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Vintage Hornby Train Show 2016

Report by Peter Clay

Five SELMEC members exhibited on stage at the annual Hornby Trains Exhibition in the Methodist Church Hall, Welling on 30th April. Starting with the models, in alphabetical order:

Adrian Ashford (rather busy in the main hall!) had an articulated electric truck and an owl, whose wings flapped when a button was pressed.

Adrian Ashford (foregound) with his Hornby train layout
Adrian Ashford (foregound) with his Hornby train layout

Peter Clay had a new Meccanograph (a 'variable linegraph'). Unfortunately the motor drive gave problems and it had to be hand-cranked. His fears of RSI proved unfounded! Also seen were a tractor (with flywheel drive) and trailer in the new grey and silver finish, Dad's Army butchers’ wagon, four-wheel steering car and Chinese Chariot. This had three pointers, one above, one below and one working when the operating rod faced upright. Each pointer then kept its orientation when on top.

Peter Clay's variable linegraph
Peter Clay's variable linegraph

Brian Elvidge brought three attractive models: A lorry based on a Guy Vixen Dinky model — this used the cab and chassis of the red/green no. 7 set refuse wagon and was powered by a no. 1 clockwork motor; a solidly built aircraft from a recent 2015 set, one of the extra models available on line; and finally, an excavator based on the Evolution set of 2013, with the addition of a tracked base. It had slewing, digging and luffing movements.

Brian Elvidge's excavator
Brian Elvidge's excavator

Brian Leach had an appealing duck and an auto-belt tensioner. This was a belt drive whose pulley climbed around a gear, so that the belt tension was automatically adjusted as the load increased. It was driven by an electric motor. Details have been given in the literature but it is always fascinating to see it in operation.

Brian Leach's duck
Brian Leach's duck

Tim Surtell showed us what can be done with electronics and computer control (or, if you're like me, blinded us with science!) He demonstrated a robot arm controlled from a laptop. Its unfortunate floppiness was due to limitation in the new polycarbonate parts making it difficult to brace. This, plus demonstrations of stepper motors and of control of Meccano motors, was worked through an Arduino Uno microcontroller. Not to be outdone, Tim had more traditional fare — a maraca, ice cream cart and walking 'Meccanoide' which walked forwards or backwards when the buttons were pressed.

Tim Surtell demonstrating his robot arm
Tim Surtell demonstrating his robot arm

Flyers for the SELMEC Meccano Show were on offer and many were taken up.

An exhibition is more than the sum of its models. There was also the real purpose — the model railways and items for sale. Adrian told me that there had been a good number of visitors and was pleased with the day overall — which was a tribute, of course, to himself.

Our Meccano display was enjoyed by young and old alike. Among the visitors were Chris Warrell, George Foard, John Cowdery and, from Holy Trinity Meccano Club, James Dowswell. Apologies if I've missed anybody.


» This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of SELMEC News.

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