2019 July

For this summer's meeting we tried out a new venue, rather than meet at someone's house, so that we could accommodate more people and larger models if people wanted to bring them. So it was that we met at Christ The King Church in Bradley Stoke. It was a good turn out with 14 members and 4 partners.  We also had a few visitors who had been at the coding club as we were setting up and a potential new member.

You can see a video on YouTube of some of the models in action by clicking the video link:

Alan Perry brought along a splendid grandfather clock. This particular clock design was said to need 18lbs of Meccano for the winding weight to operate properly. Alan first tried it with 16lbs which did not seem to do the job, so he added another ordinary 2lbs weight and it worked. This demonstrates the subtlety of having the right balance of things in a design. He was glad the clock structure held the weight!

Following his success at Skegex, Steve Briancourt brought the Issigonis Shield which is awarded to the winner. It was not possible to bring along the entire ship this time so he displayed the aft section which was ready for Skegex but not seen completed at our previous meetings. Steve now intends to make some of the mechanisms more robust against travelling!

Pete Evans was also at Skegex where he displayed his Burrel Steam Crane Tractor which he brought to this meeting. Unfortunately, it suffered a little damage with a broken string, so some of the actions were impaired, but it did move back and forth.

David Northcott  displayed his smart looking English Racing Automobile (ERA).

Richard Smith also brought his Pontoon Crane previously shown at Skegex and a selection of mint condition toy cars.

Martin Arnold built the iconic set 10 lifting shovel which was so often seen on the back of other build manuals. In reality, this model appears larger than the image suggests and looks splendid in bright blue and yellow.  He did some modifications to several bearings for shafts but had problems with subsequent fouling between the mechanism and the structure. He did admit that the operation could be temperamental. Martin also brought his Meccanograph and horizontal engine.

Greg Worwood builds a lot of models with plastic Meccano and brought a large Ferris Wheel. This is made from Mark 1 plastic Meccano, but the hub required a metal wheel axle to take the weight.

Greg also brought a model of the Murray-Blenkinsop steam locomotive which operated on a toothed rail rather than relying on friction to the driving wheels. The plastic driving gear meshed very nicely with bolts protruding from the side of the rails. The real engine only travelled five miles each way, therefore did not need water or fuel during the trip. A silencer had to be added on the exhaust due to noise complaints even that long ago.

Greg's 10p arcade game was a great hit with the young visitors. The challenge was to get a 10p coin to roll down a chute and land in a mug which was rotating on a base.

Other models he brought were of a motorbike wheel of death, a whimsical cyclist riding atop a wheel and some unusual Meccano construction discs which lock together.

Barry Winslow displayed a complete set 8a and a complete faithfully recreated set 8. Also he showed an original geared roller bearing from 1929 which was missing only one part which he replaced. The box was recovered by removing some tape and the tape residue to restore it to a better condition. He was also pleased to show a set of four large plastic road wheels in pristine condition for which Pete Evans donated an original packaging box.  Also on show were a selection of clockwork  motors and a cricket ball motor. Barry has three of the fairground rides which were illustrated on the original dealers/sellers leaflets (of which he has photo-copies but would like to own some originals).

Neil Bedford brought his model of the Darjeeling Himalayan  Railway that he displayed at Skegex. He had never built an engine before and wanted to build an unusual one as his first. He explained that the man sitting on the coal would be breaking up the large lumps into usable smaller lumps. It was possible that large lumps were carried to deter thieves from stealing the coal. Another man on the front had the sole job of throwing sand onto the rails to improve traction.

Dave Boorman displayed a 'proof of concept' bridge construction using scrap Meccano. Currently it is a single span but may develop into two spans plus a track for an N-gauge railway. If the concept works he intends to rebuild it in refurbished Meccano painted in grey and red. He was inspired by the Forth Bridge.


The mathematical monkey was brought to the meeting by Sam Medworth. This is a model belonging to our Club and performs multiplication tables. It is thought that this early design of model may have been based on a real monkey trained to give such answers under the sly direction of the handler.

Sam also brought some examples of more recent Meccano models, some of which now incorporate ¼" pitched pieces plus some handy narrow series angle brackets. This shows that new components are still being introduced which are compatible with the original Mechanics Made Easy from over a century ago.

Chris Bates' Bristol Tram was also exhibited at Skegex, but he has now resolved the problem of a short circuit against the frame of the tram. As his next model he has started a part-work as published in the Sheffield Club magazine.

Rob Curling and his wife Angie displayed an almost complete  Vertical Twin Beam Pumping Engine.  This is based on one belonging to Lord Rothschild on his Hertfordshire estate. Rob estimates that the model is approximately 1/8 to 1/10 of full size when compared with some photographs of the original engine. On the original plan the beam, piston and crank were not exactly aligned but had slight offsets. This was not good engineering practice so Rob built the model in line but it then needed an extra degree of freedom at the crank. The model has also been improved over the original plans by enclosing some of the workings in the inner section.

Philip Drew was also present, although this time without a model to display.

Chris Bates still has some of Malcolm's non Meccano component inventory which he laid out for anyone to help themselves to free of charge.

Many thanks to Dianne who supplied most of the refreshments and manned the kitchen ably helped by Marion. Also thanks to Greg for the lovely cake he donated. It was a pleasant afternoon and the new venue worked well for this size of meeting. We now look forward to seeing everyone at the AGM on 26th October.