2023 April

Held at the end of April, this meeting had a bumper turnout and we welcomed several new members joining our club.  Thanks to all who made it a great success, including Dianne and Linda for providing the refreshments and and others who brought extra cakes. Our sales table also did very well.

Overview of hall
One of the Sales' tables

A video of some of the 'working' models can be seen on Youtube https://youtu.be/stc4zNx6MdA or by clicking the picture.

Neil had two models to show. The first was ‘Fabian’ – a walking robot. Neil says:
'My walking robot is very closely based on a design by German model-maker Fabian Kaufmann (who expertly blends Meccano and Marklin parts in his models). Since seeing the original on YouTube, I have wanted to build this model because the design is both simple, and at the same time extremely clever. Robots are a good subject for Meccano models but most suffer from their feet ‘shuffling’ rather than actually lifting and walking. Of course, Meccano robots ‘shuffle’ along so that both feet are always in contact with the ground to maintain balance - but Fabian actually walks. He is driven by a small, geared motor, through a number of cranks and gears, and is powered from a small 9 volt battery. My robot wears a bow-tie, as a nod to Fabian Kaufmann, who is a master tailor by trade and is an extremely natty dresser.'

His second model is a Series One Land Rover (86” chassis – 1953 to 1966) – built to a scale of 1:12.5.
'Very much a work in progress, currently in rough parts to allow rapid changing of my design – and hopefully ready for the big Skegex exhibition. Many people have built Meccano Land Rovers but I
wanted to go back to basics and build a real scale model of an early version, which was as correct as possible given its diminutive size. Going back to original plans found online, I have taken around 40
measurements from ‘the real thing’ and then calculated their Meccano equivalents at the exact scale which I am working to (which was dictated by the size of the tyres I wanted to use). On such a small model, it has been necessary to make numerous compromises, as few of the required sizes are especially close to the 1/2” spacing which would have been so convenient in Meccano.'

Andrew showed a Dutch Windmill from 1950 Set 9. He says it is a nice set 9 model using No. 1 Clockwork motor which runs it nicely.

Michael brought his Dennis Dart single-decker bus, with the three-speed automatic gearbox and opening doors. He has done some work on it recently, finding some extra movement on the speed governor and installing a friction device on the operating lay shaft with the result that the gear change is more positive and stable. He has also altered the friction clutch on the doors mechanism with a different rubber tyre which makes a more positive opening and closing movement.

Sam brought his model of Dr Who's K9. He says:

'I made this model for fun and to enter this year’s Scrapheap Challenge. K9 was an iconic robot friend of Dr Who over many series, passing through a number of versions, and I wanted a simple model that reflected his character. I started with a picture, then worked out the basic body and head shapes from plates. I was originally going to use part 63 Coupling for the nose, but then realised that fixing it might be difficult so changed to 63c. This made possible the neck fixing too.

I intend to improve the accuracy of the model when no longer limited by the rules of the competition, including a radio-controlled mechanism which I bought in the auction today. However I don’t think it will ever beat the Doctor at Chess! Watch this space!'

Richard S displayed his Barber Greene BG 220 Road Paver. This model built in Dark Blue and Yellow is based on the prototype but as he has been unable to find any accurate drawings to scale from, it is based on photos. When complete, it will have 6 functions:

  1. Forward and Reverse
  2. Power steering
  3. Conveyor Belt
  4. Hopper tipper
  5. Adjustable Paver Thickness
  6. Running Screw distributor

The main wheels are driven through a pinion differential.  The nearest Meccano wheels to the scale of the main wheels are the 1978-9 3 piece wheel but they are slightly small.  They also have such low friction that they won't provide effective steering.  The solution will be to stick on some soft rubber to increase the tread diameter and grip.

Alan brought his 3 cylinder marine engine. This engine has been constructed using the Meccano set 9 plan but with various improvements viz.

  • The crossheads have been made up using unbossed slide pieces and couplings rather than very sloppy double brackets.
  • The very cumbersome and high friction valve operating cams have been replaced with triple throw cams.
  • Several other changes include the use of a modern “can” motor and a double reduction chain drive.

