The Tumble Cryer Fairground Ride

With the Meccano meeting at the Runnymede fast approaching, I was having trouble deciding which model to take or get ready. I thought about presenting ‘The Challenger’ which is a model I haven’t displayed anywhere yet but it still needed a redesign as friction was causing the transformers to cut out. Similarly, I considered the Whirlwind model but I had recently exhibited it at Biggin Hill and so it did not appeal to me in the same way, and so I was torn between presenting my super-sized Ferris Wheel model Stratosphere which being so big, I can only transport by strapping it the roof rack of the car and so with each of these off-putting dilemmas, I opted instead for making yet another new model.

My idea was another fairground attraction, a model with a main rotating arm that had another two rotating arms; one at each end. These smaller opposite arms at both ends would each spin two fixed passenger carriages whilst simultaneously being rotated by the much larger main arm, causing a double spin and tumble sensation.

I instantly felt it could be tricky to construct as I needed to design a mechanical system to the operate the three movements together, but that was part of the appeal and so after studying all the possibilities that came to mind, I came up with the idea of having the main central axle fixed to the supporting tower in which the main arm would move freely in this axle and a contrate wheel fitted to the axle would rotate two small pinions along the arm reaching the ends, with another two pinions more to engage with the axles of the smaller arms and their carriages.

I set about starting the new construction on Monday 1st February 2016 and by the same afternoon I had built the main arm and fittings and positioned the contrate wheel and pinions in axles as described, and I operated it manually until I felt that I was onto a workable model and after a few further adjustments, I was able to produce the result I had wanted.

The next day I started with the tower and base and once that structure was built, I positioned the main arm in its fixed axle and again concentrated on just manually turning it to ensure that I had achieved what was really needed.

From there I got on with adding extra supports and small details, such as access steps, lights and finally I attached the obligatory ticket kiosk which I had kept from a previous model.

The four passenger carriages were also saved from a different model and needed just a few modifications before I fitted them to the two arms. Ideally I would have built larger carriages and I still aim to add this improvement later, but at this stage with the Meccano meeting just a few days away and not having the time, I settled for this improvisation.

For a pleasant change, the model is not so big or as heavy as some of my previous models and so I was able to complete it by Thursday in just four short days.

After fitting the motor and the elastic band which would rotate the large pulley fixed at the centre of the arm, I tested it properly and I was happy to see that the model rotated smoothly as I had hoped when the idea first came to me and I was delighted to have a new model ready in time for the meeting in such a short turn-around.

Being a smaller, more moderate size model than I have become used to displaying, I am pleased with the result despite it not really having much of a complicated mechanical system.

Part of me was tempted to take my large ‘Stratosphere’ wheel with me too, but I was kind of looking forward to displaying a model without all of the huge challenges of difficult transportation and as always if you have to rely on the roof rack, there is always the danger of unfavorable weather.

Watching the model in operation for a while, I kept my eyes fixed on just one of the carriages to imagine what kind of experience it would be like for one of the fairground ride’s passengers, and it felt like they were being tossed no tumbled while being spun around a bit like in a tumble dryer and so gave me the idea for the name.

‘The Tumble Cryer’ — Spinning the brave from their tears!


I think that it would be technically better to drive the passenger carriages with sprocket and chain, with tensioning there would be virtually no play.

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