Monday, 30 April 2012


See, the most successful advertising campaign for years has even got me saying it, but this really is simple and effective. This weekend we are off to Ironbridge for one of our favourite shows, Meccanuity 12. This three day event always has a theme and this year the theme is stationary steam engines. There is also a competition for the best audience participation model. With this in mind we decided to build a few models for the younger visitors. At a recent meeting of our local Meccano club, one of my fellow members had a few small steam sound generator kits for sale. These little kits are aimed at the novice electronics hobbyist and are a bit crude. The thought of a small motorised steam engine model that also made a sound seemed like a good idea.

A simple modification makes the helping-hands stable
I have not made one of these little kits for over 30 years so it was time to get stuck in. the first thing I discovered was the little 'helping hands' is top heavy. I found myself  worrying more about toppling the thing over than burning the digits! Fixing it to the bench is not an option as it need to be portable and besides there are no fixing holes provided. This is not a problem as boring a couple of holes in the base is a simple job. Cast iron is much easier to drill than softer materials due to its high carbon content. Clearance holes were bored and a larger bit was used as a countersink due to the fact there was not enough room get my HSS rose countersink, bit set in the drill chuck, centred over the holes. The stand was fixed to the MDF base using a couple of wood screws. Now the stand is perfectly stable and my fingers are devoid of burns - Simples!


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