|The Meccano "Steam Engine"|
|Nice clean burner - This is how it should look|
|Most important is the fire extinguisher - AKA a plant spray, meths and rain water|
|Two types of oil|
|Syringes and extensions|
|Safety valve has two seals|
If the safety valve is from an old engine, it may well be seized solid with scale. If so, just drop it in an eggcup (or something similar) full of vinegar and let it soak for an hour or so. The vinegar will dissolve any scale and it will reappear nice and clean looking - especially after a polish with a cloth! Check that it opens, and the spring closes it. It shouldn't need any oil, but if you feel an urge to add some a spot of steam oil is all that is requited. A smear of steam oil around the threads will make it easier to remove after a steaming session. If the valve is faulty in any way, or you are not happy with it for any reason, please just replace it. They are not very expensive and easily sourced on line. You will need a Mamod style, ¼ inch short safety valve. It is better to be safe than sorry. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to run the engine without a working safety valve, or as I have seen on more than one occasion, do not ever plug the safety valve hole with a bolt to prevent it leaking. These engines are perfectly safe providing you are using it according to the manufacturer's instructions and use common sense.
|Filling - the slow way|
The Meccano Steam Engine takes approximately 120ml of water. The manufacturer's method of achieving this is to fill the the boiler with water, through a funnel that has been inserted into the threaded hole revealed when the safety valve is removed. Water is added until it runs out of a level hole, from which a screw plug has been removed. In the picture above a small stainless steel dish is used to catch the water. These handy little dishes can be purchased in small stacks of six from several of the pound-shop chains. Once the engine is full, the plug is replaced, the funnel removed and the safety valve replaced. It is worth noting at this point that the level hole can be found at either end of the boiler, depending on when the engine was made.
|Filling - the fast way|
|Sue getting into hot water...|
|Adding steam oil to the back of the cylinder|
|Loosening the bolt (using a miniature socket) that restrains the spring|
|Removing the connecting rod and the piston|
|A few drops of steam oil are dropped into the cylinder|
|Don't forget to lubricate the crank pin|
|Filling the burner - not too much|
|A gas hob lighter is the perfect tool for lighting the burner|
|A quick flick and off she goes...|
|There she goes - flat out!|
Have fun - be safe and always make sure you have a water sprayer THAT WORKS to hand!
Ralph. (Hands by Sue!)