The Degenerater Fairground Ride

The idea for this model came to me out of the blue and all of a sudden on the 25th of September 2014 as I was preparing for the St. Albans exhibition on the 27th.

I was planning to exhibit for the first time my newest model, The Cyclone, when this new idea popped into my mind and almost immediately I wanted to start on it straight away having not yet even displayed my current model. As the shape started to form in my mind, I reached for one of my older models, choosing the Rock ‘n’ Rolla as the one I would dismantle to make way for this new inspiration.

The base and the towers and took me most of the afternoon and as soon as they started to take shape I started to spend more and more time on it with a good few hours set aside for the model each day.

The idea was to have a fairground ride that consisted of two mirror image double arms which would clasp a passenger vessel on one end, but that would rotate in a reciprocal direction to each other once mounted to a pair of twin towers that would anchor them on an axle.

As has become the norm with my freelance model building, no instructions or guides to follow mean that hundreds of adjustments are needed to achieve anything like you first planned in your head. In this case, the right width and separations of the two moving structures were crucial, but the main problem was to design the separated axles to hold them in position. Here I decided to use heavy duty axles, but I could only use two and connecting them to standard thinner Meccano axles proved to be rather tricky and the complication saw me having to do it and undo it many times to achieve the right fittings required to finally succeed. I also had to fix a separate support using the two longest angle girders parts in the middle and between the two towers, to hold the two axles in position and support by way of reinforcement, the heavy weight of the twin moving units.

Multiple changes and then adjustments were further needed to perfect the ideal operating distances and movements needed. The passenger vessels on each rotating arm were salvaged from a previous model and then given an overhaul by tweaking the shape and design.

At first my plan was to power the model with just one motor to drive both arms in reciprocal ways, but it proved more challenging than I had first anticipated so I eventually opted to fit two separate motors, one driving a large pulley with an elastic band, and the other using a sprocket chain. I am using a twin transformer with dual control and variable speed.

As the passenger vessels swing freely always keeping the riders in an upright position throughout the ride, they needed an exact clearance height from the base to allow for the range in movement and I had to allow two inches for this. But as this raised the vessels above acceptable ground level, I had to add a higher mounting platform at the entrance with steps to allow riders ease of entry and exit from the ride. A similar one ideally should sit at the rear but I did not add it in order to reduce the weight of the finished model.

A kiosk, lights and embellishments were added to decorate the model.

Just three weeks after conception, I was pleased to have my finished model operational and ready to exhibit and all I needed was a name.

It has a much faster speed of rotation than a traditional Ferris Wheel and each arm is the mirror reflection of the other. I like the idea that whilst simultaneously riding and feeling that their stomachs are constantly in their mouths, riders can also see the other riders on the opposite arm in contrast to the direction they themselves are going, and it is like watching yourself in the mirror, adding to the teeth-grinding sensation the riders might feel and its visual impact for everyone else observing below.

The Degenerater — Experience yourself come undone!

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