Thursday, 28 November 2013

More on the flanged plates...

Perfect cube
Some parts just get passed by without too much attention being paid to how they relate to each other. Meccano seem to have put a lot of thought into the design of the series of small flanged plates and make little use of their ability to work together. This in not the first time they have designed features into parts and not exploited them. They are designed to fit together to make solid rectangular  structures. The die, that was the subject of my last post, was built using six of the 1½ inch square plates.These plates have been designed to fit together perfectly with themselves to make a cube or with other small flanged plates to make larger boxes and forms. These simple looking parts have critical dimensions allowing them to do this, a detail missed by some of the makers of reproduction parts and the design boys at VirtualMEC. The virtualMEC part will not fit together no matter how hard you try.

The VirtualMEC part will not fit together like the real thing
When the Words modern parts are mentioned, often the thought of plastic parts and garish colours spring to mind. That may well be the case in some instances but it is not the full story. The plate used for the cube will also integrate well with the original part number 51, 2½ x 1½ flanged plate with the flanges on the short sides and the modern part number 51f, with the flanges on the long side.

Old meets new
The longer version, of the small flanged plate, also has the flanges cut back so it will fit inside the short flanges of the original plate, red in the picture above. Using threaded bosses, the plates can be assembles leaving the bolts loose.

Threaded bosses can be used to secure the box
The plates can be put together to form a fully enclosed box with no fiddling about trying to secure bolts to loose nuts. Once the bolts are started in the threads, the box can be squared up and the bolts tightened to produce a solid box,

Solid, neat box.
A fusion of new and old parts can have a very useful outcome. In this case the new parts are very similar the old Meccano but whoever designed them did think 'outside the box' in more ways than one. There are lots of uses for modern parts and integrating them into the system as a whole is worth some serious consideration.


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