Richard G is a collector rather than a builder and for this meeting he brought along a range of sets all from the 1950's French production. These are in Gold and Blue colours (not cross hatched). At this time the guarantees for the sets had a specific date five years from manufacture, not from date of purchase.
Richard and his wife Pam also collect Bayko, another Meccano product at one time. You can see more photos of their models on the 2021 January Virtual Meeting Page 1. They had bought a post war dealer's cabinet with contents and used this to build the models. The scale of Bayko buildings was designed by Plimpton Engineering in the 1930s to match Hornby 'O'-Gauge railways (1/43 scale).
Eric joined us during lockdown, and this was the first opportunity for us to see his giant crane 'in the flesh'. He said he has collected Meccano for decades but never really built anything. However, lockdown meant he needed something to do, so he started building. He wanted to build a different type of block setting crane, so chose the Titan, manufactured by Stothert and Pitt of Bath. He initially had just two internet photos to scale from (see Eric Pentecost's Page).
He started with the bogies, as the wheels set the scale, and built up from there. However, he later came across some original plans with dimensions and had to redo a lot of the build. He is now not actually sure of the final scale.
There are two out-riggers either side of the turntable which anchor cables to the jib to prevent lateral sway, but these have yet to be strung.
The Meccano parts were originally just stripped of paint, but he decided to paint them with primers (two different colours) so the strips wouldn't rust. The large turntable was challenging and is driven via a plastic caterpillar track with its back fixed around the turntable's periphery.
The roller bearing made for the actual crane was produced nearby in Melksham.
Greg saw a model in CQ Magazine and build a similar one at a slightly larger scale. This was a ball moving machine called a 'Hexcalator', which moved table tennis balls, although Greg has used ball pond balls with his larger version. At this meeting it worked quite reliably but he said that this isn't always the case.
The other models in Greg's display were all a variation on the theme of providing cycloidal straight line motion using gears. These were inspired by a model built by Howard Somerville of an 1802 Matthew Murray engine. This can be difficult in Meccano as a gearing ratio of 2:1, and an even number of teeth are required. Greg's solutions prove there are many ways to achieve this.
Chris had two models on show. The first was his version of Percy Ping Pong. Knowing that timing is critical for the set-up, Chris used a small controller for the motor, which uses pulse wave modulation to control the speed.
His other model was of an Explorer Recovery Truck, similar to Richard Payne's model back in 2013. The truck's design dates back to 1927. It has 6-wheel drive with a central differential for the four rear wheels and a differential for the front steered wheels. There is power take-off for three winches which are front and rear winch hooks plus the jib hook. The jib extends aft by hand.
Barry has focused on collecting Meccano from the dark blue box period (1970-1976). The display at this meeting included some sets and a few specific boxed items, notably some 'Pocket Meccano' sets. He also had a rarer 'Senior motorised' set originally destined for markets abroad.
The rather useful display board was picked up at a car boot sale for a mere £20.
As well as collecting, Barry has completed his first model using his own parts. This is a Konkoly Wilesco Steam Engine as inspired by Martin Arnold's one. However, he now wishes he had made it in YBZ like Martin's.
Steve completed his 'Penny Falls' machine during lockdown and this was its first outing. After reloading it with coins at the beginning of the meeting (because they all fell out during the car journey) it performed without a hitch. The 6mm Perspex cover was the last addition and was a challenge to fabricate. Some videos of this model in action and during construction can be seen on Steve Briancourt's Page. More about the construction with photos can be seen on 2021 January Virtual Meeting Page 2.
During the afternoon the club held an auction of various Meccano lots and magazines. This went extremely well and ensured we will be able to fund future meetings!
Lastly, we are indebted to Dianne for preparing all the refreshments, including baking the cakes, and providing tea and coffee all day, and a huge thanks to Pam for helping her.