|Ready to go - tested on air|
Meccano steam engines were originally intended as toys in a time when children and adults a like were expected to evaluate danger for themselves. As kids we knew that some things could hurt us and we would treat them with caution and respect. Yes we did come a cropper sometimes, but we learnt from our mistakes. I now know why it is not a good idea to build a see-saw from a ladder and a 20 Gallon barrel and use a lawnmower as a counterweight!
Today the world is a different place and the only danger that has increased is the risk of litigation. There are a whole bunch of companies, and people, looking for an excuse to sue each other. Because of this we have labels on the packet of craft knife blades warning that the contents are sharp and I had a packet of almonds, the other, day that had a line of text on the back of the packet that read "Contains Nuts".
Sadly this stupidity has caused many event organisers to steer on the safe side and ban the use of live steam Meccano engines run on fire and water as they should be. Personally I don't bother to run engines at such meetings, preferring to use a totally safe form of propulsion such as an electric motor... Yeh, right! But that is another debate for another page.
We use compressed air, here at Laughton Towers, for all sorts of things from nailing and sanding to spraying and airbrushing. We also use it to test our newly refurbished engines before we fire them.
What do you need?A compressor or some other kind of regulated supply of air, (this is another whole new subject and I will not get bogged down with it here) a boiler adapter, a suitable compressor fitting and hose.
The boiler fitting is available from internet toy steam suppliers and will screw into the safety valve threaded insert. Safety is catered for by regulating the air pressure and using a hose that will not hold tight to the fittings if the pressure increases. DO NOT crimp or secure the hose to the fitting, just push fit is good enough.
|Hose is a simple push fit onto the fittings|
Now all you need to do is to connect up the hose and fittings, set the air flowing and flick the wheel...
|Ready to go!|
...and just to prove it doesn't always work first time, especially if there is a camera pointing at it, take a look at this short video.I cut the last few seconds off as I am sure you don't what to hear what I said!