the internet for how to build a train out of cardboard boxes. I am doing the Polar Express them for my son’s 1st Birthday in December and had no idea where to start! If you have any other pointers for me when making this that would be much appreciated! Thanks so much for your fun and creative idea. 🙂

I’m glad you found my cardboard train and I appreciate your comments! If you have any questions about making it or you get stuck, feel free to email me at annie@mykidlist.com.

Emily, I would love to see pictures of your Polar Express Train made out of cardboard.

This is awesome, i am gonna build this with my niece today, gotta enjoy time with her while she is visiting us here in Belize .

Great! I hope you had a wonderful day creating. 🙂

I am going to try this for my sons birthday in April! Got my refrigerator boxes today! I may be emailing you with questions!

Absolutely Love it. I will try it but my question will be how to use it at the party. I created a simple pirate ship for my son’s birthday but it was small and easy to take pictures with. This seems large and wondering how to utilize it.

The kids at the party were pretending to take train rides, set up chairs inside and served water to each other, ate in the train and we took a group picture with all the kids peeking out of the windows!

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Trying this for my nephew’s birthday party this month but nervous about doing the rounded part of the train and how to cut it correctly! Any tips??

I’m excited for you to make the train! It’s a fun project. To make the rounded part you have to cut through only one layer of the corrugated cardboard along the grooves with a utility knife. You don’t have to cut along every single groove; skip a few in between. The more cuts you make along the radius, the more smooth the curve will be, but you don’t have to overdo it. I did a little sample for you and took a picture so you can get a better idea (https://mykidlist.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/IMG_2127.jpg). You could use paper tape to cover the slits after you are done putting it together, but it’s not necessary. If you have any other questions or need me to clarify, let me know!

Thank you so much for responding! The visual was really helpful!! Again thanks for sharing your wonderful idea!!

How long did it take you to make it? Also, how long did you let the paint set before adding details? Love your ideas. Thanks, Shirley

It took a few days… I can’t remember exactly how many because I mostly did it while my son napped, so it was an hour here and there. He liked helping towards the beginning when I was putting the boxes together, but I didn’t want to tackle painting with non-washable paint while he was running around the backyard! Anyway, the paint dried really fast since I was working on it outside and by the time I painted the base color it was already dry and ready for the details.

Thank you! I think I had better get started to have it ready by June!

I am so excited to attempt this for my twins birthday in September! Best looking cardboard train I’ve seen online. Thank you for sharing.

Can you do part of it with washer/dryer boxes?

Yes, you can make the entire train with washer/dryer boxes. It will just be smaller, but it will work well and turn out great I’m sure!

I was able to get 3 refrigerator boxes (yay). I’m thinking about making the nose of the engine with a smaller box as its been so difficult for me to get refrigerator boxes. Do you think it will look weird if the nose of the engine is a washer/dryer box?

No, I don’t think it will look weird, but you might want to make one of the refrigerator boxes shorter that will make the higher part of the engine. Do you know what I mean? I think it might look better proportionally if it was cut down a little, but I think it’s fine if the passenger car is taller. Just scale the enginer down but keep the passenger car the same so kids (and even adults) can walk into it and play. 🙂 Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Great. I was actually able to get 1 more refrigerator box this past weekend so I have 4 refrigerator boxes now 🙂

Good! I would love to see it when you are done!

How to make electric train from a cardboard?

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  • Xuất bản 10 Th02, 2019
  • Train with a remote control and a motor with their own hands from cardboard and covers? / How to make a train from a cardboard?
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    -motor with gear
    old USB cable
    -A piece of tin
    — Soldering iron and other tools.
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How to Make a Cardboard Train


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