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April Antics 2010

“April Antics 2010”

DATES: Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 April 2010

TIME: 9.00am until late Saturday, 9.00am until 11.00am Sunday

VENUE: The Devon Hotel & Conference Centre,
390 Devon Street East, New Plymouth

To provide the opportunity for Meccano modellers/enthusiasts and their families to gather to meet, share their views on anything and everything, demonstrate their ideas, expertise and enjoy fellowship in a convivial atmosphere.

Ozone and Artistic Merit

Build a Meccano Model or Machine of your choice.

Powered by a Meccano ‘cricket ball’, E15R or E20R motor.

Artistic Merit: Maximise imagination and innovation, include features to enhance artistic merit, and make it run smoothly and well.

We had a good attendance with 21 meccano men attending many with families and partners.

Back Row: Daryl Anderson, Wayne Blakely, Reg Barlow, Bruce Geange, Bryan Jones, David Wall, Robin Rye, Gary Higgins, Selwyn Bluett, Brian Hickson, Barry Babbage, Alistair Tong, Charles Steadman, Peter Hancock.

Front Row: William Irwin, George Ovenden, Frank Denison, Simon Moody, John Freer, Graham Hawtree, Chris Morton

Photograph by Charles Steadman

There were some excellent and unusual models on display , most meeting the above criteria but a similar number using conventional motors as well.

Models were provided by the following NZFMM members:

David Wall (AMG) who had made a vertical steam engine powered by a small modern electric motor hidden in the base. The model inspiration was a photograph of an apprentice set piece that David had observed overseas. It ran faultlessly.

William Irwin (AMG )
had brought along an eccentric meccanograph powered by a meccano cricket ball motor and original meccano transformer and hornby speed controller. This was based on a design from Cape Town by Colin Cohen.
William said that he had not used the cricket ball motor since he was a young lad and he was surprised at how well it ran.

Frank Denison (left) explaining his mobile crane to George Ovenden.

Frank Denison (New Plymouth )
had built a small mobile crane based on a 1970s meccano magazine model by Ian Jenkins. An emebo motor had been used to good effect in driving the upper crane to provide slewing and hoisting action via various gear arrangements while the chassis drive was via a powerdrive motor.

John Freer (MWT)
Had originally designed a ball blower but had been forced to rename it a useless hair dryer after it failed to blow out air, even with three meccano fans inside. It was powered by a cricket ball motor and original transformer.

Gary Higgins (AMG) had made up a steam lorry in blue/gold meccano driven by an E20R motor with the side plates extended by flat plates to meet the original model specs. The motor drive the vehicle via a chain drive to the rear wheels and the tray tipping was via a series of cords and pulleys.

Wayne Blakely (MWT) had made up a windmill to a 1926 design but had been innovative in making the model friction drive i.e. none of the sprockets were grub screwed to the axles, they were free to rotate. This is a great idea for exhibition models where anyone touching the sails can cause then to stop without damage to the model or the public.

Daryl explaining his model to David Wall, Robin Rye and Charles Steadman.

Daryl Anderson (MWT) had made a portable transformer and light unit powered by a 12 volt heavy duty battery. He was running E20R and E15R motors which in turn ran , via a band drive the output spindles of two small electric motors. These provided the power source as generators to power the LED lights. These were screwed into electrikit sockets and are commercially available.An ammeter and voltmeter were also coupled to the divice to keep track of current generated/used very clever Daryl.

Barry Babbage (Tauranga)
had completed a model of a trick cyclist circling around on a flanged ring similar to a CQ magazine model but Barry had also added a 4 speed gearbox and all was driven by a cricket ball motor. A flywheel was used to good effect on the end of the gear train to even out the vibrations on the central rod. This the first time Barry had used one in a model.
Barry also made up a planetary gear system taken from an earlier mechanisms book but he found it did not work very smoothly and was stubborn when sliding between gears.

Chris Morton (MWT)
had brought along a model made up from a use only three parts competition, Chris had designed a rolling mine. These were invented to try and blow up enemy installations. They consisted of a central area filled with high explosive and were rocket propelled on each side. However it was soon found that if rockets on one side did not ignite then the whole device was liable to run back and destroy friendly installations…hmmm.

Graham Hawtree (MWT)
had a pristine original Geared roller Bearing complete with box in red/ green.

N. B. Click Here to read about the unique history of this GRB which has passed through the hands of several well-known Meccanomen over the years including Bill Inglis (Australia) and Clyde Suttle (USA).

Reg Barlow (WMC)

Reg had devised a machine of his own design run by an ER20 motor which incorporated many gears and cogs and heaps of meccano chain. As it moved along the table two aircraft flew around the top and a windmill device twirled at the front, at least I think it was the front!

Reg quite rightly won the
prize for the model to most closely match the criteria.

George Ovenden demonstrates his ferris wheel.

George Ovendon (AMG)
had designed a ferris wheel from a model plan but had altered the side bracing’s by replacing strips with angle girders to stiffen up the A frame. The model ran remarkably quietly powered by a small tape recorder motor.

George also had a model of a jeep built to a design by Lloyd Spackman (WMC) and a small tractor and trailer driven by a magic motor. The model plan was designed by Bruce Geange (MWT) who was there to appreciate it.

Bruce Geange (MWT)
had constructed a model from a picture of a Oppermann 3 wheeled farm truck which used a car mirror motor as a drive with a reduction gearbox. The hydraulic lift on the trailer was simulated by cording and pulleys.

Alistair Tong (MWT)
had brought along a model he described as ‘Hey Diddle Diddle” He had built a rotating sun moon device and decided it would be nice to incorporate a cow jumping over the moon, it does this very well- the kids will love this model. There was of course a steam engine pretending to be the driving power however it was delivered by an E20R.

Other members in attendance were:
Charles Steadman (CMC) who demonstrated his OPM site
Sewyn Bluett (MWT)
Peter Hancock (AMG) responsible for the majority of the organisation for this event. – thanks Peter.
Simon Moody (WMC)- co-organiser – thanks again
Bryan Jones (MWT)
Robin Rye (MWT)
Brian Hickson ( Matamata)

Peter gave an update on the magazine now with 4 copies a year, 28 pages and 4 colour pages. There may be electronic options in the future however the printed copy will always remain. Discussion took place on the development of a constitution for the federation and Peter tabled some papers from the onset of the federation for members to view.

The 2011 convention/exhibition was then discussed at length and we can expect further information from the hosting club (MWT) shortly.
At this stage we know:
The event will be in Palmerston North.
It will take place from Easter Friday to Sunday.
It will be held in the Palmerston North Convention centre.
William will be placing information on the NZFMM website as it becomes available.

Above text and pictures are by Gary Higgins except as otherwise noted.

Further pictures of the April Antics gathering by Gary Higgins can be viewed at

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