Hints & Tips № 3 — Bending Strips Without a Bending Machine

To some, the very words ‘bending Meccano parts’ are triggers for outbursts of righteous indignation. If God had meant Meccano to be bent, He’d have got Frank Hornby to produce the parts that way etc. etc.

Most of us are more relaxed about the matter, though I confess that seeing excessively tortured, mutilated parts gives me no pleasure. Part of the fun and challenge of Meccano is derived from overcoming the limitations of the system.

However, some light ‘persuasion’ is acceptable — after all, many of the manual models (and prize winners) over the years, have relied on a degree of morphological transformation beyond the elastic limit (show off! — Editor).

A tip picked up from that renowned panel beater Bob Brooker some years ago for bending strips seems to work quite well — almost as well as a good bending machine.

It requires two drifts (part 36c) and a fair amount of patience. Insert the drifts (or axles would do) into adjacent holes in the strips, and gently tweak them apart to bend, very slightly, the section between the holes. The next section is similarly treated after relocating one of the drifts, and so on.

Bending strips without a bending machine
Bending strips without a bending machine

This avoids to a large extent the ‘threepenny bit’ effect that is inevitable with hand bending.

If the radius is not right first time, a repeat performance along the length of the strip can be applied.

Try it, but practice on old tatty stock first. Quite a reasonable result is possible with perseverance. But don’t let Frank Hornby catch you!

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