Konkoly-based climbing man


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11th September 2010 SELMEC autumn meeting - Cord but no cranes…

It had been noted at Henley last week that Sue’s hair was looking a mess. Before I could contemplate taking her to our local club something had to be done. So the night before the time honoured excuse was put into practice and Sue stayed in to ‘do her hair’. It has just occurred to me that I could have entered her for the Secretary’s challenge!

Sue's Hair was falling out...
Come on dear, we'll be late...

The secretary’s challenge at the SELMEC autumn meeting was to build a model using part No.40 that was not a crane. We do like a challenge… 

Sue and I sat down and came up with three possible models; a Yo-Yo, a tightrope walker and clucking chickens toy. The Yo-Yo was the first model to be made, after all it would need strategic planning and considered parts collection to accumulate the seven components required. Joking aside, the parts did need some thought boiler ends seemed like the obvious answer and I experimented with a pair of those first. Although they did work the Yo-Yo was not as stable as I would have liked and had a tendency to wobble. Several attempts were made to balance the halves by altering their relationship to each other but that had little or no affect on performance.

Experimentation with the early Elektrikit bells (fewer holes than a boiler end) made little difference. Eventually I hit upon using the similar part from the crazy inventor’s kit. These look like boiler ends but the rim is reduced in width and there are no holes in the rim (P/N 162d). For some reason these did the trick and the Yo-Yo worked fine. I managed to send some of my less enthusiastic fellow members to sleep with my newfound knowledge of the subject thanks to an Internet search!

The other two models did not make the day although they might well materialise at a later date. Instead I built my version of Konkoly’s string-climbing man. An amusing little model that is fun to build and operate, even if it does turn your P/N 40 fluffy!

The day…

Getting to SELMEC is a breeze, as I have said before it is only a short drive away. I arrived in good time and had the usual peruse over the items for sale only to find a copy of CQ No 2. I purchased CQ No.1 some time ago because it had a photograph of Eric Taylor’s crawler tractor on the front cover, I assumed there would be an article inside about it. Wrong! The article appears in QC No2 and 3. It was at this point that a picture of my wallet sitting on the table in our kitchen at home along with my mobile phone appeared in my head. Frantic patting of the trouser pockets failed to dispel this image and the warm glow of embarrassment rose from my shirt collar. After signing a second mortgaged against Smokie’s cat bed I secured enough credit to enable me to walk away with the said item.

There is always a good turnout at SELMEC and today was no exception. Challenge models and member’s latest creations were in attendance. And there is always the joker. Andrew Couzens built a version of a touring car inspired by a model from the 1970s No.9 set instruction leaflet. This was entered as one of the challenge models. So where was the cord? “In the boot, it’s the tow-rope!” Andrew explained. 

Ice Boat
George's Ice boat

Other models of note were George Foard’s Ice boat from a 1919 manual, Douglas Windibank built a windmill from pictures in the Meccano Super Models by Geoff Wright and The Meccano System by Bert Love and Jim Gamble.

Getting things more up to date, Chris Warrell showed a model of the Royal Victoria Dock Bridge (1998) that stands in London's Docklands near the Excell centre. All the models entered into the challenge can be found on SELMEC’s website HERE

Trix and Meccano

Trix Bugatti
The Trix Bugatti

David Whitmore attended the meeting and was awarded a lifetime membership for services to the club. He recently donated a large collection of Meccano sets that have been auctioned off to raise money for club funds. Today he brought along a selection of Trix and Meccano X-range parts as well as the last set produced by Trix in Germany a splendid Bugatti. He gave very interesting talk on the history and development of the Trix system and mentioned the introduction of the X-series parts by Meccano to in an attempt to foil the competition. From reading Bert and Jim’s book it appears the X-series was a complete failure although it did give rise to there parts that remained and were incorporated into the standard range Meccano range of parts. These were the predecessor of the Magic motor, the 1¼ inch diameter bush wheel and the ¾ inch washer.

Although I remember the Trix system from my childhood – we Trix / X-Serieshad a small box of it at school as I remember – I can’t say I remember the X-series. It was interesting to compare the two. Until today I had not realised that Trix strips are punched in oblique rows across the strips while X-series are punched perpendicular. I did however realise the Trix parts are netric as they did not align with the odd bits of meccano that had got mixed into the box.

The day was a great success and a good time was had by all as usual. A ten minute drive home and it was time to settle down for a night in with Sue, some good nosh and a nice bottle of red!

More pictures of models can be found on the SELMEC website, HERE.

Unfortunately we can't get to Oxton Next weekend for the North Midlands Meccano Guild (NMMG) meeting as we are bidden to a family wedding… Oh well, maybe next time. Next stop for me on the Meccano calendar will be the Runnymede Meccano Guild (RMG) meeting in Ottershaw, Maybe I will see you there.



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The finished Yo-Yo, all seven parts!