Monday, 28 November 2016

Old Boiler!

No, not me, this...
Scruffy boilers are commonplace, especially the blue ones
We seem to have collected a good few boilers over the years and the blue ones seem to be the worst for wear of the lot. A few years ago, I bought a couple of clock kits from a chap that had been looked after very well indeed. All the parts were almost like new, even though they had been built, that is with the exception of the boilers. The paint is just not keyed on very well. I will get around to painting them at some point, but for now I have found a quick fix. While rooting around in the heaps of stuff we have been sorting out recently (see HERE), I found a motley selection of boiler sleeves in various colours that had been used as circular plates in rockets and submarine sets. However the ones that caught my eye were the ones used in the locomotive set of the early 2000s. These are black, a far more useful colour than lurid yellow of the submarine and far more practical than the white ones used in the rocket sets. The only problem with them is that they are not bent as tightly as they need to be to fit inside the boiler ends.
The locomotive parts need the rolled profile tightened
Just forming them with your hand will result in them bending out of shape as they will form a crease along the lines of holes. They need to be rolled but I was not sure if the process would damage the paint, which has been rather heavily applied and appears to be a powder coating.

Custom made rolling bars
A couple of years ago, I needed to form some plates lengthwise and built a new wider bending machine. You can see how it was built HERE. This machine is just the right width for this job. The rollers were wiped over with a spirit-dampened rag to remove any dust and grit from the rollers and the machine set up so the plate was just held in the rollers. the sleeve was rolled through under light pressure several times, each time increasing the roller pressure by a couple of turns of the adjusting wheel. It took several passes to get the sleeve to the required shape but, by going gradually, no paint was lost. I bent the sleeve so the ends were almost touching. This will mean the last half an inch of compression can be made by hand to fit the end into the boiler ends and hold them in place.

The finished boiler sleeve reassembled into the original boiler ends
I like the look of the black and zinc boiler. The original sleeve will be flattened out, using the rolling bars, and stripped of paint. Now all I have to decide is whether to paint it or, and here's an idea, zinc plate them. Ever since Meccano zinc plated the 5½ x 2½ inch base plates in the Tower Bridge set, I have been thinking about what other traditionally painted parts might look good plated, but that is yet another story.


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Movin' it on...

So where do you want this lot!
For the past few months, we have been collecting Meccano together from all corners of our house and workshop, in readiness for a house move in the new year. We had no idea just how much Meccano we have collected over the past four decades. As of today we are in the process of selling-on the masses of stock we are never going to use, through our internet shop.

You will find the shop HERE!
The most interesting place to look will be the lots list that can be found HERE. We will be adding to the list, slowly to start with but over the following days and weeks we will be adding more and more. Just keep popping in to see what's new. If you really don't want to miss anything, you can sign up for notifications of product listings and/or our News pages simply by entering your e-mail address into box in the left hand column on any page of the website. You can opt in and out of the list at any time by checking or un-checking the options boxes that will appear when you click on the subscribe button. 

At the time of writing, we are working on a couple of new sections. One is Motor City where you will find all sorts of genuine motors and gearboxes from across the whole Meccano range going way back to some of the early clockwork and electric motors of the pre second world war era, through to the current offerings of the past decade or so.
We are also putting together a fixings section that will be called 'Fixing It'. This will initially feature a good selection of hex-socket head bolts and nuts. We have a good selection of bolts and lots of standard size black bolts.

In case you are wondering where it has all come from, fear not, you are not the only one to wonder. We sat down and thought about this and came to the conclusion that most of the 'modern' stuff (by 'modern' I mean parts from the 1980 to around 2013 when Meccano was bought by Spin Master) came from eBay. We have been eBayers for fourteen years. We joined in 2002 primarily to buy Meccano and buy we did.  For more than a decade it was possible to buy up lots of sets in unused condition. Most of these sets were bought and either never built and a lot were never opened. The ones that had been started were in the main, never finished. Stored away until they were ripe for disposing of.  In those early days, eBay provided a place where all that Meccano could be sold easily. It also gave us a source of modern parts which we pounced on. The trouble was we were buying whole sets to acquire a couple of parts and in order to build a good supply of those parts we also accumulated vast amounts of modern parts and huge quantities of nuts and bolts.

We do not only buy from eBay. We have bought several collections over the years, large and small. This is where a lot of our own collection has come from. This has amassed huge amounts of tatty old Meccano. Some of which we refurbish for our own use, the rest we sell  at meetings and shows in boxes for a few pounds, the rest we will be putting on eBay as lots that weight to a maximum of 2kg (including packing) to keep postage charges reasonable.

Talking of shipping charges, we have simplified that on  for UK buyers. No matter what you buy from the shop you will never pay more than £3.00 shipping for each order, so the more items you add to the shopping basket at each visit the better, as you know you will not be charged a fortune for delivery no matter how heavy the order is!

That's enough of that, back to the building!