Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The New!

Just released, in that last few hours, VirtualMEC 2.1.1. Hot on the heals of the eagerly  awaited upgrade, VirtualMEC have today released a few more parts and modified a couple of components released in the upgrade. 

One of the new parts is the Small flexible gusset plate Sue used extensively when building the seats for the merry mixer.

The real thing!
VirtualMEC version
The photograph of the 'real' thing was taken before the safety bar was added. Sue has made twelve of these, at least I will be able to copy and past my Virtual ones!

More information on the upgrade can be found on the VirtualMEC website HERE . Rust Bucket, the Meccano forum of the NZ Meccano website, also has a section dedicated to VirtualMEC. To get involved with Rust Bucket click on the panel in the left hand column - You won't regret it!


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Last Saturday...

...we, the North East London Meccano Club (NELMC), held our Autumn  meeting in Hainault. Currently, for my sins, I am Secretary of the club and I initiated a challenge. to the members The challenge involves building a model from Meccano, the extended range parts or even other systems. The only rule is that the finished model must fit through the gauge (made from four 5½ strips bolted together to form a perfect square) in all three dimensions. In other words It must fit inside a 4½ inch virtual cube.

The first challenge was called for the July meeting, the subject being a time piece or a clock.  We had a good sprinkling of entrants. My model (well, you have to show willing!) was of a giant pocket watch...

The pocket watch
Last Saturday the subject of the challenge was a two wheeled vehicle. Thinking that everybody would produce motorbikes and pedal cycles, I opted for a cart - guess what so did everybody else. That is except one member who entered an mini aeroplane! More information regarding the club can be found on the NELMC website: http://nelmc.org.uk

My not so unique hand cart
Club challenges have sent Sue and I down all sorts of paths we would never have ventured down otherwise. Most of the time they are simple little models that can be ingenious or just amusing. every now and then they get a bit out of hand and we end up building something huge; our funicular railway was a case in point. If you don't know what I am talking about have a look HERE.

Earlier this year, another competition set us off on another huge undertaking, the Merry Mixer, featured earlier on this the blog. To find the old posts enter 'Merry Mixer' in the search box at the top, right of this page. The original competition was running on a toy steam engine forum; The subject was to build a fairground ride. The model got way too big for the competition so we withdrew it and entered a smaller model that can be seen HERE . However, the Merry mixer has been growing over the past few months but, as we reported a few weeks ago, we are in the process of a spot of rebuilding. More news on the merry mixer soon!


Friday, 18 October 2013

Virtual Sue Smokie and me!

With the introduction of the latest VirtualMEC software came 89 new parts. I used some of the Elektrikit parts to produce the drawing of the E15 motor. Amongst the other new parts I found my body and Smokie's head...

Our virtual selves...
All we need now is some cord so Sue can have her hair back!


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Fixed it!

It has been a few days since my last post. We have been busy with last week's SELMEC show, held down here in South East London, and what a show it was too. It was packed all day, although the numbers have not been published yet, I am sure it must have been the most successful show ever!

In the meantime, my appeal for a pre-war switch plate for the old sideplate motor we acquired a few weeks ago was answered by a fellow member of the Rust Bucket Meccano forum. An exchange was made and today I received a package in the post containing the part I wanted fitted to an old, incomplete 6 Volt motor.  The plate was damaged, I knew this was the case before we agreed terms! I set about repairing it.

The top of the lever had been bent...
...and the metal had fractured
A spot of percussive maintenance soon straightened out the kinks. The fracture can be seen on the right hand side of the lower hole. This was easily repaired with a spot of soft-soldering. It would have been better to braise it but I didn't want to remove the insulated pad and contact strips if I could help it. I am confident it will hold, but if it doesn't I will just strip it down and braise it at a later date.

A few light taps with a soft-face hammer straightened it out and...
...a spot of soft solder filled the gap and should hold it together
 I have fitted it to my original motor ready for testing. Assuming all is well, I will give it a coat of paint and build the motor into a model. Thanks Mike, it is looking good thanks to you!

Fitted to the motor you can see the solder line to the right of the hole

I think it needs building into a crane, but should I follow a plan of just build one of my own design?...


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Virtual Ta-Dah!

VirtualMEC E15
With the release of the latest version of VirtualMEC (2.1) has come a whole lot of eagerly awaited new parts including the missing Elektrikit parts. I couldn't resist having a go at the E15 I have just built in the real world. The absence of wiring can be overcome by just drawing it in, on an image, using image manipulation software, such as Photoshop. I will have a go at that in the next few days and let you know how I get on.

No problems so far - works very well. It is good to see it moving on. Thanks to the VirtuaMEC guys for making it happen. More details on VirtualMEC can be found on the VirtualMEC website that can be found HERE.


Sunday, 6 October 2013


It works!
I almost gave up on this one but after spending a few hours talking Stephen Jeavons, at the Runnymede Meccano Guild meeting yesterday, I managed to get the thing going! The secret is getting the adjustment of the coils above the rotor set so the cores are set as near as possible to the thickness of a perforated strip, and getting the rotor to spin at the correct speed.

On Stephen's advice I fitted a 19t pinion to the top of the rotor shaft and that made it much easier to start. 750 RPM, or in other words that is 12½ revolutions per second, is the speed the rotor has to be spun at to get it to synchronise with the AC supply frequency (50 Hz here in the UK). 

The rebuilt E15
I also changed the solenoid hanging brackets (to ensure they were all matched), the insulated strip was changed for a stiffer one and I swapped the original red pulley for a lighter (weight) blue one.   I followed the original instructions as below. The only eventual addition was the 19t pinion to make starting it easier. As with the E12 motor, I had previously built, It would benefit from a few modifications. The coils still don't hang very nicely and the frame could do with beefing up, but it does what it is supposed to do and that makes me happy - for now!

I don't like the way the coils do not hang very nicely
The Elektrikit was intended to be used with a 1960s set No.3 or above. The instructions only use parts available in the No.3 set. Ignoring those limitations would open up all sort's of possibilities for improvement but that was not the point of this exercise. I set out to see if I could get the motor to work within the confines of the parts as listed and, excluding the 19 pinion, I did - Great fun!

The original instructions from the Elektrikit manual

Two down, I wonder which one to tackle next - I should really get on with the Merry Mixer...

...or I could have a go at one of the models from the Electronic Control set. That might make a change...
Electronic control set - Hmmm...


Thursday, 3 October 2013

More Elektrikit - E15 this time!

Elektrikit E15 - Synchronous Motor
Last Saturday I built the Asynchronous motor from the Elektrikit instruction manual (model E15) and it worked surprisingly well. This one is a different matter altogether. The picture above shows the finished model. It may look pretty but I can't get it to work built as the instruction manual shows. I think I might have to give up trying and rebuild it with a few improvements and see what happens. I have started a thread about the build on the Rust Bucket forum HERE.

More soon...