Otherwise it looks something like the pictures in the book.


Philip showed a Bugatti Type 35.

Mark S-H showed his Synchronous Motor Clock.  This was designed by Richard Bingham and published in the Sheffield Meccano Guild Newsletter No. 14, dated June 1986. He added an additional drive for a seconds hand.

The clock is powered by 15V AC  from a train transformer. The motor is made entirely from Elektrikit parts using 4 Meccano coils. The rotor is based on an eight-hole Bush Wheel with pole-pieces formed from pairs of Rod and Strip Connectors mounted back to back. To minimise friction the rotor is mounted on a Pivot Rod rotating between Pivot Bolts.

The motor is difficult to start as it needs to be spun manually at 750rpm to get it going. Once going however the motor is almost silent and the clock keeps very accurate time.

Colin displayed a Triple Expansion Steam Engine built from MW Model Plan, and a Grasshopper Beam Engine. The first model was built by the Late Bob Ford.  He also had some Evoultion models, including two mobile cranes and a Tow Truck.

Chris B showed his Dave Harvey's Inching Clock. He built this using Nick Rodgers' and Pete Wood's article in the Runneymede magazine and another by John Stark from New Zealand although he has made a few improvements. More details can be found on 2021 October Page 2 or by clicking on the next photo to enlarge it.

John gave his Sinclair Harding Navigation Clock another outing. The general details are described on the note card. He says 'I can only add that the model amazes me with the ease in which it travels. I just pick it up and strap it on the seat with the seat belt. I think I had a certain amount of luck with the build as I was told it was the most difficult Meccano clock to make.'

Richard G presented a display of models built from 'Non-Meccano' construction systems from around the world.  It is always a surprise to see how many competing systems there were - and still are.

Gregg built two models (KnebulaZ) based on NebulaZ which is a fairground ride from Zamperla. It consists of four pendulums attached to the sides of a central rotating tower. The pendulums intertwine as they rotate, creating regular near-misses. At either end of each pendulum are gondolas that seat four riders in two rows back-to-back. The gondolas always remain upright.

The second model is an earlier version which only has two arms.

David M had a Robot from the Meccano Metal Robots collection.  There are a number of robots in the series, and most are a challenge to stay upright!

Steve's model (a perpetual staircase) is still a work in progress, though he did demonstrate that the mechanism works with all 22 treads operating, so the model build can now proceed in earnest. It did jam in the afternoon, meaning there are still some bugs to be ironed out.

Barry brought a selection of Airport Service sets dating from 1963 to 1969 and using silver, yellow and black, chosen by new owners Lines Bros Ltd (Tri-ang) as those were the colours of many construction vehicles at the time. The silver changed to zinc in 1967 and the black plates to blue in 1970.

Chris F based his model on a Mechanical UGEARS wooden Automaton Cyclist built from a kit inspired by the Tour de France.

Hugh's model is of an automated ticket machine from Meccano Magazine August 1953. Full details can be read on the notes in the photo (click on the photo to enlarge).

Ian showed a model of a Tsar Tank - an experimental tank used by the Russian Empire 1914-1915. The project was cancelled in 1915 due to being vulnerable to artillery fire. He also showed the track drive and roller bearing assembly of a model in progress, from a MMG Gazette article which can be seen in the third photo.

Kevin D brought various models, including a drummer playing his drum kit, which was his Scrapheap Challenge entry.

Pete showed his Erector Refrigeration Plant see 2023 January meeting page.

He also showed his oscillating cylinder engine which was designed that way so that the inventor did not have to pay James Watt for using Watt's patent linkage.

Pete acquired a rare Meccano butter churn complete with the original glass jar. However, when it arrived the glass jar had broken in transit. This close up is of the pulley attached to the shaft using the original spring clip method, thus showing how old it is.

This is what the churn would have looked like if it had arrived intact.

Lastly, Pete displayed his model of a Supercharged 1934 MG K3.