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Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 8:59 pm
by Badger
In an earlier post I asked what we do to occupy ourselves in lockdown.
Now Lady B is a jigsaw junkie -- anything less than 1000 pieces is for softies. I've tried, and just can't get into them somehow.

But I have just remembered the ultimate, three-dimensional, possibly moving jigsaw -- Meccano! As a kid I was hooked on Meccano and built monumental models, my older sister having found a big prewar set in an Isle of Man junk shop.

I am now hunting vintage Meccano on Ebay. So far so good. There is a surprisingly large amount on offer (often at silly prices, but there is an economy of scale -- look for the big lots not small packets -- and I haven't done too badly collecting as many bits as I reasonably can. I decided on zinc finish only -- they are almost always in mint condition since there's no paint to have rusted away and chip off with age.

I even found, for some four quid delivered, a DVD box set of the (claimed) complete Meccano magazine collection and all manuals. At the price I've risked it though if it sounds too good to be true . .

My proposed 10:1 scale model of Blackpool Tower will be a winner. Hmm. That makes it 50 feet high . . . Tower Bridge maybe.

Any suggestions for a project? Anything powered nowadays has electric motors. In my time it was a wind-up clockwork motor, and someone is asking sixty quid for one.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 9:14 pm
by Old Peculier
Used to love Meccano when I was a child.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 9:27 pm
by etcetera
My brother-in-law 'plays' with Meccano! He has a whole room in his house dedicated to it! He's 79.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 9:55 am
by laurie 53
Meccano caused me good deal of trauma.

My brother, five years older than me, had a pre-War set and if I so much as picked a nut he would beat me unmercifully.

It left such an aversion that I look askance at Meccano even now.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 11:22 am
by gazman
I learnt a lot playing and making things with Meccano when I was a child.
It taught me the principles of struts, ties, beams etc. and gave me a lot of pleasure too.
what better way is there to learn?
The modern equivalent, Lego, leaves a lot to be desired in comparison.

I have quite a lot of it, collected from car boots mainly but I have not bought any for a long while.
It has come in handy on many occasions.
Some time ago I made my own doorbell built around a Victorian servants' bell, Mecano enabled me to get the structure spatially correct as a model.
when I was happy with it, I was then able to transfer that structural detail into a wooden design that still hangs on my hall wall today.
It has been my front door bell for 30 years and has worked perfectly for all that time.
It has all the characteristics of an old swinging Victorian door bell but is controlled by an door push.

Sometimes when I'm doing other experiments it allow me to construct quite difficult shapes that I can vary until it is what I want it to be.
Ir can be made into simple jigs to hold things together while working on or repairing them, clocks for instance.
It has lots of uses.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 11:24 am
by Anya
Lord Badger - Sounds a great project, I look forward to pics, as and when.

I had a Meccano set as a kiddle, also a train set, a foot long clockwork Maserati that I could stand on, it was so strong and solid. Pressed dyes went underneath, for different modes of running, straight on, round and round, zig-zag ...

I had no mother, my dad had no son, I guess he wanted to play with the things himself? I did enjoy them and showed off, of course. No girl had such toys and not many boys. Worth a fortune today, I imagine, family and friends must have given them to him.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 11:47 am
by Badger
If you want a bunch of real nutters (after my own heart) then have a look at
https://selmec.org.uk who I found on Google
Eiffel Tower but no Blackpool Tower. And no Tower Bridge -- must get some research time in.
I love the competition cup-holders, and have bookmarked the site for inspiration.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 11:46 pm
by Skyrunner
One of the advantages of having an older brother is that when he discovered girls, I "inherited" a rather good train set, and... a huge box of Meccano! Had great times with the latter, constructing all sorts of things.. all those little bits and pieces, tightening the nuts on the bolts with the little spanner.... kept me amused for hours. I had NO interest whatsoever in the dolls that well meaning aunties used to give me at Christmas, they stayed untouched in the cupboard. (Except the one that ended up on the shed roof!)

I haven't seen Meccano for years, but my liking for models has stayed with me all my life.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 7:19 am
by Badger
I spent yesterday buying several eBay job lots, and judging by this morning's confirmatory emails there's around a combined half a ton on the way. Much is a bit tatty (none of this modern rubbish) but I found this spray paint on Amazon . . .
Lady B has gone very quiet on me. I'll take a pill and go for a nice lie-down.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 2:11 pm
by CODGER THE CONFUSED
Playing with "Meccano" You don't play with it. You make/design things. Many a budding engineer became interested in the job through Meccano. And then went on to motorbikes.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:46 pm
by Badger
Progress so far . . . I have been very busy but have not yet screwed one piece to another.
It was like this. I decided that I first needed to sort out all the bits -- they came in a variety of job lots -- and realised that a proper inventory was called for.
These days that means a computer database (I use the excellent Ninox for Macs), so I have spent the past couple of weeks, virtually full time, on the keyboard happily linking the bit in front of me to the maker's part number (it's all online) and colour.
I can tell you in a flash the part number for a 1x5x1 flanged perforated strip in blue. I reckon I'm half way through.
Then I might build something . . . got a cracking database though.

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:17 pm
by Skyrunner
Did you get the DVDs of the manuals and magazines? Was it as you hoped?

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:47 am
by Badger
They are first class, and extraordinarily good value. PDF form throughout so any can be run off on the Epson in facsimile. How publishing has changed.
Funny thing is -- they don't seem to have heard of databases. :opps:

Re: Meccano anyone?

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:45 am
by Anya
That is not - playing - with Meccano, you are organising an entire Meccano Empire.
:smiles: