2022 January Page 2

David N is building a scale model of a 7F class Somerset and Dorset railway engine. The scale is based on the wheel diameter of 4ft 8.5in, and will be a 2-8-0 wheel layout. The model is driven by an E15R motor and it still needs the valve gear to be added. The valve gear is difficult to get right because there are so many variants to choose from.

Next on display was a digger designed by the late Geoff Coles as a "new dealer display model" and first shown at the Henley Exhibition 1979. Geoff based his design on a JCB Trench Digger. This one was built by Mark H-S and is driven by a 12v motor running at 6v. This model has some modifications inspired from a previous build by Darren Bonner. The model was constantly cycling through the digging motion so provided a very pleasing visual display.

Sam brought his Harwich Dockside Treadwheel Crane which he built during 2020 and is described in more detail on the 2020 October Virtual Meeting page. The original was built in 1667 when Samuel Pepys was in charge of the Royal Navy. The crane hooks are anchors from the Meccano Crazy Inventor sets. To stop the wheels from turning after reaching the appropriate point, the Brake Man shoved a long pole through the spokes of the wheel!

This Pacific type Express built by Andrew is only a static model despite having a clockwork motor. It doesn't work because the instructions in the 1929 Meccano Magazine and the 1935 Set 'L' are wrong. The clockwork motor sits between the loco side walls but using the No. 1 motor as instructed causes the model to be too wide to fit on the tracks.

In reality it should be a No. 1a, which is 1/4in narrower. In fact, the instruction photo clearly shows a 1a because gear item 12 is a 1/2in total width pinion fitting snugly between the cheeks of the motor. The motor is thus only 3/4in wide not 1in as for motor No. 1.

Barry is always on the lookout for interesting sets to add to his collection. He wanted the 3 Space models shown in the top row of the picture, but all the others were in the same auction lot. Some of the boxes, which were originally labelled 'Meccano - Airfix' had a secondary sticker over it to say 'Palitoy', illustrating the ever changing pedigree of Meccano products.

Some of the Meccano publicity material for these sets shows models which apparently don't exist, or at least Barry has never discovered them. Also, the brochure for the later series 1000, 2000, 3000 sets also shows a 5000 set which was never made. Unless you know differently!

Richard G's display comprised a Windmill and a 1928 No. 6 set. The windmill is quite special as it is an example of the first coloured shop display model produced in late 1926. The colour scheme is light green and red, which existed for only one year. The metal finished parts are tinned steel which is how it was for the American market as opposed to nickel plated in the UK.

This model looks the same as the August 1926 Promotional Leaflet which was issued in the UK. All the nuts and bolts have a spring washer to prevent loosening but as far as Richard knows, there was not a spring washer in the Meccano parts listing. It came with an American motor, which he has not quite got around to fully restoring.

Richard found this model many years ago at a California Rose Bowl swap meet in Los Angeles and he partly dismantled and hid it in a suitcase for the return journey home!!!

The No. 6 set was in beautiful condition and the cards had been restrung. Note that the braced girders now have closed ends, unlike those in the windmill which at that time still had open ends. The outfit is virtually complete and has all the manuals and parts boxes. The hanks of cord are reproductions, as is the Theodolite Card which Richard made himself.

This set includes lots of very useful parts - and quite rare - but also parts which are not much use unless you are going to build a ship, saw bench or electric locomotive. He is very pleased to have this set in his collection.

Pete brought some of the first models he made, and after all this time they are still working. The oscillating cylinder engine was designed that way so that the inventor did not have to pay James Watt for using Watt's patent linkage.

Rob started building his Coles Mobile Crane four or five years ago, based on Model Plan No. 128. He has improved on some aspects of the plan and the model is radio controlled. In 1931 Coles patented reversible steering and this has been incorporated into the model by electrical means.  The transverse rod at the front in the view of the underside is not a track rod but is there merely to stop the front wheels flapping about until the steering linkage is completed.

Steve continues with his build of a perpetual spiral staircase. Pictured is the prototype mechanism as proof of concept which worked well enough to be kept and tweaked as the final product. The main core which includes all the stair treads is driven by one motor, and the lifting mechanism is driven by a second motor, but both features must be in perfect timing to ensure each tread is picked up at exactly the right moment. This is achieved by the strange looking gear box which ensures the exact ratio is maintained.

The standard Meccano chain which links the gearbox output to the lifting chain must never jump a sprocket tooth as this would change the point at which the stair treads are lifted. To ensure this doesn't happen, there is a chain guard at the tangent points on the tension side which will not allow the chain off the sprocket.

There is a quick release mechanism to release the chain from the sprocket for ease of dismantling, whereby the sprocket shaft is withdrawn out of its end bearing and pivoted aside. This same feature allows the 50 tooth gear to be disengaged from its mating pinion to be indexed around by individual teeth to perfectly set the stair tread pick up timing.

The lifting chain is all made from Meccano running on large Meccano sprockets. Engagement of the rods in the sprocket teeth is ensured by a curved strip over the top sprocket to act as a chain guard. This chain runs very smoothly over the pairs of sprockets and every 5th link has an extended length rod which picks up the approaching stair tread.

Below each stair tread is a long threaded pin which is picked up by the lifting chain. All major assemblies are modular and can be removed for maintenance and transport. This model has conveniently used many parts which I'm sure we all have a lot of, namely sector plates, trunnions and flat trunnions.

Again, a huge thank you to Dianne for preparing a wonderful buffet, and to Pauline for assisting in the kitchen, to keep everyone topped up with drinks.

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